GRAND FORKS, ND–Brent Larson has faced adversity on the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models tour. However, it’s taken a different form for the Lake Elmo, MN driver in 2022.
As the Series gears up for its return to his home territory in the Upper Midwest this weekend, he’s missing a key crew member—his wife, Melanie.
She’s currently recovering from rotator cuff surgery, meaning Brent and crew chief Grayson Pratt have picked up the slack on the team’s tire program.
“I’ve been really happy with Grayson Pratt,” Larson said. “He’s been doing a really good job for me. Probably the hardest thing for me is my wife had [rotator cuff] surgery, and she does all our tire work. So now we’re without our tire guy, and she brings a lot of stability and cheer to the team besides just the tire work.
“Not having her is probably the biggest challenge, and we’re going to have to navigate that going forward for the rest of the year.”
Despite navigating that challenge, Larson has shown promise this season, climbing into the top 10 multiple times. However, he’s rating his season as average so far.
“I’d give myself a C-plus,” Larson said. “I feel like we can do better than we have been, but we haven’t been terrible either. We’ve been consistent in making shows and racing well. Our lows aren’t as low, but I’d like to have a few more highs.”
Qualifying is one aspect he hopes to improve during the second half of the season.
“I need to get my Qualifying a little better so I can start further up for these Features,” Larson said. “Come Feature time; we usually have a pretty fast car. It’s just so hard to come through the field. When cars are this good, the competition is just as strong.”
While Larson is dealing with changes at the track, he’s also embracing a new change as his son Matthew continues the early stages of his racing career.
Last month, Matthew scored his first win at Cedar Lake Speedway in the track’s Pro Stock division. Brent was there to enjoy his son’s first trip to Victory Lane—a moment he’ll cherish as a dad.
However, he wasn’t surprised about Matthew’s triumph.
“I figured it was coming,” Larson said. “He’s been racing well and very happy, but also, it’s not that I expect that from him; I just kind of knew it was coming. So, I wasn’t surprised or shocked, but it was a really good night, and I was glad I was able to be there and be part of that and have my dad there. It’s definitely a special moment.”
It was a special moment because he was in attendance and because it happened at Cedar Lake. Larson is a five-time Late Model champion at the track, and his family has had a presence at the New Richmond, WI facility for decades.
“[Cedar Lake] is definitely our home track,” Larson said. “It’s where my dad raced for a long time and where I grew up. My kids have been going there since they were in diapers or before that and it’s definitely cool to see it happen at home like that.”
READ MORE: USA Nationals Set for Cedar Lake Aug. 4-6
While USA Nationals at Cedar Lake Speedway is less than a month away, Larson’s setting his sights on the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models return to the Upper Midwest.
The next few races on the schedule are at tracks Larson has raced at before, easing the adversity, and giving him a sense of familiarity heading into the weekend.
“It’s always nice being close to home,” Larson said. “I’m looking forward to getting back and not having to make a 17-hour drive out to Pennsylvania or someplace we’ve never seen before. It’s always familiarity that’s a comfortable thing.”
Larson and the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models kick off the weekend at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, ND on Friday, July 15, before heading to I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls, MN on Saturday, July 16. They’ll finish the weekend at Red Cedar Speedway in Menomonie, WI on Sunday, July 17.
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