Larson Keeps Rolling At Port Royal

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Kyle Larson (57) races under Daryn Pittman at Port Royal Speedway. (Dan Demarco photo)
Kyle Larson (57) races under Daryn Pittman at Port Royal Speedway. (Dan Demarco photo)

PORT ROYAL, Pa. — Before Kyle Larson rolled off for his first of two laps in time trials along the Port Royal frontstretch runway, he glanced off to the side and noticed two bull-shaped trophies resting in victory lane.

One would ultimately go to the winning driver, while the other goes to the winning car owner.

But in that moment, Larson, the Bob Weikert Memorial points leader going into Sunday’s final at Port Royal Speedway, had no idea.

“I was like cool, maybe I’ll be able to get one,” Larson said before backtracking. “Well, that’s if I win.”

Typically, all of Larson’s trophies go to his owner, Paul Silva. On Sunday night, that sweet looking bull trophy was all his as he rolled to yet another victory in the 30-lap, $10,000-to-win All Star Circuit of Champions feature at Port Royal.

There was little doubt Larson wouldn’t continue this epic run of dominance and in the end that sweet looking bull trophy which symbolizes Weikert’s iconic livestock business put one big smile on Larson’s face.

“That’s definitely one of the most unique trophies I’ll have in my trophy case and I’ve got some pretty cool ones,” said Larson, who’s now won 20 of his last 33 races on dirt, including six in a row in Pennsylvania. “I’ve been saying the same thing every night: it’s been good. I’d like to keep this rolling. I really do.”

Everything seemed ordinary for Larson from the get-go until his heat race. He timed second of 45 cars but since Sunday’s format inverted the top 32 drivers across four heats, Larson lined up eighth in the heat race. Points are awarded in time trials and heat races, as well as passing points, and all Larson needed to do was put himself in the top 10 points wise to make it to the redraw.

But over the 10-lap, Larson only passed two cars and he finished sixth. It was ultimately good enough to get him to the redraw, but early in the night it appeared Larson may have come back down to earth. That was, however, all a part of the plan. Not the coming back down to earth part, but Larson intentionally ran conservative to save his right rear tire, knowing he’s good on points to make it to the redraw with his second-place effort in time trials.

Larson drew sixth for the feature and already started in his preferred lane, the top, and worked his way through the leaders lap by lap. By lap two he was already up to fourth and two laps later he moved into third.

Up front, meanwhile, race-leader Carson Macedo and Aaron Reutzel were racing hard for the lead, which allowed Larson to close in by lap eight. On lap nine, Larson threw a dicy two-for-one slider into turn one on Macedo and Reutzel and somehow made it stick to take control.

“I was not expecting to go from third to first in one and two, but it worked out,” Larson said.

While Lance Dewease charged from 10th to finish second and even challenged Larson a few times using the bottom and middle of the track, it was over from there, as Larson walked the delicate line of mastering the top and using his right rear tire wisely.

When Larson reached victory lane, his third trip in as many days having won at Williams Grove on Friday and Port Royal on Saturday, you could genuinely tell these moments do not get old one bit. He did his usual wing dance, something he’s gotten pretty good at these days and kissed his daughter Audrey as they rounded the front of the car for a photo op.

He even asked the Weikert family about those two bull-headed trophies, which were soon to be presented to him.

 

“Hey, we get both of those, right?” Larson asked them.

Yes, he got both of them, and sometime along the way he’ll truly stop and reflect on all this, that what he’s putting together right now will be talked about for decades to come. But for now, he remains in the moment, probably because he doesn’t want it to end.

“We’re still winning, which is probably why I haven’t stopped to really think about what we’re doing,” Larson said. “If I started to put together some bad runs I think when you start to get down on yourself you can go back to this and remind yourself, ‘Hey, we’re going on a run nobody has in a long time.’ Right now, I’m just taking it race by race.”

The finish:

Feature (30 laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson [6]; 2. 69K-Lance Dewease [10]; 3. 39M-Anthony Macri [9]; 4. 29-Danny Dietrich [5]; 5. 1A-Jacob Allen [8]; 6. 41-David Gravel [11]; 7. 5-Brent Marks [22]; 8. 83-Daryn Pittman [3]; 9. 72-Ryan Smith [20]; 10. 5C-Dylan Cisney [19]; 11. 1S-Logan Schuchart [7]; 12. 26-Cory Eliason [15]; 13. 51-Freddie Rahmer [17]; 14. 13-Paul McMahan [13]; 15. 17-Josh Baughman [23]; 16. 17h-Sheldon Haudenschild [12]; 17. 55-Mike Wagner [27]; 18. 11-Zeb Wise [25]; 19. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [21]; 20. 9-Kasey Kahne [24]; 21. 2M-Kerry Madsen [1]; 22. 2-Carson Macedo [2]; 23. 87-Aaron Reutzel [4]; 24. 17B-Steve Buckwalter [16]; 25. 2f-AJ Flick [26]; 26. 55K-Robbie Kendall [18]; 27. 39s-Sammy Swindell [14] Lap Leaders: Carson Macedo (1-9), Kyle Larson (10-30)