Larson Wins Controversial Trophy Cup
by Ron Rodda
Tulare, CA…The most dramatic and controversial finish in the 20 years of Trophy Cup events unfolded at Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway on Saturday when Kyle Larson limped across the line with a battered sprint car to take the checkered flag. Larson started 23rd in the fully inverted main and won the Cup title, but last lap drama overshadowed the accomplishment.
As the race leader, Brad Sweet, and 2nd running Larson were racing the final lap of the 50 lap event, Larson had the cup title already clinched by just finishing the race. A turn 4 collision between Sweet and Larson left the 4 car of Sweet upside down at the top of turn 4 while Larson’s also battered ride limped across the line. The checkered flag was thrown as Larson reached the line and the race was over.
Larson was on the very top of turn 4 while Sweet was a couple of feet lower when they came together on that final turn. Both racers reached the same spot at the same time and the damage followed.
The A main started the top 20 point cars from the six fully inverted heats for the top 48 point cars from Friday. An additional 4 transfers from the B main filled the field, with the B main cars automatically placed in the first two rows due to being the lowest point drivers.
Tim Kaeding led Larson by 2.5 points and with a five point drop per position, whichever driver finished in front of the other had the upper hand. Early in the race Kaeding was ahead, then they traded the honor several times, but Larson eventually put a couple cars between himself and Kaeding to take control.
With about 20 laps left, Jason Meyers became a factor and led the point battle for a few laps. Meyers needed to finish two positions of Larson, but with 12 laps left Larson was right behind Meyers to again lead the point chase. Larson used the topside of turn 2 to take 3rd from Meyers on lap 39 and threw a huge slider on Roger Crockett to take 2nd with 5 laps remaining.
Larson closed on Sweet as the final laps were raced, leading to the wild last lap, last turn action. Sweet had taken the lead from Steven Tiner on lap 19, committing to the high line around the racy 3/8 mile. Following Larson across the line after the collision were Crockett and Shane Golobic.
The final point tally shows Larson with 354.5 to Jason Meyers’ total of 334 while Rico Abreu finished 3rd at 308.
A main—Kyle Larson, Roger Crockett, Shane Golobic, Jason Meyers, Jonathan Allard, Rico Abreu, Kyle Hirst, Mason Moore, Terry McCarl, David Gravel, Cory Eliason, Tim Kaeding, Jason Statler, Brad Sweet, Bud Kaeding, Henry Van Dam, Kevin Swindell, Jonathan Cornell, Willie Croft, Jac Haudenschild, Geoff Ensign, Steven Tiner, Greg DeCaires, Bradley Terrell, Sean Becker
Top 10 in points Kyle Larson 354.5 Jason Meyers 334 Rico Abreu 308 Tim Kaeding 302 Kyle Hirst 302 David Gravel 298 Jonathan Allard 292 Shane Golobic 291.5 Roger Crockett 290.5 Terry McCarl 288