PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – Kyle Larson reminded everyone in attendance at Portsmouth Raceway Park Friday night exactly why he earned the nickname “Yung Money” during his youth.
Larson steamrolled the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions field at the three-eighths-mile dirt oval, banking the $15,554 paycheck awarded for winning the Dean Knittel Memorial in the process.
After winning the first of two dashes and starting from the pole, Larson took off into the night and never spared the rest of the field a passing glance.
He opened more than three seconds over runner-up Aaron Reutzel in the first four circuits and managed his gap – in spite of working through slower traffic – throughout the 30-lap feature.
Even a caution flag with five to go, brought out for the stalled car of Josh Baughman in turn four, couldn’t keep Larson from checking out.
He blitzed the final restart and took the checkers in front of Reutzel by a comfortable six car lengths.
“We were good, but you never know (if you’re safe) when Aaron’s behind you,” Larson said in victory lane. “It doesn’t matter what kind of pace you set; he always seems to push and press and match what you’re doing. I was trying to go hard, and when the track started taking rubber and getting single-file … I knew he’d be tough. A few weeks ago at Lawton, he was much better than I was in the rubber, so I was a little nervous.
“We had a good enough car to hold him off though, even when his teammate caused a yellow,” Larson added with a chuckle. “With five to go, you just hope you’re not going to catch traffic. This was good, though, and I’m glad to get another big win and a good payday.”
Friday night marked the 20th win for Larson this season between sprint cars and midgets, as well as his sixth with the All Stars and second during Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek.
Larson has finished no worse than sixth in his last 27 dirt races, dating back to May 30, with 15 victories during that stretch.
Of note, Larson’s score at Portsmouth moved him into sole possession of second on the all-time Ohio Sprint Speedweek win list with 11. It was also the 99th different race track he’s won at in his career.
Reutzel did what he could, hanging with Larson to the bitter end, but came home as the bridesmaid.
The good news for Reutzel, however, is that he extended his Ohio Sprint Speedweek point in a big way after incoming points runner-up Cale Conley missed the feature and third-ranked Paul McMahan finished 11th.
Brock Zearfoss completed the podium finishers, followed by Shane Stewart and Cole Duncan.
Jimmy Stinson, Stuart Brubaker, Zeb Wise, Skylar Gee and Hunter Schuerenberg made up the balance of the top-10 finishers.
Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek continues Saturday night with the Lou Blaney Memorial at Sharon Speedway.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.