Kyle Larson used a different strategy than most of his competitors Wednesday night during the Speed51 Open at Millbridge Speedway (NC). The strategy was one that ultimately paid off in the amount of $5,151 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star. .
While many of his competitors elected to use a harder tire compound in preparation for the longer distance 51-lap race, Larson choose a softer compound. That softer compound allowed him to take the lead from polesitter Maria Cofer during the early stages of the race and pull away to win the prestigious Outlaw Kart race.
“It feels good. We were a little softer on compounds than the rest of them. (The tires) held up really well, I had a lot of grip,” Larson said on the live Speed51 TV broadcast. “I still had a lot left in it on that last restart. It was good to get the lead and just run the middle there. We’ve been struggling out here. Thankfully, Jimmy Elledge took this frame to the shop the other day. We threw it together Tuesday morning and here we are in victory lane.”
A handful of cautions slowed the pace of the event, but Larson was able to pull away from the field each time. Larson’s biggest scare came in the form of defending winner and eventual second-place finisher Logan Seavey.
Seavey found himself all over the back of Larson’s No. 1K on a restart with three laps to go but was unable to make a pass on the race lead.
“I was worried about a lot of people,” Larson said in victory lane. “I didn’t think the middle was going to be that good. I thought it’d come in later in the race. I didn’t think it’d be that good from the start. I was able to get to the inside of Maria (Cofer). I don’t know what happened to Tanner (Thorson), I felt like I was really good to where I could get by him.
“Once I got the lead I’d go hard for a few laps then try to save my tires. I got through traffic pretty well. It was good to pick off cars really quick. I was trying to look back as much as I could and I could see Logan was putting on a good race behind me. I knew I had to stay smooth and not make any mistakes.”
Adam Welch, Tyler Seavey and Buddy Wise completed the top five. Roy Hayes won the 20-lap non-qualifiers race to end the night.
Fans who were unable to watch the race live on Speed51.com will be able to purchase an on-demand replay of the broadcast Thursday for $19.99.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Speed51 Open Unofficial Results
May 25, 2016 – Millbridge Speedway (NC)
|11||8JR||Brian McGahan Jr.|