Kyle Larson is going to be a very busy man during next weekend’s World of Outlaws Bristol Bash at Bristol Motor Speedway, April 28-30.
The NASCAR Cup Series regular will be pulling double duty in his moonlighting gigs at the dirt-transformed high-banked oval in Northeast Tennessee, competing in both of the World of Outlaws’ premier series: the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series and the CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series.
Larson is expected to contend in both classes and has quite a bit of experience on the dirt at Bristol. Last year he finished second in a pair of dirt late model races and also finished sixth in the Sprint Car feature on Friday night. This year Larson has posted dirt late model finishes of 4th and 21st at the Bristol Dirt Nationals. Last weekend he drove his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy during the Food City Dirt Race, only the second time in the modern era that the NASCAR Cup Series competed on a dirt track. Larson rallied to finish fourth in that race.
It’s an extremely rare occurrence in World of Outlaws history for a single driver to attempt competing in both of its marquee classes in a single weekend.
“That will be my first time doing double duty with a Sprint Car and a Late Model, so it takes a way different driving style,” Larson said. “That will probably be a little bit hard to adjust to. But, it’s nice to get some laps (during the Bristol Dirt Nationals) to get me up to speed and comfortable for (the World of Outlaws).”
Larson drives Paul Silva’s white No. 57 machine in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car Series and pilots the No. 6 Dirt Late Model owned by Kevin Rumley.
“There’s not too many people who can say they’ve won on the dirt at Bristol, so I would like to do that for sure,” said Larson, who won a Cup Series race on Bristol’s concrete layout last September. “It’s a unique event. You want to win all of them, but you want to win the special ones for sure. This is one of those, and it’s a track with so much history and for sure, I’d love to win there.”
For fans who may have never seen them in action, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars are lightweight vehicles that tip the scales at 1,425 pounds with the driver and have large adjustable wings and large rear tires that help transfer the car’s power to the track. The 410 cubic-inch engines are loud and fueled by methanol and produce around 900 horsepower.
The CASE Construction Equipment Late Models are full-bodied, purpose-built race cars that headline arguably the most popular dirt track division in the U.S. and Canada. There is no cubic inch limit for the aluminum-head engines, but most teams use power plants of 400-430 cubic inches that produce over 800 horsepower. Dozens of builders construct dirt Late Model chassis, and the bodies of the cars are designed to resemble popular street-car makes from manufacturers such as Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, etc. The cars weigh 2,350 pounds and run on racing gasoline.
A star-studded field is expected to join Larson in both of the World of Outlaws classes.
In the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Sprint Car Series, two-time Bristol winner David Gravel will return to lead the charge. Gravel was impressive in both of the feature races at BMS last April. On Friday night he held off Aaron Reutzel and Carson Macedo for the victory. In Saturday’s main feature he powered his No. 2 machine to the win over 10-time champ and 300-time circuit winner Donny Schatz and Reutzel.
“This is such an iconic place, to win at Bristol Motor Speedway and get that sword is really cool,” Gravel said after one of his two victories last season.
Others to watch include Brad Sweet, Schatz, Kraig Kinser, Giovanni Scelzi, Rico Abreu, Logan Schuchart, Sheldon Haudenschild, Macedo and Reutzel to name a few.
The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models are led by last year’s winner and four-time series champ Josh Richards, along with dirt racing legend Scott Bloomquist, Newport, Tennessee’s Jimmy Owens, former Bristol winner Jonathan Davenport, four-time and defending World of Outlaws champion Brandon Sheppard, Kyle Strickler and Ricky Weiss.
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars and the CASE Late Models will have practice sessions on Thursday, April 28 and will be followed by full racing programs on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30, consisting of hot laps, qualifying, and heat races. There will be 25-lap main feature races with a $25,000 prize to the winner will be held both Friday and Saturday for the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars. The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models will race in 30-lap main features on both Friday and Saturday nights, also with $25,000 payouts to the winners.
The Bristol Motor Speedway dirt conversion took place from January thru March and was highlighted by track operations crews putting down more than 23,000 cubic yards of dirt to cover the famous concrete race surface. The dirt was spread via satellite technology with sophisticated graders and bulldozers to get it in just the right positions. The BMS dirt track features 19 degrees of banking in the turns and has a race surface that’s 50-feet wide.
Fans can purchase their tickets today for the Bristol Bash at www.bristolmotorspeedway.com. Reserved grandstand ticket prices are $30 Thursday; $45 each for Friday and Saturday; $80 three-day weekend. Kids (12 and under) tickets are $5 for each day and $10 for the 3-day combo ticket. VIP Parking is available in for $10 per day.