Events

Illinois Racer Charges to Victory in Volusia’s DIRTcar Nationals Opener

 

Long holds off Strickler to capture first Gator Trophy of 12-night event

BARBERVILLE, FL — Feb. 4, 2020 — Michael Long surged to the lead on the opening lap of the DIRTcar UMP Modified Feature Tuesday night and fought off Kyle Strickler to the checkered flag for the first Gator Trophy of the 12-night DIRTcar Nationals presented by Bozard Ford at Volusia Speedway Park.

Long, of Fowler, Ill., used the high side in Turns 1 and 2 to keep Strickler, who started eighth, pinned to the bottom and unable to maximize his horsepower. After a couple of cautions seven laps into the race, a 12-lap green-flag run forced Long to negotiate heavy lapped traffic on the high-speed half-mile dirt oval.

“Luckily, they went to the bottom,” Long said of the lapped cars. “When you see the #8 of Strickler on the board it makes you nervous on restarts, especially going into Turn 1. I knew once I got rolling I was good. He had to out-motor me and I knew if I hit the restarts right I was going to be alright.”

Ryan Cripe wound up third while defending DIRTcar Nationals champion Nick Hoffman started 21st and powered his way to a fourth-place finish. Zeke McKenzie was fifth after starting 28th to earn Hard Charger honors.

NASCAR CONNECTIONS: Kenny Wallace raced to a ninth-place finish in the Feature while David Stremme went for a spin after contact with Cripe as they were battling for third, collecting last summer’s Daytona winner Justin Haley in the process. … Three-time NASCAR Truck Series champion Matt Crafton missed the Feature by one position in a Last Chance Showdown that also included Xfinity Series standout Justin Allgaier, who finished one spot behind Crafton, and Truck Series racer Sheldon Creed, who finished eighth.

WINGED WARRIORS: World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars — including drivers like recent Chili Bowl winner and NASCAR star Kyle Larson — rolled onto the half-mile dirt oval for a final tune-up session before the high-powered, winged sprint cars compete at Volusia the next five nights.

For more on the DIRTcar Nationals, go to DIRTcarNationals.com.

DIRTcar Nationals Race Report; Volusia Speedway Park; Feb. 4, 2020

DIRTcar UMP Modifieds (20 laps): 1. 18L-Michael Long [2][$1,000]; 2. 8KS-Kyle Strickler [8][$600]; 3. 23-Ryan Cripe [4][$400]; 4. 2-Nick Hoffman [21][$350]; 5. 24-Zeke McKenzie [28][$300]; 6. 5-Curt Spalding [3][$275]; 7. 2A-Donnie Moran [12][$250]; 8. 49-Brian Ruhlman [25][$225]; 9. 36-Kenny Wallace [9][$200]; 10. 7-Drake Troutman [20][$200]; 11. 99M-Mike Mullen [23][$175]; 12. 90-Jason Beaulieu [17][$140]; 13. 77-Ray Bollinger [11][$130]; 14. 7A-Shane Sabraski [22][$125]; 15. 95-Michael Altobelli [27][$125]; 16. 45J-Johnny Broking [15][$125]; 17. 22-Dale Kelley [19][$125]; 18. 2J-Troy Johnson [10][$125]; 19. O5-Dave Wietholder [16][$125]; 20. 7F-Bryan Foy [24][$125]; 21. 35-David Stremme [5][$125]; 22. 17TE-Tyler Evans [14][$125]; 23. 11JH-Justin Haley [18][$125]; 24. 7CT-Christian Thomas [26][$125]; 25. 8A-Austin Holcombe [13][$125]; 26. K19-Will Krup [1][$100]; 27. 75-Terry Phillips [7][$100]; 28. 65-Todd Sherman [6][$100].