Larson Keeps Rolling
Kyle Larson in victory lane at the Gateway Dirt Nationals. (Jim DenHamer photo)

Larson Keeps Rolling On Gateway Dirt

ST. LOUIS – There simply is no stopping Kyle Larson and Paul Silva in midget competition this winter.

Larson continued his winning ways with his Kyle Larson Racing-owned, Oil-sponsored No. 1k by racing to victory during Friday’s second preliminary night for the Gateway Dirt Nationals.

The NASCAR Cup Series star was never outside the top four during the 20-lap main event, but passed race-long leader Michael Pickens with five to go and then held off Cannon McIntosh to the finish.

Larson drove past Pickens with a massive slide job into turn three on the 16th round, and once out in front he never looked back after that.

The win was Larson’s fourth in a row in his last four midget starts, dating back to the finale of the Hangtown 100 at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway last month, and his sixth out of seven with the No. 1k.

“I just was doing such a bad job on the restarts,” said Larson, who had to reel Pickens in from a straightaway back in the final 11 laps. “I couldn’t take off; it took me a couple laps before I could get going pretty good. I was making up a lot of time to Michael on the entry of (turn) one, and then he was also still running a little higher in three and four to where I could make up ground over there, too.

“Once I got by him, it was just about keeping my momentum up to keep him from sliding me (back) once I got to the lead,” added Larson, who drove off to a 1.408-second win over McIntosh in the end. “That was a fun race. The track is rough and technical, but fun and I feel like that’s where we really excel.”

McIntosh finished as the runner-up to Larson, just as he did during the Turkey Night Grand Prix, but it was enough to lock him into the Saturday night finale along with Pickens, who crossed in third.

Tanner Thorson was the first man out in the Hayward Motorsports No. 19, followed by Cole Bodine, making his debut appearance in the Clauson/Marshall Racing-owned Driven2SaveLives No. 39bc.

Dillon Welch, Gio Scelzi, Jonathan Beason, Sean McClelland and Robert Dalby completed the top 10.

NASCAR stars Chase Briscoe and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were 12th and 17th, respectively.

The finish:

Kyle Larson, Cannon McIntosh, Michael Pickens, Tanner Thorson, Cole Bodine, Dillon Welch, Gio Scelzi, Jonathan Beason, Sean McClelland, Robert Dalby, Dave Darland, Chase Briscoe, Carson Garrett, Jake Neuman, Sammy Swindell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Clinton Boyles.