SANDUSKY, Ohio — Dave Shullick Jr. won the Hy-Miler Nationals for the third time Saturday night at Sandusky Speedway.
Shullick started 11th in the 41st running of the winged supermodified event and zipped through the field to the lead on a lap-51 restart, going by race long leader Trent Stephens.
From there he held off a very strong, determined charge by Mike Barnes, and a late-race restart with just four laps to go. He also won the event in 2013 and 2016.
“The car was a little tighter than I like, but at the end it worked out,” said Shullick. “I changed my line a little and I was not super good at doing that. So, I went back to doing what I do, staying a little bit higher on the track, and then letting it roll. Me and my dad were talking, back in 1999 I was disqualified, and my Dad got that win. If it was not for that we would both have four Hy-Miler wins. It’s kind of cool to think about, I still have time to catch my dad.”
Dean Shullick Sr. won the prestigious race five times.
Two yellow flags and a red would fly before the first lap ever got scored. Jim Paller and Stephens would bring the field of winged warriors to the third start attempt. Stephens got the upper hand when he pushed the button blistering into turn one as Paller dropped in line second. Before five laps could be completed two more yellows dropped.
Back under green conditions and Stephens quickly got away as Paller did his best to keep pace. Shullick moved into the top five at lap 12. As Stephens sped away, Paller, Mike Lichty and now Shullick mixed it up for the next three positions.
The yellow would wave again at lap 40 and Paller would hit the pit area. He would return to the tail, but ultimately park it for the night. When the green waved again Stephens rocketed off as Shullick slipped by Lichty into second on lap 49, just as the yellow flew when Mike McVetta stopped in the pit chute. The red flag was displayed at this point for cars to refuel. With 49 to go Stephens took off on the restart, but Shullick was there. One lap later Shullick got to the outside in turn four and by the return trip to turn one he was the new leader as Stephens began to fade.
By lap 75 Stephens was just hanging onto the top five as Shullick was sailing and Barnes was now in second. Lapped traffic proved to be a challenge as Barnes would get close, but coming of turn four he got lose and had to catch the car. Back under control, Barnes hustled to make up the lost ground. It took him several laps but at lap 94 he was there, easily pulling a wheel up by Shullick, or dropping a wheel under the race long leader.
At lap 96 Barnes would get a head of steam and get after Shullick, but that get after stopped when he spun in turn four with just four laps to go. Lichty would move back into the second spot for the restart, but all he could do was watch Shullick drive away to his third Hy-Miler Nationals victory. Ben Seitz followed in third, Moe Lilje fourth and Stephens rounded out the top five.
“Lapped traffic was heavy, but at the end of the race I was out front. On that restart after the refuel I just wanted to get by Trent (Stephens) and get going. I didn’t know who was behind me, but he was fast, and I didn’t know much about what his car was doing. I just wanted to get out front and get out a little bit, that’s kind of what I was thinking,” said Shullick.
“Second again, it seems that is were we always run in this race,” said Lichty. “We were just way to tight at the end for what we needed to be. I could make some gains for as lap or two on the restarts when I rolled the bottom. We were just way to tight. We’ll take it, a big thanks to Craig Reed and everyone in the Reed family and level performance.”
Dave Shullick Jr., Mike Lichty, Ben Seitz, Moe Lilje, Trent Stephens, Kyle Edwards, Mark Sammut, Rich Reid, Michael Barnes, Mike McVetta, Dan Bowes, Michael Muldoon, Johnny Benson, Jeremy Wiggins, Jim Paller, Preston Walker, Jake Smith, Timmy Jedrzejek, Eric Lewis, Tyler Thompson.