Kyle Larson arrives at North Wilkesboro for NASCAR All-Star Race after qualifying 5th for Indy 500

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FILE - Kyle Larson (5) celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR All-Star Cup Series auto race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, Sunday, May 21, 2023, in North Wilkesboro, N.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley, File)

NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. – Kyle Larson has arrived at North Wilkesboro Speedway for the start of Sunday night’s All-Star Race following a busy afternoon in which the NASCAR star qualified fifth for the Indianapolis 500.

Larson is seeking his fourth All-Star Race win, matching Jimmie Johnson for the most all-time.

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Larson arrived at Wilkes County Airport via airplane, was transported by helicopter to the racetrack and then taken by golf cart to his hauler to begin preparations for the 200-lap exhibition race for $1 million.

Fans cheered his arrival into the track and he waved to them along the way.

NASCAR and its broadcast partner FOX helped accommodate the sport’s star attraction and points leader by moving the start of the race back 16 minutes to 8:30 p.m. to ensure he would arrive in time after shocking some in the racing world by qualifying for the Fast 6 at Indianapolis.

Larson will start at the rear of the 20-car field because he didn’t participate in qualifying.

Seventeen drivers qualified for the race based on their past accomplishments. All-Star Open winner Ty Gibbs and second place finisher Bubba Wallace advanced into the race on Sunday, along with vote winner Noah Gragson.

Joey Logano will start of the pole after posting the best time in qualifying on Saturday.

The two 60-lap heats which were supposed to determine the remainder of the starting lineup were washed out due to rain Saturday night, so the remainder of the field was set by qualifying order.

Larson dominated last year's race at North Wilkesboro by leading 145 of 200 laps and held an 11-second lead over the rest of the field at one point.

Hendrick Motorsports vice president of competition Chad Knaus marveled at what Larson was able to do in his first qualifying runs in Indianapolis in an open-wheel racecar against the best drivers in the world.

“We were watching him run and we were like, my gosh, I can’t believe this,” Knaus said. "I was like my goodness how did that happen? Very limited track time. Did a couple of tests. Was able to go up there and he holds a pretty good wheel as anybody I have seen. He is a phenomenal talent. He gets it. He is so emotionally stable. You can put him in just about any environment and he is going to excel.”


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