Larson Brings Home Golden Driller Trophy
Takes Winged Outlaw Sprint Karts In Tulsa Shootout
Tulsa, Oklahoma. January 2, 2010. Elk Grove, California’s Kyle Larson realized one of his long time goals as a coveted Golden Driller trophy was added to his collection in the 25th edition of the Tulsa Shootout. In his third attempt in the huge event at the Quik Trip Expo Center Larson put on a flawless driving display to win the Winged Outlaw Sprint Kart division. Larson adds his name to the prestigious annual feature winner’s banners that hang inside the spectacular building, on a list that includes future stars Bryan Clauson, Kevin Swindell, and Brady Bacon in various Micro and Kart divisions.
In the Silver Anniversary event Larson began his quest in two of the 26 divisions that were contested. While the 500cc Outlaw Karts were the most powerful of all kart divisions competing, Larson also drove in the headliner class of the event, the 600cc Winged Outlaw Multi’s. Unfortunately, Larson’s hopes for success were dashed when a suspected clutch problem surfaced in the C main event, leaving him one spot short of a transfer to the B.
In the Outlaw Karts Larson bested 27 entries from various regions of the country by winning his heat from the pole, which earned him the third starting position on the 20 kart grid. At the drop of the green flag Larson scooted by outside front row starter, Nixa, Missouri sprint car driver Kyle Bellm, to trail pole sitter and 2009 Knoxville Outlaw Dirt Kart Nationals winner Nick Tucker, of Kannapolis, North Carolina.
Tucker and Larson gradually pulled away from the rest of the field in the early going and then began to reel in backmarkers. Tucker’s five kart lead diminished quickly when he encountered the first lapper on the 10th tour of the race track. With a slight hesitation by Tucker in turn one of the next lap Larson pounced and made the race winning move underneath to take the lead.
With a yellow flag appearing on lap 12 Tucker was able to regroup and line up right behind Larson. However, a great restart saw Larson open an immediate 10 kart length lead that would not be relinquished as the 17 year old 2009 Golden State Challenge Series 410 Sprint Car Rookie of the Year drove to the checkered flag on lap 20.
While Larson has only raced an outlaw kart a handful of times since he began his sprint car driving career at the age of 14, he relished the opportunity for another chance at the Driller trophy in the powerful little machines that are comparable in power to weight to a 360 sprinter. Winning the event makes up for the disappointment Larson experienced two years ago when the outlaw karts were included for the first time at the Shootout and he finished second.
Larson, racing as a teammate to QRC house kart driver “Pistol” Pete Johnston said, “I really want to thank Robert Carrel, owner of QRC, for providing me such a good ride in Pete’s backup. Robert was very instrumental in my outlaw kart days that helped get me to where I am today in sprint cars. I also have to thank Pete and Brice Sandhagen for their efforts setting the kart up. Once the harder compound tires they put on came to life my car was perfect.”
No matter the size of the car, a Golden Driller trophy has special meaning to any driver due to the magnitude of the event and the venue it is held. “This is one that I will always cherish. Like Bryan Clauson told me, his sits right next to his Bellville Midget Nationals trophy and mine will have a special place also.”
After a strong run in the 600cc Multi division at last year’s Shootout that saw him start on the front row of the feature race in his first ever attempt in the cars, Larson entered this edition with high hopes. A good run from eighth to fourth in his heat put Larson seventh on the grid in his qualifier.
As the race got underway on the freshly tilled track Larson’s mount, powered by a Gordon Seros engine in a Triple X car provided by Cal Herdson, was blasted by a large amount of loose dirt. The result was a stuck throttle due to rocks wedging in the carburetor linkage. Larson was forced to exit the race and the lack of points scored placed him in one of two C mains.
Starting fifth and needing a fourth place finish to transfer to the B main Larson was hampered in his efforts as a suspected clutch malfunction lead to a lack of power at the end of the straightaways. Larson was able to take the last transfer spot a couple of times in an exciting battle with Outlaw sprint car star Terry McCarl’s son Carson, but it was to no avail as McCarl assumed control in the later stages.
“I really want to thank Gordon and Cal for making it possible to race here again in the multi’s,” began Larson. “I had a lot of fun racing Gordon’s car last year and we came real close last time. Gordon wasn’t able to return this year but he offered an engine to Cal so that I could race and I really appreciate what both of them did for me. I also want to thank Cal’s crew of Cody Cordell, Michael Messer, and Bill and Colton Heath for all their help. Things didn’t go like we would have wanted but I sure want to come back and get me a Driller trophy in this class one day too.”
Check out www.kylelarsonracing.com for current information.