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With a comeback from 15th to first, Kyle Larson wins eighth consecutive

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Kyle Larson continued his unbeatable run through the dirt Thursday night, winning his eighth consecutive start over the past 12 days.

After starting 15th at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana, Larson passed Tanner Thorson for first on Lap 22 of 30 and led the final nine laps on the 5/16ths-mile oval to remain unbeaten through three races of the 16th annual Indiana Midget Week. He also became the first driver to score three victories during a single IMW.

“To come from 15th like that on a super technical racetrack is very special to me,” Larson said, according to Richie Murray of USACRacing.com.  “I had a good line working in (turns) 3 and 4. People would enter in and turn across, and I felt like I could run above the cushion the whole way and be good. It got some holes developing over there. It was a little tricky.”

Thorson was second in the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget event, followed by Cannon McIntosh, Chris Windom and Shane Golobic.

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“(Larson is) the best there is,” said Thorson, who also finished runner-up in the IMW opener. “There’s no two ways about it. To run second to him, I guess it’s saying something, but damn, I want to win. I need to stop this guy.”

It was the second straight night that Larson overcame a mediocre starting position in a 30-lap feature. On Wednesday, he started 14th and led the final 13 laps to win the main event at Gas City I-69 Speedway.

Larson has won eight consecutive starts in three series across five states over the past 12 days.

It began with a June 7 victory in the All Star Circuit of Champions at Park City, Kansas. He also won in the All Star Circuit (410 winged sprint cars) on June 8 in Oklahoma and June 10 in Texas.

Larson then swept the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car feature races June 12-13 at Knoxville Raceway.

He started Indiana Midget Week by winning the Tuesday night opener at Paragon Speedway, where he set a qualifying record in his debut at the track.

Night 4 of Indiana Midget Week will remain at Lincoln Park Speedway before moving Saturday to Lawrenceburg Speedway and Sunday to Kokomo Speedway.

“(I had) just a really great car once again,” Larson said, according to USACRacing.com.  “(It’s) cool to be the first to win three Indiana Midget Week races and in a row too. That’s special. Hopefully, there’s many more the rest of the week. It’s been a lot of fun.”

A nightly bounty of $1,000 had been posted Wednesday and rolled over for any driver who could beat Larson during Indiana Midget Week. Because Larson won again, the money will be donated to the Indiana Donor Network in his name.

Larson, who has been focused on dirt racing while remaining on an indefinite suspension from NASCAR for using a racial slur during an iRacing event, has 10 consecutive Midget victories in the United States. The streak dates to last year and includes his breakthrough in the 2020 Chili Bowl.

RESULTS

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kyle Larson (15), 2. Tanner Thorson (4), 3. Cannon McIntosh (1), 4. Chris Windom (6), 5. Shane Golobic (13), 6. Zach Daum (2), 7. Justin Grant (18), 8. Chase Johnson (11), 9. Buddy Kofoid (5), 10. Clinton Boyles (8), 11. Rico Abreu (14), 12. Tyler Courtney (10), 13. Tanner Carrick (17), 14. Jake Neuman (3), 15. Daison Pursley (23), 16. Kaylee Bryson (20), 17. Cole Bodine (19), 18. Kevin Thomas Jr. (16), 19. Maria Cofer (22), 20. Thomas Meseraull (7), 21. Carson Macedo (12), 22. Jason McDougal (9), 23. Brady Bacon (21). FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Cannon McIntosh 1-9, Tanner Thorson 10-21, Kyle Larson 22-30.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.