A torrid last-lap battle between rookie Tyler Reddick and championship contender Brett Moffitt in Saturday's K&N East Series season finale at Rockingham Speedway ended with Reddick in victory lane and Moffitt's title hopes wrecked on the 1-mile track's backstretch.
|Steven Legendre (No. 5) slides past a spinning Rafael Vallina in the K&N Pro Series East portion of the Classic 3 Championship at Rockingham Speedway. Frank Kimmel II celebrates in victory lane after winning the street stock feature at Rockingham. (Photo Credit: Jason D. Smith/pixelcrisp)|
With Moffitt having to settle for a 21st-place finish, the championship crown went to Kyle Larson, who led Moffitt by 10 points entering the season finale. Corey LaJoie, who placed second in Saturday's 100-lap race, was leading the standings immediately after his victory a week ago at Greenville-Pickens. However, he dropped to third in the standings before the season finale due to NASCAR docking him 25 points for using a carburetor that had an unapproved modification to it.
The crowning of the K&N East Series champion was the highlight of Saturday's Classic 3 Championship presented by RCR Racing Museum. In the day's other events, veteran Clay Rogers won the 75-lap UARA race, while Travis Swaim took that series title. In the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals race, Frank Kimmel II dominated the event, leading all 75 laps.
Reddick Wins First Time Out in K&N East; Larson Snags Championship
Reddick, a regular Dirt Late Model competitor, surprised everyone by capturing his first K&N victory in his first start in the series. The victory came in only Reddick's third asphalt race and his first NASCAR start. He also led only one lap, the final one.
"It's a shame me and the (No.) 11 [Moffitt] got together (on the final lap)," the 16-year-old Reddick said. "I had a really good run coming off of (turn) four. I got alongside him going into (turns) one and two. He should have known I would be alongside of him. I got on the outside of him through (turns) one and two. He kinda ran me up the race track and I wasn't going to give it to him.
"I just wish he'd left me a car length; that it would have been a clean race. It had been all day. It just didn't turn out that way. I'm going for the win. He's going for points and the win, too. It's just a bad deal. It's ashame it happened, but it's racing. It's going to happen."
|Kyle Larson celebrates his 2012 K&N East Championship at Rockinngham Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jason D. Smith/pixelcrisp)|
Moffitt led 15 laps before his championship hopes evaporated. Larson said as soon as he saw the smoke from Moffitt's last-lap spin he knew he had secured the title.
"It was a good feeling," the 20-year-old California native admitted. "The championship was Brett's until that last lap."
Larson said when he saw Moffitt take the lead on lap 85 of the 100-lap race he knew he had to get to the sixth position.
"The 18 [Darrell Wallace Jr.] tried wrecking us on the backstretch," Larson said. "He got by us. The 97 [Jesse Little] was just good enough to where I couldn't get by him."
Wallace Jr. was the race's top lap leader, setting the pace for the first 51 laps. The event's only other leader was Little with 33 laps. Reddick averaged 90.817 mph in the race that was slowed by four caution flags for 12 laps.
Rogers Dominates UARA for Fourth Rockingham Win; Despite Early Woes, Swaim Claims Championship
In the UARA season finale, Rogers led all 75 laps in collecting his fourth victory at Rockingham, a place the Troutman, N.C., resident admitted "has always been special to me." It was especially sweet for Rogers, who sees his career at a crossroads.
"I don't get to race as much as I would like to," Rogers said. "This is all I've ever done my whole life. I kinda feel like things are starting to close in on me a little bit. I've been debating on whether to hang the helmet up and helping some kids in this series. I love racing so much. Man, I just wish it was a little easier to make a living doing it."
|Clay Rogers celebrates his victory in the UARA portion of the Classic 3 Championship. (Photo Credit: Jason D. Smith/pixelcrisp)|
Rogers defeated 15-year-old Dillon Bassett for the victory, but it was Swaim who beat the teenager for the title despite mechanical issues on his car early in the race.
"The power-steering pulley broke off the motor, which was fine," Swaim said about his early race issues. "I could have driven it without power steering, but when it came off it took the hose and radiator with it and cooked the motor."
A quick thinking crew made repairs and got Swaim back into the event so he could complete 22 laps. That gave him a 24th-place finish and the championship.
"Thank God, we had that big lead heading in," said Swaim, who carried a 71-point advantage into the season finale. "I thought as soon as we had a problem we had to win the race. The 44 [Bassett] had a good chance of winning the race, so I thought we were done. (Crew chief) Rick Viers was calculating points the whole time, telling me."
Rogers said Bassett's car was "really good" for a couple of laps.
"I gave him plenty of room," Rogers said about his duel with Bassett. "He's racing for points and I was just racing for a win. I gave him space. I tried to race hard, but race smart. After a few laps, he started getting tight. He was really searching hard to get those bonus points for leading a lap. I wasn't trying to keep him from leading a lap, (but) I'll be 32 next week. He's just 15, so I wasn't too intent on letting him lead. At the end of the day it wouldn't have made a difference whether he led a lap or not."
Kimmel II Collects Second Straight Street Stock Win at Rockingham
|Frank Kimmel II celebrates in victory lane after winning the street stock feature at Rockingham. (Photo Credit: Jason D. Smith/pixelcrisp)(Photo Credit: Jason D. Smith/pixelcrisp)|
Just like Rogers, Kimmel II dominated his event.
"We had a good car today," Kimmel II said from victory lane. "It's just a shame that Chuck (Barnes, Sr., who has won three Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals events at Rockingham) was here. We beat him last time because of a mechanical failure. I would like a chance to race with him here again."
One year ago, Barnes edged Kimmel II by two feet to take the Polar Bear 150.
Rounding out the top five in the street stock race were Curtis Peeples, Jason Calhoun, Jason Leatherwood and Jeff Melton.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Returns to Rockingham April 14, 2013
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has a return engagement at Rockingham Speedway for a 200-mile race on April 14, 2013.
Rockingham Speedway PR