Strickler Goes Back To His Roots In Modified Win

Strickler

Kyle Strickler in victory lane Sunday at North Florida Speedway. (Tyler Carr photo)

LAKE CITY, Fla. – For the past four years, Kyle Strickler has made the trip south to Florida to kick off his racing season at the controls of a dirt super late model.

However, for his Speedweeks campaign this time around, he’s going back to his roots.

The veteran racer from Mooresville, N.C., returned to the seat of a DIRTcar UMP modified and kicked off his season with a win Sunday afternoon at North Florida Speedway in the track’s annual Winternationals event.

“This modified is just a lot of fun,” Strickler said. “I feel like I can manhandle it a lot more than the Late Model stuff. I kind of wanted to come down here and have some stress-free racing and go back to [my] roots and have fun with this modified stuff.

“Not a bad start to my Speedweeks,” Strickler added. “We’ll head over to East Bay and, hopefully, we can keep things rolling there.”

After rain postponed the remainder of Saturday’s program to Sunday, Strickler returned to the three-eighths-mile track, locked into the feature sixth on the starting grid.

A few caution flags flew in the opening laps and Strickler took the green from third on a restart, with only leader Cole Czarneski and Brad DeYoung ahead.

“I saw DeYoung trying to roll around the outside of Cole (Czarneski) there, and it was starting to clean-up around the bottom, so he was doing a good job staying on the bottom,” Strickler said. “Then when he saw DeYoung on the outside, he kinda got in there a little too hard and I was able to sneak past both of them and go from third to the lead.”

By lap five, Strickler had taken the lead and quickly began to stretch a gap over the field.

Though several caution periods dotted the rest of the race, Strickler stayed strong on all restarts and held the field off for the remainder of the race to bag the $2,500 grand prize.

Back at the trailer, Strickler was wrapping-up his post-race duties as a solo driver and crew, which he’ll continue throughout his UMP Modified Speedweeks campaign.

“I don’t have any crew guys, so Austin Wayne Self’s guys and Buck Stevens and all of Cole’s [Czarneski] guys have been helping out, and Ryan [with Jerovetz Motorsports Shocks Service]” Strickler said. “I want to thank them guys.”

Though Strickler’s enjoyed multiple instances of success in the super late model ranks, notably winning a Dirt Late Model Stream preliminary event at Eldora Speedway in 2020, he said he’s endured a heavy workload in its upkeep and is happy to be back on the open-wheel-style modified circuit.

“At Speedweeks with the late model, you’ve gotta have two or three guys – it’s so much work to run the late model,” Strickler said. “I just kind of got burned out on it. I didn’t have any crew guys, and it got to the point where I was so stressed out, I wasn’t fun to be around.

“I wanted to come back to the modified stuff and just enjoy it. These things are a lot of fun to drive.”

 

DeYoung and Czarneski were able to hold on strong to second and third, while Jimmy Lennex Jr. charged from 14th to finish fourth and Ray Bollinger completed the top-five.

DIRTcar UMP Modified Florida Speedweeks continues with six straight days of racing at Florida’s East Bay Raceway Park – Jan. 29-Feb. 3 – in what will be final edition of the track’s famed Winternationals.

The finish:

A-Feature (35 laps): 1. 8-Kyle Strickler [6]; 2. 7-Brad DeYoung [2]; 3. 21CZ-Cole Czarneski [1]; 4. 8JR-Jimmy Lennex Jr. [14]; 5. 77-Ray Bollinger [10]; 6. 24-Zeke McKenzie [13]; 7. 21B-Hunter Breland [18]; 8. 05-Dave Wietholder [12]; 9. 23W-Austin Wayne Self [21]; 10. 14M-Dave Markham [11]; 11. 4sale-Kevin DeYoung [19]; 12. 25W-Allen Weisser [8]; 13. 21-Scott Ladner [20]; 14. 12-Jeff Parsons [9]; 15. 27G Jason Garver [4]; 16. 27B-Beau DeYoung [17]; 17. 1W-Brian Wilburn [7]; 18. 14C-Rick Conoyer [23]; 19. M20-Mike Potosky [16]  20. 12L-Lucas Lee [3]; 21. K9-Will Krup [5]; 22. 15K-Chris Kittle [24] 23. 14L-Dalton Lane [15]; 24. 27T-Michael Turner [21].

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