Dominant Kyle Strickler Rules Batesville

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Kyle Strickler (Melissa Coker photo)

BATESVILLE, Ark. — Kyle Strickler backed up his overall quick qualifying run on Tuesday with a dominant performance on Wednesday night’s Race For Hope 74 preliminary night feature.

The Mooresville, N.C., driver started in the middle of the front row for the three wide start, which ran 10 rows deep. Strickler jumped out to the lead on the opening lap as Wendell Wallace and Steven Bowers Jr. settled into second and third, respectively.

Stickler quickly opened up a full straightaway lead by lap five, while Wallace and Bowers Jr. fought for the runner-up position.

As Stickler approached lapped traffic at the midway point of the 25-lap event, he didn’t waste any time getting around the slower cars. The two-time IMCA Modified Super Nationals champion made a three wide pass around two lapped cars that were battling for position as he continued to stretch out his lead over Wallace.

Stickler was still battling heavy lapped traffic as the race advanced to the closing stages, but he held a steady line riding around the middle groove of the track and went on to capture the feature win.

Terry Phillips and Jeff Taylor were able to sneak around Wallace to finish second and third, respectively. Bowers Jr. rounded out the top five.

Cade Dillard, Chris Abelson, and Jason Beaulieu also claimed transfer spots into Saturday night’s $20,000-to-win, $2,000-to-start main event.

After the race had concluded, it was announced that Abelson forfeited his seventh-place effort in attempt to qualify better Thursday or Friday night to start higher up in the running order on Saturday.

Racing continues Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at the high-banked, three-eighths-mile clay oval.

The finish:

Kyle Strickler, Terry Phillips, Jeff Taylor, Wendell Wallace, Steven Bowers Jr., Cade Dillard, Chris Abelson, Jason Beaulieu, Marcus Yale, Regan Tafoya, Ken Schrader, Tyler Droste, Joh Sheets, Chad Anderson, Cody Laney, Timmy Culp, Brandon Smith, Tyler Stevens, Mikey Bell, Justin Jurgens, Jordan Grabouski, Ryan Gilmore, J.T. Goodson, Gavin Landers, Scott Drake, Justin Kay, Myron DeYoung, Travis Dickson, Kris Lloyd, Randy Weaver