Kyle Larson rallies in closing laps to win Pocono ARCA 200

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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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Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

Ker Robertson/Getty Images
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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?