NASCAR star wins Williams Grove preliminary, now eyes triple-crown chance in National Open

Kyle Larson celebrates his World of Outlaws win on Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.
  • Kyle Larson won a World of Outlaws preliminary feature Friday at Williams Grove Speedway.
  • Larson now his eyes on the Grove National Open title on Saturday night.
  • The winner of Saturday's feature event at the Grove will earn $75,000.

MECHANICSBURG — It's been seven weeks since Kyle Larson last raced a 410 sprint car, but that didn't matter.

Friday at Williams Grove Speedway, the NASCAR superstar picked up right where he left off in August — in victory lane.

His pursuit of a triple crown sweep, something that's been done only twice in World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series history, became more of a possibility with a preliminary win at the 59th annual National Open on Friday. He earned $10,000 for the victory.

The California driver already won the Kings Royal in July and the Knoxville Nationals in August. Now he has eyes set on his first career title at the $75,000-to-win National Open Saturday night. If he can pull off the rare feat, he'll stand alongside Doug Wolfgang (1985) and Donny Schatz (2007) as the only men in history to achieve the milestone.

However, Larson's 24th career Outlaws win was arguably one of his least convincing. The Paul Silva-owned entry had just about everything go right before Larson's fourth-career win at the Mechanicsburg half-mile oval, and the 29-year-old standout knows his team will have to step it up for Saturday's 40-lap main event.

"We really just caught a lot of breaks all night," Larson said. "Didn't qualify well, got a little lucky in the heat, and then the cautions fell at the right time in the feature. Hopefully, we didn't use up all of our luck before (Saturday). It's been since Knoxville when I was last in a sprint car, I had to get used to how fast it felt again early in the night."

Larson wasn't even sure he'd make the Grove's big show.

"I didn't think I would get the chance to come race here with the NASCAR playoffs, but I've got a great team that allows me to chase an awesome goal," Larson said. "It's always fun to race here in Central Pa., I would love to win this event (Saturday) night."

It was nearly the perfect storyline for second-place finisher Logan Schuchart. Donning a throwback to his grandfather Bobby Allen, the Hanover native almost equaled him at 30 career Outlaw wins on his home turf in Pennsylvania's biggest race of the year. The Shark Racing Drydene No. 1S pilot gets another chance to make that history happen Saturday night with more money on the line.

"I really think we were faster tonight," Schuchart said. "We were catching him at the end and got by him at one point, we just needed it to stay green and race through traffic a bit. It feels good to run this well in our home town, our home race. Hopefully, we found something to go after that $75,000 (Saturday)."

Donny Schatz, the six-time and defending National Open champion, rounded out the podium with a third-place effort.

Dillsburg's Anthony Macri was fourth. The 2019 National Open champion and 2021 Summer Nationals winner, Brent Marks, closed out the top five on Friday night.

Lance Dewease took sixth, while hard charger Freddie Rahmer came in seventh from 26th. Former National Open winner Danny Dietrich was eighth from 21st, former Outlaws champion Daryn Pittman was ninth, and May's Morgan Cup preliminary winner Carson Macedo was 10th.

Information for this story was provided by the World of Outlaws.