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Last-Lap Wreck Affects K&N Pro Series Title Contenders

Last-Lap Wreck Affects K&N Pro Series Title Contenders

by October 28, 2012 0 comments

GREENVILLE, S.C. – All anybody was talking about late Saturday night was the wild finish at Greenville Pickens Speedway, even the drivers that didn’t stick around to talk about what unfolded in the final corner of the final lap of the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140.

After a bump-and-run move – and an smoky cloud of ensuing chaos on the frontstretch under the checkered flag – Corey LaJoie scored his fifth NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win of the season and addressed exactly what had unfolded off the final turn of the penultimate race on the series’ 2012 schedule.

“I thought we had a pretty good run up there on the high side on that restart,” said LaJoie, who lined up second, outside of Brett Moffitt, on a green-white-checkered restart. “We went down into (Turn 1), and (Moffitt) ran me up into Spartanburg. So once he got clear on the backstretch, I was like, ‘Well, ok, screw you right back.’ So I went down there and give it to him. I got him loose, got him out of the groove and got the checkers.”

Moffitt was passed by Chase Elliott as he slipped up the track, and as he tried to get back in line behind the two leaders, he got together with Darrell Wallace Jr. That contact touched off a vicious cycle of events that left several mangled race cars on the frontstretch.

Wallace had a very good view of the action as it unfolded. “We were third going into the last restart, and I told myself I was in a good seat if something happens, if (the leaders) slip up, I’m right there,” Wallace said. “Unfortunately, I slipped up and let (LaJoie) down. We did what we had to do on the last lap. It was a textbook pass, but (Moffitt) tried to come down and clear the hole when I was already there. It spun me around and caused a huge wreck on the frontstretch.

“Fortunately enough, I got the least damage of it all. It’s unfortunate for all these other cars that are out here in the points hunt or fighting hard for that spot. Now they’re torn up and some drivers are hurt. That stinks, but that’s racing.”
Two of the major players in the race – Moffitt, who led 144 of 146 laps, and Kyle Larson, who entered the night as the K&N Pro Series East leader – both left the speedway without commenting. Moffitt was credited with seventh, while Larson was fourth and just six points out of the lead with only the season finale at Rockingham Speedway remaining next week.
They did, however, both address the situation via their Twitter accounts.

“Had the winning car and got dumped,” Moffitt tweeted. “Story of the season.” “Good job AGAIN (LaJoie),” Larson tweeted.
Larson also added: “I’ll take 4th after getting slammed around a few times. Pretty happy with the way the points are going into The Rock. Back by 6 points.”

Several drivers, including Moffitt and Austin Hill, took hard hits. Both were checked out and released from the infield car center. Hill returned to Victory Lane in street clothes to congratulate LaJoie and talk about what had happened.
“Chaos – that sums it up,” Wallace said. “That was good Greenville Pickens racing.”

LITTLE FEAT: 15-year-old Jesse Little, son of former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Chad Little, made his sixth start of the season and finished a career-best third in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 140. He fell back as far as 15th in the running order in the middle stages of the event before climbing back into contention over the last 50 laps.

“It was, uh – eventful, you could say that,” Little said. “We just stayed patient and tried to manage the tires so we’d have something left for the end. I just followed (Elliott) through there at the end. If I hadn’t, I might have been coming back on a wrecker, too.” Little said it wasn’t easy to stay patient, particularly as the race went through two long green flag runs over the first 120 laps. “It’s excruciating,” Little said. “It was very troubling at times, but again, it was a lot of self-discipline. I just had to keep telling myself to wait on the throttle and just be patient, pretty much. I’ll put this in the memory bank and remember it for all the short tracks.”

MORE BAD LUCK: Wallace’s difficult season continued on Saturday, with a car capable of winning the race ending up wrecked with a 13th-place finish. After two years of being a championship contender with no points finish of worse than third, he’s eighth in the current standings – all but mathematically eliminated from championship contention heading to Rockingham.
“Oh, it’s been my best year yet,” Wallace said, with more than a hint of sarcasm. “I was thinking about tires earlier in the race – ‘Man, if we have another (flat) tire, I’m going to flip out.’ It’s just bad luck. That’s what happens. You get two good years, and then you have a year like this and it makes you look at everything in a different way. “That’s what’s happening, but it’s all been fun, and we’re going to take it onto next week and let it rip.”

Press Release
Press Release, source information and photo credits are located at the bottom of the article.

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