Strickler’s Hauler Mishap Motivates Him to First Gator of the 47th Annual DIRTcar Nationals
BARBERVILLE, FL — Feb. 9, 2018 — Night number four of the 47th Annual DIRTcar Nationals would see the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds race in the popular Quad-15s format. Every driver on hand raced in a feature with a chance at winning a coveted Gator. Highlighting the night was the victory in the final Quad Feature by Mooresville, NC standout, Kyle Strickler who’s day started with his car falling off the hauler earlier in the afternoon while unloading his #8 Longhorn Chassis entry. The 33-year-old and his crew worked feverishly on his damaged ride and the hard work paid off with the win.
“Hell of a way to start the day that’s for sure.” Laughed the driver originally from Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania after getting up on stage for his post-race interview. “The car coming down off the hauler may have turned out to be a blessing for us. We fixed the damage, which was only cosmetic on the left rear. Then when we went out for Practice, the car felt good. Then in the feature, the car was really fast and we were able to get the lead early and drive away.” He added. With the win, his first at Volusia Speedway Park of 2018, was his third career Gator.
Allen Weisser and Mike McKinney brought the final Quad Feature to the green flag and it as Weisser pacing the pack early on. Strickler, who started ninth, wasted no time getting to the front and by lap three, grabbed the lead away from Weisser and immediately pulled away from the rest of the pack. A single caution bunched up the field, however, on the restart, Strickler got away from the field again and drove away to his third career Gator and first since February 11th, 2015.
Two-time defending DIRTcar Nationals Champion, Nick Hoffman, the current DIRTcar Nationals Gator Points leader, kept that lead with a runner-up showing ahead of McKinney as night number one winner, David Stremme and Zeke McKenzie wrapped up the top five with his second fifth place finish of the week. Weisser was sixth as Michael Long, Kenny Wallace, Brian Ruhlman and Jason Beaulieu completed the top 10.
Earlier in the night, the third Quad Feature would see Owensboro, KY driver, Tyler Nicely take the lead away from Ken Schrader with five laps to go to give the driver of the #25 Elite Chassis machine his second career Gator. The 23-year-old’s victory was his first since February 11th, 2016 and it was over Tyler Evans who finished a week high second. Mark Whitener, who started 18th (last) and making his first appearance of the DIRTcar Nationals, grabbed third as a pair of NASCAR competitors, Justin Allgaier (Xfinity Series) and Matt Crafton (Camping World Truck Series) were the final top five. Another NASCAR driver, Justin Haley was sixth while 13-year-old Hunt Gossum, Ray Bollinger, Troy Johnson and Austin Holcombe, from 15th, were the final top 10.
The second Quad Feature of the night saw Lima, OH driver, Frank Paladino, a former Eldora Speedway Stock Car Track Champion, start on the pole. The driver of the #27 Mid-American Cleaning Contractors ride would make no mistake the whole race and survived numerous cautions to lead the whole way en route to his first career DIRTcar UMP Modified Feature Win. Jason Garver finished in second while Michael McGee, Dugan Thye and Dave Baldwin were the top five. Gene Nicholas was sixth as 76-year-old Florida legend, Buzzie Reutimann, who started 17th, came home in seventh. Will Long, Blake Spalding and Will Norris rounded out the top 10 finishers.
The first Quad Feature of the evening would Leesburg, FL veteran, Larry Mott start on the pole and the 65-year-old driver of the #07z Mott Concrete entry would lead all 15 laps to score the emotional victory, his first career Gator. Rich Pratt started last (18th) and would come through the field but ran out of time to challenge Mott and settled for second with Craig Shaw, Gary Bentley and Brenden Rassel were the top five. Steve Stevenson scored a sixth place finish as Jesse Strange, Dustin Thayer, John Baker and Todd Souza were the final top 10 in the rundown.
Next up for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will be the first of two Gator Qualifying Nights on Saturday, February 10th. The 74 cars that have appeared during the 47th Annual DIRTcar Nationals after four nights of racing, will be split into two groups with the first group racing on Saturday, then the second group goes on Sunday, February 11th. The top 10 finishers from each night’s feature will be locked in to the Big Gator Championship Feature paying $5,000 to win on Monday, February 12th. The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series will race in their second of three nights on Saturday before completing Sprint Car Week on Sunday.
For more information about the 47th annual DIRTcar Nationals and to order tickets, please call: 1 (844) DIRT-TIX or log onto the DIRTcar Nationals website located at: dirtcarnationals.com. You can also follow the DIRTcar Nationals by visiting the Social Media outlets. Just search for “DIRTcar Nationals” on both Facebook and Twitter for the very latest updates.
DIRTcar UMP Modified Results:
Feature 1: 1.Larry Mott (06Z) 2.Rich Pratt (78) 3.Craig Shaw (4s) 4.Gary Bentley (A1) 5.Brendan Rassell (01) 6.Steve Stevenson (3) 7.Jesse Strange (85E) 8.Dustin Thayer (10T) 9.John E Baker (22J) 10.Todd Souza (13) 11.Matthew Johnson (96) 12.Rick Weitekamp (89w) 13.Marvin Barton (6P) 14.William Cevaal (27c) 15.Ryan Beckett (58) 16.Robbie Evans (17) 17.Joey Miller (15) 18.Timmy Near (71x)
Feature 2: 1. Frank Paladino (27) 2. Jason Garver (27G) 3. Michael McGee (11m) 4. Dugan Thye (11T) 5. Will Long (45) 6. Dave Baldwin (6B) 7. Gene Nicholas (11N) 8. Buzzie Reutimann (00) 9. Blake Spalding (1) 10.Will Norris (71n) 11. A.j. Fike (10) 12. Dave Jamison (D4) 13. Jason Brookover (28B) 14. Ryan Ayers (6A) 15. Jesse Rupe (11R) 16. Lee Hobbs (22JH) 17. Brad Goff (41) 18. Jeff Thomas (07)
Feature 3: 1.Tyler Nicely (25) 2. Tyler Evans (17T) 3. Mark Whitener (5) 4. Justin Allgaier (7) 5. Matt Crafton (88) 6. Justin Haley (99H) 7. Hunt Gossum (99) 8. Ray Bollinger (77) 9. Troy Johnson (2J) 10. Austin Holcombe (8A) 11. Ryan Cripe (23) 12. Rick Conoyer (14C) 13. Tony Anderson (22T) 14. Jessie Hoskins (71) 15. Ken Schrader (9) 16. Todd Neiheiser (72) 17. Garrett Stewart (67) 18. Jamie Carter (15c)
Feature 4: 1.Kyle Strickler (8) 2.Nick Hoffman (2) 3. Mike McKinney (96m)4. David Stremme (35) 5. Zeke McKenzie (24z) 6. Allen Weisser (61) 7. Brian Ruhlman (49) 8. Michael Long (18L) 9. Jason Beaulieu (90) 10. Kenny Wallace (36) 11. Shon Flanary (98) 12. Kc Burdette (44KC) 13. Larry Burkins (54) 15. Chase Collins (2×4) 16. Will Krup (K9) 17.]Ricky Arms (4) 18. Josh Rice (11)