ROSSBURG, Ohio — After steady rains forced the cancelation of Thursday’s opening night of the Allstar Performance Fall Nationals, and day-long showers cast doubts about day two of the program, the UMP Modified competitors may have got on to the high banks of Eldora Speedway a little later than scheduled, but they thrilled with high speeds and fantastic racing in eight heat races and four features on Friday night.
Kyle Strickler, Josh Rice, Nick Hoffman and David Mielke made return visits to Eldora’s famed victory stage earning $2,000 for their efforts.
Strickler notched his third career win at Eldora in dominating fashion, taking the lead from Nathon Loney on lap three and leading the remainder of the first 20 lap feature event. Loney held on to finish in the runner-up spot ahead of Ray Bollinger, David Stremme and Kenny Wallace.
“We weren’t even going to come here this weekend but after last night was rained out we decided to make the trip today,” Strickler said.
Rice started fifth and moved up two positions when contenders Jacob Hawkins and Joel Dick dropped out under the race’s only caution flag. Rice then battled with Jesse Wisecarver through most of the event, before taking the lead on lap 16 to pick up his second career Eldora win.
Wisecarver held on for second-place ahead of Dylan Woodling, Justin Haley and Josh Harris.
Hoffman’s night ended far better than it started. He suffered mechanical issues during his qualifying run and had to start at the back of his heat race. The 2012 UMP Nationals champion rallied from there. He won his heat race after starting tenth and started sixth in the main event.
Hoffman worked his way forward at the drop of the green flag and took the lead from Evan Taylor (Saltsburg, Pennsylvania) on lap seven, and then led the final 13 laps to pick up his fifth career Eldora win.
Taylor finished in second-place, while Jerry Bowersock took one more step toward another Eldora track championship with a solid third-place finish. Chad Bauer finished in fourth-place, while Troy Johnson completed the top five.
The most competitive feature event was the 20-lap finale which saw Michigan drivers Curt Spalding and Mielke battle for the top spot. Mielke, finally took command on lap 17 and held off Spalding for his second career win at the high-banked, one-half mile oval.
Ryan Sutter capped a strong night with a third-place finish in the nightcap ahead of Taylor Cook and Tyler Nicely.
Heat races were won by Strickler, Trent Young, Hawkins, Dick, Hoffman, E. Taylor, Jonathan Taylor and Mielke.
K.C. Burdette was the overall fast qualifier with a lap of 17.355 seconds.