Kyle Larson pulled away from his friend Rico Abreu on a late-race restart to win the Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions (VIROC) feature at Tulsa Expo Raceway (OK) Tuesday night. In honor of the late Bryan Clauson, Larson took home $6,363 for winning the 20-lap race.
“This is cool to win this race in honor of Bryan,” Larson said on the Racinboys.com live broadcast. “I think it’s my [second] time winning the Race of Champions, so thanks to [car owner] Keith [Kunz] and everybody.”
Larson, also the 2014 winner of the VIROC race, started from the pole position with Abreu to his outside. Despite a few challenges from Abreu, a two-time Chili Bowl winner, Larson pulled away and dominated the opening laps.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was well on his way to a flag-to-flag victory before John Heydenreich’s spin on lap 19 bunched the field back up.
Another caution on the ensuing restart for J.J. Yeley’s spin would give Abreu a final shot at the win, but he didn’t have enough to beat his Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate.
USAC driver Dave Darland, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series competitor Tim McCreadie and Thomas Meseraull completed the top five.
Kim Stewart, the mother of Bryan Clauson’s girlfriend Lauren Stewart, announced after the race that race will continue to be $6,363 to win moving forward in memory of Clauson. That is a jump from the $2,500 that racers battled for prior to this year’s running of the race.
-Story by Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Cracked Lens Photography
Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions Unofficial Results
1. 71K-Kyle Larson; 2. 97-Rico Abreu; 3. 6K-Dave Darland; 4. 47X-Tim McCreadie; 5. 1R-Thomas Meseraull; 6. 71-Christopher Bell; 7. 76M-Brady Bacon; 8. 84X-Chad Boat; 9. 21K-Cory Kruseman; 10. 21-Daryn Pittman; 11. 67-Tanner Thorson; 12. 5-Jerry Coons Jr; 13. 47-Danny Stratton; 14. 71G-Damion Gardner; 15. 24-Tracy Hines; 16. 1-Sammy Swindell; 17. 05-Brad Loyet; 18. 1ST-J.J. Yeley; 19. 15-Donny Schatz; 20. 22H-John Heydenreich