Kyle Larson is one of the top dirt track racers today. To the surprise of few, he has thrown his name on the list of NASCAR Cup Series drivers who will also run the Camping World Truck Series‘ Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race held on 27 March, the day before their main event. Larson will drive the #44 Chevrolet Silverado for Niece Motorsports.
“I really appreciate the opportunity given by Niece Motorsports,” Larson said. “I’m excited to get back into a truck at one of my favorite race tracks.”
Larson grew up on dirt before breaking into NASCAR. In 2013, when the Truck Series began racing at Eldora Speedway in NASCAR’s first dirt event since 1970, Larson finished second. He would return to the Eldora Dirt Derby in 2014 and 2016, winning the latter. He has two wins in thirteen career Truck stars.
Following his suspension by NASCAR last spring, he returned to dirt competition and enjoyed one of the most dominant years in the discipline with forty-six sprint car wins, including twelve in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in just twenty-six starts. He also dabbled in late models for the first time in the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series, winning in his second start. Upon being reinstated and joining Hendrick Motorsports for the 2021 Cup season, the team reiterated Larson can continue racing dirt provided it does not clash with his NASCAR obligations.
It took just four races for Larson to win for the first time as a Hendrick driver, doing so at Las Vegas. Five weeks into the Cup season, he is currently fifth in points and is an obvious favourite when the Cup Series runs the Bristol dirt race on 28 March.
“Kyle is obviously one of the best drivers out there today,” Niece Motorsports general manager Cody Efaw stated. “His résumé on dirt speaks for itself. We are looking forward to him joining the organisation at Bristol and contending for a win.”
Larson is one of seven confirmed drivers who will run both the Cup Series’ Food City Dirt Race and the Truck Series’ Pinty’s Dirt Truck Race the previous day. Chase Briscoe, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., and Ryan Newman are all also Cup drivers dabbling in the lower series, while Mike Marlar and Stewart Friesen will run the Trucks before making their Cup débuts.
Niece’s #44 has featured a different driver across each of the first four races in 2021. After James Buescher drove it on the Daytona oval and Jett Noland on the road course, Conor Daly did so at Las Vegas. Ross Chastain, who drives the Chip Ganassi Racing #42 that Larson vacated after his suspension, will race the #44 in Saturday’s Atlanta event. The truck, one of four in Niece’s stable, is currently fortieth in the owners’ standings with a best race finish of twenty-ninth by Noland.