Ickler Starts Out CW East Season With a Victory
It's Still a Fact - Nobody Has Mastered Greenville-Pickens Twice
By Penny Arcardi
There's never been a duplicate winner in a NASCAR Camping World Series East race at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, and this weekend Brian Ickler, who will only run a partial schedule this season, continued that tradition. Ickler became the fourth different winner in as many years by dominating the NASCAR Home Tracks 150 and allowing only one other leader throughout the night.

“We got out to these good leads and just cruised. I learned a lot here last year not to burn up the right rear tire. He (Eddie MacDonald) jumped out in front of me, but I really wasn't worried about it because every time he went into the corner he would push up so bad he was so tight. I guess the only scratch I got on the car was when I ducked underneath him going into turn one and I kind of got into him. It was one of those once in a lifetime racecars.”

The race got off to a hairy start when a multi-car pile-up occurred in the first turn on the first lap. A dozen cars got tangled up after a spin collected a third of the field. All but one car was able to pull away on their own, but NASCAR called for a complete restart of the race.

On the second attempt at the start, polesitter Brett Moffitt, who had missed a shift in the first go around, raced side-by-side with Ickler into turn one, but it was all Ickler as the two came off turn two.

Ickler and Moffitt were side-by-side again for the restart at lap 14, but Ickler cruised right back out front as Moffitt tried to hold on for second, which was overtaken by Eddie MacDonald in turns one and two. Ickler pulled out to a two second lead over the field by the time the scoreboard reached lap 20. He remained dominant even through lapped traffic.

The caution didn't fly until lap 44 when Bouley stopped high in turn two against the outside retaining wall. Ickler, MacDonald, Moffitt, and Ryan Truex made up the first two rows for the restart at lap 48. Ickler drove to the front hugging that bottom line with MacDonald, Moffitt, and 2008 Champion Matt Kobyluck rounding out the top-four after the completion of the circuit. Ickler pulled away to a commanding lead once again and was back to lapping cars before the race hit the halfway mark. The man on the move, however, was Jody Lavender who had worked his way up to third before the caution flew at lap 98.

Ickler handled the restarts with ease, but on lap 112, MacDonald was able to beat him to the line before another caution flew. This time it was MacDonald on the inside line and in the top spot on the leaderboard. Ickler wasn't about to let him keep the lead and reclaimed it when the race went back to green and, like every other time, pulled out to a two-second advantage.

“My crew chief was yelling at me all the time telling me to save that right rear tire and to keep the car under me. It was an awesome car,” Ickler said.

MacDonald fell back to third on the restart.

“The car was really good except for the first three laps of every restart,” explained MacDonald. “We just ended up having to hang on for three laps.”

With Ickler untouchable, all eyes were on the battle between Lavender and MacDonald in the end. Though MacDonald tried, he couldn't stop the hard-charging Lavender.

“Maybe if we hadn't had to use the car up coming through the field I might have had something for him (Brian Ickler),” said Lavender. “His car was really good. The biggest thing was hoping I could get back to the bottom on the restart and hold on to second. Then I could see if I had something for Brian. Luckily, Eddie ran me clean and that's real important. These guys are a lot of fun to race with and to see that kind of respect at the racetrack is cool.”

Brian Ickler and company in victory lane at Greenville-Pickens.  (Ken Spring Photos)
Ickler's #15