Before they became NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars, Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. were best known for their achievements racing on dirt. Due to their busy in-season NASCAR schedules, opportunities to race on dirt at the current stage of their careers are rare, but this Saturday both drivers will get that rare opportunity to strap in behind the wheel of a Dirt Midget at the inaugural Indy Invitational at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
In addition to the Midget race, both Stenhouse and Larson will also be racing in the $5,000-to-win Outlaw Karts feature.
When presented with the opportunity to join the talented field of racers in both races, Larson and Senthouse gladly accepted.
“I’m anxious to get in there on Saturday and check the track out and see how it’s going to look,” Stenhouse told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I’m very honored to be asked to race in both classes. I wish I could run more dirt races throughout the season, but it just hasn’t worked out.”
Stenhouse, a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, enjoyed a breakout season in the USAC ranks in 2007 before making the move to NASCAR. He was crowned the National Midget Rookie of the Year that season after scoring five wins in 25 starts.
Since that time, Stenhouse has revisited the Dirt Midget ranks occasionally. Since 2009 he’s only missed one Chili Bowl and recorded a career-best finish of ninth during the 2012 running of the prestigious race.
He’s now looking forward to the inaugural Indy Invitational and becoming the first winner of what is sure to become another popular event.
“To be in the inaugural event will be great, but to win it would be even better,” said Stenhouse. “Having the race in Indy with the PRI show going on, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
Larson, the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year, has sprinkled in a handful of dirt races over the course of the past two seasons. He hasn’t missed a Chili Bowl since his first attempt in 2008 and has competed in USAC races during his NASCAR off weekends.
“I’m excited to run the Indy race because it’s a new event and at a cool venue,” said Larson. “It’s always fun to hop in a Midget and an Outlaw Kart, so I’m really pumped to run both in the same night.”
Larson and Stenhouse will join a talented field of 40 racers in each division.
Dirt racing stars such as Bryan Clauson, Brady Bacon, Daryn Pittman and Christopher Bell will all be competing in the Midget portion of the event.
Rising stars such as Max McLaughlin, Karsyn Elledge and Kyle Beattie will be among the favorites for the Outlaw Karts A-Main.
Those unable to make it to Indianapolis for the inaugural Indy Invitational can watch the event live through an online broadcast on Speed51.com. Online video tickets can be purchased today for $29.99 by clicking here.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com