Sunday February 12, 2012
During the Sprint NASCAR Media Tour Kyle Larson was introduced as the newest member of the Drive for Diversity program. With his successful open wheel background it would seem like a recipe for success. It didn’t take long for the recipe to yield a tasty result as Larson took the victory in his very first stock car race during the Pete Orr Memorial at New Smyrna Speedway. Larson made a bold pass on fast qualifier Ben Kennedy out of turn two on the final lap to grab the win. Kennedy’s car was disqualified for too much left side weight in post race inspection which gave Rich Clouser the runner-up spot. Stephen Nasse crossed the line ahead of David Rogers in third position while Anthony Sergi capped off the top five. In the Pro Late Model race Daniel Keene, Jr. beat Sergi for the win with Riley Emmel third, Spencer Davis coming home fourth and Bruce Bennett rounding out the top five.
The 100 lap Pete Orr Memorial for Super Late Models started with Rich Clouser on the pole thanks to the top four redraw, with Ben Kennedy, the quickest during qualifying, to his outside. At the drop of the green Kennedy and Clouser battle side-by-side for the first lap before Kennedy secures the top spot with Nasse following him into the second position. The top three distance themselves from the rest of the racing until lap 21 when Sergi goes for a twirl in turn two and brings out the first caution flag of the event. Sergi did not make contact with anything or anyone and rejoins the field. The race restarted with Kennedy and Nasse battling tooth and nail for two laps before Todd Allen put it into the inside wall at the exit of turn two and slid all of the way to turn three, ending his day with heavy damage. After the cleanup the race went green with Kennedy grabbing the lead ahead of Nasse and Clouser. The race was green until lap 41 when Alan Burns’ car rolled to a stop in turn two to bring out the caution again. As the race goes back to green, once Burns’ car is removed from the track, Kennedy reasserts himself at the point but Kyle Larson makes a strong move to wrest second place away from Nasse.
At the midway point of the race Kennedy is pulling away from Larson who is under intense pressure from Nasse for second. Bobby Good is riding in fourth position ahead of Jeff Scofield. Good gets around Nasse for third while Larson turns up the heat on Kennedy. While Larson eats away at Kennedy’s lead, Good, Nasse and Scofield are nose-to-tail for third through fifth. Just after the 25 to go mark Nasse finally gets back around Good to reclaim the third spot. With his rhythm broken, Good slips another spot on the next lap when Scofield sweeps by. At the 80 lap mark, Kennedy puts Mike Skinner a lap down as Nasse distances himself from Good. With 15 to go Kennedy is pushing his car to the limits but Larson continues to reel him in. At the 10 to go point Larson has whittled the once substantial lead down to two car lengths. On lap 95 Kennedy starts putting a little distance back between himself and Larson. As the field passes the line with three to go, Skinner’s car goes up in a plume of smoke as he approaches the start/finish line. Nasse’s car also slows down while Sergi takes another pirouette, this time in turn four, to bring out another caution flag.
The field will come to the green double-file for a green-white-checker finish. Kennedy is alongside Larson with Matt Tifft paired up with Scofield and Nasse next to Good. When the green flag goes in the air, Larson spins his rear tires, stacking up the field behind him. Scofield and Tifft both bounce off of the wall while Good spins to bring out the caution flag again. As the field lines up to attempt a restart again, Kennedy and Larson still occupy the front row ahead of Nasse and Clouser with Rogers and Sergi in row three. The green waves again and Kennedy gets the jump on Larson, coming around to lead the white flag lap as Larson maintains the pressure. As they come off of turn two, Kennedy opens the door on the inside and Larson sticks his nose in the space. They race door handle-to-door handle through turns three and four before Larson wins the drag race to the checkered flag.
The victory is Larson’s first in a full bodied stock car in his first attempt in one. Kennedy’s car was disqualified for too high of a percentage of left side weight, which moved Clouser up into the second place position in the final rundown. Nasse was able to rebound and claim third place. Rogers ended up being scored fourth while Sergi rebounded from two different spins to finish the race in fifth position. The second half of the top 10 was composed of David Green, Alan Burns, Scofield, Good and Tifft.
The Pro Late Models hit the track after the Pete Orr Memorial with Nathan Russell and Bruce Bennett leading the field to the green flag. As the flag flew, Bennett grabbed the point ahead of Russell with Daniel Keene, Jr. slotting in third. Keene worked his way around Russell for second place on lap three and continues to the lead on lap six. Keene opens up a substantial lead over Bennett with Spencer Taylor in the third spot as Russell’s car drops off the pace and he ends up pulling into pit road. On lap 14 Taylor goes around in turn four and brings out the caution flag. When the race goes back to green Keene pulls away while Sergi makes a move and finds himself in second position. Keene’s car seems to lose some of its dominant form as the race wears on and Sergi begins to apply pressure as the race gets to the 20th lap. While the leaders battle tooth and nail for the point, Riley Emmel moves into third with Spencer Davis and Bennett fourth and fifth. While Sergi applied constant pressure over the final five laps he was unable to get around Kenne, Jr. who notched the win. Emmel ended up third ahead of Davis and Bennett.
This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Mike Neff.
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