In his fourth race at Iowa Speedway, Kyle Larson earned another top-five finish in his No. 32 Eveready Chevrolet, coming home fifth in the U.S. Cellular 250 on Saturday night. In his one other NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at the .0875-mile track, Larson also finished fifth. In addition, he has two top-10 finishes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, finishing sixth and second.
Iowa Speedway is one of the few tracks on the NNS circuit where Larson has raced several times before, and the young rookie showed that he needed no learning curve at the Iowa short track, as he laid down the third-fastest lap in first practice and the second-quickest lap in final practice on Friday evening. Larson went on to qualify his No. 32 Eveready Chevy Camaro 11th for Saturday night's U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway.
Following the drop of the green flag, Larson fell back in the early going of the 250-lap race, settling into 13th position after several laps. He radioed to his Eveready team to explain that his Chevrolet was really loose off of Turn 4 and loose into Turn 3. Larson moved into the 14th position on lap 24 and remained there until the first caution flag waved on lap 53. Crew chief Trent Owens called the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender down pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments to tighten his No. 32 machine up on exit.
After his pit stop, Larson restarted in 18th on lap 60. He slowly gained positions on the track, but reported that he was still struggling with the same loose-off issues that he had prior to the pit stop. He continued to fluctuate between 16th and 17th position until he entered the top 15 on lap 107. On lap 133, he took over the 13th position and Owens radioed to his driver that he was the fastest car on the track. The caution flag was displayed again on lap 139 and the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports team made a large track-bar adjustment and gave Larson four tires and fuel.
Larson restarted in 12th position on lap 146 and radioed his crew two laps later to say "I have a racecar again," as he moved into seventh place. The 21-year-old took over the sixth position on lap 154 and entered the top five for the first time on lap 194. The third caution of the race waved on lap 200 and Larson brought his No. 32 Eveready Chevy in for four tires, fuel and no adjustments. With several cars in front of him taking two tires, Larson restarted in ninth on lap 206.
After a crazy three-wide restart, Larson slipped back to 11th initially but moved back up to eighth place by the time the final caution waved on lap 223. Larson restarted in eighth on lap 229 and went right to work, racing into fifth position by lap 233. He remained there until the conclusion of the race, bringing home another top-five finish at Iowa Speedway. Immediately following the conclusion of the race, Larson hopped in his car and traveled to Knoxville Speedway to compete in the 360 Nationals, where he started ninth and finished third.
"We had an interesting night," commented Larson. "After doing well in practice, we were pretty loose in qualifying and then once the race started, I continued to be really loose, especially on exit. The first two runs I wasn't able to do much, because I just couldn't get back on the gas quick enough. Trent [Owens] and my Turner Scott Motorsports crew made some great adjustments and after our second pit stop, our car was back to being really good. It's nice to be able to come back to tracks where I feel more comfortable; I think this 32 team is going to have a really solid second half of the season."
Larson will continue to race in Iowa for the remainder of the week, competing at Knoxville Raceway and Southern Iowa Speedway, before heading to Watkins Glen International for his first visit to the 3.4-mile road course. The Zippo 200 at The Glen will begin at 2:15 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 10, with live television coverage beginning on ABC at 2:00 p.m. The race can also be heard live on MRN Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio, channel 90.