Besides Cassill, several others score season-bests at Talladega

Leave a comment

The crapshoot nature of Talladega is that it often presents an opportunity for smaller teams that avoid accidents a shot at a season-best finish.

Such was the case once again on Sunday, even though there wasn’t the much-loathed and much-feared “big one” that often seems to rear its ugly head.

Landon Cassill finished fourth, which was a breakout story on its own.

Meanwhile in sixth, Travis Kvapil posted a rare result while in the No. 33 Circle Sport Racing Chevrolet for Joe Falk. Kvapil’s season-best finish was 25th at Pocono in August driving for Frank Stoddard’s FAS Lane Racing in the No. 32 Ford. It marked his first top-10 result since coming home eighth at the 2012 fall Talladega race driving for BK Racing.

Each of those who finished 14th through 16th, Reed Sorenson, Cole Whitt and Michael Waltrip, posted their season-best results as well. Sorenson’s previous best this year was 16th at the Daytona 500, Whitt’s 18th at Fontana, and Waltrip’s 19th at the summer Daytona race.

Of the other part-time or otherwise “underdog” teams and drivers, Ryan Blaney finished 22nd in his second Cup start for Team Penske after starting fourth and running up front for a good portion of the race, Josh Wise was 28th as the Phil Parsons Racing No. 98 Ford was once again adorned in Dogecoin colors, usual Talladega surprises Front Row Motorsports were only 29th and 30th (David Gilliland and David Ragan), Trevor Bayne 32nd, Michael Annett 37th, Mike Wallace 38th, Michael McDowell 41st and the BK Racing teammates (JJ Yeley, Alex Bowman) 42nd and 43rd.

In his likely final start, two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte came home one lap down in 33rd.

Donny Schatz edges Kyle Larson for Outlaws victory at Lake Ozark

Trent Gower/World of Outlaws
Leave a comment

Donny Schatz made a last-lap pass on Kyle Larson, snatching a World of Outlaws victory Saturday night at Lake Ozark Speedway.

Larson started on the pole, led 30 of 35 laps and was in control until a caution set up a two-lap shootout to the finish before a limited crowd in Eldon, Missouri.

Schatz and Larson traded the lead twice over the final two laps, but the 10-time champion emerged with his first victory since the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returned in mid-May from a two-month layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

‘THEY’VE STUCK BEHIND ME’: Kyle Larson comments on future, Outlaws plans

“Man, I don’t know what to say, but Kyle’s a damn good racer,” Schatz, who led five laps, told DirtVision after his 296th Outlaws win. “I kind of had to go where he didn’t. We got that green-white-checkered, and I decided I was going to send it. He decided the same thing.

Donny Schatz celebrates at Lake Ozark Speedway after his second Outlaws Sprint Car victory of the season (Trent Gower).

“I’m glad to get the win. It feels like it’s been forever. I’ve been out here 24 years, and every night is a learning experience still.”

Larson finished second in his fifth start since he began racing with the Outlaws after being suspended from NASCAR.

“Obviously, it would have been nice to get the win,” Larson said on DirtVision. “I figured Donny would rip the middle. The restarts before, he’d almost clear me in (turns) 3 and 4. I should have known to protect and block his momentum. I felt I exited 2 OK. We don’t have spotters or rearview mirrors so you can’t see how close he is or really hear it when the pace is so slow.

“I just didn’t do a good enough job to run a smarter final couple of laps.”

Brad Sweet, Larson’s brother in law, finished third, with Shane Stewart and David Gravel rounding out the top five.

Larson rebounded from a 10th in Friday’s feature at Lake Ozark Speedway, continuing his streak of top-10 finishes in all five of his starts since the Outlaws’ return.

“We got our car a lot better from last night, so that was a plus,” said Larson, who finished second and first in back-to-back nights last week at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at Pevely, Missouri. “These guys are really tough. To be on the podium with Donny and Brad, they’ve won lots of big races and championships, it’s nice. I just didn’t do what I needed to do that last restart.”

Larson nearly had a flawless night Saturday, turning a 11.426-second lap to capture his second pole position this season and won the pole dash to start first in the feature.

Larson, who was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing from his NASCAR Cup Series ride last month for using a racial slur in an iRacing event, said last week that he plans to run several more NOS Energy Sprint Car Series races this year.

Larson remains indefinitely suspended by NASCAR but was approved to race by the Outlaws after completing sensitivity training.