William Byron has a lot of fun in Larson’s Dirt Larson event


Alejandro Alvarez | NASCAR Digital Media

BULLS GAP, Tenn. – For the first time in 24 years of his life, eight of which he spent racing production cars professionally, William Byron strapped himself in to a late model and propelled it down a dirt road.

To tell the truth, his beginnings were not always the most beautiful. Byron spun more than once throughout Thursday night’s action-packed night at Tennessee’s Volunteer Speedway, including in his first race in the hot qualifying rounds. But he continued. He even participated in not one but ultimately two races. Picture of Ios (30)

“I could go late model races on asphalt and compete for wins, and it’s a little different from that,” Byron told NASCAR.com. “It was more just to put myself in a different environment and see what happens. So hopefully I can do a lot more and kind of learn behind the scenes, not so much learn under pressure. was really good to get some experience with these guys and kind of know where I need to go.

“Yeah, that was cool.”

RELATED: See Volunteer Speedway Scenes

Byron came out of the heat races in a B-Main, in which he finished 10th out of 11. NASCAR Cup Series teammate Kyle Larson, however, was the overall event promoter – officially called the first FloRacing Late Model Challenge powered by Tezo – and was able to offer Byron his temporary promoter, a guaranteed place in the distance race.

The final was a 50 round shootout with 25 competitors. Byron came in 24th. Larson crossed fourth behind winner Mike Marlar, runner-up Jimmy Owens and third Scott Bloomquist.

“The peloton was really tough,” Larson said. “A lot of these drivers are just as good as Kyle Busch would be in a Cup car.

Busch is a two-time Cup Series champion, the only current multiple-time garage champion in Series One. Larson is the reigning titleholder.

Larson, who is as successful in the dirt world as he is in the stock business, knows you can’t compare a coupe car to a late model, especially when it comes to dirt. A recent model is built for the type of surface. The cup is not; he has only raced on dirt once a year since last year. This weekend just happens to be this weekend, with the second Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway scheduled for Sunday (7 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM).

BRISTOL DIRT: Weekend program | Qualifying, race format | List of Cup registrants

Picture of Ios (25)That may have played a small part in Byron’s decision to enter Larson’s showdown, but it wasn’t the only reason, as he himself noted earlier.

“It was cool for him to show up and do it,” Larson said. “Obviously very different from what he did growing up. So yeah, it’s good that he’s ready to step out of his comfort zone and try something really different.

It wasn’t exactly out of his comfort zone given his NASCAR history, but last week at Martinsville Speedway, Byron raced in just his second Camping World Truck Series race since 2016 — and won.

Afterwards, when asked about the rather unexpected seat addition, he replied, “I’m just having fun.” The spontaneous adventure of the earth follows more there than the preparation of Bristol.

It’s not always about winning, especially at the very beginning of a new business.

“I was just trying to get up to speed,” Byron said. “I don’t have laps in these cars, so I’m just wondering how they feel and what to do. But it was a lot of fun for sure.


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