Long Stops Strickler At Volusia

Michael Long (DIRTcar photo)
Michael Long (DIRTcar photo)

BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Michael Long surged to the lead on the opening lap of the DIRTcar UMP Modified Feature Tuesday night and fought off Kyle Strickler to the checkered flag for the first Gator Trophy of the 12-night DIRTcar Nationals presented by Bozard Ford at Volusia Speedway Park.

Long, of Fowler, Ill., used the high side in turns one and two to keep Strickler, who started eighth, pinned to the bottom and unable to maximize his horsepower.

After a couple of cautions seven laps into the race, a 12-lap green-flag run forced Long to negotiate lapped traffic on the high-speed half-mile dirt oval.

“Luckily, they went to the bottom,” Long said of the lapped cars. “When you see the No. 8 of Strickler on the board it makes you nervous on restarts, especially going into turn one. I knew once I got rolling, I was good. He had to out-motor me and I knew if I hit the restarts right, I was going to be alright.”

Ryan Cripe wound up third while defending DIRTcar Nationals champion Nick Hoffman started 21st and powered his way to a fourth-place finish. Zeke McKenzie was fifth after starting 28th to earn Hard Charger honors.

The finish:

Feature (20 laps): 1. 18L-Michael Long [2][$1,000]; 2. 8KS-Kyle Strickler [8][$600]; 3. 23-Ryan Cripe [4][$400]; 4. 2-Nick Hoffman [21][$350]; 5. 24-Zeke McKenzie [28][$300]; 6. 5-Curt Spalding [3][$275]; 7. 2A-Donnie Moran [12][$250]; 8. 49-Brian Ruhlman [25][$225]; 9. 36-Kenny Wallace [9][$200]; 10. 7-Drake Troutman [20][$200]; 11. 99M-Mike Mullen [23][$175]; 12. 90-Jason Beaulieu [17][$140]; 13. 77-Ray Bollinger [11][$130]; 14. 7A-Shane Sabraski [22][$125]; 15. 95-Michael Altobelli [27][$125]; 16. 45J-Johnny Broking [15][$125]; 17. 22-Dale Kelley [19][$125]; 18. 2J-Troy Johnson [10][$125]; 19. O5-Dave Wietholder [16][$125]; 20. 7F-Bryan Foy [24][$125]; 21. 35-David Stremme [5][$125]; 22. 17TE-Tyler Evans [14][$125]; 23. 11JH-Justin Haley [18][$125]; 24. 7CT-Christian Thomas [26][$125]; 25. 8A-Austin Holcombe [13][$125]; 26. K19-Will Krup [1][$100]; 27. 75-Terry Phillips [7][$100]; 28. 65-Todd Sherman [6][$100].