GIBSONTON, Fla. — Dale Mathison and Kyle Strickler claimed Open Wheel Modified victories during night two of the 38th annual Winternationals Tuesday night at East Bay Raceway Park.
Both drivers, as well as the first night winner Kyle Bronson, were first-time winners in the Winternationals which attracted drivers from 15 states and took seven days to complete because of rain the first four days.
Mathison started on pole of the 31-car first feature and led the first 19 laps despite the field being bunched up for seven different caution flags in the 25-lap event, worth $1,000-to-win.
However, the last six laps were a back and forth battle between sixth-starting Devin Gilpin, who led laps 20, 22 and 23, and Mathison, who regained the lead for good on the white-flag lap and won by .685 seconds at Ronnie Luckock’s checkered flag.
“Everyone was giving me signs to stay on the bottom of the track, but I had to pick it up a bit when Gilpin passed me,” said the winner in his Mars Brothers custom-built chassis powered by an engine built by Tim’s automotive.
Gilpin held on for second, ahead of Matt Cooper, Travis Varnadore and Jason Gross.
To set the fields for both shows, two laps were run by each car in time trials and the first lap was for the first show and the second lap set the field for the second show. Eight cars timed under the existing track record and the new record holder is now Kyle Bronson, the first Open Wheel Modified to time under 16 seconds with a time of 15.922 seconds.
Strickler, the second feature winner, started on the pole of the 28-car field, but was quickly passed by Kevin Adams who led the first seven laps. Adams had mechanical problems and was passed by athison on lap eight. Third-starting Devin Gilpin took the lead at the midway point with Billy Workman Jr. in hot pursuit.
Workman used and outside move in turn four to take the lead on lap 19 with Adams now second and Strickler fighting his way up to third was leading on lap 21 and lost the lead, but was saved by a yellow flag for debris on the track one lap later with Strickler now in second.
Workman got high in turn three and Strickler was there to capitalize on the miscue.
Strickler won over Roger Crouse, who advanced six positions in the last five laps, Kyle Bronson, Kenny Wallace and Austin Sanders.
First feature: Dale Mathison, Devin Gilpin, Matt Cooper, Travis Varnadore, Jason Gross, Devin Dixon, Kyle Strickler, Buzzie Reutimann, Kevin Adams, Kenny Wallace, Roger Crouse, Collin Thirlby, David Baxter, Tait Davenport, Bill Howard, Thomas Sigler, Matt Miller, Scott Mooers, Dennis Haven, Kyle Bronson, Billy Workman Jr., Lucas Lee, Austin Sanders, Michael Turner, Mike Potosky, Alex Boerner, David Schmauss, Troy Girolamo, Jeff Matthews, Dave Jamison, Paul Rivall.
Second feature: Kyle Strickler, Roger Crouse, Kyle Bronson, Kenny Wallace, Austin Sanders, David Schmauss, Bill Howard, Billy Workman Jr., Devin Dixon, Dennis Haven, Matt Cooper, Lucas Lee, Alex Boerner, Scott Mooers, Devin Gilpin, Dave Jamison, Kevin Adams, Jason Gross, Travis Varnadore, Michael Turner, Collin Thirlby, Thomas Sigler, Matt Miller, David Reutimann, Troy Girolamo, David Baxter, Jeff Mathews, Mike Potosky, Paul Rivall.