Rising NASCAR star Kyle Larson went back to his roots Thursday for a big victory.
Larson, the Elk Grove native who honed his racing skills on Northern California dirt tracks driving midgets and sprint cars, won the 76th Turkey Night Grand Prix for U.S. Auto Club midgets at Ventura Raceway.
Oklahoma racer Brady Bacon led the first 20 laps before Larson passed and was never headed in the 98-lap race – a number honoring the late Southern California racing promoter J.C. Agajanian, who always had a car No. 98.
Larson, coming off a runner-up finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale Sunday in Florida, became the 18th driver to win the Turkey Night race twice in his career.
Larson drove an Indiana-based Keith Kunz Motorsports car. His teammate, Carson Macedo of Lemoore, capped his first season with the Kunz stable by finishing third in his first Turkey Night race and fifth in USAC national points; another teammate, Tanner Thorson of Minden, Nevada, was the season champion.
Fifty-two cars entered the event, with 29 making the feature on the one-fifth mile oval. Michael Faccinto of Hanford was an early contender before dropping back to 25th. Faccinto wrapped up second place behind Corona’s Damion Gardner in the USAC Western States season points race.
Macedo also finished fourth in the companion USAC West Coast 360 sprint cars feature, reuniting with the Easton-based Tarlton Racing team that he combined with for the 2015 King of the West sprint car championship.