VENTURA, Calif. – It always seems imperative to end on a high note, to conclude the season in as successful a fashion as possible heading into the winter months.
Kyle Larson has an opportunity standing before him to reach the highest of notes on Thursday during the 79th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway.
Only two drivers in the history of the NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series have won three straight to conclude the season. Billy Boat did so during a historic 1995 season, while Larson himself was the last to accomplish the feat in 2012.
In that 2012 campaign, Larson notched a victory at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill., before heading west to score another win in Peoria, Ariz.
Larson then concluded the season at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway with the first of his two Turkey Night victories for Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports.
Leading into Thursday’s Turkey Night event, the Elk Grove, Calif., native has a $32,000 Hangtown 100 win at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway and a November Classic triumph at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway to his credit.
During his 1995 season of wizardry, Boat scored an astounding 18 USAC Western States Midget Series wins in John Lawson’s No. 15, including a record 11 straight, en route to the series title.
He took three straight at Ventura, Bakersfield and Perris to wrap up the year and is the most recent driver to win three consecutive USAC National Midget Series features in the state of California, something Larson is also hoping to achieve Thursday at Ventura.
The rare season-closing three-peat has only occurred once in the history of the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series, coming in 2000 when USAC Triple Crown champion Tracy Hines captured the final three.
Hines struck first on the .686-mile paved oval of Indianapolis Raceway Park in the Gratton Motorsports No. 19, followed up with another at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway during the 4-Crown Nationals in the BWB Racing No. 62, and rounded out the year by dominating the Sammy Sessions Memorial at Indiana’s Winchester Speedway in the Gratton ride.
In Silver Crown competition, the year-end hat trick has happened twice, with Tom Bigelow being the first to run off three-straight in the division behind the wheel of the Leader Card No. 2 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois, followed by a historic victory in the first pavement race under the Silver Crown banner at the Minnesota Fairgrounds in St. Paul.
The USAC and National Sprint Car Hall of Famer closed out the run with another sterling performance in the Hoosier Hundred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds dirt mile.
Jack Hewitt one-upped everybody else in his scorching 1986 season, which saw him dominate the dirt tracks on the schedule. He won six out of seven on the clay that year, including the final four.
Three of those were on one-mile dirt ovals, at Springfield, DuQuoin and Indianapolis, with one final tally for good measure on his home turf of Eldora in the Bob Hampshire No. 63.
Practice for the USAC National Midget Series kicks off at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday at Ventura Raceway. Christopher Bell won last year’s Turkey Night Grand Prix, but is not expected to compete in this year’s Thanksgiving event.
Black Friday Sale: Half-Price Digital Subscriptions Through Nov. 30, 2019!
Premium content includes all magazine stories, columns and feature and exclusive online content, from our award-winning team including Ralph Sheheen, Mike Kerchner, Dave Argabright, Doug Auld, Bones Bourcier, Kevin Olson, Keith Waltz, Adam Fenwick and more!
To take advantage of this limited-time offer and enjoy unlimited access, just click the “Subscribe” tab above.