Larson also sets all time
Chico, CA – Holding a slim point lead with the 500cc Open Division championship on the line, playing it conservative would have been the logical strategy for ParkerStore Outlaw Sprint Kart driver Kyle Larson to take in the final feature event of the Cycleland Speedway point season. But not playing it safe only added to the amazing finish to the QRC Cup Perpetual Trophy race and championship point season, both taken with a flourish at the end. To add to his tenth sprint kart championship in a seven year career, which should also include the Rookie of the Year award at next weeks banquet, Larson also set the all time Cycleland Speedway track record, with a new qualifying standard of 10.156 on the lightning fast track. The championship is Larson’s fifth in his two year association with ParkerStore.
Larson began the night with a 17 point lead in the Open division over his closest pursuer, Tyler Wolf. At the conclusion of qualifying Larson had increased his lead to 21, finishing second in the order to Wolf’s sixth. In the six kart eight lap dash Wolf started on the pole with Larson starting fifth. When it was over Larson had advanced to third while Wolf fell one spot behind, earning Larson a pair of points over Wolf, to lead by 23 going into the season finale. Larson started seventh in the feature with Wolf alongside. Outlaw sprint kart legend and champion sprint car driver Sean Becker led from his pole start with furious action behind on the very tacky track. As the race began to unfold neither of the championship contenders were going forward as Larson was still in seventh by lap 11, with Wolf falling to tenth. On the 12th circuit Larson began his charge forward as he jumped to fifth. By the next lap the ParkerStore mount slid into fourth behind S. Becker, Colby Copeland and Daniel Becker. One lap later Larson disposed of D. Becker while fast timer Keith Bloom emerged into the fray. Although Larson got by Copeland to move into second on lap 15, Bloom powered by Larson into the runnerup spot on the next lap. A restart with three to go set the stage for the exciting finish as the veteran S. Becker fought to hold off the charging pair behind. As Larson entered turn one of the 19th lap he raced underneath Bloom and showed Becker his nose coming out of turn four. As Becker took the white flag he chose to leave his race long line utilizing the top side cushion in an attempt to fend off Larson on the bottom. The move backfired as S. Becker missed the tackier bottom of turn one and slid into the drier middle groove. As S. Becker tried to recover, Larson took a slim lead out of turn two as Bloom jumped to the outside of Becker to created a three wide battle down the back straight. Larson carried a slight advantage over Bloom into turn three and slid to the top groove of turn four, where contact ensued between him and Bloom. Both were able to recover from the near championship ending disaster and Larson raced to his 6th overall QRC Cup Perpetual Trophy.
Larson was also attempting to win his second consecutive 500cc Open Intermediate championship on the night and entered the night with a 38 point deficit to Mason Moore. With his all time track record qualifying effort in his ParkerStore/Grandpa George Motors/QRC Factory Kart Larson gained a single point over second fast Moore. In the dash Larson settled for second to Brian Southers as Moore finished third. Larson went into the main event with a 35 point deficit to Moore and a 34 point advantage over Southers. Larson started sixth in the feature and quickly got to third on lap one. On lap two Larson spun in turn four to bring out the first caution. He restarted at the back but was then dealing with a brake problem that only got worse. While in 20th on the seventh lap Larson exited the race with no brakes, ending his championship hopes. At the same time Southers’ outside pass of Moore at the midpoint of the race enabled Southers to collect enough points to pass Larson in the final point tally.
At the end of the night the jubilant Larson said, “What an exciting race in the opens. Early on the traffic around me was so intense and I was trying to be careful with the championship on the line. My dad asked me to be smart and just finish the race within sight of Tyler Wolf, but as things unfolded my competiveness just took over. When you see Sean Becker ahead of you it makes you stand on it a little bit more and that’s what I did. But when Keith and I got together coming to the checkered flag I thought I might end up in the fence without a championship. But it all worked out and I have the championship and the 6 foot QRC Cup Perpetual Trophy. As for the Open Intermediate main, my brakes had begun to fade at the end of the Open main, and as we started the race the pedal would only work slightly all the way to the floor. When I spun it felt like the brakes locked up. After I restarted there were no brakes left. I tried to stay in the race but I had a couple of real close calls, almost wrecking, so I decided to pull in and save the kart. We found that one of the left front brake pads was gone and the piston came out, losing the fluid. It was a little disappointing to drop a spot in the final standings, but I did what I set out to do, and that was to win in my first attempt at a championship in the Opens, which is the top division. So I’m real happy about that tonight.”
The Cycleland point season found Larson leading both divisions with five main event wins in each, four fast times in each division with the all time track record for the Opens and Open Intermediates, four dash wins in the Opens and three dash wins in the Open Intermediates. Keep up with the latest news and information on Kyle Larson by visiting www.kylelarsonracing.com.
Race: September 30,