Kyle Larson Brownstown Victory Lane Josh James Artwork Photo
Kyle Larson in victory lane at Brownstown Speedway. (Josh James photo)

Larson Notches $10,000 Score At Brownstown

BROWNSTOWN, Ind. — Most leaders aren’t excited about getting a side-by-side challenge. But for Kyle Larson on Wednesday night in his debut at Brownstown Speedway, Tanner English’s threat proved to help Larson find a way to win.

The 28-year-old NASCAR and open-wheel star from Elk Grove, Calif., regained the lead from English on the 25th lap around the quarter-mile oval and edged away for a $10,000 victory in the third round of the fledgling Castrol FloRacing Night in America tour.

The inside-running English slipped ahead after a lap-23 restart to grab the lead after a few bobbles by Larson, but being forced to run outside helped him discover what he needed.

“[I found] the middle (groove) and just kind of carried momentum through the center,” Larson said. “Had I not screwed up and had to battle him side-by-side, I’d have probably kept ripping the top or something, and made a mistake, or let him just get by because I didn’t have good grip off of (turn) four.”

The eighth-starting English couldn’t keep up the rest of the 40-lapper in finishing 1.736 seconds behind, while Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga. – who started alongside English on the fourth row – finished third.

Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., was fourth in his first race of the season in his family-owned No. B5 while front-row starter Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., was fifth in debuting a new Capital Race Car.

Larson was thrilled to continue his progress in late models in the K&L Rumley Enterprises No. 6, adding his third victory in just a handful of career starts going back to last season.

“I’m very thankful that I somehow got linked together with Kevin Rumley,” Larson said. “I really don’t even know how it happened. Just very thankful. So thanks to Kevin.”

The victory came with some emotions for Rumley, whose late father Lee Roy operated the team for more than 50 years and famously built some of the sport’s most powerful engines. Larson’s car was powered by a former Rumley engine freshened by Cornett Racing Engines of Somerset, Ky.

“This means so much for the Rumley family to take one of his old engines that (former driver Jonathan) Davenport won a lot of money with,” Kevin Rumley said. “Jack (Cornett) updated it and we needed a spare and it really got us out of a bind, so from the grave, he’s definitely looking out for us.”

Larson got the jump at the outset and primarily used the high side through the early stages with Marlar holding the second spot for the first 18 laps.

Kyle Larson Josh James Artwork Photo
Kyle Larson en route to victory Wednesday at Brownstown Speedway. (Josh James photo)

Sheppard briefly took second from Marlar on laps 19 and 20, but the charging English went underneath both of them and found himself in second when a lap-23 yellow flew just after Larson dropped to the low groove himself.

Then Larson got a poor start, struggling to maneuver turns two and four while English went underneath to lead lap 24. But giving up the inside groove, Larson stayed higher on the track, occasionally flirting with the extreme high-side berms at the wall-less race track while finding a faster way around.

Despite briefly slipping ahead, English didn’t have an answer for Larson.

“He was quick. I kind of wish he’d stay in NASCAR and beat up on them guys. But he’s a good driver, no doubt, he’s the real deal,” English said. “That’s a great car, you know. Rumley builds a great car, but he’s a driver for sure and adapts well and it pretty amazing to watch.”

Davenport was fortunate to improve four positions from his starting spot, he said.

“I probably had a fifth-place car. We just got lucky and had a caution there toward the end. We went a little softer on tire — we gambled a little bit,” he said. “We’ve been trying some new stuff with the car, and I just had my left-front way too far up in the air, and I couldn’t really rotate getting in (the corners).”

Two cautions slowed the action, the first coming on lap nine when Josh Rice spin as he battled Ricky Thornton Jr. in the top five. The second yellow appeared on lap 23 when Shelby Miles slipped over the turn-four banking.

Thirty-three cars entered the third of 10 scheduled Castrol FloRacing Night in America programs. Larson set fast time with a lap of 12.942 seconds and was one of four heat winners, joining Sheppard, Marlar and Ricky Thornton Jr. The B-mains were captured by Hudson O’Neal and David Webb.

The Castrol FloRacing Night in America schedule continues on May 19 with a $10,000-to-win event at Marshalltown (Iowa) Speedway.

The finish:

A-Main (40 laps): 1. Kyle Larson, 2. Tanner English, 3. Jonathan Davenport, 4. Brandon Sheppard, 5. Mike Marlar, 6. Tyler Erb, 7. Devin Moran, 8. Darrell Lanigan, 9. Kent Robinson, 10. Bobby Pierce, 11. Scott James, 12. Hudson O’Neal, 13. Boom Briggs, 14. Ryan King, 15. Billy Moyer Jr., 16. Ricky Thornton Jr., 17. Keegan Cox, 18. Shelby Miles, 19. David Webb, 20. Devin Gilpin, 21. Josh Rice, 22. Jared Bailey.

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