BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Night six of the 49th DIRTcar Nationals presented by Bozard Ford featured the second of two Gator Qualifier Nights for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds at Volusia Speedway Park, setting the field for Monday’s $5,000-to-win Big Gator Championship.
After taking the lead from his outside front row starting spot, Kyle Strickler in his potent No. 8 Bilstein Shocks / Longhorn Chassis never wavered en route to picking up his second feature win of the week and eighth of his career
This win moves Strickler into a tie for fourth in all-time DIRTcar Nationals wins with 2009 DIRTcar Nationals Champion Jared Landers. Strickler and Landers are both now just a single victory behind two-time (2014 and 2012) DIRTcar Nationals Champion and current NASCAR Cup Series driver Ty Dillon.
“I wasn’t really sure where to run, and I couldn’t see my guys in the infield. They were right by a caution light, and I tried to get them to move around so I could see where I needed to move around,” explained Strickler. “The track really didn’t change much. I felt more comfortable at the top, but I was a little faster on the bottom, so I just tried to move around. We still have a chance at Nick (Hoffman), but man, I wish we could take that bad night back. But tomorrow is the big night for all the money. The Redraw is going to be really important.”
Nicely and Strickler led the massive field to Chief Starter Dave Farney’s green flag, and as soon as the cloth waved, Strickler was on a mission. He rocketed out to the race lead as the rest of the field scrambled behind him.
A caution flew on lap five when a big pileup involving National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame driver Donnie Moran as well as Austin Holcombe, Curt Myers and Dave Weiteholder forced a red flag.
After cleanup was completed, the green flew again with Strickler again jumping out to a big lead. Nicely tried to keep pace with the race-long leader — and a caution with just two to go gave Nicely one last chance — but on the final restart, Strickler again got away from Nicely and the rest of the field and sailed to victory lane
Nicely recorded his best finish of the week in second as NASCAR Xfinity Series star Justin Allgaier posted his best finish of the week completing the podium in third. Ryan Cripe was fourth over David Stremme, who finished off the top five.
Feature (20 Laps)– 1. 8KS-Kyle Strickler [$1,000]; 2. 25-Tyler Nicely [$600]; 3. 7JA-Justin Allgaier [$400]; 4. 23-Ryan Cripe [$350]; 5. 35-David Stremme [$300]; 6. 96M-Mike McKinney [$275]; 7. 95-Michael Altobelli [$250]; 8. 77-Ray Bollinger [$225]; 9. 7-Drake Troutman [$200]; 10. 7CT-Christian Thomas [$200]; 11. 7A-Shane Sabraski [$175]; 12. 99M-Mike Mullen [$140]; 13. 75-Terry Phillips [$130]; 14. 52-Colin Green [$125]; 15. 24D-Travis Dickson [$125]; 16. A1-Gary Bentley [$125]; 17. 9-Sheldon Creed [$125]; 18. 4UW-Bobby Regot [$125]; 19. 5F-Jerry Foster [$125]; 20. O7-Curtis King [$125]; 21. 24-Zeke McKenzie [$125]; 22. 97-Mitch Thomas [$125]; 23. 8-Steve Stevenson [$125]; 24. 2A-Donnie Moran [$125]; 25. 11-Jesse Rupe [$125]; 26. 8A-Austin Holcombe [$100]; 27. 1M-Curt Myers [$100]; 28. O5-Dave Wietholder [$100]; 29. 90-Jason Beaulieu [$100]; 30. 88-Matt Crafton [$100];