Kyle Larson knew the score when he entered the Knoxville Nationals this year. A lackluster preliminary would end his chances for the one of the dirt titles he covets most.
Besides, his day job with Chip Ganassi Racing is far too important. Larson is 14th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings with four races left in the regular season, and he’s not locked into the Playoffs.
So when Larson failed to advance to the feature at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway on Wednesday, he knew the logistics for a Friday return just wouldn’t work, given the 5:05 p.m. qualifying start time at Michigan.
“I’ve always said that, if I didn’t have a good prelim night, I wouldn’t be able to go back,” Larson said on Friday afternoon at MIS. “It’s a bummer, but like I said, I already knew it going into it. I just needed to do better on Wednesday.”
Nor will Larson try to race his way through multiple races on Saturday. Instead, he will return to Knoxville to cheer on the winged 410 sprint car he fields for driver Carson Macedo.
“No, we wouldn’t race on Saturday because, with me not racing tonight, I’d have to start like last in the E-main, and it’s pretty much impossible to transfer. I couldn’t pass anybody the other night, so why would I be able to pass people tomorrow?”
For those who might question if Larson’s racing in other series might hurt his Cup effort, he has a definitive answer.
“To me, the way I view it, the more often I’m racing, the better I’m becoming,” said Larson, who qualified 17th for Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400. “I would race every single day of the week if I could, and I believe it would help me.”