EAGLE, Neb. — After leading 29 of the 30 laps Tuesday at Eagle Raceway, Daryn Pittman couldn’t withstand the late-race charge from Kyle Larson and Shane Stewart.
Larson, driving a second car for the Stenhouse Jr. Wood Racing team, whipped around the top side of the high-banked third-mile track and passed Pittman for his first World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series victory of the season..
When the 24-car field got the green flag, Pittman got the jump and rocketed out to the lead — a lead that he had to relinquish because of a yellow flag for a spinning Paul McMahan and Jason Johnson. The field would have a complete restart with the yellow coming out before a lap could be completed.
Once the field got back going again, Pittman once again found himself out front, holding off eight-time and defending World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series champion, Donny Schatz.
Larson was inside the top five when the red flag waved on lap 12 when Austin McCarl and Cap Henry tangled in turn three.
Back under green, Larson Marks Racing’s Shane Stewart and Larson put the pressure on second-place Schatz. With under 10 laps remaining, both Stewart and Larson set their sights on the leader Pittman.
“I got racing Shane [Stewart] pretty hard – I have fun racing him,” said Larson.
Navigating their way through lapped traffic through in turns three and four with less than three laps to go, Stewart stuck to the bottom of the track while Larson went to the top. As the two entered turn one, they banged wheels; Larson was able to gain the second position.
With his sights clearly set on the leader, Larson kept his No. 17k wound up on the top side of the Eagle Raceway to get by Pittman to lead the white-flag lap. Larson went on to victory.
“We are there [close to a win], unfortunately we just need to finish it out,” said Daryn Pittman. “Second sucks. We haven’t been in the position all year and here we were. [Kyle] ran a good race and we just got beat.”
Clearly a special win for Larson and the Stenhouse Jr. Wood Racing team as Larson paid homage to the late Bryan Clauson, who drove for Wood Racing last season.
“I can’t believe I parked it here, it’s pretty cool,” Larson said. “I think this is this team’s first win, so happy to be a part of that.”
It was Larson’s fifth career WoO victory, first since 2013 and first outside of California.
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