HOUSEHOLDER: With NASCAR career set to resume, Kyle Larson enjoys triumphant sprint week

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Kyle Larson celebrates after winning the 35th annual Chili Bowl at Expo Square in Tulsa, Okla., Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)
  • Kyle Larson won the Chili Bowl feature Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Larson was ranked No. 1 in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame’s National Sprint Car Poll.
  • Larson is set to resume his NASCAR Cup career next month for Hendrick Motorsports.

It may be a new season, but Kyle Larson is still at the top of his game.

Last week, Larson  was named the top 410 sprint driver in the nation for the 2020 racing season. He then went on to score his second consecutive Chili Bowl midget feature in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Larson topped off a great week in winning the Chili Bowl on Saturday evening, following a win in the Tuesday night preliminary feature. In Saturday’s race, Larson won over Justin Grant, with Tanner Thorson, Cannon McIntosh and Darryn Pittman in the top five.  Pennsylvania driver Alex Bright was 12th.

Preliminary winners during the week included McIntosh on Monday, Larson on Tuesday, Rico Abreu on Wednesday, Christopher Bell on Thursday and Grant on Friday.

Sprint poll: The results of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame’s National Sprint Car Poll were released on Friday at the Chili Bowl. It should come as no surprise that Larson was named the top sprint driver in the country for the 2020 season. 

Larson was the leading winner with the World of Outlaws, the All Stars and here in central Pennsylvania. Larson’s Paul Silva-owned team also got the nod for the nation’s top sprint team for the season, and Larson took the “Wild Card” award for exciting sprint performances.

To top it all off, Larson also was awarded the Thomas J. Schmeh Outstanding Contribution to the Sport award.

As most everyone knows by now, Larson is set to return to NASCAR Cup racing next month with Hendrick Motorsports.

Logan Schuchart

Following Larson in the top five in the season sprint poll were Outlaws champ Brad Sweet, Hanover’s Logan Schuchart, who finished second in the Outlaws standings, multi-time Outlaws champ Donny Schatz and David Gravel. All Star champ Aaron Reutzel was ranked sixth.

Gettysburg's Danny Dietrich headed the local drivers in the rankings with an eighth-place ranking. Dietrich actually tied Larson for the most local wins this season.

Other local drivers to be ranked in the top 20 in the poll were Dillsburg’s Anthony Macri in 11th, Williams Grove and Lincoln champion Freddie Rahmer in 12th, Lance Dewease in 14th and local Outlaws racer Jacob Allen in 17th.

The only driver ranked in the top 10 who didn’t win in this area in 2020 was Outlaws champ Sweet, while all but one of the top 20 drivers in the ranking raced in the area last year.  All but two of the top 20 have won in the area during their careers.

Danny Dietrich

Other award winners: Port Royal promoter Steve O’Neal picked up the Promoter of the Year award for the fourth consecutive season. All Star regular Zeb Wise was named the 410 sprint Rookie of the Year. Andy Durham of the Ford Motor Company was named Builder of the Year.  The media award for the year was split between Flo Racing’s Michael Rigsby and Speed Sport’s Jacob Seelman.

Sam Hafertepe Jr. was ranked at the top of the 360 sprint poll, just ahead of local racer Mark Smith.

Brady Bacon topped the wingless sprint poll.

Should be interesting: Word came out last week that the “Action Track” in Kutztown plans to host a 410 sprint race in 2021. The date is set for Sunday June 13.

The “Action Track," located right in the middle of town near Kutztown University, has a short season so as not to interfere with the collage, but has been noted for its weekly programs of micro-sprints, Speedstrs and slingshots.

Like what you're reading?:Not a subscriber? Click here for full access to The York Dispatch.

It should be interesting to see the full-sized 410 sprints on a track as small as the Kutztown oval, which measures just one-fifth of a mile. Sprints race on tracks that small in other parts of the nation, but haven’t seen a track that size in this area for years.

Work is in progress at Kutztown to widen the turns and add some banking and catch fencing in anticipation of the 410 show.

HOUSEHOLDER: York County Racing Club Hall of Fame announces its 2021 inductees

In addition to the 410 sprint show, the United States Auto Club's wingless 360 sprints are scheduled to be a part of the Wednesday, July 7, show at Kutztown.

Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

NATIONAL SPRINT POLL TOP 20

1.         Kyle Larson

2.         Brad Sweet

3.         Logan Schuchart

4.         Donny Schatz

5.         David Gravel

6.         Aaron Reutzel

7.         Sheldon Haudenschild

8.         Danny Dietrich

9.         Cory Eliason

10.       Carson Macedo

11.       Anthony Macri

12.       Freddie Rahmer

13.       Brian Brown

14.       Lance Dewease

15.       Cap Henry

16.       Bill Balog

17.       Jacob Allen

18.       Daryn Pittman

19.       Rico Abreu

20.       Shane Stewart