(Dan De Marco Photo)
Kyle Larson Claims Night One of the Nittany Showdown with World of Outlaws at Port Royal Speedway
By- Justin Snyder
Port Royal Speedway- PORT ROYAL, Pa. (Oct. 9, 2020)– Kyle Larson has made Port Royal Speedway his personal playground in 2020. He’s beat the PA Posse during Pennsylvania Speedway at the track. He’s beaten the Ollie’s Bargain Outlets All Star Circuit of Champions as well. Heck, he even beat the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series at the Juniata County oval.
Well, Larson checked another series off the Port Royal bucket list as he went wire-to-wire to defeat the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars during night one of the Nittany Showdown Friday night.
The win was worth $8000 and put Larson at 40 wins on the season. More remarkable is the fact that he’s done so in only 80 starts for an incredible %50 win-rate for the season.
“I’ve gotten to 30 wins before, but 40 seems a little unrealistic when you really think about it,” said Larson. “In the past we have only raced maybe 20 or 30 races on dirt and this year we’ve gotten to do it a lot more and this just shows how good we can be when we get out more. I don’t know that I could’ve ever dreamed up this year if I tried.”
Larson earned the pole position courtesy of winning the dash and got the early jump on outside front row starter, Danny Dietrich, at the drop of the green flag. Dietrich tried to slide under Larson as the two entered turn one, but it would be as close as the Gettysburg, Pa. native would get.
Fourth starting Brock Zearfoss moved into the third spot on the opening lap while Sheldon Haudenschild and Gio Scelzi made up the top-five.
Larson was setting a blistering pace as he cruised around the top of the Juniata County oval and he entered lap traffic with a nearly 2.0 second advantage on lap six. If Dietrich was hoping the lap cars would slow the California native down, he was mistaken as Larson stretched his lead to nearly 2.6 seconds by lap 10.
Knifing in and out of the lap cars with ease, Larson stretched his lead to nearly 3.7 seconds by lap 15. The caution would fly one lap later when Brent Marks got into the turn four guardrail and collected James McFadden, Outlaw points leader Brad Sweet, Carson Macedo and Lance Dewease.
Sweet would tag the rear of the field and salvage what could’ve been a big hit in the points battle. McFadden and Marks was able to return as well.
Dietrich once again tried a slider attempt on the restart, but it was all Larson again as he rocketed off the top of the cushion to lead. Haudenschild moved into the third position on lap 20, while Scelzi moved to fourth on lap 23.
Meanwhile Larson was back in lap traffic and was continuing his domination of the event. Dietrich was able to close slightly over the final three circuits but when the checkered flag flew, it was Larson by an advantage of 1.606 second.
Dietrich, Haudenschild, Scelzi and Zearfoss made up the top-five while Anthony Macri, Donny Schatz, David Gravel, Freddie Rahmer and Kerry Madsen completed the top five. Rahmer was the night’s hard charger by gaining 11 positions form the 20 starting spot.
Sweet was able to salvage and 11th place finish, which was one better then second in points Logan Schuchart and allowed him to further stretch his points lead to 40 points. Schatz, who’s third in series standings, was able to close to within 62-points as the season winds down.
However, the night belonged to Larson and his team.
“I felt really good in the Dash and I fellt like the car was maybe a little different in the feature,” said Larson. “I could slide lappers and not really lose momentum and I knew that be important with Danny behind us. The car was just so good and I can’t thank these guys working on it enough ads they are the ones making this all happen.”
For Dietrich, he knew the restarts were pivotal for him to pass Larson but felt his car wasn’t good enough on the bottom to really catch him.
“Kyle is really good on restarts and going to the bottom wasn’t ideal or the place to be,” said Dietrich. “It was really the only option though to pass him, but overall I’m really happy with the car and this is a huge improvement on the last few weeks.”
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]
DNQ- Lucas Wolfe, Steve Buckwalter, Kraig Kinser, Landon Myers, Parker Price-Miller, Tony Fiore, Kyle Moody, Wayne Johnson, Brett Michalski, Brent Shearer, Drew Ritchey, Logan Wagner, Jason Sides, Mason Daniel, Zach Newlin, Lynton Jeffrey, Bill Rose, Jeff Miller, Brie Hershey, Troy Fraker, Kody Lehman, Zach Hampton