Experience carried the day in the race for Fountain Valley City Council, with incumbent Steve Nagel and former Councilwoman Cheryl Brothers holding a substantial lead Wednesday morning.

Although the Orange County Registrar of Voters still called the results unofficial, the front-runners far outpaced the competition, with 36% for Nagel and 26% for Brothers. There are two open seats on the council this year.

Rounding out the race were Allen Tire Co. Vice President Patrick Tucker with 17.1%, recent high school graduate Bryan Tice with 10.6% and banker Duy Nguyen with 10.3%.

Nagel said Wednesday that he was confident the preliminary results would stand.

"It's a very good feeling," he said. "It's always nice to know people recognize you and appreciate what you've done to make the city successful and still a nice place to live."

Brothers, who served on the council from 2002 to 2010 and as mayor in 2006, lost her reelection bid two years ago. Asked whether she felt vindicated to win again after her loss in 2010, she called it "just a different time."

"I'm just looking forward to going back to work on the City Council," she said.

michael.miller@latimes.com

Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB