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Kyle Larson takes lead in World of Outlaws victories on thrilling pass

Kyle Larson Outlaws victories

Serena Dalhamer

With an impressive pass out of the last corner, Kyle Larson emphatically seized the lead in World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Series victories this season.

Larson scored his eighth victory Friday night by scooting past points leader Logan Schuchart off the final turn of the 40-lap feature at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

“I knew he was going to have to make a decision going into (Turn) three and hoped he wasn’t going to run the cushion,” Larson said. “I knew that would be my only shot. I was just able to time the run good and clear him off of (Turn) four here.

“That was definitely an exciting one. It’s been fun to win a lot. I hope we keep it going.”

After leading the first 36 laps, Larson was bumped out of the lead by contact with Schuchart. Gathering up his No. 57 after briefly skidding through the infield, Larson caught Schuchart with a burst taking the white flag and then set up the winning move on the quarter-mile track.

“I felt contact into (Turn) three,” said Larson, who was making his debut at the track and with his first race at North Dakota. “I wasn’t sure if it was a lapper because I came across. But thank God I was able to keep it straight. I knew there wasn’t many laps left. Had to get up on the wheel there.

“The Outlaws is as tough as it gets for Sprint Car racing throughout the world. To come in here and be as strong as we have all year long and get a lot of wins, it’s been a lot of fun. We need to keep getting our stuff better, because everyone is chasing us and getting their stuff better each race.”

Kyle Larson celebration

Kyle Larson celebrates after his season-best eighth victory in the World of Outlaws (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

Serena Dalhamer

Larson, who also won twice last week at Knoxville Raceway in capturing The One and Only, has more than 30 victories this year in dirt racing, which he has focused on while on suspension from NASCAR (which he discussed in an interview with Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer this week). He picked up $10,000 in Friday’s victory for Silva Motorsports.

Schuchart was in second for much of the race at a significant deficit but took advantage of traffic with five laps remaining to catch Larson.

“It is just tough when you’re behind a guy like that,” said Schuchart, who leads Brad Sweet (who also is second in series victories with seven) by 24 points. “Kyle doesn’t make any mistakes. He’s tough. I had one shot right there. I felt like I could get through (Turns) 1 and 2 a little bit better at times and catch him.

“I felt like I had one shot there. I was getting close and had a really good run into (Turn) three when he cut to the bottom and I was trying to back off and go to the outside of him and caught his back bumper. He just drove a little bit better than I did and got the job done.”

Larson will race again with the World of Outlaws tonight in Red River Valley Speedway in West Fargo, North Dakota.