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Lost Contact, No Problem For Larson At Knoxville

Lost Contact, No Problem
Kyle Larson en route to victory at Knoxville Raceway. (Paul Arch photo)

KNOXVILLE, Iowa – Just when you think Kyle Larson can’t find any other impressive ways to reach victory lane, he pulls yet another trick out of his hat with the Silva Motorsports No. 57.

Saturday night, Larson’s latest act of sprint car brilliance came with the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions at Knoxville Raceway, where he dove past polesitter Gio Scelzi on lap eight of 25 and went on to a $5,000 win – his 28th of the year and record-setting seventh in a row with the All Stars.

That wasn’t the impressive part. The stunner was how he made it to the finish line out front.

After losing a contact lens while battling lap traffic midway through the feature, Larson overcame diminished vision in the closing laps, still opening up a massive six-second lead at the Marion County Fairgrounds half mile.

He eventually defeated a hard-charging Rico Abreu, who came from 13th to second, and Scelzi for his 13th All Star win of the year, seventh in as many appearances and third win in three nights this week.

It marked the 22nd career All Star triumph for Larson, who broke a tie with Tim Shaffer and Danny Lasoski for the most consecutive feature wins in the 50-year history of America’s Series.

“It’s really cool,” said Larson of his record breaking seventh win in a row and sixth career win at Knoxville. “I did read that (statistic) earlier today, and it added pressure to tonight. Qualifying well is important in every format you run. It was a good solid night though. You could get that diamond going in one and two a lot. Even late, I could make time following the top all around.

“I lost a contact, so I couldn’t see as well as I needed to, but my car was just good and I had some lines working for me,” Larson continued. “I could make runs off of two and then slide them in three and four. (Losing) the contact made it difficult. I hope I have a spare set in my bathroom bag!”

The feature took three tries to get underway, with the initial attempt at green-flag action halted by troubles for Aaron Reutzel and Kasey Kahne off turn two and the second try similarly slowed after A.J. Moeller spun off the second corner and his No. 20 got airborne before coming to rest backward.

After that, the 25-lapper ran uninterrupted and went green to checker in seven and a half minutes.

Behind the top three, Knoxville point leader Brian Brown crossed fourth and Shane Stewart was fifth.

Kerry Madsen, Cory Eliason, Davey Heskin, Ian Madsen and Josh Schneiderman filled out the top 10.

Lynton Jeffrey, who won the companion Knoxville Championship Cup 360 sprint car feature, started from the outside pole in an attempt to sweep the night and was never a factor. He finished 11th.

The All Star Circuit of Champions wraps up a four-day weekend Sunday night with the $20,000-to-win Huset’s Speedway Grand Reopening. It’s the first race at Huset’s under new track owner Tod Quiring.

The finish:

1. 57-Kyle Larson [3], 2. 24-Rico Abreu [13], 3. 18-Gio Scelzi [1], 4. 21-Brian Brown [6], 5. 71-Shane Stewart [10], 6. 2m-Kerry Madsen [4], 7. 26-Cory Eliason [7], 8. 56n-Davey Heskin [12], 9. 5-Ian Madsen [15], 10. 49-Josh Schneiderman [8], 11. 83-Lynton Jeffrey [2], 12. 87-Aaron Reutzel [21], 13. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [9], 14. 41s-Dominic Scelzi [14], 15. 7-Justin Henderson [23], 16. 09-Matt Juhl [18], 17. 17a-Austin McCarl [24], 18. 2ks-Brooke Tatnell [22], 19. 17w-Shane Golobic [19], 20. 13-Paul McMahan [25], 21. 17-Josh Baughman [16], 22. 9-Kasey Kahne [5], 23. 15h-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [17], 24. 44-Trey Starks [20], 25. 11-Zeb Wise [26], 26. 20-A.J. Moeller [11].

Lap Leader(s): Gio Scelzi 1-7, Kyle Larson 8-25.

Hard Charger: 24-Rico Abreu (+11)

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