Modifieds were on hand at Screven Motor Speedway (GA) as the new Southern Tour of the Renegades of Dirt Modifieds made history with its first ever race. In the end, it would come down to two drivers and a difference of .074 seconds to decide it.
After heat races and two B-Main features, the field was trimmed down to 22 cars that took the green flag. Dale Mathison started on the pole for the 30 lap, $1,500.00 to win A-Main as a result of winning his heat race earlier in the night.
The Clearwater, Minnesota driver jumped out to the early lead and looked to have the race in hand before seventh-place starter, David Stremme ran him down in traffic to set up an epic duel that would be decided until the two crossed the stripe on the final lap.
In the end, it was Mathison getting the nod over the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver.
“Once we got going we caught traffic pretty fast,” said Mathison, “I wasn’t sure if I should just hug the bottom or stay with the line I was running.”
Mathison had built up close to a two second lead over the field before Stremme made his way into the runner-up spot and set his sights on the leader.
Stremme took advantage on consecutive restarts early on to jump to fourth and then to third by the third lap of the race. The Indiana driver was all the way up to second before a dozen laps were completed. From there, he started to run down Mathison.
“We had to work pretty hard to get up through there early on,” Stremme said after starting back in the fourth row.
With ten laps to go Stremme had caught Mathison and the pair turned up the heat on the Winter Freeze for the final run to the checkers.
“I was trying to be patient when we caught traffic. He had the top so I just stayed on the bottom,” Stremme said.
Mathison was surprised when he found Stremme alongside battling for the win.
“Next thing I knew the second place car caught up to me,” Mathison said. “I didn’t know if it was a lapped car or what but it was real clear the lap after that when he pulled me down the straightaway that he was looking to pass me.”
Using lapped traffic as obstacles, Mathison was able to hold on in a thrilling finish that saw the pair stay side-by-side and wheel-to-wheel for the final few circuits.
“I knew it was close. I just kept my line and kept the left front planted. I wasn’t concerned with who was on my inside, I was just focusing on keeping the car gripped to the track,” said the inaugural race winner.
Stremme gave it all he had but never thought of ‘roughing up’ Mathison to try and steal the win.
“I try to race people clean. I’ve watched (Dale) race many time he runs really clean. I just gave him a lane and best man wins.”
Stremme was already looking forward to night two as he finished up his post-race comments by saying, “We tried a few things and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow night.”
The Renegades of Dirt Modifieds – Southern Tour will be back in action Friday, February 6 for Night #2 of Winter Freeze V back at Screven Motor Speedway. Speed51.com will have lap-by-lap Trackside Now coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET.
For more information on the Renegades of Dirt Modifieds, visit www.RenegadesofDirt.com.
A full Trackside Now replay of Thursday’s event can be found on-demand by clicking here. 51’s coverage of Winter Freeze V is presented by PFC Brakes.
-By Mark Keeler, Speed51.com Correspondent – Twitter: @MarkKeeler975
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Renegades of Dirt Modifieds
Winter Freeze V
Thursday February 5, 2015
Screven Motor Speedway (GA)
|8||17X||Rich Michael Jr|