MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Kyle Larson’s upcoming West Coast sojourn with his own midget entry isn’t the only time the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series star will be a driver and owner during the offseason.
That title is going to extend to the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in January as well.
Larson has confirmed that he will pilot his familiar No. 1k – which he debuted over the summer in California in winning fashion – during the week-long event inside the River Spirit Expo Center, Jan. 13-18.
It will be the first time since 2011 that Larson has driven for a team other than Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports at the crown-jewel midget car event.
Larson had already planned – and confirmed – that he would be campaigning his own midget during the Hangtown 100 and Turkey Night Grand Prix following the conclusion of the NASCAR season, but the extension of that move for the Chili Bowl marks a whole new ballgame for the Elk Grove, Calif., native.
“I’m running my own stuff all offseason,” Larson told Sprint Car & Midget. “All the racing I do on the midget side of things, at least, is going to be in my own equipment and I’m excited about that.”
With a new car and self-owned team does come some new challenges that Larson has never experienced before at the Chili Bowl, challenges that he spoke to in describing his new situation.
“I think just the notebook that Keith has and all the experience that he has is certainly a big factor,” said Larson when asked about the challenges of moving to run on his own. “With all those cars that he races, his setups are obviously really good. My car is a different car, it’s got different shocks … most all of it is different, really. So it’s going to be about learning all that, but that’s how I wanted it to be, really.
“And then Paul Silva is crew chiefing it, and he’s never worked on a midget before, but he’s probably the smartest person that I’ve ever worked with in my life on stuff like this,” Larson noted. “I’m confident that he’ll learn it pretty quickly. It’ll be a fun challenge, that’s for sure.”
Despite the change in scenery for the upcoming Chili Bowl, Larson is still just as confident as he’s always been that he can go out and run up front on the quarter-mile Tulsa Expo Raceway when it matters most.
“There’s no doubt that my expectations are still the same, even though I’m in my own stuff now,” Larson affirmed. “I think we can go out and beat them (Kunz’s cars). We’ve got great equipment, if not the best equipment out there.
“We should be able to go to Tulsa and do well as long as everything goes right. That’s always the key there.”