“Never Used The Word Boycotting” – Kyle Larson Comes Clean On Last Season’s “Frustrating” Chili Bowl Purse Drama

Published 01/11/2024, 7:46 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

In 2022, Kyle Larson and the Chili Bowl Nationals made it into the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has not raced in the event in the past couple of years, and two years ago, he complained of the purse value that the event offered. His comments drew a lot of criticism (sometimes unwarranted) towards the midget racing event, but ahead of his return to the racing action in the series, the 31-year-old cleared the air.

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Two years ago, Larson had said that he would not be running in the competition unless there was a significant increase in the prize money. He also said that a lot of other drivers taking part in the midget racing spectacle felt the same way. His return to the event is unprecedented, but the driver of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports car does not seem to have any regrets about being absent from the Chili Bowl for two years.

Kyle Larson clears the air regarding his 2022 comments about the Chili Bowl

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Speaking to one of the event’s partners, FloRacing, Larson said that he did not want to bring the kind of negativity to the midget racing event like he did back in 2022. However, he also expressed disappointment over how his comments were received back then by the public.

“I had opinions then…and I don’t really want to dig into the purse this year. This week has had a lot of momentum and I don’t want to steer any sort of negativity around it cause there was a lot of negativity brought on it I guess by some of my comments last year. But yeah I think last year a lot of people only read into those comments rather than, I’ve been racing in this building half my life and I wanted to go experience something different,” the HMS star said.

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There was also a lot of chatter about Larson “boycotting” the Chili Bowl, as per several reports. The 31-year-old cleared the air on that as well by stating that he never once said that he would boycott the event. Larson has a lot of love for all kinds of motorsports, and the Chili Bowl is an event close to his heart.

“I did not miss the Chili Bowl last year but this year, as it approaches, and you get watching, and then when I realized how quickly the program is done and there’s this window of doing it, I was like, I really wanna go back. Even back then I never once said that I would not come to the Chili Bowl. I never used the word boycotting or anything like that. That part was frustrating last year,” the former NASCAR Cup Series champion added.

Larson’s return to Tulsa was not something a lot of people predicted. But no one is sad about it happening. The 31-year-old is one of the best racers in the world today and his inclusion in the event will only elevate its level. For Larson himself, the reason for coming back is quite personal.

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Cup Series champion reveals the reason for his return to midget racing event

The Chili Bowl Nationals is an event where the Hendrick Motorsports star has raced for several years, and a lot of his friends are present at the event each year. It’s like a giant reunion with some extremely competitive racing action for one of the biggest honors in midget racing. Whatever the reason may be, fans are just happy with Larson’s return.

“I think the real reason why I love this event is just the friends that I have here and just the overall time. I think the racing part of it, the driller and all that, you know it’s cool but I think just being able to spend time with your friends and all be together is probably the coolest thing about this event and probably what in the future will keep me coming back,” the 31-year-old said.

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It is safe to say that fans do not need to worry about Kyle Larson having a sour taste for the Chili Bowl Nationals. It was hard to imagine in the first place as well. For someone who loves and admires all kinds of racing, the event that he has grown up with will almost always pull him back to it.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Edited by:

Tushhita.barua

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