Kyle Larson was “heartbroken” when he lost the 2017 Daytona 500.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver declared that Thursday morning on Twitter, clarifying comments he made Wednesday night on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “SiriusXM Speedway.”
Larson, who is competing in the 32nd annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals this week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said the Chili Bowl meant more to him than the Daytona 500.
“The Chili Bowl is, gosh, like I said it’s up there with the top races I want to win,” Larson said. “Everybody knows I love dirt track racing. For me, the Chili Bowl is bigger than the Daytona 500. I know some fans, that might bum them out or think I have some bad attitude when it comes to NASCAR racing, but I love it. There’s some special dirt races I want to win and Chili Bowl is one of them.”
Larson said this a day after winning the Chili Bowl’s A main on Tuesday night. He’ll race in the 55-lap main event Saturday. He is also fresh off winning three midget races during a tour of New Zealand to start the year.
On Thursday, Larson responded to a fan on Twitter to make sure everyone knows winning the Feb. 18 Daytona 500 would be a big deal for the fifth-year driver.
Doesn’t mean I don’t want to win Daytona 500. I was a half lap from winning last year. You can bet that I was heartbroken I lost it. https://t.co/IMPbTAy86y
Larson took the white flag of the Daytona 500 while in the lead. He ran out of gas in Turn 2 and finished 12th.
Larson’s expression of love for a dirt racing event over the “Great American Race” comes after comments he made last month about what he considered his ultimate career goal. Appearing on the official World of Outlaws podcast, the 25-year-old driver said competing full-time in World of Outlaws is his aim.
“NASCAR is where I wanted to make it, but I would have been perfectly fine if I didn’t make it either,” Larson said. “I’d probably be on the Outlaw (sprint car) tour probably right now, racing and loving life … I would say racing on the World of Outlaws tour full-time is my main goal; NASCAR’s just the step to get there.”