Gastonia, North Carolina – Kennie Compton Jr, held off a determined Kyle Strickler to score his first career Renegades of Dirt Open Wheel Modified win on Friday night at Carolina Speedway as part of the King of the Carolinas presented by Carolinas First Defense. The Renegades of Dirt Modified Tour presented by Arizona Sport Shirts we’re set to tackle the 3/8th mile Carolina Speedway for the history making cold frigid night.
The 27 Beasts of the East that signed in we’re making the attempt for the 1st race visit ever of 3 consecutive races in “The Tar-Heel State” this weekend as part of the Inaugural “The Joie of Seating/ Carolinas First Defense KING of the CAROLINAS. The fans we’re treated too what many fans we’re stating exiting “The Action Track” the best open wheel modified race ever witnessed in recent memory at Carolina Speedway. When the night concluded a 1st time starter for the series making his RoD Modified Touring debut would hold a competitor who runs full time but last found victory in 2012. Compton vs. Strickler will go down as one of the best modified shows ever.
It started off with VP Renegades of Dirt Qualifying which saw #21 Taylor Cook laid down the best lap of 17.277 seconds around the 3/8th mile clay surface where stellar track conditions greeted the drivers Friday. Then after the process of the “alphabet soup” and the exciting 4-wide salute with Saliva’s “Ladies and Gentlemen” soaring over the PA system to the Carolina Speedway faithful crowd. Events was set to get underway around “The Action Track” for 20 laps and $1,200 to win and the KING of the CAROLINAS was officially underway with the first A-main feature of the 3 day weekend.
On the jump the battle between #10 Kennie Compton Jr. and #8 Kyle Stricker quickly got underway hot and heavy. The 2nd place starter #45 Nick Stroupe was also in the hunt of things. Staying within lengths of the top 2 but was intent holding off the likes of #006 Derrick Ramey, #6 Ryan Ayers and others fighting for the $1,200 top prize. The first 10 laps were spectacular and exciting around the 3/8th mile on a cold October night. The first yellow would fall as the Renegades we’re crossing for the halfway mark when #19f Jamie Major stalled exiting off turn 2 and couldn’t commit to the pits without assistance. On the restart the BIG ONE ensued off turn 2. It started when the #6 Ryan Ayers was driving up on the outside lane got loose and made contact with the #3 Jacob Houser. Houser was able to continue after contact never stopping however Ayers overcorrected and piled in five others cars including #11 Troy Loomis, #13 Jim Roach, #07 Tre Martin, #006 Matt Stover and #2m Shawn Martin Jr. Cars we’re severed and had to limp back to the pits to get repairs or retire early. Most importantly no drivers we’re injured and after a 27 minute red flag racing continued with 10 laps to go.
A couple more solo issues would cause the yellow linen to fly again which included NASCAR star #35 David Stremme spinning in turn 3, #85 Dylan Shuffer stalling off turn. While the cautions looked like they we’re piling up and slowing the action it concluded turning into a survival of speed to the finish. Lap after lap, corner after corner the battle between Compton and Strickler continued for the top spot trying to compete for the 1st ever Renegades of Dirt Modified Tour win at Carolina Speedway. #21 Taylor Cook and #006 Derrick Ramey we’re having a great battle themselves behind the top 2 front runners in the closing laps running down #45 Nick Stroupe.
The final caution would fall on lap 16 when #07 Tre Martin got sideways off turn 4 causing also #35 David Stremme to run up on the right rear of Martin’s modified and causing debris to fly everywhere off turn 3 while the cars continued. This happened while the leaders we’re also approaching 4 laps to go with words sent immediately that #8 Strickler was having his left front rubber going down but he refused to take on new tires and ran for the finish.
The 4 laps we’re intense even though single file Compton would jump up top and then Strickler to the bottom and then vice versa. The race was anyone’s for the taking as they came for the white linen for the final time. Compton was able to get a great run exiting off turn 2 but Strickler would rally back and dive way to the bottom to get momentum back in turn 3 so much that he brushed the front end of his car off the inside wall with sparks a glowing from the rear. Strickler who picked up his last and 1st Renegades of Dirt Touring win in May 2012 at I-77 Raceway Park in West Virginia tried to take advantage off turn 4 to the checkers and take Compton driving on the bottom trying to come back just wasn’t enough as Bland, Virginia’s Kennie Compton Jr. making his inaugural debut would win for his 1st time with the Renegades of Dirt Modified Tour in Night #1 of the KING of the CAROLINAS presented by Carolinas First Defense and The Joie of Seating.
Ricky Weeks claimed the pole for tonight’s $3,000 Carolina Workwear NDRA Late Model feature with a pole winning run. Timbo Mangum will start from the pole in both the Tilley Harley Davidson Renegade feature and the Domino’s Pizza Street Stock feature after setting fast time in qualifying for both divisions. Mangum is attempting to win the $10,000 Heintz Performance bonus by winning in three different main events.
Gates open today at 2:00 PM with at 4:00 PM. Feature events tonight include the $3,000 to win NDRA Late Models, Street Stocks, Renegade and a complete Renegades of Dirt Open Wheel Modified show.
General admission tickets are only $18. Two day passes are available. Kids 11 and under are free with a paying adult. For more info please contact 704-869-0313.
PHOTO CREDIT: Randy Houser/Carolina Speedway