CONCORD, NC (May 21, 2012) Rev Racing’s Kyle Larson battled his way to a sixth place finish in Saturday’s Graham Tire 150, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West Combination race, at Iowa Speedway, and is tied with his teammate, Bryan Ortiz, for first in the Rookie of the Year, K&N Pro Series East, standings.
After a solid qualifying effort, Larson started the night in the fifth position, in his No.69 L&M Ethanol Maintenance Contracting Toyota Camry, and appeared ready to make an impression for his new race sponsor, and the large crowd in attendance, as he moved up to second by lap 46.
“We had a really good L&M Ethanol Toyota Camry,” said Larson. “We started a little tight and made some adjustments at the halfway break. I was in a pretty good spot most of the night but started to get a little loose about lap 125 and slid back some. We just needed a little longer run there at the end and we’d at least had a top five, if not a win.”
Two of Larson’s teammates, Ortiz and Ryan Gifford, promising night seem to blow away like the howling winds that swirled through the Iowa Speedway
Ortiz rolled off the grid in seventh position and was solidly in fifth by the halfway break, at lap 75. He would find himself in fourth position with less than 20 laps remaining, running lap times equal to the leader. However, during a restart, with just 15 laps to go, he was caught in the middle of a three-wide battle going into turn one where he was shoved out of position, lost momentum, and slid back to the twelfth position.
“I’m really disappointed with the outcome tonight,” said Ortiz. “I had a car that could have won this race. My Toyota Camry was super fast but an experienced driver just got out of position, got into my side and I had to lift to keep from wrecking him and the guy on my outside. I can promise that I won’t let myself be placed in that position again.”
Gifford was just as disappointed as Ortiz but for a different reason, as he didn’t know exactly what happened to his No. 2 Universal Technical Institute Toyota Camry after he had started the race in eighth position and battled to fifth by lap 46.
“Man, I don’t know what happened to my race car,” said Gifford. “We were just a little loose at the halfway mark and made some small adjustments. When I went back out it was like I couldn’t turn the wheel. I’m not sure if it was the set of tires or what, but nothing we did adjustment wise corrected the problem.”
Gifford’s troubles started to really show after lap 100, where in less than 20 laps he fell nine spots, from eleventh to twentieth, and a lap down. He would eventually finish the night in the twenty-first position.
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