BECHTELSVILLE, Pa. — Kyle Larson romped to his sixth consecutive sprint car victory before a packed house during the NAPA Auto Parts Thunder on the Hill Racing Series at Grandview Speedway.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series point leader, who is competing in Pennsylvania Speedweek between NASCAR events, won for the third consecutive night aboard Paul Silva’s No. 57.
Larson began his sprint car winning streak with a June 13 World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series triumph and followed it up with June 19-20 Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions victories.
Larson may have taken the checkered flag, but the region’s top sprint car aces – dubbed the Pennsylvania Posse – didn’t take it easy on the California traveler
“I felt like I was playing defense all night, tonight,” Larson said. “Ryan Smith had a great car. I definitely got a little lucky.”
Ryan Taylor and Greg Hodnett led the field to the start. On the initial start, Larson – who started in the third position – shot inside Taylor in a three-wide battle for the lead. Hodnett and Larson engaged in an expert duel for the top spot, until contact between the two sent Hodnett’s No. 27 machine spinning toward the outside guardrail.
Larson set a rapid pace on the restart, with T.J. Stutts challenging for the lead. A lap-eight caution flag stacked the field, and a three-wide battle for the second spot ensued with Stutts holding off Taylor and Rico Abreu. It would be Abreu and Stutts with the short straw after contact between the two left both cars spinning.
Maintaining the lead through consecutive yellows, Larson pulled away from the pack at lap 11 with Taylor battling Ryan Smith for second place. The red flag flew for the first time on the 12th circuit when, three-time Thunder on the Hill winner, Tyler Walker got upside down in spectacular fashion, collecting Brandon Rahmer in the process.
While Larson held a comfortable lead on the restart, Ryan Smith began closing in.
A full-house of race fans leaped to their feet when Smith muscled around Larson exiting turn two, carrying that momentum into turn three before clipping the wall, sending The Warko Group No. 94 of Smith flipping wildly into the third turn. A dejected – but unscathed — Smith exited the car to a standing ovation from race fans.
Danny Dietrich would restart in the second position – but Larson was too quick for ‘Double D’. Aside from the leader, Dietrich had his hands full with third-place runner Freddie Rahmer who maneuvered his way into the second spot with five laps remaining.
Larson held the lead for the remaining five circuits claiming his third consecutive Pennsylvania Speedweek win. Freddie Rahmer finished in second – from an 18th-place starting position, Danny Dietrich in third, Ryan Taylor in fourth and Alan Krimes fifth.
Duane Howard won the companion sportsman modified feature.
Kyle Larson, Freddie Rahmer, Danny Dietrich, Ryan Taylor, Alan Krimes, James McFadden, J.J. Grasso, Dale Blaney, Brock Zearfoss, Rico Abreu, Lucas Wolfe, Gerard McIntyre Jr., Kasey Kahne, Mitchell Wormail, Jordyn Brazier, Sean Zemunik, George Streaker Jr., Ryan Smith, Davey Sammons, Tyler Walker, Brandon Rahmer, T.J. Stutts, Kyle Reinhardt, Greg Hodnett, Jared Esh.