|Larson claimed a controversial win|
The Elk Grove, California driver has previously projected a squeaky clean image. His good looks, self-effacing attitude and prodigious talent behind the wheel have established him as NASCAR’s newest can’t-miss prospect, but Monday night’s final lap proved he has a tougher side, as well.
The 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion started on the outside pole and was a Top-5 driver throughout the 150-lap event. He tangled with teammate-for-a-day Ben Rhodes while battling for the runner-up spot in the late going, doing significant cosmetic damage to the nose of his Chevrolet. Despite some flapping body panels, he ran down leader Falk and actually took the lead briefly with eight laps remaining, only to have Falk regain the top spot with a textbook crossover move exiting the corner.
Falk appeared to have the race in hand on the final lap, leading by two car lengths on the backstretch. But Larson banzai-charged into Turn Three, bumped Falk from behind, then finished him off with a second hard shot that sent the Virginia native spinning into the infield.
|Falk was left fuming after the checkers|
"I did dirty him up there," admitted Larson afterward. "I got into him once, got into him twice and then got him around. It's the last lap. I got a run on him and got into the back of him… and got him around. I feel bad for him, but like I said, I wanted to win."
Falk finished a disappointing third after leading a race-high 61 laps on the night, said, "I got monster trucked,” said an angry Falk afterward. 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 don't get to do this short-track stock car stuff very often," said Larson, who won a USAC Midget race at nearby New Smyrna Speedway the previous night, and is schedule for a full season of NASCAR Nationwide Series racing for Turner Scott Motorsports this season. “Every video I've ever seen from a short track like this, it seems the second-place guy coming out of the turn always wins. It's the first race I've ever won in that manner, but this was a pretty big race. I wanted to win it.”
Larson will also take part in tonight’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events on the 4/10-mile backstretch oval. Falk is not scheduled to compete.