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Kyle Larson Kicks Off 2020 Race Season with Victory at Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals

Kyle Larson Kicks Off 2020 Race Season with Victory at Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals

Words: Ellen Richardson    Photo: DB3 Inc.

NASCAR Cup Series star Kyle Larson started his newest race season off in an extra special way on Saturday. After 13 attempts to win the race that he considers to be his greatest victory, the young motorsports star found himself driving into victory lane at the 2020 Chili Bowl Nationals.

After starting his own dirt team at the end of the 2019 race season, Larson proved he would be the one to beat in this year’s most prestigious dirt race. After locking his spot into the Chili Bowl feature race by winning Tuesday night’s A-Feature event, Larson started inside the top five alongside three-time Chili Bowl winner Christopher Bell.

Early in Saturday night’s 55 Lap feature, Bell quickly drove to the front of the pack. After a caution bunched up the pack, Larson got his chance to take on the driver who ended his chances at a win in the 2019 feature. Although it took Larson several attempts to gain access to Bell, a flawless restart on Lap 39 granted him the chance to pull off a move he has actually made famous in the NASCAR Cup Series.

This bold dart up the track allowed Larson to slip by Bell. After holding his breath and continuing to hold his own throughout the final laps of this race, Larson said he almost lost out again with five laps to go.

“I was definitely excited to take the lead away from Bell, but I knew that I was going to work hard to keep it,” said Larson. “We were able to get by him quick, but after, my nerves started kicking in.”

With under two laps to go, Larson’s nerves began to show after he knocked a rut and scraped the outside wall. “After this, the fear kicked in again,” said Larson.

Despite the voices telling him that this was going to be a repeat of last year’s runner-up finish, Larson hung onto his lead and drove to his first Superbowl type race win.

“You can’t even fully dream of moments like this one,” said Larson. “I thought that I might know what it was like to finally win a race that feels even better than racing in the Daytona 500. I am sorry NASCAR and I am sorry Daytona, but this is the biggest race that I have ever won.”

Congrats go out to Larson! For continued dirt racing updates, stay tuned to our sister site, RacingJunk.com.