Defending champion Jeremiah Shingledecker had yet to visit victory lane in 2023, though he had been fairly fast most weeks save for an opening night race that saw an early ending for him. On Friday night, the defending champion had his work cut out for him as he started directly behind a front row of Chas Wolbert and week one feature winner Brian Swartzlander, and the two fastest cars in recent weeks, those of Rex King Jr. and Garrett Krummert directly behind him.
Wolbert bolted to the race lead after the initial green flag waved, using the high side to his advantage as Swartzlander hung close to the bottom. Swartzlander wrested the lead away just three laps into the main event with Wolbert falling to second and Shingledecker running third until he made his way around Wolbert for second with five laps down. Shingledecker inherited a 1.5 second gap between himself and Swartzlander with 20 laps to go and little in the way of lapped traffic to use in the 12 car field.
Meanwhile, Krummert and King were both making progress to the front as Wolbert tried to resist King’s bid to take the fourth spot away. At the halfway mark, King had won the position while out front Swartzlander had a 10 car length advantage over Shingledecker running second. However, Swarzlander watched it disappear after he took more time than he would have liked to get around the lapped car of Caden Petry, allowing Shingledecker to draw to just a half second behind with just three laps to go. Shingledecker pulled to Swartzlander’s back bumper with just two laps to go and pulled door to door as the wihte flag waved, overtaking the race lader as the two cars went squarely into turn one together with Shingldecker on top and Swatzlander on the bottom. Swartzlander then nosed back ahead down the back stretch and used the bottom of the speedway coming out of turns three and four, but Shingledecker kept his car on the top edge of the surface and carried the momentum over the finish line just 0.127 seconds ahead of Swartzlander to seal the victory with Garrett Krummert finishing out the podium.
“It was for me, I bet he probably doesn’t agree about that.” Shingledecker remarked upon being asked about the race being one of the most memorable between the two legends. “That was a really fun race. I knew for about the last 10 laps I was starting to close in on him and I don’t know that I would have got by him if it wasn’t for lapped traffic but it was still fun to see me getting closer and closer. It was a fun race. Brian’s a great driver and we’ve never had issues on the race track and the top six cars can win here on any night so for us to track him as the race went on and be here is a really good accomplishment for us.”