Larson Leads K&N East To Greenville
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Originally scheduled to be the 11th event on the 14-race 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule, the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 will now be a major factor in shaping the championship picture when the postponed event finally takes the green flag this Saturday at Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway.
The day the race was originally to be contested, Sept. 3, Brett Moffitt had a 20-point lead on Kyle Larson with four races to go. But rain washed out everything but practice that day, and the race was postponed. As the series returns to Greenville for a second shot at the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140, many things have changed in the championship chase.
Larson now holds the points lead, by the slimmest of margins, as he leads Corey LaJoie by a single tally with just two dates left on the schedule starting with Greenville.
Looking at the two races left, it would appear LaJoie is in prime position to earn his first K&N Pro Series East title. Not only did he win last time out at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Sept. 28, but LaJoie was runner-up to Darrell Wallace Jr. in the series’ first race at Greenville in March and has won in each of his three career appearances in non-NASCAR events at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway, site of the East season finale on Nov. 3.
First things first, however, for LaJoie as he will have to start at the rear of the field this week at Greenville.
When the event was first scheduled to run on Labor Day, LaJoie was had the fastest car in final practice, but he missed the drivers meeting, a penalty that will carry over to this week and have him at the tail end of the 25-car starting grid.
And while experience seems to be on LaJoie’s side with these two events left on the schedule, true rookie Larson has had little trouble overcoming his lack of it this season. Although he finished two laps down in 17th place at Greenville in the spring – one of just two results outside the top 10 – Larson has posted a series-best average finish of 6.7 through his first 12 K&N Pro Series East races.
Larson will also start on the outside pole on Saturday since he was second in points when the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140 starting field was set by the rulebook on Sept. 3.
While Larson and LaJoie will wager their season points battle on Saturday, Wallace will look to continue to add to his résumé at Greenville after he became the first K&N Pro Series East driver to earn two wins at the historic half mile.
Moffitt, who is just eight points back of Larson in the season standings, has also found plenty of success at Greenville during his career, and can be expected to contend not only for the checkered flag, but to figure prominently in the points race.