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Giovanni Scelzi wins 2023 High Limit Sprint Car Series opener, Kyle Larson finishes fifth

Scelzi High Limit

Assuming the lead from Rico Abreu when that driver suffered a flat tire with five laps remaining in the 31-lapper, Giovanni Scelzi won the season opener at Lakeside Speedway and pocketed $50,000. Scelzi survived a late-race restart for a debris caution.

Abreu’s flat tire came after he dominated the opening of the race. He was unable to restart, relegating him to 22nd in the field.

Scelzi beat Carson Macedo to the checkers by .419 seconds. Macedo marched through the field from his 22nd-place starting position after advancing through the B Main, making him the hard charger of the night.

Tyler Courtney finished third, David Gravel fourth and Larson rounded out the top five.

Other notables in the field included Donny Schatz (eighth), Brad Sweet (12th), Michael “Buddy” Kofoid (15th) and Brady Bacon (21st). Kasey Kahne finished sixth in the B-Main and failed to advance into the feature.

MORE: Combined Sprint Car Series Schedule

The High Limit Sprint Car Series was developed by NASCAR’s Larson and four-time defending World of Outlaws Sprint Car champion Sweet as a way to encourage mid-week racing with lucrative payouts. With an entry list of more than 55 drivers looking to make the 27-car field, it fulfilled its role.

After running one debut race in 2022, this will be the first of 11 races on the 2023 schedule. The anticipated opener in Tulare, California at Thunderbowl Raceway on March 28 was canceled due to weather. The next scheduled race is April 25 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa.

The series boasts 26 full time drivers for 2023 including Larson, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman. Abreu, Courtney, Kofoid, (who won the inaugural race of the series in August 2022), Aaron Reutzel and Parker Price-Miller.

Bowman finished 16th in the Lakeside race among 17 drivers who finished on the lead lap.

Coming only three days after USAC racer Justin Owen succumbed to injuries suffered in qualification at Lawrenceburg Speedway, Jake Neuman also crashed in time trials in Turn 3 at Lakeside. The accident occasioned a red flag that lasted 20 minutes as the rescue crew had to cut away parts of the damaged sprint car. Neuman was alert and responsive before being transported to a local hospital. Later in the evening, his family reported he was in stable condition.