By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Veteran dirt late model racer Kyle Strickler will be among the dirt specialists returning to Eldora Speedway and compete in next Thursday’s Eldora Dirt Derby.
Strickler will pilot the No. 54 Toyota Tundra owned by DGR-Crosley, regularly driven by Natalie Decker and will have partnership support by Jerovetz Shock Service, Donaldson Grading, JRS Competition Finishes, Canady’s Pest Control, Glen Miller Demolition and G-Style Transport.
The two-time World Short Track Champion at The Dirt Track at Charlotte commented he’s excited about Thursday’s announcement coming out and working for David Gilliland once again as his first gig in NASCAR was working in the fab shop during Gilliland’s driving career.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity to work with David and the guys at DGR-Crosley,” said Strickler. “I feel like things are coming full circle. My first job in NASCAR was working in a fab shop for a team that David was racing for. He won that year in Kentucky, and that win helped propel him into the Cup Series. So, to say it’s cool that I now have a shot at winning for David is an understatement.”
Strickler won’t be alone as far as bringing dirt experience to the team as crew chief Frank Kerr knows a thing or two about dirt racing. Kerr was a former sprint car racer who has won four track championships at Eldora Speedway and previously worked with Strickler during the 34-year-old’s earlier days.
“It’s really awesome that Kyle is racing for us at DGR-Crosley,” said Kerr. “I worked with him a lot early in his modified career, and we won a lot of races together. I’m excited to be reunited with him and work with him on the NASCAR side at Eldora, a track that means a lot to me personally. I think Kyle is going to do a great job.”
Being reunited with both Gilliland and Kerr, Strickler said having the support on his side for his second NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start has brother tremendous gratitude on his chances of being competitive.
“DGR-Crosley has a lot of really great people within their organization – many of them with a lot of dirt racing experience,” said Strickler. “Knowing that I’m going to Eldora in top-notch equipment is a great feeling. The dirt racing community has been so supportive and excited for me to get this opportunity. I’ve had a bunch of individual chip in to make this possible, and I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Last year, Strickler made his series debut at Eldora, driving the No. 63 Mittler Brothers Chevrolet where a late-race crash ended his run in 31st after starting 23rd. Meanwhile, the No. 54 Tundra was driven by dirt racer Chris Windom, who brought it home in 14th.
Strickler will be teammates with Kentucky winner Tyler Ankrum as the Truck Series will hit the dirt for the seventh consecutive year.
Live coverage of the Eldora Dirt Derby will kick-off at 7:00 pm EST when qualifying will air on FS1 August 1. The race itself will begin at 9:00 pm EST. Chase Briscoe is the defending winner.