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It's Larson at Gas City

Wins from mid-pack Wednesday night USAC feature
Thursday, June 18, 2020

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Kyle Larson schools the USAC regulars
Kyle Larson schools the USAC regulars

GAS CITY, Ind., – Even though he’s on a proverbial tear, many of the fans that attended Round 2 of the 2020 edition of Indiana Midget Week Wednesday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway couldn’t believe their eyes when Kyle Larson kept his streak going and won the 30-lap USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series feature.

The 27-year-old driver from Elk Grove, Calif. didn’t have the fastest car; that honor went to Logan Seavey of Sutter, Calif. in qualifying and Cannon McIntosh of Bixby, Okla. in the main event. Larson didn’t have a great starting spot either, as he had to earn his way into the field through the B-main, and he lined up 14th to start the feature in a field of 24. See also Sports Site

But after 30 torrid laps of competition Larson made everyone believers when he took the checkered flag first, earning the race’s hard charger award. It was his ninth midget feature victory in a row stretching back to a triumph in Placerville, Calif. last year and including this year’s Chili Bowl. It was his seventh consecutive win overall in three different sprint and midget series (World of Outlaws sprints, All Star Circuit of Champions sprints and USAC midgets) too, which is a record no one in the press box could remember another driver surpassing. And by putting the Tucker-Boat Motorsports/Pristine Auction-K&C Drywall Spike No. 86 Speedway Toyota in victory lane it also reportedly was the 300th victory for Toyota since that company began its midget program in 2006.

A $1,400 bounty on Larson’s head was unclaimed. Richard and Jennifer Marshall of Priority Aviation put up $1,000 and fans donated another $400 to provide an extra incentive to anyone who could beat Larson on Wednesday night.

How did he charge from the middle of the pack in a field of the best midget drivers in North America to even reach Tyler Courtney of Indianapolis, who started on the pole and led the first 17 laps?

Larson immediately passed two cars on the first lap to rise to 12th, and he had already cracked the top 10 by lap two. He got eighth on lap three. He passed Seavey, the defending Indiana Midget Week champion, for seventh on lap four. He got sixth by passing Kaylee Bryson of Muskogee, Okla. on lap five. Three laps later he moved into the top five by passing Tanner Carrick of Lincoln, Calif. He powered into fourth place by passing Gio Scelzi of Fresno, Calif. on lap 11, and took third on lap 12 by passing McIntosh in Turn 2. Then McIntosh, who had charged from 12th to third himself, slowed to a stop between Turns 3 and 4 with mechanical difficulties. Simultaneously the track’s defending sprint car champion, Thomas Meseraull of Waveland, Ind., flipped in Turn 4 to bring out the red flag with 12 laps complete.

Three laps after the race resumed Larson powered into second place by passing 18-year-old Buddy Kofoid of Penngrove, Calif., who started second. Kofoid got Larson back to regain second for an instant, but then a yellow flew when Brady Bacon of Broken Arrow, Okla. and Shane Golobic of Fremont, Calif. got together in Turn 2 on lap 16. The standings reverted back to the previous completed lap, so Larson was ahead of Kofoid for the restart, but still behind Courtney.

Larson made the winning pass two laps later by sliding under Courtney in Turn 4 with 18 laps complete, and led the rest of the way. Who would have bet that at bestbonuscodes.us?

Kofoid, a recent POWRi midget winner, got by Courtney for second a few milliseconds after Larson did.  Although Kofoid gave it everything he had, he finished just 0.263 of a second behind Larson for the runner-up honors. Courtney was third. Tanner Thorson of Minden, Nev. finished fourth. Scelzi, who is one of Larson’s teammates, rounded out the top five.

Justin Grant, a native of Ione, Calif. who now lives in Avon, Ind., led every lap of last year’s Indiana Midget Week feature at Gas City, but he was 12th in the midget A-main this year. He made up for that by winning the companion 25-lap non-wing sprint car feature in the TOPP Motorsports/NOS Energy Drink Maxim Claxton Chevy No. 4.

Grant tried in vane
Grant tried in vane

Grant started third in the sprint car feature. He took the lead initially from Kevin Thomas Jr. of Cullman, Ala. with a move in Turn 2 on the low side working lap eight, but Thomas got him back with a similar move to the inside as they raced through Turn 3. Thomas led the next lap but Grant got the lead for good working lap 10. Sterling Cling of Indianapolis spun in Turn 4 with 11 laps down to give Thomas another shot on the restart, but Grant was up to the challenge and led the rest of the way.

Two-time USAC national sprint champion Brady Bacon, who now lives in Winchester, Ind., came on strong at the end to finish second. Thomas, who won this race last year, finished third. C.J. Leary of Greenfield, Ind., the 2019 USAC sprint car champion, placed fourth and USAC Triple Crown champion Dave Darland of Atlanta, Ind. finished fifth.

The entire program was streamed live on Flo Racing.

There were seven flips during the course of the evening, but luckily all of the drivers escaped serious injury. Max McLaughlin of Mooresville, N.C. flipped in midget practice. Meseraull flipped twice; first during midget time trials and then in his back-up car during the midget feature. Noah Gass of Mounds, Okla. flipped on the frontstretch with nine laps down in the second midget heat.  Adam Byrkett of Burnettsville, Ind. flipped in Turn 4 during the third sprint car heat. Ryan Hall of Midlothian, Texas flipped in Turn 1 with five laps complete in the midget C-main. Jake Swanson of Anaheim, Calif. flipped between Turns 1 and 2 later in that same race.

Wednesday’s program was the quarter-mile dirt track’s season opener since earlier races were postponed due to the coronavirus.

The track’s first Friday-night show of the year is tomorrow. It’s billed as the “Tin Roof Spectacular” and will feature UMP-style modifieds, street stocks, compacts and USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 midgets.

Larson celebrates with his 2 kids
Larson celebrates with his 2 kids

Tickets, priced at $15 for adults and $10 for students, will be available at the speedway box office. Children 12 and under are free. Pit passes, at $30 each, will be sold at the Indiana Oxygen-sponsored pit sign-in building.

The pit gate will open at 3 p.m.; spectator gates at 5, and the racing will start at 7:30.

Friday night racing will continue on June 26 with non-wing sprint cars, modifieds, street stocks and compacts.

Gas City I-69 Speedway is located on State Road 22, approximately a half-mile west of I-69, exit 259.

The track’s website is at GasCityI69Speedway.com.  Fans and competitors can also follow it on Twitter: @GasCitySpeedway; Instagram: @GasCitySpeedway and Facebook: GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas.

The results:

USAC Midget Fatheadz Eyewear Time Trials: (best of two laps): 1. Logan Seavey, 19az, Reinbold/Underwood-12.360; 2. Jake Neuman, 3n, Neuman-12.386; 3. Cannon McIntosh, 71k, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.444; 4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 17jr, Clauson/Marshall-12.446; 5. Rico Abreu, 67k, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.462; 6. Tanner Carrick, 35, Petry-12.473; 7. Kyle Larson, 86, Tucker/Boat-12.486; 8. Kaylee Bryson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.515; 9. Thomas Meseraull, 7x, RMS-12.517; 10. Buddy Kofoid, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.535; 11. Tyler Courtney, 7bc, Clauson/Marshall-12.577; 12. Maria Cofer, 57, Cofer-12.606; 13. Daryn Pittman, 21, Pittman-12.644; 14. Tanner Thorson, 19, Hayward-12.669; 15. Zach Daum, 5d, Daum-12.688; 16. Chris Windom, 89, Tucker/Boat-12.702; 17. Gio Scelzi, 84, Tucker/Boat-12.703; 18. Justin Grant, 4a, RAMS-12.710; 19. Kevin Thomas Jr., 5, Petry-12.730; 20. Brady Bacon, 4b, Klatt-12.790; 21. Dylan Ito, 73, Ford-12.809; 22. Daison Pursley, 9, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.820; 23. Cole Bodine, 39bc, Clauson/Marshall-12.820; 24. Carson Macedo, 21t, Tarlton-12.836; 25. Shane Golobic, 17w, Wood-12.868; 26. Kyle Cummins, 3g, Yeley-12.880; 27. Clinton Boyles, 98, RMS-12.880; 28. Brody Roa, 7m, Iron Dome/Moonshine-12.894; 29. Chase Johnson, 25, Malloy-12.937; 30. Ace McCarthy, 28, Dave Mac-12.944;  31. Jason McDougal, 21ks, Reynolds-12.962; 32. Robert Dalby, 4d, Dalby-12.997; 33. Andrew Layser, 82, Tucker/Boat-13.065; 34. Dave Darland, 2nd, Harris-13.099; 35. Jake Swanson, 73t, Ford-13.174; 36. Tyler Nelson, 88, Nelson-13.194; 37. Russ Gamester, 46, Gamester-13.209; 38. Noah Gass, 08, Dave Mac-13.248; 39. Jeff Wimmenauer, 15j, Wimmenauer-13.321; 40. Ronnie Gardner, 7r, Iron Dome/Moonshine-13.330; 41. Ethan Mitchell, 19m, Bundy Built-13.407; 42. Ryan Hall, 2, Bush-13.487; 43. Kameron Gladish, 20, Nolen-13.553; 44. Steve Buckwalter, 25b, Buckwalter-13.576; 45. Hayden Reinbold, 19a, Reinbold/Underwood-13.671; 46. Oliver Akard, 41, Akard-14.190; 47. Justin Dickerson, 21d, Dickerson-14.458; 48. Max McLaughlin, 97k, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-NT.    

USAC Midget Heat 1 (10 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Gio Scelzi, 2. Daryn Pittman, 3. Logan Seavey, 4. Shane Golobic, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Rico Abreu, 7. Chase Johnson, 8. Ethan Mitchell, 9. Dylan Ito, 10. Andrew Layser, 11. Russ Gamester, 12. Hayden Reinbold. NT.

USAC Midget Heat 2 (10 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Tanner Thornson, 2. Buddy Kofoid, 3. Justin Grant, 4. Tanner Carrick, 5. Jake Neuman, 6. Daison Pursley, 7. Ace McCarthy, 8. Dave Darland, 9. Ryan Hall, 10. Kyle Cummins, 11. Noah Gass, 12. Oliver Akard. NT.

USAC Midget Heat 3 (10 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2. Jack Daum, 3. Cole Bodine, 4. Tyler Courtney, 5. Kyle Larson, 6. Cannon McIntosh, 7. Jason McDougal, 8. Clinton Boyles, 9. Jake Swanson, 10. Kameron Gladish, 11. Jeff Wimmenauer, 12. Justin Dickerson. 2:12.881

USAC Midget Heat 4 (10 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Carson Macedo, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Kaylee Bryson, 4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Steve Buckwalter, 7. Brody Roa, 8. Maria Cofer, 9. Tyler Nelson, 10. Ronnie Gardner, 11. Robert Dalby (DNS), 12. Max McLaughlin (DNS). 2:13.862

USAC Midget C-Main (10 laps, 4 transferred): 1. Jason McDougal, 2. Andrew Layser, 3. Robert Dalby, 4. Russ Gamester, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Tyler Nelson, 7. Ronnie Gardner, 8. Hayden Reinbold, 9 Kameron Gladish, 10. Justin Dickerson, 11. Oliver Akard, 12. Jake Swanson, 13. Jeff Wimmenauer, 14. Ethan Mitchell, 15. Ryan Hall, 16. Steve Buckwalter, 17. Noah Gass (DNS), 18. Max McLaughlin (DNS). NT.

USAC Midget B-Main (12 laps, 6 transferred): 1. Rico Abreu, 2, Jake Neuman, 3. Kyle Larson, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Cannon McIntosh, 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Maria Cofer, 8. Chase Johnson, 9. Daison Pursley, 10. Jason McDougal, 11. Clinton Boyles, 12. Kyle Cummins, 13. Brody Roa, 14. Ace McCarthy, 15. Robert Dalby, 16. Dylan Ito, 17. Andrew Layser, 18. Russ Gamester. 2:43.872

USAC Midget Feature (30 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. Kyle Larson (14), 2. Buddy Kofoid (2), 3. Tyler Courtney (1), 4. Tanner Thorson (7), 5. Gio Scelzi (8), 6. Jake Neuman (11), 7. Logan Seavey (6), 8. Carson Macedo (10), 9. Tanner Carrick (4), 10. Kaylee Bryson (3), 11. Rico Abreu (13), 12. Justin Grant (19), 13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (5), 14. Daryn Pittman (16), 15. Chris Windom (18), 16. Kevin Thomas Jr (9), 17. Daison Pursley (23), 18. Shane Golobic (22), 19. Zach Daum (17), 20. Robert Dalby (24), 21. Brady Bacon (20), 29 laps; 22. Cole Bodine (21), 29 laps, 23. Cannon McIntosh (12), 11 laps; 24. Thomas Meseraull (15), 11 laps. NT.

Feature Lap Leaders: Laps 1-17, Tyler Courtney; laps 18-30, Kyle Larson.

Non-Wing Sprint Car Group 1 Hot Laps: 1. Max Adams, 12.355; 2. Brian anMeveren, 12.670; 3. Matt Westfall, 12.804; 4. Dave Darland, 12.864; 5. Matt Goodnight, 13.102; 6. J.J.Hughes, 13.258; 7. Cooper Welch, 14.795.

Non-Wing Sprint Car Group 2 Hot Laps: 1. Brady Bacon, 12.420, 2. Kyle Robbins, 12.443; 3. C.J. Leary, 12.447; 4. Keith Martin, 12.894; 5. Zach Pretorius, 13.210; 6. Joey Parker, 13.239; 7. Korbyn Hayslett, 13.438.

Non-Wing Sprint Car Group 3 Hot Laps: 1. Anthony D’Alessio, 12.722; 2. Charles Davis Jr., 12.802; 3. Justin Grant, 12.811; 4. Adam Byrkett, 13.094; 5. Tyler Kendall, 13.147; 6. Brayden Fox, 13.295; 7. Max Guilford, 13.344; 8. Evan Mosley, 13.528.

Non-Wing Sprint Car Group 4 Hot Laps: 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 12.693; 2. Dustin Smith, 12.787; 3. Travis Hery, 12.813; 4. Sterling Cling, 12.856; 5. Billy Cribbs, 12.899; 6. Aaron Farney, 12.902; 7. Aaron Leffel, 12.975; 8. Brayden Clark, 13.119.

Non-Wing Sprint Car Group 5 Hot Laps: 1. Thomas Meseraull, 12.672; 2. Brandon Mattox, 12.772; 3. Scotty Weir, 12.781; 4. Dustin Ingle, 12.856; 5. Clinton Boyles, 12.912; 6. Aaron Davis, 13.164; 7. Ricky Lewis, 13.207; 8. Lee Underwood, 13.237.

Non-Wing Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps, 3 transferred): 1. Dave Darland, 2. Matt Westfall, 3. Cole Ketcham, 4. Brian VanMeveran, 5. Max Adams, 6. J.J. Hughes, 7. Matt Goodnight, 8. Cooper Welch.

Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps, 3 transferred): 1. C.J. Leary, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Kyle Robbins, 4. Keith Martin, 5. Korbyn Hayslett, 6. Zack Pretorius, 7. Paul Dues, 8. Joey Parker.

Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps, 3 transferred): 1. Justin Grant, 2. Charles Davis Jr., 3. Tyler Kendall, 4. Anthony D’Alessio, 5. Brayden Fox, 6. Evan Mosely, 7. Max Guilford, 8. Adam Byrkett.

Non-Wing Sprint Heat 4 (8 laps, 3 transferred): 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2. Dustin Smith, 3. Sterling Cling, 4. Billy Cribbs, 5. Aaron Farney, 6. Travis Hery, 7. Brayden Clark, 8. Aaron Leffel.

Non-Wing Sprint Heat 5 (8 laps, 3 transferred): 1. Scotty Weir, 2. Thomas Meseraull, 3. Clinton Boyles, 4. Brandon Mattox, 5. Lee Underwood, 6. Dustin Ingle, 7. Aaron Davis, 8. Ricky Lewis.

Non-Wing Sprint B-Main 1 (10 laps, 3 transferred): 1. Anthony D’Alessio, 2. Max Adams, 3. Brian VanMeveren, 4. Paul Dues, 5. Evan Mosely, 6. Korbyn Hayslett, 7. Matt Goodnight, 8. J.J. Hughes, 9. Zack Pretorius, 10. Joey Parker, 11. Cooper Welch, 12. Keith Martin, 13. Adam Byrkett (DNS).

Non-Wing Sprint B-Main 2 (10 laps, 3 transferred): 1. Brandon Mattox, 2. Aaron Farney, 3. Lee Underwood, 4. Dustin Ingle, 5. Brayden Clark, 6. Max Guilford, 7. Braydon Fox, 8. Aaron Leffel, 9. Billy Cribbs, 10. Aaron Davis, 11. Ricky Lewis, 12. Travis Hery.

Non-Wing Sprint Feature (25 laps, with starting position in parentheses): 1. Justin Grant (3), 2. Brady Bacon (7), 3. Kevin Thomas Jr. (2), 4. C.J. Leary (1), 5. Dave Darland (5), 6. Matt Westfall (6), 7. Clinton Boyles (15), 8. Brandon Mattox (17), 9. Scotty Weir (4), 10. Charles Davis Jr. (8), 11. Max Adams (18), 12. Cole Ketcham (11), 13. Aaron Farney (19), 14. Lee Underwood (21), 15. Anthony D’Alessio (16), 16. Brian VanMeveren (20), 17. Kyle Robbins (12), 24 laps; 18. Tyler Kendall (13), 24 laps; 19. Dustin Smith (9), 21 laps; 20. Thomas Meseraull (10),  10 laps; 21. Sterling Cling (14), 10 laps.

         Margin of victory: 3.062 seconds.

         Fastest race lap: Justin Grant, 14.047 seconds.

         Time of race: 10:13.401.

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