Kyle Larson takes Truck win at Eldora
Kyle Larson wasn’t about to let this one get away.
Larson has coveted a win in the only dirt race on the NASCAR national series’ schedules and managed to do it the hard way, coming from a lap down Wednesday night to win the Dirt Derby Truck series race at Eldora Speedway.
Larson was penalized in the second 50-lap segment for intentionally bringing out a caution and lost a lap but by the start of the final 60-lap segment, he had powered up to third. Larson passed Bobby Pierce for the lead with 30 of the 150 laps remaining.
Pierce tried one final time three laps later, sliding around Larson to retake the lead, but ended up hitting the wall and losing his right-rear tire.
Last year’s winner, Christopher Bell, ended up second, Rico Abreu third, Jake Griffin fourth and Tyler Reddick was fifth.
“It means a lot, especially losing the way I did the two years I ran,” said Larson from Victory Lane. “I had to put on a show. We got the flat tire there early, I knew we would get a ‘lucky dog,’ I just didn’t know if I could get back to the top-three as quick as I did.
“It just worked out where I got by Bell when he got in the wall and I think Bobby had a gear issue. He was definitely better than I was for sure.”
Pierce, who battled for the win last year with Bell, said he had difficulty getting off the corners and his No. 63 Chevrolet was stuck in fourth gear late in the race.
“I caught (Larson) a little bit, he hit the wall and I tried to slide him. I went in there a little too hard, it was super-slick and I got the wall and knocked the right-rear (tire) soff the rim and that was that,” he said.
Several contenders suffered severe damage in an eight-truck wreck on Lap 37 during the opening 40-lap segment of the race, which started with contact between Stewart Friesen and Caleb Holman.
Also involved in the incident were Daniel Hemric, Ben Kennedy, Cameron Hayley, Spencer Gallagher, William Byron and John Hunter Nemechek.
Larson grabbed the lead from Pierce on Lap 34 and remained out front at the conclusion of the first 40-lap segment. Pierce led at the conclusion of the second 50-lap segment.
Last-chance qualifying race
Cody Coughlin took an early lead in the 15-lap last-chance qualifying race and with four laps remaining, Abreu moved into second, with the top two finishers transferring to the main race.
Coughlin held off a furious charge from Abreu to win the event with both drivers moving on to the 150-lap Dirt Derby.
The results of the heat and last-chance races were used to fill 27 of the 32 spots in the field.
Ben Rhodes, who started on the pole in the fifth 10-lap qualifying race, got off to a quick start and had little trouble holding off Bell for the win.
Hemric was third, Hayley fourth and Sheldon Creed grabbed the fifth and final transfer spot.
J.R. Heffner took control early on the fourth 10-lap qualifying race and had little problem holding off Spencer Gallagher for the win as he led from start to finish.
Brandon Brown was third, Timothy Peters was fourth and Tyler Young grabbed the fifth and final transfer spot in a photo finish over Chris Fontaine.
Ken Schrader, who started on the pole, took a commanding led in the third 10-lap qualifying race before the race was placed under caution on Lap 4 for debris in Turn 2.
Two laps after the restart, Byron spun after contact with Abreu to bring out another caution but he did not hit the wall.
Abreu and Travis Kvapil made contact with two laps remaining, which Kvapil did not take kindly and he repeatedly slammed into Abreu’s truck while the two headed to pit road.
Schrader held on for the win, followed by Sauter and Justin Shipley.
Reddick started from the pole and led from start to finish, holding off Larson for the win in the second 10-lap qualifying race. Friesen was third, Kennedy was fourth and Matt Crafton fifth.
The first 10-lap qualifying race got off to a slow start with Jordan Anderson spinning and backing into the wall. Brady Boswell hit the wall on the restart but no caution was displayed.
Pierce, who started fourth, captured the heat victory, followed by Holman and Griffin. Anderson slammed into the wall again as he crossed the start/finish line. The heat win gave Pierce the first starting position for the 150-lap race.
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