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Jun 10, 2013 - 05:37 PM
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2013 Iowa: Kyle Larson NASCAR Nationwide Race Recap
Posted by: newsla on Jun 10, 2013 - 05:32 PM
NASCAR News
2013 Iowa: Kyle Larson NASCAR Nationwide Race Recap


Kyle Larson's impressive rookie season continued as he brought home a fifth-place finish in the rain-delayed DuPont Pioneer 250, his first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Iowa Speedway. Larson's No. 32 VIZIO/Hulu Plus Chevrolet Camaro was fast right off the truck, and the 20-year-old driver qualified 10th after two successful practice sessions. He remained in the top 10 throughout the 250-lap race and gained several spots in the closing laps, earning his fourth-consecutive top-ten finish and his third top-five finish of the season.

 

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The weekend started off strong for Larson at Iowa, as he recorded the second-quickest time in first practice and finished fourth quick in final practice on Friday. Larson and his Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) team returned to the track on Saturday afternoon for qualifying. After going out 37th, Larson laid down a 23.298-second qualifying lap, placing his No. 32 machine 10th for the start of Saturday night's race. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not cooperate and the race was postponed until Sunday morning due to bad weather conditions.

Under sunny skies, Larson took the green flag from the tenth spot. He remained in that position when the first caution flag of the day was displayed on lap four. Larson maintained his position on the restart before moving into ninth on lap 24. The Elk Grove, Calif. native radioed to his crew 10 laps later that his No. 32 VIZIO/Hulu Plus Chevrolet was a little free going into Turn 1 and felt tight off of both corners. As sprinkles started to fall, the team remained on the track until NASCAR called for a competition caution on lap 52. Crew chief Trent Owens called Larson into the pits for four tires, fuel and a slight air-pressure adjustment and he returned to the track in eighth.

Following the pit stop, Larson began to work his way forward, entering the top five on lap 100. After taking over the fourth spot on lap 113, Larson radioed his VIZIO/Hulu Plus team to say that his car was now feeling tight on throttle. A few laps later, he explained that his No. 32 machine had gotten extremely tight and Owens called his rookie driver in for a green-flag pit stop when Larson reported feeling a vibration on lap 130. After green-flag pit stops had cycled through, Larson was scored in the sixth position.

When the third caution of the day fell on lap 150, Larson radioed to say that his Chevrolet was feeling pretty loose into the corners but that it was good on exit. Larson came in for another pit stop, and his TSM team opted for four tires while several competitors in front of him only took two. Larson restarted in the ninth position on lap 155. One lap later, the yellow flag was displayed again for an incident in Turn 2. Rain had started to sprinkle, and NASCAR was forced to pause the race and call for the red flag when the rain began to fall heavily.

Just over an hour later, the field returned to the track and Larson again restarted in the ninth position. Larson moved into eighth before the final caution flag of the day waved on lap 173. Following the restart, the young driver explained that his No. 32 Chevrolet felt fine, but that he was lacking speed. He remained in the eighth spot for the next 50 laps as his car began to get freer. However, as the laps began to wind down, Larson's VIZIO/Hulu Plus machine came to life and he began a charge to the front. On lap 230, he took over the seventh spot, and within 10 laps he had moved into the top five. He went on to finish the race in fifth, earning his third top-five and seventh top-10 finish this season.

"I'm happy to head out of Iowa Speedway with a top-five finish," commented Larson. "Our car was really good all weekend, so I'm glad we were able to get in the full race. I had a little damage on my nose from the initial start, which I think messed with the handling some, but we were able to overcome and still get a good finish. I have to thank my team for all the hard work this weekend; we had a fill-in pit crew today, but they did a really good job for us and we gained positions on every pit stop. We have had some really solid runs lately, and I hope to continue the momentum next weekend at Michigan."

Larson is currently 10th in the NNS Driver Point Standings. He will spend the week racing sprint cars in Indiana before returning to the NNS series next Saturday, June 16, at Michigan International Speedway. The Alliance Truck Parts 250 airs live on ABC at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

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