ORRVILLE, Ohio – A mere 24 hours after winning the NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson was back behind the wheel of a sprint car, joining the FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 for round three of the 39th running of Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Hercules Tires at Wayne County Speedway.
The quick trip to Wayne COunty proved profitable for the Elk Grove, Calif.-native, as he capped the evening with an impressive rally from row five, working by second-year All Star and recent high school graduate Zeb Wise on lap 30 of 35 for the $6,000 payday.
Larson’s Duffy Smith Memorial/Wayne County Speedway victory bumps his career win total to 25 with the Tony Stewart-owned organization, four of which in Orrville. Wise raced on to finish second to Larson, followed by Paul McMahan, Buddy Kofoid, and Cale Thomas.
“I always have fun at Wayne County. I love this place,” Larson said in victory lane, driver of Paul Silva’s Folkens Brothers Trucking/Durst/Finley Farms/MAVTV/No. 57 sprint car. “Just an awesome race car tonight. It was a night and day difference between the heat, dash, and feature. Paul Silva works really hard and he figured things out.”
Despite starting tenth on the grid, Larson made his presence known immediately, ultimately using the first five laps to push ahead to fifth before setting aim on the foursome ahead of him which included Jac Haudenschild, Buddy Kofoid, Zeb Wise, and early leader, Paul McMahan.
A series of cautions and red flag incidents between laps 14 and 23 kept the field bunched giving Larson the opportunity to advance further and at a quicker pace. Using each of the ensuing restarts to his advantage, Larson moved around Haudenschild to steal fourth on lap 18, next driving by Kofoid for third on lap 20. Three circuits later, Larson was second, sliding by Nashville’s McMahan after a lap 23 caution and open red. Meanwhile, Wise was now in charge of the point, gaining the top spot over McMahan with a slider of his own back on lap 16.
Jumping out to a quick lead after the aforementioned lap 23 restart, Wise did all that he could to outrun Larson’s No. 57, but the Angola, Ind.-native was eventually tracked down. Lap after lap Larson made progress, setting up his bid for the lead during early stages of traffic on lap 30. Pulling even with Wise in turn three, Larson would power through the corner and beat Wise in a drag race back to the start/finish line. Larson was now the man in charge and that is where he stayed.
“This is probably the best I’ve seen this place,” Larson continued. “I was really able to rip the fence in three and four, and I think that’s where I was stronger than Zeb. I was able to show him my nose a little bit in one and two to get him thinking which made him change his line in three and four. He just kinda spun off of the corner and I was able to get a good run.
“I think my pass on Jac Haudenschild really set the tone for the rest of my race. He’s so good here and he’s able to make a lot of momentum in any lane.”
Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Hercules Tires will resume competition on Tuesday evening, June 15, at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio.
1. 57-Kyle Larson ; 2. 10-Zeb Wise ; 3. 5-Paul McMahan ; 4. 5X-Buddy Kofoid ; 5. 49X-Cale Thomas ; 6. 24-Rico Abreu ; 7. 7BC-Tyler Courtney ; 8. 26-Cory Eliason ; 9. 4-Cap Henry ; 10. 25R-Jordan Ryan ; 11. 48-Danny Dietrich ; 12. 91-Kyle Reinhardt ; 13. 17B-Bill Balog ; 14. 28-Tim Shaffer ; 15. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. ; 16. 22-Brandon Spithaler ; 17. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg ; 18. 11-Ian Madsen ; 19. 81-Lee Jacobs ; 20. 18-Cole Macedo ; 21. 1F-Dean Jacobs ; 22. 13-Justin Peck ; 23. 23-Chris Andrews ; 24. 22H-Jac Haudenschild