IMCA Dakota Tour win at Williston as good as it gets for Strickler

Kyle Strickler’s last-lap pass earned him his career-first Dakota Classic Tour win Tuesday at Williston Basin Speedway. The Friesen Performance IMCA Modified victory paid $2,000. (Photo by Byron Fichter)

WILLISTON, N.D. (July 9, 2024) – He’s won a lot of big races in his career and Kyle Strickler has to rank his first Dakota Classic Modified Tour powered by Industrial Electric victory among them.

Strickler stalked and caught up with long-time leader Kollin Hibdon, finally making the pass to the front on the 30th and final lap in winning Tuesday’s Friesen Performance IMCA Modified main event at Williston Basin Speedway.

“This is about as good as it gets,” Strickler said after taking the $2,000 checkers six tenths of a second ahead of Hibdon, who’d won the opening night show Sunday at Nodak Speedway.

“Kollin is really, really good on the top. He showed everybody that on night one,” he continued. “I tried being as patient as possible and actually rolled right through the middle. Some crumbs were getting thrown there and that helped me out. I could put right up next to him.” 

Ninth starting Ethan Braaksma, Brady Bjella and Cody Laney completed the top five. Strickler was already eligible to qualify for the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational.

Bjella paced the first seven times around the track, his tenure up front interrupted by the only caution of the race, and the first yellow in 63 Modified main event circuits during the tour on lap four.

Hibdon took charge on lap eight and caught the back of the field at midway; the sixth starting Strickler took over second and chased him into traffic six laps later.

He’d cut into Hibdon’s lead as the race wound down, finally making his way around the last time down the backstretch.

“With one lap to go, you’ve got to fire it in there,” Strickler said. “I got position on him where I kind of got him out of sync and it just played out.”

While Strickler’s win came in his first visit to Williston, three-time track champion and 2014 tour king Dalton Flory motored to his career seventh Dakota Classic IMCA Sunoco Stock Car checkers.

“I bet those last five laps were pretty fun to watch,” Flory, the third different race leader, said following the $1,000 win.

Shelby Williams had led from the get-go and appeared to be well on his way to a second tour victory in as many nights but defending tour champ Rob VanMil slipped past following a lap 21 restart.

VanMil’s turn at the point didn’t last long as Flory found and defended the faster line, winning ahead of Williams, ninth starting Cameron Starry, 22nd starting Dan Mackenthun and VanMil.

“We run here every week – I’ve lost a couple here to some bad breaks – and it feels good to get one here at home,” said Flory, newly B & B Racing Chassis All-Star Invitational qualifying eligible. “We’ll have some champagne and celebrate before I go back to work tomorrow.”

2014 Dakota Tour champion Dalton Flory was the third and final leader in a thrilling Tuesday night feature for IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars at Williston. (Photo by Byron Fichter)

Southwest Speedway at Dickinson is next for the 35th annual Dakota Classic Modified Tour, in a Wednesday night show to be broadcast by IMCA.TV.

The finale is Thursday at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan.

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