Larson picks up first 410 win of ‘21
MECHANICSBURG – Kyle Larson had an historic 2020 season racing Sprint cars winning 32 main events.
He returned to the NASCAR cup series this season, so Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway was his first Sprint car start of the season.
It didn’t take him long to return to his 2020 ways as the Elk Grove, Calif., native scored the Tommy Hinnershitz Classic win passing Lance Dewease following a restart.
“My car was really, really good,” Larson said. “I could close on Lance no matter where I ran in one and two. I knew I had a better car. I was getting myself tight off of four behind him trying to drive really hard. Once we caught traffic, I felt like I could maneuver around. He knew I was there and went to the bottom and I was able to get around
him in one and two. I felt really good out front. I think I did an OK job through traffic. It’s cool to get a win our first night out.”
Dewease and Larson shared the front row for the 30-lap Tommy Classic sanctioned by Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions.
It was close racing the first few laps between the two golfing buddies with Dewease eventually securing the lead off turn two, and pulling away.
Ian Madsen was third with Tim Shaffer and Anthony Macri passing Freddie Rahmer in the top five.
The red flag stopped the race with three laps completed. TJ Stutt’s car was on its side along the inside fence on the backstretch. He was OK.
Dewease got a great restart not giving Larson a chance at a first turn pass. Rahmer got back around Macri and battled Shaffer for fourth. Rahmer would make the pass entering turn one on lap seven.
Meanwhile, Dewease and Larson streaked away from Madsen with heavy traffic just ahead of the leaders. Dewease ducked low entering turn one while Larson went to the top driving by for the lead off turn two.
Dewease stayed with him as they started lapping cars.
Another yellow slowed the pace with 10 laps completed.
Larson went right through the middle of the corners on the restart. Rahmer passed Madsen on the restart and into the third spot with 12 laps completed.
Larson led Dewease by 1.850 second at the half-way point as they closed on slower traffic once again.
Dewease cut into the lead in traffic, but Larson had a few lapped cars between himself and Dewease.
Larson caught heavy traffic and Dewease cleared the other cars and closed to Larson’s bumper. Dewease started to make the bottom work in the final 10 laps.
Larson put one more lapped car between him and Dewease with nine to go. Larson extended the lead to nearly a half straightaway.
Larson was good on the cushion at both ends of the speedway. Larson lapped two more cars and had a clear raced track in front of him with five to go. His lead was now over 2-seconds.
Larson turned up the wick and drove away over the final laps scoring his third career Grove win and 24th of his career with the All Stars.
His final margin of victory was 2.707-seconds over Dewease with Rahmer third.
“I used to hate this place,” Larson said. “When your car is good at a track it makes the place a lot more fun. Now that I’m fast, I love it. To beat guys like Lance and Rahmer is really special. It’s nice to have a friendship with Lance on and off the track.”
For Dewease, it was a disappointing runner-up finish.
“We weren’t very good after that red flag,” Dewease said. “We’re trying to figure out what happened, but it got bad and you can’t be bad against him. It got really tight. I thought I was OK when I went to the bottom. I didn’t think he was that close to me.”
Ian Madsen and Macri completed the top five. Tony Stewart, Shaffer, Kerry Madsen, Tyler Courtney and Paul McMahan rounded out the top 10.
Dewease set fast time over the 35-car field with a lap of 16.316. Heat races were won by Ian Madsen, Stewart, Kerry Madsen and Shaffer. Dewease and Larson won the dashes. Brent Shearer won the B-main.