Larson scores local sprint win before sold out crowdBy: Gary Thomas
Returning to the track where he made his first career sprint car start and won his first ever race 10 years ago, local native Kyle Larson proceeded to make a mid-race move around Kyle Hirst en route to winning the second round of action with the new Sprint Car Challenge Tour.
The current NASCAR Monster Energy Cup point leader, who now lives in Hunterville, North Carolina, was making a rare appearance at the Placerville Speedway last Saturday, April 15, and took home $4,000 for his efforts on Saturday night.
Larson’s victory came aboard the potent Silva Motorsports/Finley Farms Special No. 57 machine, in what was a stout field of 63 Winged 360 Sprint Cars with the Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Abreu Vineyards.
“That was definitely a great race tonight,” Larson said. “Early on I just tried to be patient racing behind Kyle Hirst and Rico (Abreu) because they set a really good pace. After I got around Hirst for the lead I felt like I could control things out front. Big thanks to Paul Silva and this entire team for all their hard work. I also want to thank all the fans for coming out and supporting this new series.”
Early on in the 40-lap feature it was Hirst that jumped into the lead and had to fend off the pressure applied to his rear bumper by Abreu. At one point Abreu was able to get around him for the top-spot, only to have a yellow negate the pass.
He continued to race closely behind, however, until getting to Hirst’s inside on lap 18, but caught the infield berm just enough to shoot him sideways, resulting in the Abreu Vineyards 24 spinning to a stop. Fremont’s Shane Golobic had nowhere to go and contacted the stalled Abreu.
On the restart, Larson found himself in second and immediately went to work on the leader. After a couple laps, he sliced his way by the Roth Motorsports 83 and grabbed the lead that he would never relinquish. Fresno’s Gio Scelzi, a 15-year-old rising star in California sprint car racing made a final lap pass of Hirst to scoop up second.
Hirst, Watsonville’s Justin Sanders and Hollister’s Ryan Bernal rounded out the top-five. Willie Croft, Mason Moore, Justyn Cox, Shane Golobic and Sean Becker completed the top 10.
The companion event with the C&H Veteran Ent. presents Hunt Magnetos Wingless Tour picked off by Santa Rosa’s Klint Simpson, who made it back-to-back wins in the Dave Johnson No. 32 mount.
The defending tour champ led all 25-laps, but had to fend off the challenges of Casey McClain as the laps wound down. McClain brought home a runner up finish to earn his best result of the Hunt Tour season thus far. Austin Liggett wound up third, with Buddy Kofoid fourth and Kalib Henry in fifth.
The Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Abreu Vineyards and the C&H Veteran Ent. presents Hunt Magnetos Wingless Tour will return to Placerville Speedway on Friday, August 25.
The Placerville Speedway resumes action next Saturday with the opening Red Hawk Casino championship point race.
Full results will be available at placervillespeedway.com.