The American Modified Series made a return visit to the Smoky Mountain Speedway as part of the Maryville, Tenn. track’s Spring Nationals event on Saturday evening and it was North Carolina driver Kyle Strickler who would walk away with the lucrative $3,000 first prize.
In other racing action, Cory Hedgecock continued his domination of east Tennessee Limited Late Model racing by beating out a diluted field of cars in that class.
Bryan Barber set fast time in AMS qualifying when he posted a lap of 17.683 seconds around the 4/10 mile clay oval.
With no drivers locked into the main event by time-trials, the starting lineup was set by four heat races and a single B-main. The heats were won by Nick Hoffman, Brian Shaw, Kyle Strickler and Trent Young. The B-main victor was Tyler Nicely.
At the start of the feature race, Strickler went to the early lead but he was challenged immediately by Hoffman. However, Hoffman slowed to a stop on the track to bring out a caution after threatening to take the lead. On the ensuing restart, Shaw did take the lead away from Strickler, but it would prove to be short-lived.
Strickler was able to get back around Shaw following yet another restart on lap 4. And for a while, it looked as if the driver who had won the most recent event on the AMS schedule would drive away from the field for an easy win. However, a lap 18 caution brought a new challenger for the top spot.
Matt Cooper began to employ a higher line through the track’s sweeping turns and was able to keep pressure on the leader. But eventually, Strickler would hold on for the win.
At the finish it was Kyle Strickler, Matt Cooper, Bryan Barber, Nick Hoffman(who returned to the track following his early troubles) and Brian Shaw.
Meanwhile, Cory Hedgecock set fast time among the seven cars on hand in Limited(Steelhead) Late Model qualifying with a time of 16.555 seconds.
In the 25-lap feature, the Loudon, Tenn. driver dominated for the win over Tony Martin, Weston Gantte, Butch Bayless and Kevin Gill.