Kyle Larson in victory lane. (Steve Bischoff photo)

Larson Delivers In East Bay All Star Finale

GIBSONTON, Fla. — Certainly synonymous with winning, especially in an open-wheel machine, Kyle Larson nearly swept Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 action on Tuesday night at East Bay Raceway Park, leading every circuit of the inaugural Jean Lynch Classic presented by Winn-Dixie for a $5,000 payday.

The 30-lap triumph, the product of an outside-front row starting position, was just one portion of Larson’s near-domination to close-out the All Star’s Florida tour. Larson set time during qualifying followed by a convincing victory during the second of two dashes.

Capping an East Bay visit that concluded with back-to-back runner-up performances, Ian Madsen finished second on Tuesday night, followed by Rudeen Racing’s Cory Eliason, a hard-charging Aaron Reutzel, who advanced 10 positions, and Tony Stewart.

Kyle Larson (Al Steinberg photo)

“My goal here as of lately was to get to the double-digit win mark in the (NASCAR) offseason and we were able to get No. 10 here tonight,” Larson said. “That’s not a bad stretch of races since Homestead ended. Hopefully we can move on and win a bunch of NASCAR races with Chip Ganassi Racing.”

Untouchable from start to finish, Larson’s only real challenges were in the form of cautions and lapped traffic, with the first caution appearing on lap seven and again on lap 29, ultimately setting up a two-lap dash to the finish.

Needless to say, the momentum shifts proved to be no harm to the familiar No. 57, keeping KCP Racing’s Ian Madsen in the rearview mirror the entire distance even when traffic hit its peak during a 22-lap green-flag stretch that extended until lap 29.

The caution with two circuits remaining erased a near-five second advantage for Larson.

“I just felt good all night long and it’s really fun to have a car like that. I was actually looking forward to traffic because I knew I had such a good car,” Larson said after his 10th career All Star triumph. “I really didn’t want to see that last caution because the pace started to slow down in three and four and I was lapping guys around the bottom. You never know where second is, so you gotta figure they would probably go where I wasn’t. I was planning on going to the bottom so I was hoping they wouldn’t get around me. It all worked out great.”

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson [2]; 2. 18-Ian Madsen [1]; 3. 26-Cory Eliason [3]; 4. 87-Aaron Reutzel [14]; 5. 14-Tony Stewart [5]; 6. 3C-Cale Conley [4]; 7. 13-Paul McMahan [7]; 8. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [8]; 9. W20-Greg Wilson [10]; 10. 5-Brent Marks [11]; 11. M1-Mark Smith [17]; 12. 4T-Terry McCarl [6]; 13. 48-Danny Dietrich [13]; 14. 28F-Davie Franek [12]; 15. 21-Brian Brown [9]; 16. 47X-Dylan Westbrook [15]; 17. 40-George Hobaugh [18]; 18. 44-Trey Starks [24]; 19. 1-Jamie Myers [16]; 20. 28-Tim Shaffer [22]; 21. 1080-Jordan Mackison [20]; 22. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [23]; 23. 4-Danny Smith [19]; 24. 15K-Chad Kemenah [21] Lap Leaders: Kyle Larson (1-30)


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