By Mike Spieker
LAKE CITY, FL – For the second year in a row Kevin “Buzzy” Adams picked up the opening night win of the Sunshine State Modified Tour (SSMT). Adams started fourth on the field and charged his way to the front to lead the final 15 circuits. A North Florida Speedway record 35 UMP Modifieds were on hand to kick off the second running of the SSMT.
Adams used a lap eight restart to set up leader Kyle Strickler before executing a textbook slide job in turn three to take command.
“I’m here to tell you that Kyle Strickler is one of the best Modified drivers in the country,” said Adams in victory lane. “He’s won a thousand features in these things, but I knew he had that crate motor in. The crates take a lap or so to get up to speed so it was a timing deal. There was just enough bite out there to get by him and he ran me clean.”
Once out front, Adams pulled out to a comfortable advantage but three cautions in the last 10 laps kept the field bunched up.
A spin in turn two brought out the final caution of the evening with just two laps remaining, giving Strickler and Kenny Wallace one last shot at the Cameron, WI driver.
Once the green flew, Adams shot off of turn four and built up a somewhat comfortable four car length lead before the field reached turn one. From there Adams only increased his advantage and he went on to collect his second career SSMT feature win.
Strickler fought off a late-race challenge from Wallace to come home in the runner-up position. After an abysmal SSMT in 2016, Strickler was pleased to get things started in the direction for this years’ tour.
“I hate to run second, but we lost to the best car here,” said Strickler after the race. “We’ve got a little bit of work to do, but man, we’ve got a hot rod. We can’t complain. To come out here and run second feels pretty good.”
The race was momentarily red flagged for a six car pile up on the front stretch that occurred during a restart. Kyle Bronson, who was running in the second position at the time, had a steering component fail causing his No. 40 machine to slow significantly. Several drivers took evasive action and were able to maneuver past Bronson, but Scotty Kincaid, Rick Weekly, Dylan Browning, Thomas Sigler, and Lucas Lee were caught up in the melee.
“I’ve got to apologize to Kyle Bronson,” continued Adams in his post-race interview. “Him and I wheel-hopped on the pace lap and I’m not sure what happened after that, but I’m sure I probably caused it.”
In the closing laps, Kenny Wallace had his hands full with Chase Collins in the fight for the final podium position. With two to go, Collins’ No. 2X4 machine began smoking heavily, but he remained up to speed. The smoke intensified as the white flag flew, but Collins was still all over Wallace. As the came to the checkers, Wallace edged out Collins by a half car length to take third, while Todd Neiheiser rounded out the top five.
Round two of the Sunshine State Modified Tour continues Saturday, February 4th at North Florida Speedway.
Fans can watch every lap live on XSAN.TV!
Feature – 1. Kevin Adams, 2. Kyle Strickler, 3. Kenny Wallace, 4. Chase Collins, 5. Todd Neiheiser, 6. Mike Potosky, 7. Rick Conoyer, 8. David Wietholder, 9. Ray Bollinger, 10. Derrick Ramey, 11. Mavrick Varnadore, 12. Brad Goff, 13. Jason Miller, 14. Allen Weisser, 15. Curt Myers, 16. Kyle Bronson, 17. Rick Weekly, 18. Dylan Browning, 19. Lucas Lee, 20. Thomas Sigler, 21. Scotty Kincaid, 22. Jessie Hoskins, 23. Tait Davenport, 24. Gary Bentley, 25. Shon Flanary
B-Main – 1. Browning, 2. Kincaid, 3. Hoskins, 4. Lee, 5. Brandon Wells, 6. Bill Griffith, 7. Steve Miller, 8. Shawn Pitts, 9. David Crews, 10. Jeff Solinger, 11. Tait Davenport, 12. Buzzie Reutimann, 13. Dylan Hurston
Heat 1 – 1. Wallace, 2. Adams, 3. Weekly, 4. Conoyer, 5. Wietholder, 6. Lee, 7. Hoskins, 8. Pitts
Heat 2 – 1. Strickler, 2. Bollinger, 3. Bently, 4. Ramey, 5. Neiheiser, 6. Kincaid, 7. Griffith, 8. Solinger
Heat 3 – 1. Myers, 2. Collins, 3. Potosky, 4. Weisser, 5. Thomas Sigler, 6. Browning, 7. Crews, 8. Hurston, 9. S. Miller
Heat 4 – 1. Bronson, 2. Varnadore, 3. Flanary, 4. J. Miller, 5. Goff, 6. Reutimann, 7. Wells, 8. Davenport