Bounty or no bounty, Kyle Larson will race a truck for fun

FONTANA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 28: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 McDonald's Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on February 28, 2020 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Kyle Larson started it with a Las Vegas-appropriate tweet that showed three cherries above a FOX: NASCAR post urging fans to congratulate Kyle Busch on winning his seventh straight NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race.

Larson’s tweet was intended in good fun, but it inspired driver Kevin Harvick to offer a $50,000 bounty to any NASCAR Cup Series driver who could defeat Busch in one of his four remaining starts this season. Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of the series sponsor put up another $50,000.

Chase Elliott will take up the gauntlet March 14 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Larson has announced he’ll try his luck against Busch Mar. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“It was really a joke,” Larson said of his initial tweet. “I’m not offended when Kyle Busch wins Truck races. I actually like it a lot, because I feel like it helps expose the guys that are good and the ones who aren’t. I think when he does win and he has to battle for the wins, I think it shows which kids are really good. So, I just dropped some cherries on there because, when I do win dirt races, I do get a lot of that as well.

“It was more of a dig at the NASCAR fans and dirt fans who give me crap also, but in a different series. But I guess it upset (Kevin) Harvick enough that he put a bounty up, which is cool. I think it’s great for the sport and great for the Truck Series. Hopefully, the ratings are even better for these races coming up, and hopefully it’s exciting, too.”

Even if Elliott dethrones Busch at Atlanta, Larson says he will still race a truck at Homestead.

“Yeah, for sure, I’m going to run,” Larson said. “I’m committed to run. I’d like to beat him and think that I could have $100,000 in my pocket, but, yeah, it’s really not about the money to me. I think it’s a cool fun kind of challenge, and I look forward to trying to beat him.

“And if the money is still out there when I do get that chance, it’ll be a lot of fun. But Kyle Busch is the best. It doesn’t matter what type of car he’s in. It’s not going to be easy. It never is, no matter what car or truck you’re in. But it’ll be fun, and I feel like Homestead is my best track and my best opportunity to do it.”

Greg Engle