CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Strickler drove to victory for the second-straight year during the OneDirt World Short Track Championship Summit Racing Equipment UMP Modified feature on Saturday at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Johnathan Taylor and Strickler led the 26-car field to chief starter Dave Farney’s green flag. After a complete restart it would be Strickler beating Taylor to the first corner to take the early lead. A couple more caution flags slowed things down before lap five, but once the green flag waved again, Strickler maintained the lead as David Stremme, who started third, and Taylor Cook, who started fourth, assumed second and third getting by Taylor while the rest of the field finally settled in.
Cook slipped past Stremme for second and set his sights on Strickler. Slowly but surely, Strickler inched away from Cook and pulled out to a five-second lead before the the caution flag waved with five laps left.
This set up a five-lap shootout between Strickler and Cook with Stremme and Brian Ruhlman, who started sixth, giving chase. One more restart with two to go gave the trio behind Strickler one last chance, but the 34-year-old Strickler would fend off all challengers and go on to win his second-straight Summit Racing Equipment UMP Modified OneDirt World Short Track Championship.
“There’s so many people here tonight that mean so much to me. My sponsors, my family, just a ton of people from around this area,” Strickler said. “This race means so much to me and hard work and dedication is hard to beat — I can promise you that.
“This Longhorn Chassis, we’ve been working on it all year long. We started off a little slow in Florida, but we worked on it all through the season, and I’ve had a lot of good race cars over the years, but this one is just awesome. Even when we went into conserve mode, we were still pulling away from everyone. We’re still undefeated here, so I guess that’s pretty good, right?”
Cook, from nearby Stanley, N.C., finished second after finishing fourth one year ago, with Stremme hanging on for third. Ruhlman and Jeff Mathews completed the top-five.
In the 20-lap All Star Invitational feature, 22 cars took the green flag, and David Reutimann led the first four laps until Derrick Ramey drove around on lap five. Soon Cook was on the move and grabbed second and set his sights on Ramey. On lap nine, Cook drove by Ramey to take over the lead, bringing Stremme and Strickler with him, and the trio of stars put on a battle no one would forget.
With nine laps to go, Stremme briefly took the lead only to relinquish it back to Cook on the next lap. Stremme and Strickler collided coming out of turn two and slammed the backstretch wall with six laps to go, bringing out the caution and later the red flag. The two briefly scuffled before being separated by track officials.
Once order was restored, Cook made no mistakes the rest of the way to win the All Star Invitational. Bauer finished second while Ramey, Dylan Woodling and Taylor completed the top five.