Kyle Larson continued his siege on NASCAR by winning the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model portion of the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach on Monday evening at Daytona International Speedway.
The reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion out of Elk Grove, Calif., swapped the lead with C.E. Falk three times over the final 10 laps after starting the race from the second position. On the final lap coming out of Turn 4 of the .4-mile oval Larson made contact with Falk, the race leader, and powered to the victory.
“It's the first race I've ever one in that manner, but this was a pretty big race,” Larson said. “I wanted to win it. It's the last lap. You have to slow down so much in the center of the corner, I got run on him and got into the back of him. I got underneath him and then got him around. I feel bad for him, but like I said, I wanted to win.”
Ben Rhodes, who led a race-high 87 laps, finished second while Falk regrouped to finish third. Anthony Anders and Deac McCaskill finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Falk was disappointed with the turn of events after leading 61 laps.
“I just tried to protect the bottom as best I could,” Falk said of the last lap. “He got me once and I thought I was going to be OK, but I was wheel-spinning the whole time. Finally, he just finished us off. I've got some great notes for next year to go and try and win this thing.”
Matt Bowling, 2012 Whelen All-American Series national champion Lee Pulliam, Dalton Zehr, Brandon Rogers and Garrett Campbell completed the top 10.
Earlier in the day, Rhodes and Larson won the two qualifying heat races that set the lineup. By virtue of a coin toss, Rhodes got lane choice and picked inside. Larson is competing in all three series – Whelen All-American Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour – over the two-day event.
Additionally, the K&N Pro Series and Whelen Modified Tour held practice sessions. Greg Pursley led the way for the K&N Pro Series while Larson paced the field for the Whelen Modifieds. Both those series will be back on the track for a pair of practice sessions on Tuesday before their respective qualifying heat races. The Whelen Modified Tour feature race is set for 7:15 p.m. ET followed by the K&N Pro Series main event at approximately 8:30 p.m.