Dickson 3rd at Hilltop
Kyle Strickler had never seen the Legendary Hilltop Speedway prior to Friday evening and due to heavy traffic on Interstate 77, the North Carolina native almost didn’t make it to the track in time for the first leg of the Rengades of Dirt Ohio River Showdown.
Fortunately for Strickler he managed to make it to the track just in time and the series point leader went on to claim his seventh victory of the season.
“We left (North Carolina) late because we working so hard to get our car ready, and we got stuck in traffic,” said Strickler, who led 24 of the 30 laps in the feature event. “Fortunately we were able to get here and get the job done.”
It may have taken Strickler a little bit to get adjusted to the clip shaped quarter mile speedway as he qualified outside of the top five and ran second in his heat race to the his closest rival in the point standings, Ischua New York’s Rich Michael Jr.
Over forty modified cars flooded the pits at “The Top” with more than 30 of those attempting to qualify for the Renegade field.
Joining Michael Jr. as heat race winners were Taylor Cook, Tyler Nicely and third generation racer Travis Dickson.
Nicely sat on the pole for the main event, but Cook quickly captured the top spot by passing Nicely on the high side.
Nicely’s hopes at a strong run were crushed when something broke on his car coming out of turn number two bringing out the first of only two cautions in the feature event.
Strickler started the race in fifth place and quickly worked his way around Dickson and Michael Jr. to move into the runner up spot.
Cook continued to lead the race until lap six when Strickler got around him coming off turn four to capture the lead for good.
“The slicker the track gets the better we seem to get,” said Strickler of his run to the front. “I was just trying not to over adjust the car and it really seemed to come to life in the feature.”
Cook would not allow Strickler out of his sight as the two weaved their way in and out of lapped traffic as 22 drivers started the main event.
With just eight laps to go, Cook’s valiant attempt at catching Strickler proved costly as he got into the fence coming off of turn two to bring out the second caution of the race and bring an end to his strong run.
With the lapped cars behind him and eight laps to go, Strickler easily pulled away from the field to capture the victory and improve on his points lead.
Michael Jr. and Dickson came into the race second and third in the points standing’s and that’s exactly where two finished in the Shootout.
Local driver Jason Brookover came all the way from his 14th place starting position to finish fourth while 15-year old Tyler Evans ran a strong fifth place.
Other local drivers who came up with strong runs were Kenny Johnson in sixth while Roy Roush Jr. placed 10th.
The AMRA Modified class ran an abbreviated feature earlier in the evening with D.J. Cline claiming the victory in the 12-lap feature, followed by Evans with his father Robbie Evans in third, Nick Corbitt in fourth and Dickson in fifth.
The AMRA Super Late Models took to the track after the Renegades race with Derek Doll dominating the 25-lap feature by leading every single lap.
The race was a caution filled one with the yellow flag waving eight times and just six cars running at the end. Rounding out the top five were Andy Bond, Steve Weigle, Bob Adams Jr, and Dan Morrison.
Strickler took home a cool $1500 with the victory and will look to add $2000 more tonight when the Renegades move to Ohio Valley Speedway in Lubeck for the second leg of the weekend event before wrapping things up Sunday at Tyler County Speedway.