Larson gets racing fix at Waynesfield during Cup break

WAYNESFIELD — While NASCAR takes a week off from its regular season schedule, driver Kyle Larson continues racing.

Larson, along with fellow Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne, were in the thick of open-wheel dirt racing at the Waynesfield Raceway Park on Saturday night. The two NASCAR drivers were competing in the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions which is a part of the the 34th edition of the Ohio Sprint Speedweek where competitors race against each other at eight different dirt ovals in Ohio over nine days.

The action began Friday at Attica Raceway Park and continued Saturday in Waynesfield.

“This is a lot of fun,” said Larson, 21st in the Cup standings. “It is better than sitting on a beach or anything like that for me. These are just really, really fun cars to drive and I always enjoy coming back and racing on dirt. But the main thing is just having fun.”

At 23, Larson drives the No. 42 car for Chevrolet SS for Chip Ganessi when he is competing in NASCAR but he got his start on the dirt tracks of California. He excelled in dirt and sprint car racing and at the 2011 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway he won all three types of USAC cars in a single night, only the second driver in history to accomplish this feat.

Larson won the rookie of the year award in the Nationwide Series in 2013.

Even though Larson is at the top rung for race car drivers, he still enjoys mixing it up in the dirt at tracks like Waynesfield.

“I grew up with this and when you kind of get away from it you miss it,” Larson said. “You see Kasey and I are here so we just want to get in there and enjoy it.”

Throughout the night, Larson was involved in a number of the races and despite being a well-known NASCAR driver he said that means little once he fires up his engine against the other drivers.

“Racing is racing and this competition is really tough,” he said. “There are a lot different guys from different regions in the Ohio Speedway competition so it makes it that much tougher.”

And don’t think for a second, Larson is taking it easy out there. He is there to win. He also said it helps keep his racing skills sharp,

“It’s relaxing and still competitive too,” Larson said. “I just try to do the best I can when I hit the race track and learn as much as I can. I don’t run these as often as I do so just try to stay sharp.”

Due to his day job on the NASCAR circuit Larson will be competing in just six of the races. For Saturday night’s Waynesfield results, pick up a copy of Monday’s edition of The Lima News.

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Kyle Larson in the No. 57 car is pushed towards the dirt track as he gets ready to race at Waynesfield Raceway Park on Saturday night. Larson in the No. 57 car is pushed towards the dirt track as he gets ready to race at Waynesfield Raceway Park on Saturday night.

By Jose Nogueras

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Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1