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A Birthday Victory For Kyle Larson

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Published in Racing
Saturday, 01 August 2020 04:04

WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa — Celebrating his 28th birthday, Kyle Larson conquered Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 competition Friday night at 34 Raceway.

The victory, Larson’s 12th of the season with the traveling All Stars, as well as the 21st of his career during series competition, was accomplished from the outside of the second row, eventually tracking down race leader and evening polesitter Cory Eliason just before the midpoint of the 30-lap program.

Larson’s trek to the front commenced right from the drop of the green. After powering into third on the opening lap, Larson utilized a pair of cautions, a red flag incident on lap four, followed by another slow down on lap seven, to keep the top-two in check, ultimately sneaking around Austin McCarl for second following the lap seven restart.

Meanwhile, Cory Eliason was the man in charge, doing his best to run away in clean air.

Although Eliason’s pace seemed untouchable, lapped traffic created an instant roadblock for the Visalia, California-native giving Larson the chance to close the gap in a hurry. By lap 12, the lead pair were engulfed in slower cars. They raced nearly nose-to-tail throughout the 12th circuit before Larson made his winning move the following trip around 34 Raceway.

Kyle Larson battles Cory Eliason (26) at 34 Raceway. (Mark Funderburk photo)

A slingshot move through turns three and four sealed the deal allowing Larson to drive by the Rudeen Racing No. 26.

Periods of even heavier traffic allowed Eliason to keep pace with the leader, but Larson’s move to put Zeb Wise a lap down on lap 16.

By the time the final checkers were shown, Larson’s advantage stretched to just shy of five seconds. Eliason held on to finish second, followed by Tucker Klaasmeyer, Austin McCarl and Gio Scelzi.

“After that second restart, I knew that I had to try something to get around (Cory Eliason). I knew the top was there, so I just started hammering away at it,” Larson said. “I think he heard me because I noticed he was trying to make himself wide to kinda screw up my momentum, but we were able to get by. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson [4]; 2. 26-Cory Eliason [1]; 3. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer [3]; 4. 17A-Austin McCarl [2]; 5. 18-Gio Scelzi [8]; 6. 49-Josh Schneiderman [9]; 7. 2M-Kerry Madsen [10]; 8. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [7]; 9. 9-Kasey Kahne [11]; 10. 87-Aaron Reutzel [12]; 11. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [6]; 12. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [16]; 13. 13-Paul McMahan [14]; 14. 99-Skylar Gee [13]; 15. 71-Shane Stewart [15]; 16. 17-Josh Baughman [5]; 17. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [21]; 18. 35-Zach Hampton [18]; 19. 44-Chris Martin [23]; 20. 11-Zeb Wise [20]; 21. 21-Brian Brown [17]; 22. W20-Greg Wilson [22]; 23. 44S-Trey Starks [19]; 24. 70-Cale Thomas [24] Lap Leaders: Cory Eliason (1-12), Kyle Larson (13-30)

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