Kyle Larson finishes second behind Jonathan Davenport in the Wild West Shootout

Larson Wild West Shootout

Larson Wild West Shootout

With a worst sixth place finish and five top-five finishes over six nights of racing, Kyle Larson was one of two dominant drivers at the 2023 Wild West Shootout at Vado, New Mexico Speedway Park. Jonathan Davenport also had five top fives and a sixth place finish, but he scored more points with wins over the first three nights.

Larson competed in the Wild West Shootout after deciding to skip the Chili Bowl Nationals that year, a race won by Logan Seavey.

He failed to win any of the six A-Mains, but Larson picked up three second-place finishes behind three different drivers. He was there to challenge Davenport on Night 2 and finished behind Mike Marlar on Night 5. The same drivers led laps in the finale, held on Sunday night, with Bobby Pierce taking his second of two wins and second in a row for Larson.

“This was the most fun late model race I’ve ever been in,” Larson said on FloRacing.com after last night’s racing. “There were more lead changes in one race than in the whole season. Literally from start to finish it was a fight between Bobby [Pierce] and [Jonathan Davenport] and Marlar—and Stormy [Scott] was there.

There were seven lead changes between Pierce, Davenport and Marlar Sunday night.

“I wish we’d made it to Victory Lane at least once,” Larson continued. “I don’t even know if we led one lap, but we were spot on for a lot of them.”

MORE: More than 75 late-model races in 2023

Three second places ensured fans recognized Larson’s ability in a dirt-late model, a racing style that’s still relatively new for a driver who’s honed his craft in sprints and dwarfs. Over the past two years he has amassed five late model wins in three major series, including two in the World of Outlaws Late Models, two in the Castrol series and one in the XR Super Series.

At Vado Speedway in the Wild West Shootout, Larson won heat races on the first and final nights of the competition to mark his solid run.

But perhaps the most impressive race of the weekend was night 4 when he was wrecked in his run by a lapped car. The damage pushed him into the B-main where he finished second before coming through the field and finishing fourth in the feature.

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Kyle Larson finishes second to Jonathan Davenport in the Wild West Shootout originally aired on NBCSports.com

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