HUMBOLDT, Kan. — The first nine crowns were worn by eight of the biggest legends in dirt modified racing history, but Saturday night at Humboldt Speedway Brooks Strength let the world know there’s a new sheriff in town as he wired the 60-lap main event at King of America X powered by Summit.
On Friday night, Carlos Ahumada Jr. scoring his career-first USMTS victory and Strength made it a sweep for the first-time visitors with a dominant performance that paid off to the tune of $20,000 for the 21-year-old from Raymond, Miss.
“I’ve got to catch my breath for a minute. I’m speechless,” Strength said after climbing from his No. 444 MB Customs Race Car. “You sit there and you prepare for this moment… I don’t even know what to think. It’s like I had tunnel vision out there, I said ‘Golly, are we hot-lapping? What are we doing? What’s going on?’ I’m speechless.”
Signs of his prowess this weekend were evident Friday night when Strength started second in that $5,000-to-win opening night feature race. Just past the halfway mark, Ahumada was the first to get around Strength, and then a few laps later Strength contacted Terry Phillips following the race’s first caution.
“I got bullied a little bit by the 75 and kind of lost my head, went in a little too hot,” Strength said. “You know, I just can’t believe it. Cannot believe it.”
That ended his hopes last night, but Saturday he was as cool as a cucumber in fending off challenges early from 2018 King of America winner Lucas Schott, battling through some heavy lapped traffic and then finally keeping 2014 event champion Rodney Sanders behind him in the closing laps.
Several competitors in the talent-rich field of 28 starters made impressive moves throughout the 60-lapper that saw just two brief cautions, but most could not continue charging the front. Strength, however, was the most consistent of all as he was nearly perfect in hitting his marks through 120 left-handers.
It was a solid effort both nights for Strength after failing to qualify for either main event three weeks ago at the RPM Speedway in Crandall, Texas, during the season opener for the Summit USMTS National Championship fueled by Casey’s
“We got real discouraged right when we started off—didn’t make either show at Crandall—so kind of went home and regrouped. Cade Dillard… man, he put me right here. Can’t thank him enough.”
Strength is a contender for this year’s Grant Junghans Rookie of the Year title — an award his car builder Dillard won in 2014.
While he never saw the rear bumper of any of his pursuers, several racers put on a whale of a show for the fans behind Strength. Sanders, who started ninth, and 11th-starting Jake O’Neil joined strength on the proverbial podium while Phillips rebounded from what could have been a disastrous near-spin early on to finish fourth and keep a grip on the Wrisco points leader spoiler for another week.
Brooks Strength, Rodney Sanders, Jake O’Neil, Terry Phillips, Dereck Ramirez, Ricky Thornton Jr., Tanner Mullens, Lucas Schott, Casey Skyberg, Jason Hughes, Dustin Sorensen, Johnny Broking, Austin Siebert, Johnny Scott, Tyler Davis, Tyler Peterson, Brady Gerdes, Tyler Wolff, Carlos Ahumada Jr., Will Krup, Jake Timm, Clint Johnson, Jesse Glenz, Ryan Gierke, Tom Berry Jr., Jake Gallardo, Darron Fuqua, Zack VanderBeek.