LAS VEGAS — The spirit of collaboration that has been a recent trend within the NASCAR industry is growing tentacles into other forms of motorsports.
Back-to-back announcements this week have signaled that the NASCAR K&N Pro Series will become a companion event with both the World of Outlaws and IndyCar next season. That’s of particular interest to Kyle Larson, the 2012 K&N East champ and a sprint-car phenom with six Outlaws feature wins to his credit.
“If the sprint cars race on a track like that, I think there’s a lot of NASCAR fans that’ll go there and that may be their first-ever sprint car race that they’ve seen,” said Larson, on hand at the Wynn Las Vegas for NASCAR Champion’s Week.
The NASCAR K&N West Series will make its second appearance at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on Feb. 28, the lead-in to a NASCAR national series tripleheader at the 1.5-mile asphalt LVMS venue down the street. The K&N cars will share the bill with the World of Outlaws’ high-powered barnstorming speed show.
“I think it’s exciting that NASCAR and the World of Outlaws are working together for that event,” Larson said. “I think it’s definitely cool. I don’t think race fans really think, ‘Oh, cool. They’re putting NASCAR K&N with the Outlaws,’ well, I think for them to both be able to showcase how cool the event is, the track needs to be right, the way it’s prepped needs to be right.”
Larson alluded to issues with dust and visibility that hampered the first portion of the inaugural K&N West event on the Vegas dirt last September, requiring a mid-race re-watering of the surface. So might we expect to see Larson making the rounds on the track’s water truck next season?
“I’ve never driven one,” he said, “but I would gladly help in whatever way I could to make sure that the racing is going to be as good as it can be.”
The IndyCar partnership will take place next summer at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois. The 1.25-mile track will host a combination race for both the K&N East and West tours on Aug. 24, the same day as the IndyCar event.
“Motorsports enthusiasts hopefully can get excited about other forms of motorsports,” said Kyle Busch. “I look at the Kyle Larson aspect of it. He’s a huge dirt guy. He loves midgets, loves sprint cars and all that sort of stuff, then comes to NASCAR because he’s very good at what he does. He’s talented but it’s also a way of making a better living, right? But still, he gives back to his roots. I give back to my roots with Super Late Model racing, and other guys do Late Model Stock car racing, like Dale Jr. It’s those different enthusiasts you try to hit and try to showcase different racing authorities.”