KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Kyle Larson kept his season of superiority churning Saturday at Knoxville Raceway, as he turned back David Gravel on a late-race restart to win the final night of The One and Only.
Larson led all 30 laps of the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series feature from the pole and earned a 0.759-second victory over Gravel that paid $50,000.
“It means a lot,” Larson said. “2020 has been a crazy year. … (My car) was really, really good.”
It’s Larson’s 31st victory of the season in the dirt ranks. After blitzing through the dash to land him on the pole, Larson checked out to a 2.7-second lead nine laps in and six laps removed from the race’s first restart.
Aaron Reutzel ran second early, but a rear-end failure sidelined him after three laps. Larson rocketed into clean air on the restart while Gravel and eventual third-place finisher Logan Schuchart raced for second.
Larson caught lapped traffic on lap 11 and that’s when he made it clear he could make his car work anywhere. By lap 17, his lead swelled to 3.5 seconds and grew to over four seconds with four laps remaining.
“I felt like I set a really good pace,” Larson said. “I was struggling in the dash to get down the straightaways. In the main event I could get down the straightaways really good. When I caught lapped traffic, I wanted to be aggressive.”
But right when things appeared over, a red flag for James McFadden stacked things up with two laps left and gave Gravel had one last shot at Larson.
On the restart, Larson didn’t get a clean jump and instead of cruising around the top going into turn one, he had to protect the bottom. That last-second audible was the difference for Larson, as Gravel also took the bottom and therefore couldn’t attempt a slide job for the lead.
“Wasn’t quite sure what to do in one and two there,” Larson said. “I decided to protect in (turn) one, and that’s always nerve-wracking. I didn’t know if he went to the top and have a run on me into (turns) three and four. My car is just so good, once again. It’s been a lot of fun to come here (at Knoxville).”
Larson didn’t mess up the exit of that corner, sailing onto the back chute and into the night with another prize in the bag.
“It’s been a heck of a year,” Larson said. “And we still have a lot of racing left. So, I’m hoping we can continue to win these races.”
Carson Macedo and Spencer Bayston rounded out the top five.
Donny Schatz, who blew a motor in his qualifier, charged from the rear of the C-Main to finish 12th in the feature.
To see full results, turn to the next page.