INDIANAPOLIS — Stop me if you’ve heard this before – Kyle Larson was victorious in a motor car race. All he does is win. Larson, won Wednesday night’s Stoops Pursuit Race and backed that up with a victory in the third annual BC 39 on the dirt track tucked inside of Turn 3 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“This event has grown into something really big, and I’m glad to be part of it,” Larson said after earning the thrilling victory for his 23rd win in 66 starts of the 2021 racing season. “Putting a little bullring here in the infield is really cool.
“These midgets are so much fun and so fun on a little track like this. This is the perfect midget track. (IMS) did such a good job building this place — the size, the dimensions, the banking, the dirt, everything. The track build is great, so hats off to the whole crew here.
“That was so much fun.”
In his last 168 starts, he’s won 70 times including this year alone of the Chili Bowl, Knoxville Nationals, NASCAR All-Star race, Coca-Cola 600. That comes after winning the Hoosier 100, Chili Bowl and being Indiana Midget Week Champion last year.
He called his shot this week though in the sense that he said this field was as stacked as any field could be. He also said on Wednesday night that he felt like Justin Grant was the best car out here this week and that he felt like he would be the favorite to win Thursday night’s Feature.
He wasn’t wrong. Grant started on the pole and was Larson’s main challenger for the win on the final four lap shootout but the California native held Grant off for yet another victory.
Larson said he almost gave away the race trying to hold off Grant in a side-by-side battle, but a solid final lap rescued him.
“I had a thought of what I wanted to do, and I kind of screwed it all up on that last restart,” he said. “I slid myself (high) a few times, and I shouldn’t have been doing that, but I knew Justin was on top in (Turns) 1 and 2 there.
“I slammed the curb every time in (Turn) 4, and then Brady got to my inside and Justin was there. It was just wild. I did not do a good job there on that restart but thankfully put a decent last lap together and snuck through for the win. I’ll take it.”
Grant, had to settle for second after nearing winning for a second straight USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series race.
“Man, I hate running second to this guy,” he said, smiling. “He’s good; I don’t have to tell you guys. But man, he’s good playing the slider game and doing that (high line) in (Turn) 4. He does it as good or better than anybody.
“We had a couple of chances there (to beat him) and didn’t get him played quite right. I had to take a pretty big bomb to get out in front of him there in 3 and 4 … just a ton of fun.”
Inaugural BC 39 race winner Brady Bacon ended up third as he made it a three man battle for the win on the final restart while Daison Pursley and Emerson Axsom rounded out the top five.
The race was as good as you’d ever see with constant action all the way around the 1/4-mile dirt track in the shadows of the iconic Pagoda. Pursley, didn’t allow Grant to get away from the start and ended up passing him on the Lap 3 restart following Tyler Courtney bringing out the opening caution when he spun to the inside in Turn 2.
Pursley would settle in soon after before the second caution came out on Lap 7 for Courtney’s good friend Chris Windom who flipped in Turn 3. Windom’s flip was harmless as he’d go off the track and beat the 60 second clock to rejoin the field on the ensuing restart.
It’s rare to see one of those drivers have an issue, let alone both as they each shared Row 4 on Thursday night. Courtney did rebound to finish eighth for his third top 10 in three BC 39 starts but this was his worst finish with his other two results being inside of the top five. Windom though, wasn’t as luck as he’d finish 21st for his worst BC 39 finish. He was 12th in 2018 and third in 2019 prior.
Two laps prior to the incident, Thomas Meserall moved into second by Grant and with 23 to go, T-Mez found his way to the point when he powered his way past Pursley in Turn 4. At that point, we had a great battle between Meseraull, Pursley, Larson and Grant for the top spot.
Corey Day would bring out the next two cautions, both coming with 22 to go then 21 to go. Both restarts allowed Larson to gain a spot as he went from fourth to third with 22 to go, then third to second with 21 to go.
He and T-Mez would run the top two spots after but it was looking like Meseraull was going to be the winner. He stretched out his lead to 1.118-seconds and well on his way to a victory before Cannon McIntosh brought out the caution with 5 to go.
That bunched the field back up which was troublesome for T-Mez. See, Larson was gaining spots on every restart and with one spot to gain, he was going to be charging.
That’s exactly what Larson did. He passed T-Mez in Turn 1 on the restart with 4 to go but T-Mez and Grant battled back. It was three-wide in Turn 3 but Meseraull lost it and got into Larson then later the wall in Turn 4 while trying to hold on and brought out the sixth and final caution of the 39 Lap event.
Meseraull, would be scored with a disappointing 24th place finish after being five laps away from a win. He led the first 19 laps of the 2019 race before a crash there too.
The restart would then be Larson, Grant and Bacon but Larson was so good on the restart and Grant felt like he had a bad line which allowed the Hendrick Motorsports driver to prevail.
Points leader Buddy Kofoid would finish 10th while Windom’s crash left him with a rough night and allowed Kofoid to pull away a bit in points. Axsom charged hard from 19th to finish fifth for his 14th top five finish in he last 15 races on the season.
Tanner Thorson got a provisional and started 21st but came all the way up to come home seventh. Thorson, put on a show on Thursday night in winning the second D-Main feature, was fifth in the C-Main to then advance to the B-Main to where he started 19th and nearly advanced to the A-Main via the final transfer spot by gaining the sixth position on the final lap only to get passed by Logan Seavey in the final corner on the final lap to take the final guaranteed transfer spot instead.
But, Thorson received a provisional and made it count.
Defending BC 39 champion Zeb Wise also received a provisional and would finish 14th. Seavey was 15th.
Chase Elliott was bounced in the B-Main when he spun in Turn 3 early on and was hit by Jason McDougal when he couldn’t slow in enough time. Ryan Newman was ousted in the C-Main with Conor Daly the D-Main. Chase Briscoe made the A-Main and finish 11th.