After Calling Out Kyle Larson Last Year, 2022 Chili Bowl Winner Gets His Wish

Published 01/11/2024, 10:19 AM EST

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Kyle Larson‘s return to the 2024 Chili Bowl has been doing rounds of the NASCAR community, and having spent 15 years of his life on the Tulsa dirt tracks, the Hendrick Motorsports star is sure to show a big chunk of dominance. But it was never clear why Larson looked back to Chili Bowl. Well, it seems one of the biggest reasons has surfaced.

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Larson is no stranger to challenges, and instead of waiting, he looks forward to chasing them. The 2022 Chili Bowl winner Tanner Thorson did just that when he threw a veiled challenge at Larson, condemning his absence from the dirt track. But Larson seems to have taken that to his heart and is back.

Did the 2022 Chili Bowl winner’s desire turn into a challenge for Kyle Larson?

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Kyle Larson initiated his Chili Bowl journey in 2008 and remained with the league until 2021. During his 15 years on the dirt track, Larson waited for a whopping 13 years before he secured his first Chili Bowl title in 2020. The California native’s impeccable display boosted his morale to such an extent that he clinched his second consecutive Chili Bowl title the next year. But then the unexpected happened.

Larson parted ways with the league and didn’t appear in the 2022 season. His absence pinched the 2022 Chili Bowl winner, Tanner Thorson, who seemingly didn’t express the emotion one does after securing a title. Speaking about Larson’s absence from the dirt track, Thorson saidThey say the best in the business come to this race so where are they [Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell] at?

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Thorson chose a bitter tone to express his displeasure on Larson and Bell’s absence and added, “I’m a little bit sour about it to be honest. I wish those guys were here.” Coming back to this day, his wish will soon be true.

In a bid to share the high-octane news with the fans, motorsports reporter, Matt Weaver took to X, shared Thornson’s wish-come-true moment, and wrote, “Tanner to me last year in a story I wrote when I asked him about the absence of Kyle and Christopher. ‘They say all the best are here. Where’s he at? I’m here. I want to race the best. I want to beat the best. He’s not here.’ I love so much that it’s happening on a Thursday.”

Finally, Thorson vs Larson is taking place. The winners of the Chili Bowl will come face-to-face and ensure an adrenaline-filled qualifying night. Kyle Larson is a force to be reckoned with, but Tanner Thorson is no ordinary racer, and coming back from a fatal accident to glory is a tale worth telling.

Tanner Thorson’s sensational comeback has cemented his place among the kings of dirt track racing

Sure, Tanner Thorson won the 2022 Chili Bowl Nationals. But the highly-coveted win had a series of unthinkable pains and struggles underneath that Thorson endured on his journey to securing the pinnacle. 

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At the crack of dawn in March 2019, Thorson was captaining his pickup truck on the roads of California when a horrific collision between his vehicle and a milk truck happened, flaming up Thorson’s truck. Adding to the misery, the crash broke several of the bones of the racer, putting his motorsports career in jeopardy. But he didn’t give up!

Recovering from a life-threatening crash, Thorson found his mojo back after three years during the 2022 Chili Bowl stint, and the rest is well-known history.

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Watch This Story: Racing regrets: Dale Earnhardt Jr’s revelations

Larson’s dirt track racing prowess is undoubtedly one to ponder upon, but one can’t afford to oversee Thorson’s grit that has made him an equally dominant force. Who do you think would reign supreme this time?

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Written by:

Aneesh Gupta

192Articles

One take at a time

During my teenage years, the thunderous symphony of Formula 1's V8s and the explosive crack of NASCAR's pistol shot became the soundtrack of my adrenaline-fueled existence. The relentless roars of engines, accompanied by the screeches of tires, ignited a passion within me that couldn't be contained. The screen came alive with a captivating dance of aggression, passion, frustration, and celebration, keeping me on the edge of my seat.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Ramesh

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