Kyle Larson

Local motor notes: Rising NASCAR star Larson honors sprint car commitment

Published: Friday, Apr. 5, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 - 1:44 pm

Paul Silva knows Kyle Larson could have raised his fees to race Silva's No. 57 sprint car against the World of Outlaws and others this season. But the rising NASCAR star from Elk Grove has continued to honor the agreement he reached with the Sacramento car owner before the 2012 season.

In 2012, Larson moved from sprint cars to NASCAR-like Late Models and won the K&N Pro Series East title. He parlayed that into a full-time ride in NASCAR's Nationwide Series this season. But he still has a lot of fun sliding into corners on dirt and drives for Silva whenever his schedule allows.

Larson won the inaugural race two weeks ago at Stockton 99's new dirt track that started the World of Outlaws' annual West Coast swing, and he will drive against veteran drivers Steve Kinser and Sammy Swindell and fellow Elk Grove native Paul McMahan tonight in Antioch and Saturday in Calistoga.

Silva, 31, sets up the car and makes adjustments between heats and races. Racing is his only job, Silva said, so getting a $10,000 check from the Stockton 99 win was a big deal.

"World of Outlaws races are always tough to win, and winning certainly helps the budget," Silva said. "The win helps with travel expenses, and luckily these first races are all close to home."

Silva said a typical sprint car driver makes 50 percent of the night's earnings. While Silva wouldn't divulge specifics of his contract with Larson, he said Larson works for less than other local drivers.

"I guess he could be charging me more," Silva said. "But he just loves to race, and he agreed to race for the same percentage this year as last."

Larson beat the World of Outlaws in the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Chico's Silver Dollar Speedway in September. The Gold Cup is considered Northern California's most prestigious sprint car race.

"Kyle said he'll race for me whenever he can fit it in, but he's a busy guy," Silva said. "We'll race this weekend and it may be the last time (this season)."

Nor Cal Stampede – Ten local ULTRA4 racers will compete today and Saturday in the inaugural MetalCloak Nor Cal Stampede at Prairie City State Vehicular Recreation Area.

The drivers are competing for a $10,000 purse and a spot in the 2014 King of the Hammers, run in Johnson Valley each year and regarded as one the toughest off-road races in the world. Only 27 of the 129 cars that entered the King of the Hammers finished the grueling 14-hour race.

The top-10 finishers at the stampede will qualify for the 2014 King of the Hammers.

ULTRA4 combines high-speed off-road racing and extreme rock crawling. The vehicles are four-wheel-drive machines that can run as much horsepower as owners and drivers can get out of them. Some have turbos and superchargers.

The local contingent is led by the Gomez brothers – Marcos, JP, David and Raul. They race out of their team headquarters in Lotus, where Marcos and JP live. David and Raul live in Placerville.

For more information, go to

Season openers – Roseville's All American Speedway, the Placerville Speedway and Marysville Raceway Park open their seasons Saturday.

Stockton 99's asphalt track season starts April 13. Chico's Silver Dollar Speedway started its Friday night points racing on March 29.

Mark Billingsley covers local motor sports for The Bee. Reach him at

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