NASCAR & Auto Racing

Kyle Larson returns to his roots at Cycleland in Oroville

Kyle Larson ran a 500cc go-kart at Cycleland last Saturday in Oroville.
Kyle Larson ran a 500cc go-kart at Cycleland last Saturday in Oroville. The Associated Press

Kyle Larson grew up racing Outlaw Karts in Red Bluff and at Cycleland Speedway, an eighth-mile oval track in Oroville. With a rare week off from his busy NASCAR Sprint Cup racing schedule, Larson thought it would be fun to get back in a 500cc go-kart at Cycleland last Saturday and take it for a spin during a race.

“That’s where I started,” the Elk Grove native said Tuesday as he prepared for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. “I grew up racing in the dirt and it was cool to see all the kids out there.”

Larson brought along fellow NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to race with and against him. Larson said it was Stenhouse’s second time in an Outlaws Kart, although Stenhouse, a Mississippi native, did start racing karts as a kid before progressing to the larger late-model cars in NASCAR’s higher divisions.

Neither driver finished well. Larson was competing for the lead late in the 25-lap A Main before he spun out, and then charged back to fifth place on the restart before a broken carburetor ended his night a lap down. He finished 19th out of 25 drivers. Stenhouse settled for 17th. Sacramento’s Holly Shelton, 19, took the checkered flag.

Stenhouse’s girlfriend and fellow Sprint Cup driver, Danica Patrick, made the trip to Oroville and sat in the stands. Larson said she was gracious with the fans who were surprised to see three Sprint Cup drivers in one night.

Sunday was a special day for Larson, as it was his first Father’s Day. His son, Owen, was born in December. His girlfriend, Katelyn Sweet, made him and Larson’s father, Mike, breakfast Sunday morning and then trekked to her parents’ home in Grass Valley before returning to the Napa area. Sweet is the younger sister of World of Outlaws racer Brad Sweet.

McAnally beefs up

Roseville’s Bill McAnally Racing will field four cars for Saturday’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event, the Carneros 200, at Sonoma Raceway. It’s the only road race on the 2015 schedule.

Chris Eggleston is new to Sonoma and is in his rookie season in the series but has a 12-point lead in the championship standings. He’s coming off his second win of the season at Shasta Speedway. He also has four top-five finishes and a top-10 finish in five starts.

Brandon McReynolds is ninth in K&N Pro Series West points and hopes to build off his 12th-place finish in the Carneros 200 last year.

The other BMR drivers are Trevor Bayne and Cole Custer. Custer, 17, became the youngest driver in NASCAR history to win a national event when he led 148 of 175 laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September when he was 16.

State Drag Championships

The 2015 California Drag Racing State Championships come to Sacramento Raceway on Saturday. Winners in five divisions (Super Pro, Pro, Sportsman, Motorcycle and Street) will receive special Wally (Parks, NHRA founder) plaques as well as pictures and stories in “National Dragster” magazine.

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Placerville Posse Challenge

Placerville Speedway has thrown a wrinkle into the 2015 season with extra cash going to winners in three divisions during its special Placerville Posse Challenge events.

The Pure Stock division winner Saturday can take home $500, the Late Model winner gets $750 and the first 360-cubic-inch winged Sprint Car driver to take the checkered flag will pocket $2,000. The Sprint Car winner has the opportunity to make even more money if he or she wins all four Posse Challenge races. That feat is worth $10,000.

Defending Sprint Car champion and current points leader Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove has won four times in Placerville this season with three division wins and a Civil War Series victory. Colfax driver Colby Wiesz leads the special Posse Challenge series point standings after winning the first leg of the campaign on opening night in April. DeCaires is second in the special Posse Challenge standings.

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Mark Billingsley:, @editorwriter001