BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 6) – A rollercoaster four days at Boone Speedway ended with Kyle Strickler on top of the dirt track racing world.
Strickler led all 40 laps of Saturday’s Modified main event at another record-setting IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. The victory lane scene that followed was an emotional one.
“This is the greatest race ever. Winning it means so much to me,” he said, pausing several times to wipe away tears of joy. “There is so much history here. I’d always wanted to put my name on the T-shirt and now I’ve done it.”
The win came a night after Strickler’s Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot triumph and paid $2,700. Richie Gustin, the 2011 champion, defending champion Dylan Smith and Canadian Aaron Turnbull completed the top four.
Strickler had been disqualified from a runner-up finish in his Wednesday qualifier for use of unapproved wheels. He won his Friday qualifier and started at the front on the outside row in Saturday’s big dance.
“It was pretty cool to be able to rebound that way at Super Nationals, and to start a row further ahead than we could have,” he said. “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. This is just phenomenal.”
After a multi-car pileup on the front stretch that stopped the race on lap 18, the feature stayed green to the finish.
A purse of more than $250,000 was paid to, and a similar dollar value in cash and contingencies was awarded to drivers from a record 27 states entered in the 32nd annual version of America’s Racin’ Vacation. The car count of 866 nearly matched the mark of 874 set two years ago.
The common theme to Saturday’s other three main events was family.
Rookie Devin Smith joined brothers Donavon and Dustin as a Super Nationals champion, scoring the Stock Car crown and a $3,200 check.
He also won the Sunoco Race Fuels Race of Champions, earning $1,175 and matching Donavon’s 2012 Super Nationals double. Dustin and oldest brother David are also Sunoco RoC winners.
Shannon Anderson led all 30 laps in winning his career third Hobby Stock title and $1,750. His father Jeff won two Super Nationals Stock Car championships.
Johnathon Logue, son of five-time Modified champion John Logue, was reeling in leader Randy Roberts before a lap 17 restart in the SportMod main. He was in first when the next circuit was scored and drove to his first Super Nationals title, good for $1,925.
Keith White ended a string of bad luck at Boone by winning the Harris Auto Racing Race of Champions for Modifieds.
He ran in front the last 11 of 12 laps, holding off Mason Big Eagle for what turned out to be the $2,100 checkers.
The Luellen family celebrated twice.
Austin Luellen led all 10 laps of the Stephenville Starter Race of Champions for Hobby Stocks. That victory paid $800.
Older brother Clinton then led all 10 laps of the BSB Manufacturing Race of Champions for SportMods for a $1,300 payday.
All four race of champions events ran caution free.
Jeff Aikey won his Late Model division record-matching fourth Deery Brothers Summer Series feature and $3,300 on opening night Sept. 1.
Gustin and Tyler Droste both qualified for the Deery feature and Saturday’s Modified show.
Adam Gates was the winner of Tuesday’s Sport Compact main event. That victory paid $320.