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NASCAR’s Larson wins at Grandview | Sports

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BECHTELSVILLE, Pa. – Kyle Larson still loves racing sprint cars every chance he gets.

He loves winning in them, too, and did that Tuesday night at Grandview Speedway during Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek.

Larson, the driver of Chip Ganassi’s No. 42 in the NASCAR cup series, took the lead from Greg Hodnett and then held him off through lapped traffic and following a late-race restart.

His second straight Grandview Speedweek win was worth $7,000.

“I’ve always liked it here since the first time I came in 2012,” Larson said. “I’ve been on the podium every time here. It’s such an awesome crowd tonight. This place is packed. That was a pretty exciting race from my seat. Every time I went to the top in traffic, I could see Hodnett to my inside. It was such a fine line running the wall. I’ve made some mistakes recently getting into the wall. I was a little nervous.”

It was Larson’s fourth Speedweek win in six starts over the last two seasons.

“It’s always satisfying when you can win a race, but especially here in Posse country,” Larson said. “It feels good to beat all of them. It’s fun. I struggled here for a long time. It feels good to finally run up front in Pa.”

Hodnett started second and grabbed the lead. Larson started fourth and passed James McFadden off turn two for second in the early laps.

While racing in lapped traffic, Larson took the lead from Hodnett in turn two.

“I got stuck behind a couple lapped cars,” Larson said. “The straightaways are pretty narrow here, but the corner’s really wide. I could get somewhat of a run on exit, but then I’d have to back-pedal to be single file down the straight aways and then when I’d go to the top I could see Hodnett below me. I could get clear of some people and put together some good laps and get stuck by the next person. It was a pretty intense race and Greg was attacking the whole time. Greg is somebody I look up to a lot here in Pennsylvania and I always enjoy racing him. He’s a legend, so it’s cool to beat him.”

Larson controlled a lap nine restart, but Hodnett stayed right with him. Meanwhile, last year’s NASCAR truck series champion Christopher Bell was working the narrow top cushion as well moving into third and closing on the leaders.

Hodnett’s best shot at passing Larson back came off turn four, but his lane was blocked by a slower car before he could make a move.

Bell’s great run came to an end with a flat tire. He slowed and Tyler Reeser made contact in turn four. Speedweek point leader Trey Starks got collected as well on lap 32.

“I was worried about that last caution, but I think it actually played into my favor,” Larson said. “I got the wing back and got my car tightened up a little bit. Hats off to Paul (Silva) and everybody that helps out. This is a small team out of Sacramento, California, and I always enjoy running for Paul.”

Larson, of Elk Grove, Calif., controlled the final three laps winning by 1.292 over Hodnett.

Hodnett’s runner-up finish gave him the Speedweek point lead headed into the second half.

“I stayed on the top too long early and let him get by,” Hodnett said. “He’s pretty good. He’s difficult to get around. He’s very, very fast and a smart racer. I’m lucky to be able to compete with him. I don’t know how much longer he gets to keep doing this from his real job. I kind of wish he’d stop. We really appreciate all these guys coming in. It makes for great racing. These are the best drivers in the world and it’s nice to be able to compete with them.”

Kasey Kahne completed the podium.

“Kyle was really good and so was Greg,” Kahne said. “We ran right behind them, but they were definitely better. I got really tight. It was a racy track for the way the weather is.”

Tony Stewart and 12th starter Danny Dietrich completed the top five. Ryan Smith, Parker Price-Miller, Freddie Rahmer, Anthony Macri and Lucas Wolfe rounded out the top 10.

Macri set fast time over the 31-car field on his first lap and then flipped in turn three on the second. He made repairs and ran the first heat race. Aaron Reutzel, Starks, Stewart and Kahne won the heat races.

The unofficial standings after Grandview showed Hodnett with 596 and Dietrich with 563. Freddie Rahmer has 539 and Trey Starks 531. Defending Speedweek champion Lucas Wolfe is fifth with 515.

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