Sam Yarbrough celebrates in victory lane after winning the 2020 Icebreaker at Myrtle Beach Speedway. (Morgan Odum photo)

Long-time Myrtle Beach Speedway veteran Sam Yarborough started his 2020 Late Model season on the right note by holding off Austin McDaniel in the closing laps to secure a victory in the Icebreaker.

“Man, what a weekend,” Yarborough said. “We should have had a better qualifying effort. That was my fault. Car was just real great, solid all weekend. This thing was a rocket ship today, especially when it counted there at the end. I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Yarborough started his quest for a victory from the sixth position while McDaniel set the pace early by passing polesitter Jacob Heafner on the opening lap.

McDaniel remained uncontested for the lead until he was passed by David Roberts on Lap 31, which kickstarted a sequence of multiple lead changes between the two and Dexter Canipe Jr over the next several circuits.

Roberts eventually faded away from the front while McDaniel and Canipe continued their duel for a season-opening victory, but Yarborough remained within striking distance by saving his equipment for the right opportunity.

With the race winding down, Yarborough began to show off the strength of his #95 Late Model by battling both Canipe and McDaniel before passing the latter for the final time on a restart with 25 to go, which enabled him to pull away with the win.

Sam Yarbrough (95) passes Austin McDaniel (12) to take the lead in the 2020 Icebreaker at Myrtle Beach Speedway. (Morgan Odum photo)

Yarborough knew that the intensity would pick up in the closing stages as more drivers began to utilize their equipment, but he was confident about his chances of ending up in victory lane if he avoided the chaos and made the right moves on track.

“It’s always a chess match and you try to keep yourself in a good position but not use too much up,” Yarborough said. “We made a really long run on Friday and our pace was quite a bit quicker than that so I wasn’t concerned with the pace at all, just making sure I was in a good spot.”

McDaniel ended up in the second position while B.J. Mackey, Sammy Smith and Jason York rounded out the Top 5.

5th Annual Icebreaker Results:

1. 95 Sam Yarborough
2. 12m Austin McDaniel
3. 6 B.J. Mackey
4. 12s Sammy Smith
5. 18 Jason York
6. 16 Austin Hill
7. 26 Peyton Sellers
8. 1 Nolan Pope
9. 44 Justin Johnson
10. 2 Brandon Pierce
11. 5 Michael Faulk
12. 15 Ryan Millington
13. 44 T.J. Barron
14. 11 Lucas Williams
15. 98 Kevin Parsons
16. 95 Jacob Heafner
17. 5 Dexter Canipe Jr. -1
18. 18a Anthony Adams -1
19. 63 Chris Throckmorton -1
20. 33 Jason Tutterow -1
21. 19 Jessica Cann -2
22. 18r David Roberts OUT
23. 8p Travis Powell -3
24. 13 Bobby June OUT
25. 94 Jamie Weatherford OUT
26. 17 Bryant Barnhill OUT
27. 57 Todd Bradburry OUT
28. 21 Jimmy Wallace OUT
29. 99 Austin Somero OUT
30. 8s Bob Saville OUT
31. 81 Will Burns OUT
32, 28 Ryan Glenski OUT
33. 70 Stuart Ricks OUT
34. 51 Rajah Caruth OUT
35. 78 Corey Heim OUT’s Andy Marquis contributed to this article.