ROCKINGHAM — Kyle Larson’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship hopes were fading as Brett Moffitt was leading the season finale going down the backstretch.
Instead of the pair being knotted atop the standings and having Moffitt win the title on season wins, Larson got a little bit of good fortune shine on him.
Larson watched as Moffitt got caught up in a last-lap incident with Tyler Reddick. The wreck took the No. 11 Toyota out of the race and dashed Moffitt’s hopes for winning the points crown.
“It’s a shame me and the No. 11 got together at the end,” Reddick said. “I got alongside of him in 1 and 2 and he should have known I was there. I wasn’t going to give it up and neither would have he.
“I wish it would have been a clean race. It’s a shame it happened. It’s racing — it’s going to happen.”
Reddick went on to take the checkered flag to win his first title on an asphalt track. Corey LaJoie was second, followed by Darrell Wallace Jr., Coleman Pressley and Jesse Little. Larson finished sixth.
“I knew I had to get to sixth,” Larson said. “I got really lucky when Brett got caught up in the wreck. In my first year in NASCAR and to win a championship is pretty special.”
Larson unofficially finished with 536 points, while Moffitt fell to third in the standings with 511 points.
LaJoie lost the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points lead after being penalized 25 points for modifications to his carburetor at last weekend’s race in Greenville, S.C. LaJoie, who entered the weekend third in points, moved up a spot and finished 15 points behind Larson.
Swaim wins UARA-STARS points title
ROCKINGHAM — Clay Rogers had the lead with two laps remaining during the spring UARA-STARS race before going for a spin coming off Turn 4.
Rogers recovered to finish 13th but he was determined not to let a win slip through his fingers again.
Rogers qualified second and overtook the pole-sitter Dillon Bassett at the start and cruised to a victory over Bassett Saturday afternoon in the opener of the Classic 3 Championship.
“I should have won the race here in the spring,” Rogers said. “This place has always been special to me. I made my first Nationwide, then Busch Series, start here the weekend after Dale Earnhardt’s death.”
Even though the four-time winner at “The Rock” and Bassett were battling for the victory, the rookie was also trying to snatch the points championship from Travis Swaim. Bassett entered the weekend trailing by 71 points and needed a little bit of luck to leapfrog Swaim.
He nearly got it.
Swaim’s car began to overheat in the opening moments of the race, forcing his crew to take the water pump off teammate Mike Skinner No. 26 Ford. After making the change, Swaim returned to the track but was several laps off the pace before heading to the garage once the title was clinched.
“It was very frustrating, I really thought we had a chance to win the race,” Swaim said. “I think the belt on the power steering pump came off and hit the radiator and I lost all the water.”
Bassett continued to battle Rogers at the front and needed to pass the eventual winner and lead the most laps to grab the bonus points. He never was able to stick the nose of his car out front as Swaim held on to win the points title.
“Travis did a phenomenal job this year,” Bassett said. “There was a little bit of hope (to win the points championship), but it was not what I was focused on.”
Brodie Kostecki was third, followed by Blake Jones and Darrell Wallace Jr.
Kimmel II cruises to Victory Lane
ROCKINGHAM — Frank Kimmel II started on the pole for the first time at the Rockingham Speedway and rolled to his second straight victory at the track in the Kimmel Street Stock Series.
“I didn’t have the best handling car, I was really loose in the race,” Kimmel said. “Luckily I didn’t have a Chuck Barnes Sr. to race again.”
Kimmel captured the series’ spring race, but lost to Barnes last year by .016 in the Polar Bear 150.
Just like in April, Kimmel was the class of the field. Kimmel said his only worries about his car’s handling came when he came upon lapped traffic.
“I had to wait a couple of turns to pass some cars that I should have passed pretty quickly because I had to pass them on the outside,” Kimmel said. “The car had to run on the bottom. I was worried about getting a flat tire from debris because of the two accidents earlier.
“To win here at ‘The Rock’ is special. I don’t know if any drivers who don’t think that way.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com.