Schatz & Pittman Split Lernerville Twins
Sides jumped out to a quick lead, but a series of quick cautions gave fourth-starting Cody Darrah a chance to sweep into the lead on lap four. Darrah powered ahead and led the majority of the event while the action everywhere throughout the field.
After pulling off the track with ignition problems in the first feature, Larson started the second event 26th. He worked his way through the field, following Schatz a large portion of the race. With 25 laps complete and coming off of a restart, Larson was already running in fifth when plunged into turn one and the car pushed up and over the banking in turn two and he lost several positions. He got a huge break when the night’s top qualifier, local hero Ed Lynch Jr., tumbled into turn two and brought out a red flag. Lynch was OK and the field was reset with Larson in fifth because a lap had not been completed.
On the next restart, Darrah was still in the lead and faced his right rear tire losing air. Darrah was able to stay on the throttle hard enough to keep enough air in the tire to restart the race, but another caution on the next restart because of contact between Larson and Dollansky created concern in the Darrah pits. Darrah again kept enough air in the tire to restart the race in single-file because there were fewer than five laps remaining. Just as Darrah was coming to the white flag, his right rear tire finally let go, allowing his Kasey Kahne Racing teammate and point leader Pittman around and into the top spot as the caution waved, setting up the green-white-checkered finish.
Pittman led Sammy Swindell and Larson to line when Larson charged around Swindell and began gaining on Pittman as the crowd cheered wildly. Larson ran out of laps to complete the last-to-first run as Pittman crossed the stripe in his Kasey Kahne Racing Great Clips car to win for the seventh time this season.
“We struggled in the first one and the best part about twin feature is we were able to try some stuff and make some changes from the first one and get a lot better,” said Pittman. “It’s a pretty cool format to go out there and get two chances to go out on the same race track and Kale did a great job getting the car better. We’ll definitely go to Williams Grove with a little momentum.”
When asked about seeing Larson’s nose wing late in the race, and knowing he started last, Pittman replied, “He’s Kyle Larson. He’s always got a chance.”
Larson still passed 24 cars, generally a full-feature field for the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series, to earn the second KSE Hard Charger award for the night.
“The first feature I thought I was blowing up,” said Larson. “It was making funny noises and slowing down, I pulled off hoping we could change the motor for the second feature, but they didn’t find anything, just changed the spark plugs and ran great second feature. We started dead last and got moving pretty quick early in the race, but then we wasted a lot of time behind Tim (Kaeding). Once I got by him we got our momentum going and I could get a car or two a lap. We came up just a lap short of the win, but it’s pretty nice getting all these podiums.”