GREENWOOD, Neb. – Kyle Strickler outran Shane Clanton to the checkered flag to win his first career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event on Thursday night at I-80 Speedway.
Strickler passed Clanton on lap 11 and then edged out the Georgia native by just .450 seconds at the finish line. The win was worth $7,000 to Strickler.
Josh Richards came from the 10th starting spot to finish third, with Chris Madden and Jimmy Owens rounding out the top five drivers.
Clanton grabbed the lead at the start of the 30-lap event, while Strickler dropped back several car lengths behind him. Stickler managed to find a groove that worked well for him and he slowly started to close the gap on Clanton as the race wore on.
Strickler was finally able to track down Clanton and pass him on lap 11. Clanton began to lose contact with Strickler, but in the last two laps was able to make up several car lengths.
Coming out of the final corner Clanton dropped to the inside of Strickler, but came up one car length short of victory as the checkers flew.
The 37-year-old North Carolina driver became the 19th different winner this year on the tour.
“On that last lap I thought, ‘please, no flat right rear tire,'” Strickler noted. “My hat is off to Shane. He could have really sent her in there and cut in front of me, but he raced me clean and I appreciate that. I knew if I got into one and came off of four clean, we would be really good.
“Man, everybody on this team deserves it so much,” Strickler added. “All my guys back home, my wife and my kids are watching on TV, my mom and my dad and friends are watching. Thanks to everybody who has helped me get here.”
Clanton came up just short of his first series win of the year.
“If I would have went to the bottom a few laps before the end, maybe I could have cleared him off of four on the last lap. Overall, it was good night, and we led some laps,” noted Clanton. “I thought we did pretty well to maintain a fast pace. Strickler just snuck by me on the bottom, and then I don’t know if I just started to let up or become more timid.
“I was just trying to save my stuff for 30 laps.”
Richards survived a torrid battle for third place.
“We had a phenomenal car. I can’t thank these guys enough for not giving up. We’ve had a lot of speed the last couple of weeks,” he said. “We didn’t qualify the greatest, we were a little snug, the track was little greasy. It was a little narrow earlier, and then it widened out and you could race all over it.”
Kyle Strickler, Shane Clanton, Josh Richards, Chris Madden, Jimmy Owens, Devin Moran, Ryan Gustin, Tim McCreadie, Brandon Overton, Billy Moyer, Chris Simpson, Brandon Sheppard, Kyle Bronson, Jonathan Davenport, Darrell Lanigan, Frank Heckenast Jr., Chase Junghans, Hudson O’Neal, Stormy Scott, Tyler Erb, Chad Simpson, Billy Moyer Jr., Chris Spieker, Jared Landers.