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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AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”