On Monday, Feb. 18, short-track drivers from all across the country gathered at the historic Daytona International Speedway to compete in the first of two nights of action. Day one of The UNOH Battle at the Beach served as an all-star race of sorts, where champion drivers from the late model divisions in many of NASCAR's Home Tracks were invited to compete on a .4 mile short track set up on the speedway's superstretch.
The race featured many drivers who could be considered the future of NASCAR, including reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion Kyle Larson, who lead a contingent of five Rev Racing drivers.
Larson had a locked-in starting position for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race as part of the UNOH Battle At The Beach by virtue of series championship and two race wins during the 2012 season.
Interviewed before the event, Rev Racing general manager Derik Crotts stated “We’re excited about the opportunity to come to Daytona and are looking forward to what promises to be an exciting week of racing. We’ve got a great lineup of drivers competing for Rev Racing in both the Late Model and K&N Pro Series events at UNOH Battle at the Beach.”
During a heated last lap that some in the twitter-verse considered to be dirty racing, Kyle Larson spun C.E. Falk III to capture the NASCAR Whelen All-American race. Though he was greeted with boos from the assembled crowd, the win shows that this racing phenom is willing to do anything to win a race. To paraphrase Tony Stewart, he might even be willing to wreck his own mother!
Ben Rhodes took second place while Falk recovered quickly after spinning out to take third slot.
“This is a pretty big race and I wanted to be the first to win it,” Larson said.
Falk and Larson battled during the later stages of the race with Larson overtaking Falk in Turn 3 on lap 141. Falk regained the top spot on Lap 142 and held it until the rush for the checkered flag when the two cars made contact.
“I think I got monster trucked at the end,” Falk said.
The 150-lap race, which featured 29 drivers from 12 different U.S. states, saw nine caution flags.
Larson, who is running in all three races in the two-day UNOH Battle At The Beach, finished second in last Saturday’s Lucas Oil 200 Presented By MAVTV American Real ARCA Racing Series race. The Elk Grove, Calif. native will also compete in a fifth race in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300.
“I’m looking forward to those two,” Larson said referring to Tuesday night’s events.
The 20-year-old Larson is part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, which features up-and-coming drivers.
For anyone who enjoyed having the opportunity to boo Larson at Daytona on Monday night, they'll have yet another chance. Racing action continues at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday night with the UNOH Battle At The Beach. The .4-mile short track built on the backstretch hosts the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Race (150 laps, 60 miles) race at 7:15 p.m. ET, followed by the K&N Pro Series Race at 8:30. Both contests will be 150 laps and 60 miles.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion has tabbed Larson to pilot his Menards Chevrolet in the Modified event, which has made spot appearances in recent seasons with Ryan Newman behind the wheel. Unlike his K&N Pro Series entry, Larson is not locked into the Whelen Modified Tour feature and will have to race his way in through the qualifiers. It will mark Larson’s first time behind the wheel of a Modified. He will also be competing in the K&N event.
Tickets for all remaining Budweiser Speedweeks events are available online or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
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