After yet another impressive race weekend, one of the most talented drivers in almost any series or on any track, was back in victory lane. Kyle Larson first attended the Knoxville Nationals when he was 13 years old and instantly fell in love with the aura of the place. Today, 16 years later the Elk Grove, CA native, who dreamed of standing in victory lane at the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars The Granddaddy of ‘Em All races, saw his dream come true. In front of a sold-out crowd of more than 20,000+ spectators, Larson did exactly what he dreamed of after taking down Schatz on the Knoxville 1/2-mile.
Before celebrating yet another impressive feat, the NASCAR and dirt racing star took on a 50-lap war where Larson started the race from third while 19-year-old Giovanni Scelzi and his brother-in-law Brad Sweet occupied the front row. From the jump, Scelzi took his KCP Racing No.18 to the lead and paced the opening 10 laps. On Lap 11, fifth-starter Donny Schatz roared to life and rocketed from third-to-first in almost one full swing. He stormed by Larson down the backstretch and proceeded to control the next 14 laps, until Larson found his way past his long-time rival by the halfway point of this race.
As soon as he found his way to the race lead, Larson dominated until the five-to-go signal was given and Schatz kicked it into high gear. The 10-time Knoxville Nationals champion erased a three second lead and cut Larson’s advantage down to a single-car length as the white flag waved on Lap 49.
Although Schatz gave it his all and pulled alongside Larson out of turn four in Saturday night’s final heated lap he would fall short of the win by a mere 0.478-seconds giving a nervous NASCAR star the chance at another dream come true.
“I have always dreamed of winning this race,” said Larson. “The atmosphere this week was unbelievable. In fact, I felt the energy all week long from all the fans as well as my competitors. I haven’t been this nervous leading up to a race in a couple of years. I had butterflies all day and during NASCAR Cup practice all I could think about is what I needed to do at the Knoxville Nationals.”
Along with Schatz having to settle for a second-place finish. Brad Sweet would also have to settle for third with Giovanni Scelzi in fourth and Logan Schuchart rounding out the top five.
World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series competitors will run three races through the Dakota’s next weekend. The Greatest Show on Dirt will visit River Cities Speedway on Friday, August 20, then Red River Valley Speedway on Saturday, August 21, and Huset’s Speedway on Sunday, August 22. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for the latest news from the dirt.