The World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series returned to action on Wednesday at Volusia Speedway Park as part of the 50th annual DIRTcar Nationals. Ultimately, Kyle Strickler scored the victory after a dramatic night of racing. The Mooresville, NC driver earned $10,000 for his efforts in a race aired live by DirtVision.com.
A lap of 15.956 seconds around the half-mile clay oval made Brandon Overton the fast qualifier in Group A with Jimmy Owens, Tim McCreadie, Bobby Pierce, and Scott Bloomquist were just a tick behind.
Kyle Strickler was quickest in Group B with a time of 16.185 seconds to top Devin Moran, Ricky Thornton Jr., Ricky Weiss, Ross Bailes.
Bobby Pierce outran Brandon Overton and Kyle Bronson in the first heat race of the night while Tyler Bruening bested Michael Norris and Jimmy Owens in the second preliminary.
Tim McCreadie topped Brandon Sheppard and Ross Robinson in the third heat of the evening.
Kyle Strickler lead Hudson O’Neal and Dennis Erb Jr. to the finish line in the fourth heat then Devin Moran beat out Ross Bailes and Josh Richards in the fifth preliminary.
Ricky Thornton Jr. outperformed Brian Shirley and Ryan Gustin in the sixth and final heat of the night.
Hall of Famers Scott Bloomquist and Rick Eckert transferred to the main event out of the first Last Chance Showdown before Ricky Weiss and Tony Jackson Jr. advanced from the second LCS. Darrell Lanigan took the final LCS over Dan Stone.
The WoO Late Models redraw set the first three rows for the feature as Pierce, McCreadie, Thornton, Strickler, Bruening and Moran.
At the start of the 40-lap the car of Pierce bolted to the early lead with McCreadie, Thornton, Strickler, and Bruening trailing. On the second circuit the cars of Bruening and Moran split Strickler and moved around into positions 4 and 5 respectively.
McCreadie’s broken left rear suspension brought about the first yellow flag of the night on lap 4. On the restart, Thornton, Moran and Bruening assumed spots 2-4 and set off in pursuit of Pierce.
Thornton got by Pierce for the lead as they raced among slower traffic on lap 12 as Moran closed in on the lead duo. Further back, Overton entered the top-5 by passing Bruening on lap 18.
Up front, the top-3 of Thornton, Pierce and Moran engaged in a fierce battle as they diced in and out of slowed cars. At the same time, Overton and Strickler closed in from fourth and fifth.
Thornton continued to lead the train of Pierce, Moran and Overton around the top lane of the track as the laps clicked away. However, Bronson slowed suddenly on lap 23 to bring out a caution.
A caution came out just after the restart when Moran appeared to break a drive shaft then was slammed into Overton who came upon the slowing car with nowhere to go.
With five laps remaining Strickler and O’Neal slipped by Thornton to capture second and third respectively. Then, a key moment occurred when Pierce’s car came to a stop on lap 37 to cause a yellow flag. That elevated Strickler, O’Neal and Thornton to the top-3 with three laps remaining.
Strickler asserted himself as the leader on the restart ahead of O’Neal, Thornton and Owens but another caution flag was shown to the field on lap 38 when Norris spun after contact with Sheppard.
Over the final two laps, it was Strickler who maintained the top spot and cruised to the race win. It was his second WoO Late Models win of the season following a feature triumph at Volusia during the Sunshine Nationals in January.
Feature Finish: 1. Kyle Strickler, 2. Hudson O’Neal, 3. Ricky Thornton Jr., 4. Jimmy Owens, 5. Brian Shirley, 6. Tyler Bruening, 7. Ross Bailes, 8. Ryan Gustin, 9. Ricky Weiss, 10. Josh Richards, 11. Scott Bloomquist, 12. Tony Jackson Jr., 13. Rick Eckert, 14. Boom Briggs, 15. Kyle Bronson, 16. Ross Robinson, 17. Dan Stone, 18. Cade Dillard, 19. Darrell Lanigan, 20. Brandon Sheppard, 21. Dennis Erb Jr., 22. John Baker, 23. Michael Norris, 24. Chase Junghans, 25. Shane Clanton, 26. Blake Spencer, 27. Ashton Winger, 28. David Breazeale, 29. Ryan Scott, 30. Bobby Pierce, 31. Devin Moran, 32. Brandon Overton, 33. Tim McCreadie