Larson Blazes Past Macri At The Grove

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Kyle Larson in victory lane at Williams Grove Speedway. (Dan Demarco photo)

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Kyle Larson blazed into turn three with four laps remaining Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway and threw everything into that cold-blooded slider on race-leader Anthony Macri.

It was all on display in that exchange for the lead: the souring level of confidence, the impressive race machine, and the exact reason why Larson and Paul Silva are sprint car’s unassailable force.

Larson landed the slider like a boxer knocking out his already defeated opponent on the ropes, as he and Silva’s astounding run coursed another thrilling chapter on Friday night.

For the 18th time in his past 31 races on dirt, Larson parked it in victory lane, this time with the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions at Williams Grove.

And through this run, it might be remembered as his most forceful performance. Larson started his late-race march from fifth on a restart with 15 laps to go to win by 1.338 seconds over Macri, the polesitter.

“It’s really cool,” Larson said. “Anytime you win here, it’s special. I only have two wins here but both have been special.”

Both of those wins Larson alluded to have come over the past three weeks at Williams Grove and it marks as the fourth victory in a row for the Californian in Pennsylvania Posse land, dating back to July 2 at Hagerstown Speedway.

Larson started his night in typical fashion, going out 30th of 39 cars in time trials and still winning quick-time with a lap of 16.950. Because of the series format, he had to start fourth in his heat and needed to only qualify to enter the re-draw for the dash.

After eventually finishing third in his heat, he started fourth and finished third in the four-lap dash and lined up to roll off sixth until fourth-place starter Sammy Swindell broke during the pace laps.

This moved Larson to fifth by the time the green flag dropped and he stayed there until the lap 15 mark, when a caution came out for a slowing Josh Baughman. To that point, Larson was trying to put hours of film study to good use and replicate the line Lance Dewease has perfected on hot nights when the track can get slick.

“I’ve seen Lance make the middle and bottom work so much, so I was trying to see if I could do what he could do, and it just wasn’t working out for me,” Larson said. “Then that caution came out, and I decided I needed to get up in it more.”

That’s when the whole complexion of the race changed. Not when the caution essentially spit the race in half, but the shift in mindsets for Larson in those remaining 15 laps. By the time it reached eight laps to go, Larson surged his way to second, moving around Carson Macedo, Darryn Pittman and Kerry Madsen on this ultra-determined, late-race march to the front.

Four laps later, even after getting bent out of shape three times by hopping the cushion and over-running a tight race car, Larson sent his banzai slider into turn three in cold-blooded fashion. Macri, who had already shown signs of slippage, had no counter and once Larson slid across his nose it was all but over.

“[Turns] three and four, you can slide people and they can’t get back by you,” Larson said. “In one and two, there’s time for them to cut the corner and get by you. Three and four we had to get aggressive.”

Macri and Madsen finished on the podium in second and third, respectively. David Gravel and Pittman rounded out the top five.

The finish:

Feature (30 laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson [5]; 2. 39M-Anthony Macri [1]; 3. 2M-Kerry Madsen [2]; 4. 41-David Gravel [7]; 5. 83-Daryn Pittman [4]; 6. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [11]; 7. 48-Danny Dietrich [16]; 8. 2-Carson Macedo [3]; 9. 87-Aaron Reutzel [9]; 10. 51-Freddie Rahmer [12]; 11. 5-Brent Marks [8]; 12. 26-Cory Eliason [6]; 13. 17H-Sheldon Haudenschild [21]; 14. 91-Kyle Reinhardt [10]; 15. 11T-TJ Stutts [15]; 16. 13-Paul McMahan [19]; 17. 21-Brian Montieth [14]; 18. 14-Parker Price-Miller [17]; 19. 24-Lucas Wolfe [20]; 20. 39-Jason Solwold [18]; 21. 1X-Chad Trout [13]; 22. 1W-Matt Campbell [25]; 23. 11-Zeb Wise [22]; 24. 99-Skylar Gee [24]; 25. 17-Josh Baughman [26]; 26. 3-Jac Haudenschild [23]; 27. 39S-Sammy Swindell [27] Lap Leaders: Anthony Macri (1-26), Kyle Larson (27-30)