Easily two of the biggest stories in dirt racing this season have revolved around a couple of star drivers. Kyle Larson and Brandon Overton are in the midst of seasons in which they are accomplishing incredible feats. And this past weekend, each of those racers added to their stories. As they had done earlier this season, both drivers took trophies and big paychecks away from two of the sport’s marquee events.
Larson had already won one of the two World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series-sanctioned King’s Royal races held at Eldora Speedway back in July. That win earned the Elk Grove, California native and his Paul Silva-owned Sprint Car team $175,000. And at that time, it was the biggest win the NASCAR Cup Series star had ever achieved on dirt.
That changed on Saturday night when the No. 57 machine crossed the finish line first in the most coveted of all Sprint Car races, the Knoxville Nationals. Larson emerged from a battle with legendary champion Donny Schatz to score the win that doled out $176,000 in earnings along with an immeasurable amount of prestige. Larson had previously won at the famed Knoxville(IA) Raceway but never before in this particular race.
But it isn’t just that the 29-year-old ace is winning Sprint Car features. The current NASCAR Cup Series points leader has scored five wins in that series for Hendrick Motorsports so far in 2021 as well. And more, ‘Yung Money’ has even won multiple times in Dirt Late Model competition with one of those triumphs coming in the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury(IL) American Legion Speedway which is considered by most to be one that form of motorsports’ crown jewel events.
It has indeed been an historic season to date for Larson and there’s much more racing on all fronts yet to be done. Saturday night’s win in Knoxville added to the history already made and served to check a box that the driver had long dreamed of checking.
“I’ve always dreamed of winning this race,” Larson declared in his victory lane interview. “The atmosphere this week was unbelievable. I felt the energy all week long from you fans. It kept me excited and pumped up. I hadn’t been this nervous leading up to a race in a couple of years. I had butterflies all day, and during Cup practice, all I could think about is what I needed to do here at the Knoxville Nationals.”
At the same time, Overton is in the midst of garnering monster paychecks and prestigious wins as well. On Saturday night, the Evans, Georgia native grabbed a crown jewel of his own when he picked up $50,000 from his win in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series-sanctioned North-South 100 at Kentucky’s Florence Speedway. And like Larson, that simply added to a collection of coveted trophies earned to date in 2021.
With the exception of Donnie Moran winning $1,000,000 back in 2001 at Eldora Speedway, no driver has earned more money at a single track during the same weekend as Overton did in the two Dirt Late Model Dream features at Eldora Speedway back in June. The Wells Motorsports driver won $127,000 when he captured Dream XXVII then added another $126,000 from Dream XXVI two days later.
Apart from his lucrative Dream and North-South 100 victories, Overton has added three other paychecks of $20,000 or more. An Ultimate Super Late Model Series win at Virginia Motor Speedway($20,000), the Carolina Sizzler at The Dirt Track at Charlotte($20,000), and the prestigious World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series-sanctioned Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway($30,000) have all fallen to the No. 76 team in 2021.
“The car was awesome,” Overton declared after his Florence win. “I think anybody could have drove it tonight, we’ve been working really hard on it, and it definitely paid off. Man, this is cool with all these people here and you all pumping us up before the race this is awesome. I love coming here, I appreciate every one of you.”
‘Big Sexy’ was particularly glad to get his Kentucky native car owners into victory lane in the biggest race held in their home state.
“This is for my car owners, David and Eric Wells, I know this place means a lot to them,” he added. “I have been a nervous wreck all day because I really wanted this win one really bad, I know it’s special to them. It makes me happy to see them happy. It is a dream to drive this thing. I just don’t want to stop.”
This past weekend was a big one for dirt racing as two of the sport’s biggest stars added to their already very impressive seasons. And there will be more opportunities as the season plays out.
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