Kyle Strickler is looking to make a bit of history at the eighth annual World Short Track Championship. Thursday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte was a solid first step as he dominated the Summit Racing Equipment DIRTcar UMP Modified All-Star Invitational Feature.
In his quest to become only the fourth driver to win four World Short Track titles, Strickler – the UMP Modified veteran from Mooresville, NC – started the weekend with a strong performance in the 15-lap All-Star event, leading every lap from the pole and crossing the finish line almost five seconds ahead of his competition.
Despite his excellence in the Invitational and a second-best lap in Qualifying, Strickler said he did not always feel as comfortable in the car as he would have preferred, until the Feature, where he felt a world of difference.
“It was definitely a lot better,” Strickler said. “Didn’t feel great in Hot Laps, didn’t feel great in Qualifying. Then, we made wholesale changes, and it was a lot better. I still think we can get a little bit better.”
The road to his fourth World Short Track title will be no cakewalk. With other notable entrants in the field including defending winner Taylor Cook, NASCAR Cup Series regular Justin Haley, rising Late Model/Modified star Drake Troutman, No. 2-nationally ranked driver Mike McKinney and fellow Modified veteran David Stremme, he’ll have to give an identical performance on Saturday if he is to make history with a fourth division title.
Though the roster is tough, he’s not worried. Stationed only 30 minutes away from home, he knows Charlotte like few others in the pit area.
“I love racing at Charlotte,” Strickler said. “I feel like we’ve got a really good shot.”
The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds continue action in the eighth annual World Short Track Championship with Heat Races Friday evening, Oct. 27.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
All-Star Invitational Feature (15 Laps): 1. 8S-Kyle Strickler; 2. 99H-Justin Haley; 3. 7-Evan Taylor; 4. 5T-Drake Troutman; 5. 00-Mike McKinney; 6. 8-Austin Holcombe; 7. 21-Taylor Cook; 8. 35-David Stremme; 9. 13-Charlie Mefford; 10. 2T-Ty Norder; 11. 12L-Lucas Lee; 12. 5CS-Curt Spalding; 13. 51-Dalton Lanich; 14. 90-Ray Kable; 15. 5-Jonathan Taylor; 16. 77-George Dixon; 17. 97-Mitch Thomas; 18. 5B-Bobby Bagley; 19. 04-Kaleb Toole; 20. 99W-Chris Arnold