It’s safe to say that no driver in all of motorsports has created more buzz in 2020 than Kyle Larson. Granted, not all of that buzz has been for the right reasons, but there is no denying that the Elk Grove, CA native has been the center of attention for the past several months among those who pay even nominal attention to racing in any form.
And now, the spotlight that has shown on the 28-year-old is about to be aimed in a new direction. After having tested a Dirt Late Model as recently as last week, it appears as if the driver known as “Yung Money” is set to compete in this weekend’s Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned ‘Rumble by the River’ at Pennsylvania’s Port Royal Speedway driving for K&L Rumley Enterprises.
Those upcoming features will pay $10,000 on Thursday, $12,000 on Friday, and $15,000 on Saturday and are sure to attract many of the top stars in the sport.
Larson lost his NASCAR Cup Series ride with Chip Ganassi Racing after using an inappropriate racial term during the broadcast of a virtual racing event when that tour was shut down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, the driver has been on a tear through the Sprint Car world as he leads both the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series and the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series in the number of victories with nine and twelve respectively.
In all likelihood, Larson’s mistake will cost him a great deal of money being that he was about to enter free agency at the end of the 2020 season with rumors abounding that virtually every Cup Series team would be vying for his services. The winner of six races at the sport’s top level as well as 12 Xfinity Series events almost certainly would have gone into the negotiation phase of this season with a great deal of bargaining power.
However, his future in NASCAR now rests on whether or not someone will be willing to face what will no doubt be a flurry of criticism in order to foot the bill for him to return to the Cup Series.
Despite all the negative things that have transpired in Larson’s life over the past several months, there is no doubt that the racer has made the most of the opportunities he has been able to salvage. The aforementioned Sprint Car victories have raised him to heroic status among many followers of grassroots racing.
Now, the question is whether or not this driver who has achieved so much over the summer can continue to find success in the realm of Dirt Late Model racing.
Yes, Larson is talented. And yes, he will be driving what should be a highly competitive car prepared by Kevin and Lee Roy Rumley. And yes, he will be racing on a track where he won two ASCoC features back in July.
But even with all that he has going for him, can a driver with limited experience in a Dirt Late Model step in and race competitively with the likes of Jimmy Owens, Brandon Sheppard, Brandon Overton, Tim McCreadie and Jonathan Davenport?
Please consider reading Kyle Larson tests Dirt Late Model
It would seem improbable that beating the best in the Late Model business will happen on such a big stage. But at the same time, even to most dedicated Larson supporters almost certainly did not envision the seemingly unbelievable amount of success he has garnered in 2020 following a time when it looked as if he might have thrown his career away in one instant.
But even though I say it would be improbable that Larson would win this weekend or even finish on the podium, after what he has shown us that he can do already this year, I would never absolutely say that he can’t succeed in yet another form of racing. After all, he will have three nights to get used to driving a Late Model in a competitive situation.
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