Young Money Grabs Some Bank At The Winter Heat!

Kyle Larson

(WOMR file photo)

It had been slightly more than one year since “Young Money”, Kyle Larson, had strapped himself into a sprint car.  It was, in fact,  the Trophy Cup at the Tulare Thunderbowl in October of 2012, but he has not lost anything in that one year layoff.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson went to Victory Lane Saturday night in the Winter Heat Showdown sprint car feature at Cocopah Speedway in Somerton, Ariz. The victory came on the second of a five-night series of events at the 3/8-mile dirt track. 

Larson chased polesitter Aaron Reutzel for the first half of the 30-lap feature before misfortune struck in Reutzel’s second career 410 sprint car event. After powering to the cushion in turn one on a Lap 16 restart, Reutzel’s top wing appeared to buckle, forcing his car out of shape before coming to a stop next to the wall.

That gave Larson the lead, but on the ensuing restart Danny “The Dude” Lasoski executed a slide job in turns one and two to take the top spot. As Larson stayed within striking distance for the next few laps, Stevie Smith found grip at the bottom of the track, which started to propel him closer to the front with a dozen laps remaining.

Larson repaid the favor to Lasoski with a slide job for the lead in turns one and two with approximately eight laps remaining. Smith capitalized on Lasoski being slowed down and he vaulted into second place exiting turn two before stealing the lead in turn four.

“I slid (Lasoski) for the lead and I thought if I could clear him I’d be ok and then Stevie was to my inside and slid me in the next corner,” Larson said. “It was kinda game on from there. He was really good on the bottom and I was pretty good up top.”

Smith and Larson nearly touched in turn two the following lap before the final six circuits were tight in traffic.

Larson moved around Smith on the backstretch with six laps remaining before Smith regained the lead in turn four.

It all came down to the final lap.  As the white flag waived Kyle Larson and Stevie Smith were wheel-to-wheel. As they entered turns one and two for the final time, Larson slid up in front of Smith only to fall back to even with Smith as they exited turn two.  However, Larson got one heck of a run down the back straight, drove it deep, went high wide and handsome into turns three and four, never lifted out of the throttle, and edged out Smith to the checkered flag for the victory!

“It was a lot of fun,” Smith said. “We really wanted to win that race, but Kyle just, he didn’t give up and he earned it. We were just going back and forth and kinda just going where the other car wasn’t. When you get down to those last couple of laps and everybody is side by side you’re just going where the opening is and just feeling your way around.”

Lasoski finished third to mark his second straight podium result. He ranks third in the unofficial Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown points standings – only three markers behind Smith and fourth-place finisher Joey Saldana.

“I hope the fans enjoyed it,” Lasoski said. “The track crew did a great job. We had options. If your car was good and your mechanics did their job and the drivers did their job you could put on a great show and I think the fans saw that.”

David Gravel rounded out the top five. Ryan Smith rallied from 19th to a sixth-place result to earn the Hard Charger Award. Christopher Bell ended seventh and Craig Dollansky was eighth. Paul McMahan, the B Main winner and Friday’s inaugural Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown victor, maneuvered from 17th to ninth place with Dale Blaney finishing 10th.

NASCAR star Kasey Kahne missed recording his second straight top-10 result by one position.


Heat Race 1 (8 laps): 1. 51s-Stevie Smith (2); 2. 7-Craig Dollansky (3); 3. 57-Dale Blaney (6); 4. 42-Kyle Larson (8); 5. 15h-Sam Hafertepe Jr. (5); 6. 2l-Logan Forler (7); 7. 99-Skylar Gee (4); 8. 21-Brian Brown (1).

Heat Race 2 (8 laps): 1. 83-David Gravel (2); 2. 26-Joey Saldana (4); 3. 51r-Freddie Rahmer (1); 4. 51-Paul McMahan (5); 5. 9-Kasey Kahne (6); 6. 11-Steve Kinser (7); 7. 98-Matt Jensen (8); 8. 77x-Wayne Johnson (DNS).

Heat Race 3 (8 laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel (1); 2. 3c-Willie Croft (3); 3. 1s-Logan Schuchart (4); 4. 11c-Roger Crockett (8); 5. 5h-Dakota Hendrickson (2); 6. 1a-Jacob Allen (5); 7. 9r-Reece Goetz (7); 8. 88n-D.J. Netto (6).

Heat Race 4 (8 laps): 1. 31b-Christopher Bell (2); 2. 94-Ryan Smith (4); 3. 33-Danny Lasoski (7); 4. 82-Dusty Zomer (3); 5. 11k-Kraig Kinser (6); 6. 22-Mason Moore (5); 7. 33v-Henry Van Dam (1).

Qualifier 1 (10 laps): 1. 9-Kasey Kahne (2); 2. 42-Kyle Larson (4); 3. 33-Danny Lasoski (6); 4. 26-Joey Saldana (3); 5. 1s-Logan Schuchart (3); 6. 5h-Dakota Hendrickson (6); 7. Matt Jensen (DNS); 8. D.J. Netto (DNS).

Qualifier 2 (10 laps): 1. 11-Steve Kinser (1); 2. 11k-Kraig Kinser (2); 3. 51-Freddie Rahmer (3); 4. 51s-Stevie Smith (6); 5. 11c-Roger Crockett (4); 6. 94-Ryan Smith (5); 7. 9r-Reece Goetz (7); 8. 21-Brian Brown (DNS).

Qualifier 3 (10 laps): 1. 15h-Sam Hafertepe Jr. (2); 2. 7-Craig Dollansky (4); 3. 51-Paul McMahan (3); 4. 83-David Gravel (6); 5. 57-Dale Blaney (5); 6. 1a-Jacob Allen (1); 7. 99-Skylar Gee (7).

Qualifier 4 (10 laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel (5); 2. 82-Dusty Zomer (3); 3. 3c-Willie Croft (4); 4. 31b-Christopher Bell (6); 5. 2l-Logan Forler (2); 6. 22-Mason Moore (1); 7. 33v-Henry Van Dam (DNS).

B Main (15 laps/8 transfer): 1. 51-Paul McMahan (3); 2. 11-Steve Kinser (2); 3. 94-Ryan Smith (1); 4. 1s-Logan Schuchart (4); 5. 22-Mason Moore (8); 6. 2l-Logan Forler (5); 7. 1a-Jacob Allen (7); 8. 9r-Reece Goetz (8); 9. 99-Skylar Gee (9); 10. 5h-Dakota Hendrickson (DNS); 11. 98-Matt Jensen (DNS); 12. 33v-Henry Van Dam (DNS); 13. 88n-D.J. Netto (DNS); 14. 21-Brian Brown (DNS).

A Main (30 laps): 1. 42-Kyle Larson (3); 2. 51s-Stevie Smith (5); 3. 33-Danny Lasoski (2); 4. 26-Joey Saldana (9); 5. 83-David Gravel (6); 6. 94-Ryan Smith (19); 7. 31b-Christopher Bell (7); 8. 7-Craig Dollansky (4); 9. 51-Paul McMahan (17); 10. 57-Dale Blaney (13); 11. 9-Kasey Kahne (10); 12. 82-Dusty Zomer (12); 13. 51r-Freddie Rahmer (16); 14. 11c-Roger Crockett (15); 15. 3c-Willie Croft (8); 16. 11k-Kraig Kinser (14); 17. 22-Mason Moore (21); 18. 1s-Logan Schuchart (20); 19. 2l-Logan Forler (22); 20. 9r-Reece Goetz (24); 21. 87-Aaron Reutzel (1); 22. 1a-Jacob Allen (23); 23. 11-Steve Kinser (18); 24. 15h-Sam Hafertepe Jr. (11).


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