BARBERVILLE, Fla. — On a night when NASCAR superstars invaded Volusia Speedway Park to race DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, Kyle Strickler battled back against Jeff Babcock on Tuesday to claim the first victory of the 43rd annual DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment.
Austin Dillon and Kenny Wallace paced the field early in the 20-lap event, but Strickler and Babcock worked their way to the front, swapped the lead back and forth before Strickler finally powered to the lead for good with two laps to go in the opener of the 12-night event.
“Usually on a race track this fast you don’t see racing that good,” said Strickler. “Jeff and I hung out at Eldora and he’s a hell of a racer. I knew he would race me clean. This is probably one of the fastest race tracks I’ve raced on. It’s an amazing feat for us to come down here and do this well right off the bat.”
As fast as Dillon and Wallace were early in the A-main, it was impressive the way Strickler and Babcock continued to push forward.
“They put their race suits on just like we do,” Strickler said. “The stuff they do on Sunday is completely different. I commend those guys for coming out, Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader, the Dillons. If you look at the speed charts they were way out in front of us in the beginning, but the track came to us, the car came to me.”
Also Tuesday night at Volusia, high-speed 410 sprint cars took to the half-mile for a night of practice before the laps count for real beginning on Wednesday night. Joey Saldana turned the fastest lap of the night at 13.010 seconds.
Kyle Strickler, Jeff Babcock, Kody Weisner, Billy Workman Jr., Dale Mathison, Justin Allgaier, Matt Westfall, Austin Dillon, Ken Schrader, Jason Beaulieu, Brian Ruhlman, Kent Corbin, Kyle Bronson, Ty Dillon, Dwight Niehoff, Garret Stewart, Kenny Wallace, Devin Gilpin, Kent Robinson, Will Krup, Collin Thirlby, Nick Hoffman, Darryl Horkstra, Austin Arneson.