Race Weekend Central

Daytona to Dirt: Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Start Speedweeks Strong

Say hello to our newest feature for 2023, which will keep tabs on NASCAR’s past and present regulars and their dirt racing exploits.

Matt Crafton

The NASCAR Truck Series regular raced in the IMCA modified division in the Early Thaw at Central Arizona Raceway Thursday and Friday nights (Jan. 26-27).

Thursday, Crafton’s car appeared to be handling poorly, but he still managed to maintain a fourth-place starting position and transferred to the A-main. Crafton’s No. 88 car failed to finish, though the Speed Sport TV broadcast never explained the cause.

Friday, Crafton rebounded from a first-lap spin off the backstretch in his heat race to avoid a spinning Paul Guglielmoni, going from eighth to second to transfer into the A-main. Crafton ran mid-pack in the A-main, improving from 18th to 12th by race’s end.

Kyle Larson

The NASCAR Cup Series regular raced with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Friday night at Golden Isles Speedway in Georgia and Monday night with the tour at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla.

See also
This Day in Dirt: Kyle Larson Wins, Wrecks in Late Model Stunner at Golden Isles

Frida was a night to remember for Larson, as he scored the $12,000 feature win in a dramatic battle with Brandon Overton and Ricky Thornton Jr.

The fireworks didn’t end there though, with Larson wrecking his racecar attempting to do donuts in celebration after the race. 

Monday, Larson again surprised everyone when he showed up at Bubba, but it was an ugly evening by any driver’s standards. Larson proved vulnerable on restarts and was forced into a B-main after a controversial call to penalize him for jumping the initial start of his heat race, Larson ended up making contact with series regular Spencer Hughes to maintain the final transfer spot out of his B-main. Larson’s feature lasted only one lap when he piled into a multi-car incident on lap 2 of the 40-lap race.

Ken Schrader

The former Cup regular raced in the open-wheel modified division as part of the Cabin Fever at Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, Ga., on Saturday. 

Schrader finished third but was racy in his heat race Saturday afternoon, then improved from 14th to eighth during the A-main event.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The Cup regular raced in the Southern Sprint Car Showcase Friday and Saturday night at Volusia Speedway Park.

Stenhouse posted the fast time in qualifying Friday night, then seeming stayed fixated in the third position, as Stenhouse finished third in both his heat and feature race Friday and Saturday.

About the author

Richmond, Virginia native. Wake Forest University class of 2008. Affiliated with Frontstretch since 2008, as of today the site's first dirt racing commentator. Emphasis on commentary. Big race fan, bigger First Amendment advocate.

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