Larson wins two straight Golden Drillers at 2021 Chili Bowl Nationals

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson struggled to get his first Golden Driller. Now, in one calendar year, Larson has two Golden Drillers.

Larson won the 2021 edition of the Chili Bowl Nationals A-Main on Saturday night at the Tulsa Expo Raceway inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Besides winning the race and the Golden Driller, he also received a $10,000 check.

NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson competing in a Sprint Car event in New Zealand
Kyle Larson competing in a Sprint Car event in New Zealand (Photo by Kyle Larson/Instagram)

The Hendrick Motorsports driver led all 5laps. He took the lead on the first lap from Justin Grant and did not relinquish it throughout the race despite some moments, where he nearly lost the lead.

Related: Grant wins Friday feature before Chili Bowl Nationals Championship Saturday

“I don’t think I would call that dominating at all,” Larson said in his post-race interview. “That was a lot of work. It was harder for that one than it was for last year’s I feel like. I could feel Grant (Justin Grant) pressuring me pretty much for the whole race. In the middle portions before the track curved up, I wasn’t mad. There at the end, the track got a massive curve in it. I was trying to run hard and when I would run hard, I would slam it. When it would get easy, I would go tight against it. Once I saw that Bell (Christopher Bell) had gotten into second, I had to be smarter and not make massive mistakes. I had made a lot of massive mistakes in that race.

“Thankfully, I was able to hold them all off. I was also able to catch cautions at the right time. I think if I was in traffic, it could have been a different race. I wish I had traffic because I knew I could get through traffic better than running against myself. It was a lot of hard work there.”

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Larson is the latest driver to win multiple Golden Drillers, as he also won the 2020 Golden Driller. This list includes Sammy Swindell (5), Kevin Swindell (4), Christopher Bell (3), Dan Boorse (2), Tony Stewart (2), and Rico Abreu (2).

Following Larson, two competitors had career finishes at the Chili Bowl Nationals. Grant finished second, while Tanner Thorson finished third.

All three drivers are from the West Coast, who finished in the Top Three. Larson and Grant are from California, while Thorson is from Nevada.

Related: NHRA forced to cancel 2021 NHRA Arizona Nationals

“In the early going, I think we had a better race car,” Grant said in his post-race interview. “We were dogging him pretty hard. We were trying to get the top worked in and tried to sneak past him. He was better against the ledge than I was. We could keep him insight but we couldn’t do anything with him.”

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