Larson arrives at North Wilkesboro for NASCAR All-Start Race

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Larson has arrived at North Wilkesboro Speedway for the start of Sunday night’s All-Star Race following a busy afternoon in which the NASCAR star qualified fifth for the Indianapolis 500.

Larson is seeking his fourth All-Star Race win, matching Jimmie Johnson for the most all-time.

Larson arrived at Wilkes County Airport via airplane, was transported by helicopter to the racetrack and then taken by golf cart to his hauler to begin preparations for the 200-lap exhibition race for $1 million.

Fans cheered his arrival into the track and he waved to them along the way.

“I’m glad to be here,” Larson said on pit row before. “The atmosphere is awesome. Hopefully we can put on a good show and win here tonight.”

Larson hasn’t turned in a lap on the newly paved track this week and will have to start at the back of the 20-car field because he wasn’t here to qualify. However, he did win the All-Star Race and the Trucks Race here last year.

“I’m just going to try to learn as quickly as possible here at the beginning and try to get settled into a rhythm,” Larson said. “Then we can inch our way forward. It’s 200 laps, so I think there is an opportunity to move forward.”

NASCAR and its broadcast partner FOX helped accommodate the sport’s star attraction and points leader by moving the start of the race back 16 minutes to 8:30 p.m. to ensure he would arrive in time after shocking some in the racing world by qualifying for the Fast 6 at Indianapolis.

Seventeen drivers qualified for the race based on their past accomplishments. All-Star Open winner Ty Gibbs and second place finisher Bubba Wallace advanced into the race on Sunday, along with vote winner Noah Gragson.

Joey Logano will start of the pole after posting the best time in qualifying on Saturday.

The two 60-lap heats which were supposed to determine the remainder of the starting lineup were washed out due to rain Saturday night, so the remainder of the field was set by qualifying order.

Larson dominated last year’s race at North Wilkesboro by leading 145 of 200 laps and held an 11-second lead over the rest of the field at one point.

Hendrick Motorsports vice president of competition Chad Knaus marveled at what Larson was able to do in his first qualifying runs in Indianapolis in an open-wheel racecar against the best drivers in the world.

“We were watching him run and we were like, my gosh, I can’t believe this,” Knaus said. “I was like my goodness how did that happen? Very limited track time. Did a couple of tests. Was able to go up there and he holds a pretty good wheel as anybody I have seen. He is a phenomenal talent. He gets it. He is so emotionally stable. You can put him in just about any environment and he is going to excel.”


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