Dominant Strickler Rules Batesville Prelim

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BATESVILLE, Ark. — Kyle Stricker opened the second annual Race For Hope 74 by setting fast time in time trials on Tuesday night. On Thursday, he raced to a qualifying feature victory in dominant fashion.

The Mooresville, N.C., driver started on the pole for the 30-lap, 30-car feature and led every trip around the high-banked three-eighths mile clay oval.

“The track was a lot better tonight. It didn’t lock down around the bottom. The car was really good, I can’t thank all my guys enough,” said. “This is great. This is exactly how we planned it. The track was pretty racy tonight and that’s all you can ask for in these types of conditions,” added Stricker, referencing the heavy rain that had saturated the speedway this week.

Strickler took the lead on lap one over Ricky Engels Jr. as several drivers raced three- and four- wide for the third spot. Peyton Taylor won that battle and set his sights on Engels Jr for second. The race was slowed on lap seven for Benji Lacrosse, who hooked a rut in turn two and spun, which forced him to give up his transfer position inside the top eight.

Following another quick caution, the race endured a long green-flag run. David Stremme moved to second as Taylor remained in third.

Strickler sliced his way through lapped traffic in the closing laps and went on to score the win. Stremme, Taylor, Robert Baker and Kelly Shryock rounded out the top five.

Terry Phillips, Jason Wolla, who started 26th, and Engles Jr. rounded out the top eight, respectively, and punched their ticket into Saturday’s $20,000-to-win, 74-lap main event.

The finish:

Kyle Strickler, David Stremme, Peyton Taylor, Robert Bakker, Kelly Shryock, Terry Phillips, Jason Wolla, Ricky Engles Jr., Jake O’Neil, Jesse Dennis, Brint Hartwick, Wyatt Block, Jordon Grabouski, Collen Winebarger, Cade Dillard, Brian Mullen, Jason Beaulieu, Bill Frye, Ethan Dotson, Tripp Gaylord, Jeff Matthews, Benji Lacrosse, Kurt Kile, Rodney Sanders, Brandon Smith, Mike Mullen, Ritchie Tosh, Steven Bowers Jr., Randy Weaver, Wendell Wallace