PORT ROYAL, PA — Refill the ink and turn the page. Kyle Larson added another line to his 2020 book of dirt racing records Friday at Port Royal Speedway.
During the opening night of the Nittany Showdown, the Elk Grove, CA driver won his 11th World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series event in 23 starts and his 40th dirt track event in 80 overall starts this year – which includes a Late Model win at Port Royal in August.
“I would’ve liked to have gotten to 30 (wins). That was probably a more realistic goal,” Larson said with a smirk. “But once we got racing… this is the most I’ve ever raced with Paul. We usually only do 25 to 30 shows. I think with us getting to race more together, days in a row, too, it helped us get into a rhythm. I think that’s why we had such a strong summer.”
Larson didn’t let anyone else have a thought of victory in the 25-lap Feature. He cleared the 26-car field by the exit of Turn 4 on the initial start and extended the rope of time between he and second-place Danny Dietrich each lap. By Lap 5, Larson already had a two second lead on the PA Posse member.
While Larson set sail around the top of the half-mile track, the championship points contenders were hunting for every position they could. Ten-time Series champion Donny Schatz, who started the night setting Quick Time, eventually fell from fifth to seven and David Gravel fell from seventh to eighth. Further behind them, reigning champion Brad Sweet and Logan Schuchart were trying to fight their way forward, starting 15th and 21st, respectively.
Several drivers, including Sweet, were involved in an accident in Turn 4 with 10 laps to go. The wreck resulted and Carson Macedo and Lance Dewease’s nights coming to an end, but Sweet had minimal damage and was able to continue. He made his way back through the field to finish 11th, while Schuchart finished 12th.
By virtue of their finishes, Sweet now leads Schuchart by 40 points for the driver points title. Schatz continues to sit third in points, but is now 62 points behind Sweet, closing in on the championship battle for the second race in a row. Sweet’s Kasey Kahne Racing team did lose points to Gravel’s Jason Johnson Racing team for the team championship title hunt, though. JJR now leads KKR by 14 points.
The Lap 10 wreck was the sole caution of the night, giving Dietrich and third-place Sheldon Haudenschild their best shot at challenging Larson. On the restart, Dietrich tossed his car to the bottom of Turn 1 and pulled even with Larson. However, Larson had the better momentum around the top and launch ahead of him down the backstretch.
Even with lap cars in his way, Larson didn’t let anything slow his march to victory and crossed the finish line having led all 25 laps.
“I felt really good in the (DIRTVision Fast Pass) Dash there. Really really good,” Larson said. “The balance of the car felt different in the Feature. But I felt like I could still maintain good grip off and I could slide lappers and not lose too much momentum. I knew my car was good. It always is. As the race went on, I started to slide more but got a good enough start on the restarts to maintain a decent gap. Awesome car again. Can’t say enough about everyone who works on it.”
Dietrich’s runner-up finish is his best showing in 12 races with the Series this season. It was also the best showing for a PA Posse member. If he or another Posse member is unable to win Saturday night’s $15,000-to-win Nittany Showdown finale, it will be the first time since 2008 that the PA Posse has been shutout of winning in their home territory against the Outlaws.
“He’s (Larson) really good on the restarts,” said Dietrich, of Gettysburg, PA. “Going to the bottom (on the restarts) was not the place to be but it was the only option if you wanted to try and pass him. Just really happy with the car. We made huge improvements from last week.”
Sheldon Haudenschild rounded out the podium – his seventh podium finish in his last 15 World of Outlaws starts.
“To come out of here with a podium is good,” said Haudenschild, of Wooster, OH. “Just building for tomorrow.”
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, on Sat., Oct. 10, returns to Port Royal Speedway for the $15,000-to-win Nittany Showdown Finale. Click here for tickets.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every lap live on DIRTVision.
NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 57-Kyle Larson [$8,000]; 2. 48-Danny Dietrich [$4,000]; 3. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$2,500]; 4. 18-Gio Scelzi [$2,200]; 5. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$2,100]; 6. 39M-Anthony Macri [$2,000]; 7. 15-Donny Schatz [$1,800]; 8. 41-David Gravel [$1,600]; 9. 51-Freddie Rahmer [$1,500]; 10. 2M-Kerry Madsen [$1,300]; 11. 49-Brad Sweet [$1,200]; 12. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$1,100]; 13. 14S-Tony Stewart [$1,000]; 14. 9-James McFadden [$700]; 15. 5-Brent Marks [$600]; 16. 11-T.J. Stutts [$600]; 17. 10X-Ryan Smith [$600]; 18. 21-Brian Brown [$600]; 19. 72-Daryn Pittman [$600]; 20. 1A-Jacob Allen [$600]; 21. 83-Spencer Bayston [$]; 22. 91-Kyle Reinhardt [$600]; 23. 2X-Dylan Cisney [$]; 24. 2-Carson Macedo [$600]; 25. 69K-Lance Dewease [$600]; 26. 55-Mike Wagner [$600]; Lap Leaders: Kyle Larson 1-25; KSE Hard Charger Award: 51-Freddie Rahmer[+11]
Qualifying Flight-A – 1. 15-Donny Schatz, 15.19; 2. 18-Gio Scelzi, 15.308; 3. 41-David Gravel, 15.318; 4. 39M-Anthony Macri, 15.354; 5. 14S-Tony Stewart, 15.361; 6. 9-James McFadden, 15.365; 7. 21-Brian Brown, 15.368; 8. 55-Mike Wagner, 15.435; 9. 72-Daryn Pittman, 15.456; 10. 11-T.J. Stutts, 15.49; 11. 5-Brent Marks, 15.546; 12. 49-Brad Sweet, 15.58; 13. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 15.647; 14. 1-Logan Wagner, 15.688; 15. 83J-Lynton Jeffrey, 15.735; 16. 17B-Steve Buckwalter, 15.769; 17. 19M-Landon Myers, 15.88; 18. 33M-Mason Daniel, 15.962; 19. 2X-Dylan Cisney, 15.981; 20. 57J-Jeff Miller, 16.054; 21. 12-Brent Shearer, 16.056; 22. 73B-Brett Michalski, 16.146; 23. 47K-Kody Lehman, 16.218; 24. 12W-Troy Fraker, 17.023
Qualifying Flight-B – 1. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild, 15.349; 2. 48-Danny Dietrich, 15.408; 3. 57-Kyle Larson, 15.452; 4. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss, 15.465; 5. 2M-Kerry Madsen, 15.587; 6. 69K-Lance Dewease, 15.605; 7. 1A-Jacob Allen, 15.654; 8. 2-Carson Macedo, 15.69; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 15.698; 10. 51-Freddie Rahmer, 15.769; 11. 10X-Ryan Smith, 15.773; 12. 24-Lucas Wolfe, 15.805; 13. 83-Spencer Bayston, 15.824; 14. 91F-Tony Fiore, 15.927; 15. 99M-Kyle Moody, 15.948; 16. 14-Parker Price-Miller, 15.955; 17. 91-Kyle Reinhardt, 15.983; 18. 54-Zach Newlin, 16.158; 19. 7S-Jason Sides, 16.202; 20. 880-Drew Ritchey, 16.245; 21. 6-Bill Rose, 16.416; 22. 2C-Wayne Johnson, 16.524; 23. 97-Brie Hershey, 16.598; 24. 15B-Zach Hampton, NT