Kyle Larson earned fast qualifier honors and then led 27 of 30 laps on the way to winning the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship “Summer Slash” event on the Dirt Oval at Route 66 as Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) led every lap in Saturday’s feature.
Five different Toyota-powered drivers have won this season in USAC competition as the manufacturer has now registered 18 overall national midget feature wins in 2019.
Larson started sixth in the field due to an inverted start, but quickly moved up to challenge pole-sitter and KKM teammate Jesse Colwell on the opening lap. Colwell would narrowly hold him off on each of the first two circuits before Larson used a slider to take the lead coming out of turn two on lap three.
Larson would take a comfortable lead before a yellow flag would bunch the field after 10 laps. At that point, KKM’s Logan Seavey would emerge as Larson’s main rival for the event after climbing up from the 12th starting position. Seavey, fresh off an Indiana Midget Week title, stuck right with his teammate after the restart and, on lap 15, threw a slider at Larson into turn one, emerging with the lead coming out of turn two.
Seavey maintained the lead for just one lap, though, as Larson got a run on the bottom of the track, using a slider to move back into the point position in turn one on lap 16. The KKM duo would run one-two for the next eight laps before Seavey made contact with the curb in turn four, giving up the second spot to Tyler Courtney.
As the laps began to wind down, Seavey would spin in turn two with just two laps remaining to bring out a caution. Seavey would drop to the back of the field and Larson would see his lead evaporate and be forced to hold off Courtney in a two-lap run to the finish. It wouldn’t be a problem for Larson, though, as he quickly pulled away while running the rim and went on to stretch out a 0.775-second lead over Courtney at the checkered flag.
The win was the first of the season for Larson in USAC competition, his second overall national midget feature win in 2019 and his 22nd career national midget feature victory – all coming with KKM.
Tanner Carrick would finish third to give KKM drivers two of the three spots on the podium, while Kevin Thomas, Jr., made it three Toyotas in the top five with a fifth-place showing.
Toyota drivers also would capture the remaining five spots in the top ten as Tyler Thomas would finish sixth, followed by Tucker Klaasmeyer, Jerry Coons, Jr., Jason McDougal and Tanner Thorson.
Seavey would finish 21st and remains second in the point race as he seeks his second consecutive USAC national championship and his third straight midget national title after earning top honors in POWRi in 2017.
The Toyota Midget car program is back in action Sunday night with the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League event at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway, while the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship returns to the track July 9 at Red Dirt Raceway in Meeker, Oklahoma.
|Finish||Toyota Feature Results at Dirt Oval at Route 66|
|5th||Kevin Thomas Jr.|
|8th||Jerry Coons Jr.|
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Courtney-849, 2-Seavey-733,3-Windom-732, 4-K. Thomas-731, 5-Wise-664, 6-Boat-637, 7-Carrick-574, 8-Klaasmeyer-567, 9-Coons-553,10-Leary-532
*Toyota drivers in bold
TOYOTA RACING PR