BROOKLYN, MichÂ â€” Kyle Larson doesnâ€™t hide his love for dirt racing. Critics donâ€™t hide their distaste for his love.
â€śOh, no; it makes plenty of waves still,â€ť Larson said when asked Friday whether detractors of dirt racing have been silenced by Larson’s success in NASCARâ€™s top tier.
â€śSo, I feel like I need to avoid this question before I make everybody at NASCAR mad or some of my fans mad. Iâ€™ve been through this before a lot, so Iâ€™m learning more and more to just keep my mouth shut.â€ť
Larson is juggling a Monster Energy series weekend with the Knoxville Nationals, a premier dirt-track event for sprint cars.
Larson practiced and qualified Friday in the No. 42 DC Solar Chevrolet for the Sunday afternoon running of the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
After practice Saturday morning, the Californian will fly to Iowa.
â€śDirt racing stuff doesnâ€™t get started until probably 7:15 or 7:30 (p.m. Saturday), so itâ€™s no rush, but it will be a late night,â€ť Larson said. â€ś(I have) no appearances in the morning Sunday, so I can sleep in again and we will be good.â€ť
Larson ran Knoxville and MIS in the same weekend last year. He finished second at Knoxville and won the race at Michigan after getting the OK from NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi to compete in the sprint car, a type of racing that Larson used as a springboard to stock cars.
â€ś(Iâ€™m) just very thankful that we have an owner that lets me have fun â€¦ especially on a weekend like this to be able to participate in the biggest sprint car race in the world the night before Iâ€™m on track racing the Cup car,â€ť Larson, who has five Cup victories in 169 starts, said.
â€śYou donâ€™t see any other owners really doing that. (Chip) knows itâ€™s important to me and I appreciate that.â€ť
Larson was third in qualifying for the 58th annual 5-hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals presented by Caseyâ€™s General Stores.
â€śBrad Sweet and Donny Schatz will be the two guys to beat, but I feel like we are close,â€ť Larson said â€śItâ€™s a long race. It would be neat to win that deal.â€ť
Larson’s win in August 2017 was part of a three-race winning streak he had at MIS. The streak was broken in June when Clint Bowyer won.
â€” Knoxville Raceway #5hourNats (@knoxvilleraces) August 10, 2018