Levi Kissinger used a Delaware double-file restart to his advantage to carry him to the Modified win on night one of the Gateway Dirt Nationals at The Dome at America’s Center, but it was in a way not normally seen. Sitting third going into the final restart of the race with 11 laps to go, the Mt. Vernon, Indiana driver used the outside to rocket past leader Josh Harris in one and two to take over the top spot and come away with the preliminary night win.
Kissinger was shuffled to the outside row for the final restart after Bobby Pierce went upside down while running in third, which opened up his opportunity to make the race-winning move. He considered it to ultimately be a lucky move, one he admits he may not be able to pull off again if he tried.
“I lucked out and started on the outside a couple times before that. I knew there was enough grip out there if a guy could just hit it right, you can launch. Those guys were protecting the bottom so bad and he had a lot of wheel spin down there so I knew if I hit it just right I’d be okay,” Kissinger told Speed51.com. “If I did it again I may not have hit it right, it was a 50/50 shot to hit it and I hit it just right. Once you get out front it’s don’t mess up and it’s hard for them guys to drive back around you.”
After taking the lead, the Southern Indiana driver had to hold off Northern Indiana’s Derek Losh over the last five laps. It ultimately became a game of make no mistakes for Kissinger to take the win over the stacked field.
“I couldn’t watch the big screen, I was trying to but I was bouncing around so bad I was just trying to not mess up and ride,” he said. “All these guys are good, there’s not one bad guy at this deal, keeping those guys behind you is a feat in itself. This is a top-caliber field, anytime you can beat these guys you’ve done something.”
With his win on Thursday night, Kissinger has locked himself into Saturday’s 30-lap main event that pays $10,000 to win. While there is still plenty of work to be done before then, it allows his team to breathe a sigh of relief.
“I hate to use the word relax but you don’t have to be as stressed. It’s brutal when you get stuck in a B-Main on one of these. Getting locked into this deal is half the battle, hopefully we can get a good redraw here and go through our stuff here, make sure everything’s right for Saturday, and go like heck.”
Derek Losh and Josh Harris finish second and third, locking themselves into Saturday night’s main event.
On-demand updates, photos and more from Thursday night can be viewed in Speed51’s Race Day Now coverage. A live broadcast of this weekend’s racing can be viewed on DirtonDirt.com.
Gateway Dirt Nationals – Modifieds Night #1 Results:
1. Levi Kissinger
2. Derek Losh
3. Josh Harris
4. Jeffrey Ledford
5. KC Burdette
6. Mike McKinney
7. Chad Sellers
8. Kyle Strickler
9. Jim Black
10. Robbie Eilers
11. Ray Bollinger
12. Eric Perry
13. Rodney Standerfer
14. Bobby Pierce
15. Michael Altobelli Jr
16. Darron Fuqua
17. Kyle Steffens
18. Will Krup
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com