Fool Kyle Larson once, shame on him.
Try to fool him twice though, and he’ll make you pay for it.
That’s what happened in Saturday’s ARCA 200 played out at Pocono Raceway.
Mason Mitchell did a great job getting a jump on Larson on the final restart 10 laps from the finish. Mitchell began to pull away to almost a two-second lead, but Larson got up on the wheel, tracked him down and ultimately passed for the lead and the eventual win with just three laps remaining.
It was Larson’s first win at Pocono, dominating by leading 65 of the event’s 80 laps.
“That was surprising,” Larson told Fox Sports about Mitchell’s late pass on him. “We had the dominant car by far the whole race. The 98 (Mitchell) surprised me, he was really fast and pulled away from me a little bit there.
“Then he got excited a couple times in (turn) 2 that killed his run and I was able to get a run on him and get to his inside. It would have sucked to lose that race.”
Larson becomes the 17th different winner in as many ARCA races at Pocono, and the 34th overall first-time winner across all racing series at the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
“It was a good day, we’re going into Sunday’s race and try to get a good finish tomorrow,” said Larson, who hopes for a weekend sweep in Sunday’s Pocono 400 Sprint Cup.
Mitchell is to be commended for the race he ran, even though he ultimately wound up with his second runner-up finish of the season and fourth overall of his young racing career.
“We made a bold move going into (turn) one on the restart but I had to do it to get in the front,” he said about passing Larson. “When we passed him on the restart, I did everything I could to hold him off. We did pretty good, going up against a Cup team there.”
While he failed to earn his first ARCA win, Mitchell will have plenty to brag about this week, taking a Cup driver almost to the end. One other good note for Mitchell: he leaves Pocono just 20 points out of the lead in the ARCA standings as the series shifts to Michigan International Speedway next weekend.
Also of note in the race was the fifth-place finish of Justin Allison, grandson of NASCAR’s fabled Alabama Gang co-founder, Donnie Allison, and grandnephew of three-time Pocono winner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison.
The third-generation racer had to finish the race with his transmission stuck in fourth gear.
“It wasn’t fun, that’s for sure,” he said of driving with just one gear. “Our car was really good all day. We ran in the top three most of the day.
“We just made the best of what we could and I’m definitely glad to come home with a top-five.”
Here’s the unofficial results from Saturday’s Pocono ARCA 200:
1. Kyle Larson
2. Mason Mitchell
3. John Wes Townley
4. Will Kimmel
5. Justin Allison
6. Josh Williams
7. Frank Kimmel
8. Grant Enfinger
9. Cody Coughlin
10. Karl Werner
11. Spencer Gallagher
12. Bobby Gerhart
13. Thomas Praytor
14. Kyle Martel
15. Ed Pompa
16. Tom Hessert
17. Tom Berte
18. Nick Igdalsky
19. Matt Tifft
20. Darrell Basham
21. Bill Catania
22. Justin Boston
23. Jay Curry
24. Austin Wayne Self
25. Brent Cross
26. Rick Clifton
27. Steve Fox
28. Don Thompson
29. Chris Bailey
30. Tim Viens
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