News

Winning a Big Gator meant ‘more than you’ll know’ to Justin Allgaier

The NASCAR star shared his passion for racing at DIRTcar Nationals and why he cherishes his gator trophies most

Justin Allgaier occasionally peered into the Volusia Speedway Park pond hoping to see its resident gators during DIRTcar Nationals last year.

Each time, he found himself – the “Little Gator.”

However, there was another gator the NASCAR star was truly searching for. The golden gator; given only to those capable of winning during the historic DIRTcar Nationals event.

Allgaier had already claimed the unique trophy in 2016 with the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds – a prize he said he cherishes over every other trophy he’s collected.

“I’ve got the little gator that we won years ago sitting front and center in my trophy case,” he said. “It’s out in front of all the NASCAR wins. It’s out in front of everything I got because it means a lot to me.”

What he didn’t have yet was the Big Gator trophy. That prestigious life-size idol is reserved only to those who master the points battle for the week or win the biggest UMP Modified race of the event – the Gator Championship Feature.

Modified champion Nick Hoffman was on a path to conquer both last year but a rare slip by the multi-time gator winner allowed Allaiger the opportunity to slide into the lead. Hoffman tried desperately to run down Allaiger – driving a chassis built by Hoffman – but the “Little Gator” used all his might to finally earn a Big Gator trophy.

Its significance?

“More than you’ll know,” Allgaier said. “Obviously, the NASCAR side (driving for recent NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Dale Earnhardt Jr.), I love what I do, and I have great sponsors over there. I love the NASCAR side of things but there is nothing like coming out in front of you (dirt) fans. Everybody is watching at home on DIRTVision. Just putting it all out there with 30 of the best drivers in the world. I truly mean that.”

Justin Allgaier races his DIRTcar UMP Modified at Volusia Speedway Park

He’ll be back this year for the 51st edition of DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 7-12, to hunt for both gators again. Participating in the event is a privilege he cherishes, having visited Volusia as a fan long before he started his racing career. Even before the track had dirt on it.

When he turned from fan to driver at the half-mile track, he started in a Late Model before moving to a DIRTcar UMP Modified. He credited his years in dirt racing as a key to his success, which includes 16 NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and the 2008 ARCA championship.

“This is an integral part of who I am as a racer,” Allgaier said. “It’s a huge part of who I am. It drives me to be a racer. I love what I do on Saturdays, and I love the NASCAR scene. It is so totally different than this. They’re both great in their own right. They’re so totally different. Dirt racing fans are incredible. They’re passionate. They love their sport. And rightly so, right? Whether it’s Late Model, Sprint Cars, Modifieds, just in general they love this sport so much. And it drives us. You put in hours. You put in time.”

And don’t think he finds dirt racing any less stressful than his NASCAR duties.

“I get more heartburn and sleepless nights coming here (to DIRTcar Nationals) than I’d like to admit,” Allgaier said. “You know, it’s so difficult to come down here. And so many things have to go right. But you look at guys like Nick (Hoffman) who come here year in and year out, they find their way to the box. They make no mistakes. They’re on their game. The amount of focus and discipline it takes to come here, when you have this many cars, it really is incredible to see the talent level here right now. It’s really amazing.

“I think a lot of NASCAR guys come back here because we truly believe it’s a huge test of our abilities. A test of the people around you. There’s just something different about it. This week is mentally draining. When you walk out of this place, you’re either pumped up and ready to come back next year or you’re so demoralized that you’re ready to come back next year so you can redeem yourself. It’s pretty awesome. It’s something that… yeah, there’s really no words that can describe it.”

If you venture to the gator pond this February, you may find the “Little Gator” again peering into its depths, searching. Always searching for a gator – green and gold.

For tickets to DIRTcar Nationals, click HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch the two weeks of the event live on DIRTVision – either online or with the DIRTVision App.

Rain Showers Force Cancellation of Saturday’s Portion of Sunshine Nationals at Volusia

The Postponed World of Outlaws and DIRTcar Pro Late Model Features from Friday Move to DIRTcar Nationals

Persistent rain showers creating saturated grounds, on top of the heavy rain from Friday night, and a forecast calling for more rain at Volusia Speedway Park have forced World of Outlaws, DIRTcar, and track officials to cancel Saturday’s entire program at the speedway.

The postponed World of Outlaws Feature from Friday night will be made up on Wednesday, Feb. 16, during DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia.

The DIRTcar Pro Late Model Feature will also be made up at DIRTcar Nationals on Monday, Feb. 7. Volusia Speedway Park officials will determine a date to make up the 602 Late Model Feature.

Fans who bought a ticket to Friday’s Feature events can bring their ticket stub from that event to DIRTcar Nationals and receive $10 off a DIRTcar Nationals ticket for Wednesday, Feb. 16 only.

Those who purchased a ticket in advance to Saturday’s event can request a face value refund by clicking here, or receive a face value credit to their MyDirtTickets.com account to be used towards any World of Outlaws event available at WorldofOutlaws.com/tix. If a credit to your account does not work for you, then you have until February 21 to request a refund. If this does not work for you, e-mail tickets@dirtcar.com.

Any wristbands from Saturday’s event can be mailed to our office in Concord, NC for a refund. Please include Name and address. Tickets will only be refunded for Saturday.

The World of Outlaws Late Model 2022 season continues during DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 16-19. For tickets to the event, click HERE.

For the latest on the DIRTcar Racing, make sure to follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Rain Showers Force Postponement of Friday’s Sunshine Nationals Features at Volusia

Persistent heavy rain showers creating saturated grounds at Volusia Speedway Park have forced World of Outlaws Late Model Series, DIRTcar and track officials to postpone Friday’s portion of Sunshine Nationals to Saturday.

Friday’s World of Outlaws Late Model, DIRTcar Pro Late Model and 602 Late Model Features will run Saturday afternoon, starting at 1:30pm.

Following the three afternoon Features, the grandstands will be cleared to prepare for the original Saturday portion of the program and tickets for that event will be on sale at the track. Saturday’s program is tentatively scheduled to resume at 3pm after the short break, starting with World of Outlaws Hot Laps.

Follow DIRTcar Racing on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates and content from the DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals.

SUNSHINE MAGIC: Florida’s Mark Whitener powers to DIRTcar Pro Late Model victory

“The Magic Man” won the opening race for the DIRTcar Pro Late Models at Sunshine Nationals

Less than 24 hours after sitting upside down in his Super Late Model, Mark Whitener climbed out of his DIRTcar Pro Late Model with a straw hat on his head and a smile on his face.

The Middleburg, FL driver found strength in his consistency and pure will to claim the first DIRTcar Pro Late Model Sunshine Nationals victory of the week Friday evening at Volusia Speedway Park – after the race was postponed from Thursday night.

Whitener “The Magic Man” said he was sore and battled brake issues in the final half of the 25-lap Feature, but knew he had a strong new Savage chassis underneath him.

“I knew I had a pretty good hot rod,” Whitener said. “This is a new car for us. Thanks to Jason Welshan at Savage (Chassis). That was scary in the Super last night. My hands are sore. I’m sore all over… but to be in Victory Lane for this Sunshine deal, it’s pretty much at home for us. Just appreciate everyone that puts this show on. Everybody is doing the best job they can.”

Shan Smith led the field to the initial green flag with Whitener in tow. The two paced ahead of the field in the early stage of the race, while Nevin Gainey made his way from fifth to third in the first two laps.

Smith held a strong command of the lead around the half-mile track until lap traffic became a hindrance. During an attempt to pass a group of slower cars around the outside, Smith was pushed out of the groove into a dirty lane, losing grip and allowing Whitener to sneak underneath him. The two raced side by side for a straightaway before Whitener launched ahead with the lead and never looked back.

“When I was leading and got to lap traffic, I should’ve just rode in behind those guys but I was afraid that Mark (Whitener) was going to dive out there to the outside and just drive around me and I’d get caught with my pants down. I just dive-bombed those guys around the outside and they kind of hung me out to dry when I was lapping them. That was the race.

“Basically, if you got off the bottom you were done. So, I want to thank all my guys for helping me and supporting me. We’ve been busting our butts like everyone else here.”

Whitener lost his rear brakes with 10 laps to go and had to readjust his approach to each corner but stayed committed to the bottom. Smith began to pull in Whitener, getting close enough to grab his bumper with eight laps to go. However, he hit a rut in Turn 2 and faded back into the clutches of Cory Hedgecock in third.

Three laps later disaster almost struck Whitener as a car slowed to a near stop in front of him to turn into the pit area, forcing him to lock his brakes and wrangle his car straight to avoid a collision. That allowed Smith and Hedgecock one last attempt at Whitener.

The “Magic Man” was in another dimension, however, needing only a corner to distance himself from his hunters again.

He drove away to claim a needed victory in a doubleheader day of racing around The World’s Fastest Half-Mile in which he’ll be pulling double duty with the DIRTcar Pro Late Models and World of Outlaws Late Models.

“I’d just like to thank everybody that is out here,” Whitener said. “All these fans and everybody that helps me on this car. Especially Jason Welshan at Savage Chassis. First night out and this thing was badass.”

UP NEXT
The DIRTcar Pro Late Models return tonight for the second night of the Sunshine Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.

Tickets for the Sunshine Nationals are available at the track or by clicking HERE.

RESULTS
1. 5-Mark Whitener[2]; 2. 32-Shan Smith[1]; 3. 23-Cory Hedgecock[6]; 4. 17-Nevin Gainey[5]; 5. 05-David Whitener[9]; 6. 6-Clay Harris[8]; 7. 66K-Dylan Knowles[7]; 8. 4-Rye Faulk[10]; 9. 66-Jody Knowles[3]; 10. 22-Jeremy Steele[13]; 11. 10-CChad Olsen[15]; 12. 2-Trynt Lloyd[16]; 13. 01G-Jason Garver[18]; 14. 71-Bo Allen[20]; 15. 28M-Sam Mars[12]; 16. 66-JJake Knowles[26]; 17. 2W-Justin Williams[21]; 18. 17SSJR-Brenden Smith[24]; 19. 127-Austin Yarbrough[23]; 20. 45T-Tom Fiebelkorn[19]; 21. 51-Mikey Kopka[22]; 22. 01-Jason Welshan[25]; 23. 38-Garrett Mosley[11]; 24. 25-Donnie Chappell[17]; 25. 00S-Richie Stephens[14]; 26. 14-Wil Herrington[4]

Thursday’s Portion of Sunshine Nationals at Volusia Postponed to Friday

Due to time constraints and current track conditions, all three Features on Thursday’s portion of Sunshine Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park are postponed to Friday at 3pm.

The DIRTcar Pro Late Model Feature will kick off Friday’s racing, followed by the $10,000-to-win World of Outlaws Late Models Feature and the 602 Late Model Feature.

Gates will open Friday at 2:30 pm, and Thursday’s tickets will be honored.

Following the three Feature events, the grandstands will be cleared, and tickets for Friday’s event will be sold.

Anyone who has a pit pass for Thursday’s event will need to buy Friday’s pit pass to see the postponed Features. That pass will also allow them access to Friday’s regularly scheduled event.

Friday’s portion of Sunshine Nationals is scheduled to start at 4:30 pm.

For the latest on the World of Outlaws Late Models, make sure to follow on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and at www.WorldofOutlaws.com.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either online on with the DIRTVision App.

TALKING ‘BOUT PRACTICE: Late Model practice sets stage for Sunshine Nationals

Chris Madden tops World of Outlaws Hot Laps, Daulton Wilson fastest with DIRTcar Pro Late Models

With an evening of practice in the books, a three-day Late Model-Palooza is now afoot at Volusia Speedway Park, Jan. 20-22.

The World of Outlaws Late Models, DIRTcar Pro Late Models and Volusia Late Models took to the World’s Fastest Half-Mile Wednesday evening to kick off the third annual DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals, setting up several storylines for an exciting weekend.

You can watch it all unfold Thursday-Saturday – tickets are available at the gate on race day. Hot Laps are scheduled for 5:30pm (ET) on Thursday and 5pm on Friday and Saturday. Or, if you can’t be at the track, watch all the action live with a DIRTVision FAST PASS subscription.

World of Outlaws Late Model Series
Chris Madden didn’t wait long to show he’d be a force during the World of Outlaws season-opener at Sunshine Nationals.

After two practice sessions for the Series, he unofficially broke the track record laying down a 15.644 second lap — 0.001 seconds quicker than Tim McCreadie’s track record set on Valentine’s Day in 2018.

However, it doesn’t officially go into the record books as a new track record. Official times are only taken during Qualifying.

The Gray Court, SC driver stated he was happy with his first laps at Volusia, hoping to keep the momentum rolling for the first race of the season Thursday night.

(Jacy Norgaard Photo, 2021)

“It’s really great,” Madden said. “We’ve been working the last part of the season, and we really got going well. We worked on a lot of stuff this winter, and we’re just happy to be here, and our Rocket Chassis is really fast.

“We tested at Brunswick, and we were really good there, and then we came here and tested. We couldn’t be any happier with our testing the way it is. We just hopefully can take that over to our racing.”

“Smokey” is searching for his second win at Volusia Speedway Park and first victory at the Florida venue since his triumph in the 2006 season finale.

Madden was more than a tenth-of-a-second faster than Ricky Thornton Jr., who was second. A total of 37 cars took advantage of the practice session.

The World of Outlaws Late Models will race three Features at Volusia Speedway Park this weekend, each paying $10,000-to-win.

World of Outlaws Late Models Practice Top-5

  1. Chris Madden – 15.644
  2. Ricky Thornton Jr. – 15.779
  3. Devin Moran – 15.804
  4. Boom Briggs – 15.936
  5. Jimmy Mars – 15.997

DIRTcar Pro Late Models
A strong group of 37 DIRTcar Pro Late Models also took to the track for several Hot Lap sessions of their own. Daulton Wilson, of Fayetteville, NC, topped the chart with a lap of 17.394 around the half-mile.

One of Wilson’s two cars he’ll be driving this weekend.

In the first two editions of the Sunshine Nationals, Pro Late Models have brought the highest car count of any division. With 57 total drivers already registered, that trend looks to continue this year. While Wilson acknowledged his tough opponents, he’s confident in he and his team’s abilities.

“It’s a big confidence booster for the whole weekend,” Wilson said. “We unloaded straight out of the gate with a new Eagle Crate motor, so to just go right out there and go quick, that was a good start to the week.”

Wilson’s one of a few drivers pulling double-duty this weekend, behind the wheel of a Pro Late Model with DIRTcar and a Super Late Model with the World of Outlaws. He said he’s still working out a few bugs with his Super, but has peace of mind knowing his Crate-engine car is fast already.

“I think we’ve got just as good of a chance as anybody in either one of them,” Wilson said. “I think it’s going to be really good to be getting twice as much time on the racetrack, even though it’s with a Crate and a Super, it’s still time on the track and getting laps around here.”

Other notable Pro Late Model talents in the field included Tennesseans Cory Hedgecock (8th-quick, 17.712) and defending Sunshine Nationals champion Mack McCarter (11th-quick, 17.829), in addition to Floridians Trynt Lloyd (2nd-quick, 17.481) and Donnie Chappell (7th-quick, 17.695).

The Pro Late Models race two preliminary shows on Thursday and Friday before the $10,000-to-win finale on Saturday night.

DIRTcar Pro Late Models Practice Top-5

  1. Daulton Wilson (17.394)
  2. Trynt Lloyd (17.481)
  3. Winky McGee (17.566)
  4. Ben Scott (17.652)
  5. Sam Mars (17.660)

Volusia 602 Late Models
A division familiar to the weekly Volusia racing crowd, the 602 Late Models saw 11 drivers take the opportunity for practice before the racing begins Thursday. Local drivers Tim Swartz (18.427) and Travis Staats (18.617) topped the charts.

A healthy field of 26 drivers have already checked-in to compete this weekend, all gunning for the $3,000 grand prize on Saturday night.

Volusia 602 Late Models Top-5

  1. Tim Swartz (18.427)
  2. Travis Staats (18.617)
  3. Craig Montesi Jr. (18.651)
  4. Jordan Koehler (18.738)
  5. Dalton Jacobs (18.967)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: World of Outlaws Late Models open 2022 season at Sunshine Nationals

The wait is finally over.

The World of Outlaws Late Models kick off their 2022 campaign in Florida, Jan. 20-22, as part of the Sunshine Nationals Late-Model-Palooza at Volusia Speedway Park.

Three nights of high-octane action will see The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet battle for a $10,000 top prize each Feature, giving one driver the chance to walk away with $30,000.

This year marks the Series’ second appearance during the massive Late Model weekend. Home state hero Kyle Bronson, of Brandon, FL, picked up the inaugural Sunshine Nationals win with the World of Outlaws.

Joining the Series at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile are the DIRTcar Pro Late Models and 602 Late Models.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either online on with the DIRTVision App.

Here are top storylines to what for this weekend:

The Drive for 5: The Sunshine Nationals mark the start of a potential historic journey for Brandon Sheppard, of New Berlin, IL. He’s two wins away from taking the top spot on the all-time wins list and a championship at the end of the season would make him the first driver in the history of the Series to reach five titles.

Sheppard won his third consecutive title in November – fourth overall – tying Josh Richards for the most Series championships all-time.

He’s had a ton of success as The World’s Fastest Half-Mile racking up six victories, including a clean sweep of DIRTcar Nationals in 2019. Sheppard was consistent on tracks a half-mile or larger in 2021 — scoring one win, five top-fives, and nine top-10s.

“The Rocket Shepp” is also coming in hot. He scored two wins in New Mexico earlier this month in his family-owned car.

Back with a Boom: Brandon Sheppard won’t be alone in the quest to claim the most World of Outlaws Late Model championships all-time. Josh Richards returns to the World of Outlaws Late Models full-time in 2022 behind the wheel of a car owned by fan-favorite Boom Briggs.

Like Sheppard, the Shinnston, WV driver has also found success at Volusia Speedway Park, winning five times at the Florida venue.

While “The Rocket Man” hasn’t been full-time with the Series since 2016, that hasn’t kept him out of Victory Lane. His last Series win came at the high-speed Bristol Motor Speedway half-mile last year.

Freshman Orientation: The 2022 World of Outlaws Late Models’ rookie class is one to keep an eye on this season with impressive resumes among them.

Six drivers have announced their plan to run for Rookie of the Year honors in 2022, all from different parts of the country.

Max Blair, from Centerville, PA, has the most World of Outlaws success out of the group, having already claimed three Series wins. However, Tanner English, from Benton, KY, is the only driver with an entire season of a national tour under his belt.

Joining them in the rookie battle will be Gary Dillon, from Wilson, NC, Gordy Gundaker, from St. Charles, MO, Jacob Ulrich, from Sand Springs, OK, and Kyle Hammer, from Clinton, IL.

As proven by last year’s Rookie of the Year, Tyler Bruening, a strong start to the season at Sunshine Nationals will go a long way to ending the season as the top rookie. While he didn’t pick up a win, his consistency catapulted him to third in points.

Volusia Tickler: No driver had more success at Volusia Speedway Park in 2021 than Kyle Strickler.

The Mooresville, NC driver won twice last season—the only driver to score multiple victories at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.

In January 2021, the “Highside Tickler” held off Late Model legend Scott Bloomquist to score his first career win at Sunshine Nationals and backed it up with a win to open DIRTcar Nationals last February.

In five races on the half-mile oval, Strickler only finished out of the top-five once—a sixth on the final night of DIRTcar Nationals.

Yung Money Sunshine: Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson returns to the World of Outlaws Late Models at Sunshine Nationals behind the wheel of the K&L Rumley Enterprises car.

The Elk Grove, CA driver, won two of the four races he entered last season, scoring victories at Sharon Speedway and Fairbury Speedway.

“Yung Money” has made six starts with the Series, but Thursday will be his first at Volusia Speedway Park. In one appearance on a half-mile in 2021, Larson was battling for the win at Williams Grove Speedway before retiring late in the event.

WHEN AND WHERE

Jan. 20-22 – Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL

ABOUT THE TRACK

Volusia Speedway Park is a 1/2-mile oval
Online – https://volusiaspeedwaypark.com

Previous Volusia Speedway Park Winners
2021 – Kyle Bronson on Jan. 14, Kyle Strickler on Jan. 16, Kyle Strickler on Feb. 10, Devin Moran on Feb. 11, Brandon Overton on Feb. 12
2020 – Brandon Sheppard on Feb. 12, Jimmy Owens on Feb. 13, Feb. 14 & Feb. 15
2019 – Brandon Sheppard on Feb. 13, Feb. 14, Feb. 15 and Feb. 16
2018 – Tim McCreadie – Feb. 14; Dale McDowell – Feb. 15; Scott Bloomquist – Feb. 16; Brandon Sheppard – Feb. 17
2017- Shane Clanton on Feb. 24; Don O’Neal on Feb. 25
2016 – Josh Richards on Feb. 18, 19; Shane Clanton on Feb. 20
2015 – Shane Clanton on Feb. 19, 20, 21
2014 – Casey Roberts on Feb. 20; Kyle Bronson on Feb. 22
2013 – Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 21; Billy Moyer on Feb. 22; Darrell Lanigan on Feb. 23
2012 – Dennis Erb Jr. on Feb. 23; Billy Moyer on Feb. 25
2011 – Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 17; Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 19
2010 – Josh Richards on Feb. 11; Brady Smith on Feb. 13
2009 – Josh Richards on Feb. 12; Steve Francis on Feb. 14
2008 – Josh Richards on Feb. 14; Billy Moyer on Feb. 16
2007 – Josh Richards on Feb. 17
2006 – Earl Pearson Jr. on Feb. 16; Steve Francis on Feb. 18; Chris Madden on Oct. 14
2005 – Billy Moyer on Feb. 17; Tim McCreadie on Feb. 19; Scott Bloomquist on Oct. 29
2004 – Steve Francis on Feb. 3; Bart Hartman on Feb. 4; Shannon Babb on Feb. 6; Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 8

TRACK RECORDS

Volusia Speedway Park- 15.645 set by Tim McCreadie on Feb. 14, 2018

On the Internet
World of Outlaws Late Models Series
Twitter – Twitter.com/WoOLateModels – @WoOLateModels
Instagram – Instagram.com/WoOLateModels – @woolatemodels
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsLateModelSeries
YouTube – Youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws
DIRTVision – DIRTVision.com – Platinum annual FAST PASS for $299 or monthly FAST PASS for $39/month

Around the Turn: The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet return to Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL for DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 16-19. CLICK HERE for Tickets.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Pro Late Models Set to Tackle Third Annual Sunshine Nationals at Volusia

Whitener, Hedgecock, McCarter and more set to battle for $10,000 grand prize on Saturday

The first two editions of the DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals saw the Pro Late Models with the highest car count of any division on the card. That trend looks to continue this weekend as the best Crate-engine drivers in the nation gather at Volusia Speedway Park in search of one $10,000 grand prize.

A night of practice starts the on-track activity on Wednesday, Jan. 19, followed by two nights of preliminary racing action before the finale on Saturday night. The Pro (604) Late Models race for $1,500 on Thursday, $2,000 on Friday and the $10,000 check on Saturday, making this one of the most lucrative Crate Late Model races on the winter racing calendar.

All three nights of racing will be broadcast live on DIRTVision. Sign up for a FAST PASS subscription today and be on the lookout for the following drivers to make some noise this weekend.

Here are the drivers to watch and storylines to follow this weekend…

MAGIC SHOW – Mark Whitener, of Middleburg, FL, comes into the Sunshine Nationals as one of the most accomplished 604 Crate Late Model racers in the field. Last season, he won two Crate Racin’ USA Challenge Series events en route to the Series title, plus a $10,000 marquee victory in the RUSH-sanctioned Bill Emig Memorial event last summer.

Magic Man was a threat to win on both nights of Sunshine Nationals Pro Late Model competition last year, coming in third behind Michael Page and Mack McCarter in the Thursday night prelim before a sixth-place run in Saturday’s finale to cap off the weekend.

Jacy Norgaard Photo

ON A MISSION – If there’s any driver coming to Volusia this weekend with a strong sense of vengeance, it’s Super Late Model veteran Michael Page.

Page, of Douglasville, GA, is one of only two Pro Late Model Feature winners in event history, breaking inaugural champion Kyle Bronson’s event win streak with a victory in the opening night last year. After a wash-out on Friday, Page took to the track for the Saturday finale and dominated to win the 30-lap event, or so it seemed at first. Upon a failed post-race engine inspection, Page was disqualified, handing the win over to runner-up Bronson.

This weekend, Page is projected to be in the Pro Late Model field once again, aiming to win the big show and avenge his lost championship from 2021.

MACK IS BACK – Mack McCarter, the 2021 Sunshine Nationals Pro Late Model champion from Gatlinburg, TN, returns to Volusia this weekend to defend his title just one year after denying Bronson of a repeat.

McCarter had an impressive showing against a 64-car field last year, finishing runner-up on both nights of competition. Over 55 total Feature laps, McCarter advanced 35 spots of position, going 19th-second on Thursday and 20th-second on Saturday. For his efforts, a shiny trophy for his cabinet after edging out Bronson for the title by five points.

Jacy Norgaard Photo

CRATE MASTER – Two-time Crate Racin’ USA champion Cory Hedgecock joins the Pro Late Model field this weekend, looking for his first trip to Sunshine Nationals Victory Lane after winning big two weekends ago in Alabama.

Hedgecock, of Loudon, TN, has the early season momentum rolling with a win in the Crate Late Model portion of the annual Ice Bowl event at Talladega Short Track, defeating several Crate touring regulars he’ll encounter again this weekend.

Hedgecock’s Sunshine Nationals track record has been strong as well, coming home 8th in the 2020 finale, followed by a third-place to McCarter and Bronson last year.

TRIPLE THREAT – The cousin-trio of Jody, Jake and Dylan Knowles are all projected to be in attendance this weekend, chasing their first Sunshine Nationals victories.

Dylan was crowned champion of Crate Racin’ USA’s Winter Shootout Series in 2021. Jake finished third in Crate Racin’ points last year and ran second to Hedgecock at Talladega two weeks ago, while Jody ran two spots behind in fourth.

Jake and Jody have both made the Sunshine Nationals big show on Saturday night in both years they’ve competed. All three drivers made the finale last year as well; Jake topped the clan with a ninth-place finish.

Volusia Unveils 2022 Schedule

Volusia Speedway Park revealed its 2022 schedule on Friday during the Performance Racing Industry Tradeshow in Indianapolis. Beginning with the Sunshine Nationals in January and running through the Reutimann Memorial in November, there are more than 40 race nights at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.

While World of Outlaws Late Models and DIRTcar UMP Modifieds bookend the 2022 season, everything from World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars to AMA Motorcycles to Top Gun Sprints will make appearances at Volusia.

Following the DIRTcar Nationals in February and Daytona Bike Week events in March, an ambitious schedule of racing including 604 Late Models, 602 Late Models, DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, 3/4 Modifieds, Street Stocks and Thunder Stocks will be on the card for Saturday night racing beginning in April.

New in 2022, Volusia Speedway Park’s weekly events will be broadcast around the world via DIRTVision, dirt track racing’s broadcaster of premier events and tracks.

“We have worked hard to deliver a full and competitive schedule for our fans, sponsors and racers,” said Volusia Speedway Park General Manager James Sawyer. “We’ve had a great 2021 season so our goal is to keep the momentum rolling right into 2022, beginning with the Sunshine Nationals on Jan. 20.”

Click here for the full schedule of events and links to ticket information.

World of Outlaws, DIRTcar set to take over Florida Feb. 7-19 for DIRTcar Nationals

Sprint Cars, UMP Modifieds, Late Models and Big Block Modifieds stars return for Big Gator championships

In less than two months, more than a hundred of the best drivers in the world will venture to Volusia Speedway Park in search of eastern Florida’s rare golden gator.

However, the only way to capture it… win the 51st DIRTcar Nationals.

Four divisions of race cars, six series between them, will commune at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” Feb. 7-19, to compete in their own Big Gator championships with big checks and unique gator trophies on the line each race.

DIRTcar UMP Modifieds (Feb. 7-12)
With the 51st DIRTcar Nationals starting a day earlier in 2022, that presented the opportunity for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds to have a full week of non-stop action. They’ll kick off the event on Monday as part of their six straight days of racing action. The division’s traditional “All-Features” night will be on Thursday, Feb. 10, with split fields competing on Friday, Feb. 11. The Gator Championship will be on Saturday, Feb. 12.

Attracting more than 100 cars last year, the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds field includes superstars like multi-time champion Nick Hoffman, multi-time DIRTcar Nationals winner Kyle Strickler, and a plethora of current and former NASCAR stars like Justin Allgaier, Kenny Wallace, David Reutimann, David Stremme, Matt Crafton, Justin Haley and Kenny Schrader.

All Star Circuit of Champions (Feb. 8-9)
The two days of All Star Circuit of Champions racing will kick off the Sprint Car Big Gator Championship for the week, featuring the series’ regulars like 2021 All Star champion Tyler Courtney, Cory Eliason, Kevin Thomas Jr. and more, along with several World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series stars. The All Stars have competed during DIRTcar Nationals for 30 years with the first race in 1983.

For the past two years, the winner of the opening All Star race went on to win the overall Big Gator Championship. In 2020 that was Brad Sweet and in 2021 it was Logan Schuchart.

World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars (Feb. 10-12)
For the 17th consecutive year, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will commence its epic year-long season at Volusia Speedway Park during the DIRTcar Nationals. Bringing together the best Sprint Car drivers in the country, the three days of racing have produced some of the most exciting shows from late race passes to intense multi-car battles.

Three-time and defending World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet, started his last two championship runs by winning the Outlaws’ opening night at Volusia. To do so again in 2022, he’ll have to compete against one of the most competitive fields of drivers in Series history, including 10-time Series champion Donny Schatz, 2021 championship rival David Gravel, 2021 Rookie of the Year James McFadden, 2021 Big Gator champion Logan Schuchart, rising young-guns Carson Macedo and Sheldon Haudenschild and many more.

Super DIRTcar Series (Feb. 14-19)
The most elite Big Block Modified drivers in the country will escape the cold of the northeast for six days of on-track action at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile. It’ll be the 24th consecutive year the Series has ventured to Volusia. Monday, Feb. 14, will be a practice day for the drivers before the 2022 Super DIRTcar Series season starts on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

With the five races not serving as points events, it allows the field of drivers to run as hard as they want and throw caution to the wind. That produced three different winners in a row last year with NASCAR Truck Series star Stewart Friesen, Michael Maresca and 2021 Big Gator champion Max McLaughlin. Those drivers, along with eight-time and defending Series champion Matt Sheppard, 2019 Series champion Mat Williamson and Australia’s Peter Britten, will be vying for the iconic golden gator trophy again.

DIRTcar Late Models (Feb. 14-15)
Like the Sprint Cars, the chase for the Late Model Big Gator Championship will be split between two series – the DIRTcar Late Models and the World of Outlaws Late Models. However, fans will still get to see the same caliber of drivers between both series like four-time and defending World of Outlaws champion Brandon Sheppard, 2006 World of Outlaws champion Tim McCreadie, 2021 Summer Nationals champion Bobby Pierce, Florida’s Kyle Bronson, 2021 Big Gator champion Devin Moran, 2021 crown jewel king Brandon Overton and many more.

In 2021, McCreadie picked up his sixth DIRTcar Late Model victory at Volusia, while Pierce picked up his first. Overall, in the 19 years of the DIRTcar Late Models competing at Volusia, there have been 28 different winners.

World of Outlaws Late Models (Feb. 16-19)
Volusia Speedway Park will be the home for the World of Outlaws Late Models in January and February with the season-opening Sunshine Nationals, Jan. 20-22, and then four days of racing during the DIRTcar Nationals to wrap up the Late Model Big Gator Championship. The seven days of Florida racing will set the stage for the Series’ 2022 championship and showcase the stout 2022 class of drivers, including the exciting rookie contenders Max Blair and Kyle Hammer.

Brandon Sheppard tied Josh Richards for the most championships in 2021 when he picked up his fourth title. In 2022, he’ll be on the hunt to surpass that and beat Richards’s win record. Richards currently holds the most wins with 78 and Sheppard has 77. Volusia could see him break that record with Sheppard having won six World of Outlaws races in a row at the track from 2018 to 2020.

For tickets to the 2022 DIRTcar Nationals, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch the DIRTcar Nationals live on DIRTVision – either online or with the DIRTVision App.