HomeSportsNascarWATCH: NASCAR Driver Kyle Larson Wins California Sprint Car Race on Same Day He Qualified for Phoenix

WATCH: NASCAR Driver Kyle Larson Wins California Sprint Car Race on Same Day He Qualified for Phoenix

(Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

With the Ruoff Mortgage 500 in the Phoenix Raceway on the horizon, NASCAR driver Kyle Larson already had a big weekend ahead of him. Apparently, however, competing in the qualifying rounds on Saturday afternoon and the Cup Series race on Sunday wasn’t enough for Larson, who hopped on a private plane bound for the Thunderbowl Raceway in California immediately following the qualifiers in Phoenix.

Why? To squeeze in another race before the Ruoff Mortgage 500, of course. It’s been 9 years since Kyle Larson has raced in the Thunderbowl Raceway, and the driver simply couldn’t resist the temptation to return to his favorite track for a few laps.

Though it was a hectic 72 hours, the risky decision to hit a second race paid off, as Kyle Larson finished first in the Worlds of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series Feature. The first-place finish marked his second Sprint Car victory of 2022 and his 25th World of Outlaws Feature win.

“Central California fans are some of the best in the country,” Larson said while celebrating the win in front of a nearly sold-out crowd at Tulare. “I always love getting to race in front of these people, especially at places I grew up at. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, but it was technical and kind of old school the way I remember Tulare. This is amazing. I owe a huge thank you to Jason Finley, Kevin Kozlowski, Paul Silva, Cliff Daniels, a lot of people who made this weekend happen. We’ve still got one more win to chase tomorrow.”

NASCAR Driver Kyle Larson Drops to Rear in Phoenix Following Unapproved Adjustments

On Saturday afternoon, things were looking great for Kyle Larson. He snagged 7th position in the qualifying rounds in the Phoenix Raceway and was on a plane to Tulare, California, preparing for what he hopes to be his first win of the weekend. However, things were about to get a little less sunny.

Yesterday, probably when Larson was mid-flight, the Hendrick Racing Team released a statement announcing that Kyle Larson would start at the rear of the field rather than his earned 7th position spot. This penalty came as the result of an unapproved adjustment to Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet.

According to the Hendrick Team, the defending Cup Series champion was struggling with steering issues during the qualifying rounds. Though they knew the repair would cost Larson his top 10 spot in the start of the race, they opted to repair the issue. He’ll now start at the rear of the field, but his experience and chances in the Phoenix Raceway will likely be drastically improved, as he won’t be battling steering problems while navigating the notoriously challenging track.