HARTFORD, Ohio – Sunny, hot and humid weather greeted racing fans as Sharon Speedway once again welcomed the late World of Outlaws models on Saturday night for the first time in two years for the “battle on the border”.
The fast and racy surface produced some terrific runs as Kyle Larson (World of Outlaws) and Jeremy Double (Econo Mods) celebrated in Victory Lane. It was the fifth consecutive event completed as the 92nd anniversary season draws to a close.
Night after night, no matter the division, surface or track, Kyle Larson continues to amaze racing fans and racers across the country. On Saturday night, the two-time Sprint Car “410” winner at Sharon, made his Late Model debut on the track a victory. While the box score may show Larson leading all 40 rounds, the $ 10,000 win was far from easy.
Larson got into a fight early on with three-time outlaw world champion and current points leader Brandon Sheppard, then fought off a valiant effort from 14th start Ryan Gustin for his second win in three series starts. In the past week, Larson has beaten the outlaw world sprints for the Knoxville Nationals crown, won the IMS road course with NASCAR, and won two midweek USAC Midget races.
“I heard (Gustin) come into the first corner and saw him come out of the second corner,” said the Elk Grove, Calif. Star. “We kind of did a drag race in the backstretch. He tried to run and pinch me and sort of block my cursor, but I was able to have enough room to get in front of him and get up on the wheel from there.
“The top of turns one and two was definitely better when I got up there, and I just had to not make too many mistakes when I got up there. I feel like when a track is like this, it’s when I’m the best. I’m not yet the best at running the top in these things – it’s pretty hard to manhandle up there. When I don’t have to run at the top, I don’t have to try to run at the bottom, I can kind of use my momentum and use the middle to be good. It was good to get to a track that I’ve done a lot of laps on in a Sprint Car, but I kind of have a different track than I’ve ever been on here.
Larson grabbed pole for the feature film and quickly won ahead of Sheppard, Max Blair, Tyler Bruening and Colton Flinner. Bruening looked good as he passed Blair for third place in lap four and was all over Sheppard. Flinner then followed Bruening around Blair for fourth place in the seventh round.
Larson took the traffic in the ninth lap, while Blair was able to come back through Flinner for fourth place in the 11th lap. Eighth start Chris Madden became a factor when he passed Flinner for fifth on lap 13 and then would inherit fourth when Blair was pinched by lap. Bob Dorman’s car into an infield tire to bring out the first yellow of the event with 16 laps scored.
Back under the green, Flinner passed Madden again for the fourth, then bypassed Bruening for the third on lap 18. Meanwhile, Gustin was progressing and entered the contention when he passed Bruening for the fourth in lap 20. Gustin then fired under Flinner for the third. round 23.
Double traffic came into play for Larson on lap 26, but a warning for an idling Madden ended his night with 27 laps scored.
When the race resumed on lap 28, Gustin rounded Sheppard for second place. The last 10 laps saw Gustin all over Larson trying everything to pass him, but Larson managed to push back his challenges to win by just 0.613 seconds in the # 6 Kevin Rumley car. Gustin, a Rookie of the Year contender of the year of World of Outlaws, came in just short of his first career Series victory, but won $ 6,000 for the runner-up.
“We gave it our all, but we were beaten by the best driver in the world as far as I’m concerned,” said Gustin, who got into a hole early on after failing to progress after qualifying. and having to start at the tail of his heat stroke. “Nothing to hang your hat on there, but I wish he weren’t there, so we could have gotten our first win.”
Sheppard finished third ahead of Bruening. After moving up to third place, Flinner crossed the finish line in fifth with a great run to win $ 2,500 for the local runner from western Pennsylvania. Boom Briggs, Ricky Weiss, Chub Frank, Dennis Erb, Jr. and Gregg Satterlee completed the top 10.
Sheppard set a quick overall time against the 28-car field in qualifying with a lap of 16.637. Sheppard, Blair, Larson and Bruening won the qualifying races, while Chad McClellan took the last-ditch B main victory.
• Double fought for victory seemingly every night this year in the Econo Mods, but mechanical issues, either early in the night or late in the evening, kept his win tally to a single until Saturday evening. That changed as Double led all 20 laps of the warned feature and fended off a late challenge from Ty Rhoades to win $ 500.
“I knew there was a chance he (Rhoades) would pass me,” admitted the 25-year-old from Bristolville, Ohio. “I did too much on the throttle and brake on restart to enter the (turn) and it was the first time I saw a car next to me other than the initial start. We were side by side. and I was a little to the side, but luckily at the exit of turn four the yellow flag came out and we took the lead again. There were all these caveats and it would’ve sucked to lose it that way . I wish we could have put on a better show for the general public, but that’s what it is. “
Double used the away to take the lead from 2019 champion Dustin DeMattia, who returned to the Econo Mod rankings in the last two events after running UMP Modifieds. Rhoades, who won the modified $ 1,000 UMP title on July 31, started fifth and took third place from Andy Buckley after a restart in the sixth round.
Rhoades then passed DeMattia for second place on lap 12 after a restart. Rhoades landed three shots alongside Double during the double-lined reboots. It looked like he was going to lead in round 19, but a warning spoiled his potential winning pass.
Double was granted the restart and he held off Rhoades on the final restart as the race ended in a yellow checkered pattern due to a crash involving multiple cars in turn three on the last lap. Double’s first victory since June 5 came in his No.83 car. The 16th career Doubles victory with Sharon placed him in possession of second place on the division’s all-time win list.
Buckley finished third on the 12th starter from Will Thomas III. Jacob Eucker was fifth. DeMattia fell to sixth place as Gary Olsen, Kyle Layton, 14th starter Devin Henry and 15th starter Joe DeWoody completed the top 10. DeMattia, Double and Eucker won the qualifying races out of the 31-car field. Vinnie DePizzo won the Last Chance Principal B. It was Econo Mod’s second consecutive race with more than 31 cars.
• Coming up this Saturday will be the rescheduled “Bill Forney Memorial” as the RUSH Late Model Touring Series returns after an absence of nearly five years, and will compete for $ 3,199 up for grabs. The UMP Modifieds will make their last visit of the year for $ 1000 up for grabs. The non-winged RUSH Sprint Cars will once again be featured in their penultimate appearance in 2021. Both Pro Stocks and RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will participate in their final night of points.
SHARON SPEEDWAY RESULTS
• The late models of World of Outlaws: 1. Kyle Larson; 2. Ryan Gustin; 3. Brandon Sheppard; 4. Tyler Bruening; 5. Colton Flinner; 6. Boom Briggs; 7. Ricky Weiss; 8. Chub Frank; 9. Dennis Erb Jr.; 10. Gregg Satterlee; 11. Brent Larson; 12. Jared Miley; 13. Tyler Dietz; 14. Logan Zarin; 15. Levi Yetter; 16. Chris Madden; 17. Steve Kania; 18. Ryan Missler; 19. Max Blair; 20. Bob Dorman; 21. Doug drowning; 22. Chad McClellan; 23. Logan Jaquay; 24. Andy Boozel.
• Economy mods: 1. Jérémy Double; 2. Ty Rhoades; 3. Andy Buckley; 4. Will Thomas III; 5. Jacob Eucker; 6. Dustin DeMattia; 7. Gary Olson; 8. Kyle Layton; 9. Devin Henry; 10. Joe DeWoody; 11. Williams Pinckney; 12. Gary Robinson; 13. Gary Sullivan; 14. Troy Pinch; 15. Alan Dellinger; 16. Vinnie DePizzo; 17. Dale Reiser; 18. Zak Etzel; 19. Jordan Simmons; 20. Jarrett Young; 21. Junior Mechling; 22. Jason Gracey; 23. Keith Felicetty; 24. Mitchell Wright.