The emotions were flowing in victory lane at Friendship Motor Speedway (NC) on Saturday night as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Stremme and his wife Ashley celebrated one of their greatest accomplishments together. Stremme, in his new No. 35 Lethal Chassis, took over the lead at the halfway break when Kyle Strickler was penalized for exiting his car and went on to dominate the second half of the race to claim the $10,000-to-win Renegades of Dirt North Carolina Modified Nationals.
“There were a lot of tough cars here, a lot of tough car,” said Stremme, who earlier in the week told Speed51.com that he simply hoped to qualify for the event. “Kyle (Strickler) was going to be really good and Kenny (Wallace) as well. There’s just so many and like I said, I was just so grateful that we made it in.”
The win for the Stremme’s was more than just a $10,000 pay day for husband and wife. It was a reward for all of the hard work and dedication they have put into building their own chassis company, Lethal Chassis, and building race cars capable of winning big races like the North Carolina Nationals.
“There are just so many people that play a factor in this,” Stremme told Speed51.com after the race. “The main thing is that we had a lot of fun. I’ve got to thank Kenny Wallace for just getting me involved with this dirt racing.”
Early on in the 51-lap event, which was broadcast on 51 TV, Strickler looked like the man to beat. But early race contact battling for the lead with Wallace would end up costing him a chance at defending his North Carolina Nationals win from one year ago.
The damage caused to the front end of his No. 8 machine as a result of the contact was a cause for concern for Strickler when cars stopped on the backstretch for the mandatory halfway caution. He exited his car and could be seen working to pull away some of the damage on his car. Race officials didn’t like that, however, and would end up sending him to the rear of the field. A few laps after returning to green flag action, “The High Side Tickler” ended up calling it a night.
“I don’t know if we got something hung in the throttle or when the nose sheet metal got into it and knocked the air cleaner down into the linkage,” Strickler said on the 51 TV broadcast. “It is what it is. We have a hot rod. We’ll come back. It’s just frustrating (that) we had a good car and a good shot at winning this.”
Although Strickler’s penalty and early exit from the event benefited Stremme on the race track, he was hoping to battle it out with Stickler’s No. 8 Lethal Chassis machine during the second part of the race.
“I was yelling at him to get back in because I wanted to beat him,” Stremme said. “I was just really riding behind him trying to take it easy. But that’s what it was, but it is what it is. We were on him, but it would have been tough to get by him. He was really good.”
Stremme, who is best known for his racing in the asphalt ranks, is still relatively new to dirt racing despite owning a chassis company that’s had tremendous success in its early stages. Every time he’s behind the wheel of a Dirt Modified he learns something new. Tonight, racing on a track filled with dirt and dust in the air, he learned a lot about racing in different conditions.
“The track, considering everything it went through with the conditions, was good there at the end,” Stremme stated. “I was happy with it. I just wish the dust was down so the fans could see more. I couldn’t see on the frontstretch my eyes had so much dirt in them. That’s the hardest thing to get used to on dirt with the tear-offs and sand.”
Kenny Wallace, who was victorious in the first of two twin features for the Renegades of Dirt on Friday night, held off numerous challengers to claim the runner-up spot.
“We’re going to get Kenny in one of our cars and we’ll get him more here to the East Coast with the Renegades of Dirt and some other stuff,” Stremme said when asked about beating the man responsible for getting him into dirt racing.
“He knows he wants a good car and we’ve just got to work everything out.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com