By MIKE SPIEKER
LAKE CITY, FL – After starting on the pole and having to settle for a second place finish the previous night, Kyle Strickler came back with a vengeance and won night two of the Sunshine State Modified Tour. The Mooresville, NC driver started on the pole once again for Saturday night’s feature and led all 30 laps en route to the victory at North Florida Speedway.
“It’s awesome to get a win in this new Longhorn Chassis in just the second night out,” said Strickler in victory lane. “My crew guys have been working their butt off so this is what makes it all worth it.”
It took four attempts to the first lap completed, but once things got rolling the field rattled off 23 consecutive circuits. That allowed the leaders to get into lapped traffic for the first time this weekend, which allowed second-running Kevin Adams to reel in Strickler slightly.
“Once I got into lapped traffic I knew I had to get up on the wheel and earn my paycheck,” continued Strickler.
With six laps to go a series of cautions plagued the main event, which allowed Adams and Kenny Wallace a clear shot at Strickler on the restarts.
“I think Buzzy [Adams] saw what he did last night and knew he had to get by me on the restart,” said Strickler. “But yeah, all those cautions were sure making me nervous.”
Kenny Wallace slipped outside the top five after a few rough restarts, but quick cautions were his savior as they allowed him to regain his position. The driver of the UNOH Lethal No. 36 improved his finishing position from opening night by one spot and followed Strickler to the line in the runner-up position.
“It was a really good night for us,” said Wallace. “I slid off the edge [of the banking] three times and I got a caution all three times to save my ass. But I’m thrilled to death. Congrats to Kyle.”
Perhaps the greatest drive of the evening was run by Mavrick Varnadore, who was sent tailend after an early race spin. The Dover, FL pilot charged back through the field to steal the final podium position in the closing laps.
“It’s definitely bittersweet,” said Varnadore. “I think we might have had the fastest car tonight. We could have had a shot at it with about 10 more laps or so, but once you get to the front it gets harder to pass. Everybody is just so fast.”
Friday night’s winner, Kevin Adams, finished in the fourth position, while Roger Crouse rounded out the top five.
Strickler now holds a 10 point advantage over Adams atop the SSMT points standings. Wallace, Varnadore, and Chase Collins round out the top five.
Feature – 1. Kyle Strickler, 2. Kenny Wallace, 3. Mavrick Varnadore, 4. Kevin Adams, 5. Roger Crouse, 6. Derrick Ramey, 7. Steve Miller, 8. Shon Flanary, 9. Mike Potosky, 10. Chase Collins, 11. Jason Miller, 12. Rich Pratt, 13. Curt Myers, 14. Allen Weisser, 15. Rick Weekly, 16. David Wietholder, 17. Craig Christan, 18. Brandon Wells, 19. Tait Davenport, 20. Ray Bollinger, 21. Dylan Browning, 22. Lucas Lee, 23. Todd Neiheiser, 24. Brad Goff, 25. Rick Conoyer