Oskaloosa, Iowa…….Kyle Larson of Elk Grove, California is now four-for-four in the seat of the Hoffman Auto Racing Mean Green – Oxydol #69 Chalk/Stanton Mopar after winning his second-straight Casey’s General Stores “Ultimate Challenge” presented by Searsboro Telephone Company at Southern Iowa Speedway on Tuesday night. The win made him the first two-time winner of the storied event in it’s eleventh running and was worth $15,000.
Justin Grant led from the pole after winning his heat and the dash in the Mark Hery-owned Sunset Meats – S&H Nerf Bars #40 DRC/Claxton. The top-side was the place to be as Grant led comfortably while Thomas Meseraull and Dave Darland moved by Jerry Coons, Jr. for second and third.
An early restart gave Darland the chance to go for the second spot as he slid under Meseraull in turn-one, but Meseraull got into the back of Darland’s car and slowed them as Larson hit the bottom to pick up several spots after restarting sixth. With a turn-one slidejob on Meseraull, he took the second spot.
Just after that, Brady Bacon stopped in turn-three and set up another restart. This time, Larson peeled off to the bottom and slid up in front of Grant for the top spot. Darland soon followed and it was off to the races. Without a caution, the two negotiated heavy traffic late in the race as Darland closed. He tried a turn-one move once, but had to pull in behind Larson. The two opened up over 3.5 seconds on the field as Larson sealed the deal and held off the Lincoln, Indiana veteran.
“The first restart, I thought I missed the bottom, and then they were all racing each other and I got a big run off the corner. I got Dave in three and had enough momentum to throw one into one for second. It’s really key to keep all four in the moisture down the straightaway on the restarts, and on the second one I pushed him all the way down there and was able to clear him for the lead. We caught a big bunch of cars there late, and I couldn’t get by guys. I knew Dave had to be coming, but I never saw him. If I would have seen him, he would have gotten me up on the wheel and I might have done something stupid, so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t,” Larson said.
Darland came up just short in his bid for his fifth win of the year in the Jeff’s Jam-It-In Storage – Parker Store of Phoenix #11 Maxim/Claxton, but was quick to offer congratulations to Larson in victory lane.
“I never got close enough to try anything big to get by him. We had a great race car again tonight. Unfortunately, Meseraull and I got to racing and touched and lost all our momentum. The next thing I know, Larson is by us and we’re back in fourth or fifth. The race track was good and fast, haulin’ ass up top. He just never made a mistake once I got back up to second and got close to him. I was gonna throw a slider if I had a chance, but every time I seemed to get a run, I’d lose the front end a little off turn-four and have to back off,” Darland said.
Grant held on for the final podium spot, even after losing it to Meseraull in the mid-portion of the race.
“I was kinda cruising out front early. I changed what I was doing after that first restart. Once Kyle slid me, it broke my momentum and they just kept coming at me. I finally got my rhythm back and passed Meseraull, but those guys were just really good. It feels really good to come and put this thing on the podium, especially after turning over here last year,” Grant said.
Chris Windom finished fourth in the Pollock Racing – Bates Commodities #21 Maxim/Advanced, and Coons rounded out the top-five in the Phillips Motorsports-owned R&B Trucker’s – Jockish Flowers #71P DRC/Foxco.
The event was run under “Special Event” status, which awarded appearance points towards the AMSOIL National Sprint Car championship. Jon Stanbrough leads Levi Jones by four points heading into Friday’s race at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Michigan.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: August 7, 2012 – Oskaloosa, IA – Southern Iowa Speedway – 11th Annual Casey’s General Stores “Ultimate Challenge” presented by Searsboro Telephone Company
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Chris Windom (21, Pollock), 2. Jerry Coons, Jr. (71P, Phillips), 3. Jon Stanbrough (21x, Roberts/Tate), 4. Chase Stockon (32, Stockon), 5. Brady Bacon (99, BBR), 6. Levi Jones (20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian), 7. Daron Clayton (92, Clayton). NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Damion Gardner (71, DG), 2. Thomas Meseraull (5x, Baldwin), 3. Tracy Hines (4, Hines), 4. Darren Hagen (69OT, Dynamics), 5. Hunter Schuerenberg (35, Byram), 6. Bret Mellenberndt (97, Mellenberndt), 7. Robert Ballou (81, MPHG). 3:12.41
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Justin Grant (40, Hery), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (9K, BlackJack), 3. Bryan Clauson (7, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Casey Shuman (22, Batcheldor/Rice), 5. Geoff Ensign (22, Lems), 6. Robert Bell (71x, Bell), 7. Greg Clemons (55, Clemons). 3:10.72
DASH: (8 laps) 1. Grant, 2. Coons, 3. Meseraull, 4. Darland, 5. Gardner, 6. Windom, 7. Larson, 8. Thomas. 2:31.01
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kyle Larson, 2. Dave Darland, 3. Justin Grant, 4. Chris Windom, 5. Jerry Coons, Jr., 6. Thomas Meseraull, 7. Bryan Clauson, 8. Tracy Hines, 9. Levi Jones, 10. Jon Stanbrough, 11. Damion Gardner, 12. Chase Stockon, 13. Shane Cottle (5, Baldwin), 14. Darren Hagen, 15. Geoff Ensign, 16. Bret Mellenberndt, 17. Brady Bacon, 18. Casey Shuman, 19. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 20. Hunter Schuerenberg, 21. Robert Bell, 22. Greg Clemons, 23. Robert Ballou. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Grant, Laps 8-30 Larson.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stanbrough-1,441; 2-Hines-1,437; 3-Darland-1,337; 4-Clauson-1,251; 5-Gardner-1,174; 6-Hines-1,146; 7-Thomas-1,102; 8-Ballou-1,095; 9-Stockon-1,086; 10- Schuerenberg-1,067.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: August 10 – Lake Odessa, MI – I-96 Speedway