Recap

A CLASSIC DOGFIGHT: Top Gun Sprint Cars Return To Volusia and The Kids School The Late Models

The return of the Top Gun Sprint Car Series, young guns claiming the late models, and fast paced action were the ingredients to what made tonight’s Top Gun Classic worth the wait.

 

Even though it doesn’t feel that long, the Top Gun Sprint Cars returned to the World’s Fastest Half Mile for their first of three races at the track for their 2022 campaign. Tonight, it was all the Danny Martin Jr show as he dominated the majority of the times he was out on track. He started the night out by winning his heat race with Brandon Grubaugh challenging at times. 

 

After an invert and starting 7th, Martin quickly made up ground and took the lead early in the program. From that point on, it was all eyes on him as he led over five seconds for the majority of the feature. Cautions and lap cars didn’t do him in either, as he led with Grubaugh behind him to take the Top Gun win. It’s his 6th win of the season, making his championship bid early in the 24 car.

 

  1. 24-Danny Martin Jr[7]; 2. G6-Brandon Grubaugh[6]; 3. 82-Garrett Green[8]; 4. 21B-Brandon McLain[4]; 5. 10TRB-Bob Martin[11]; 6. 6S-Robbie Smith[5]; 7. 26-Jeff Bye[1]; 8. 97B-Dustin Burtron[3]; 9. 14-Danny Jones[13]; 10. 67-Jacob McLain[9]; 11. 20-Frank Carlsson Jr[10]; 12. 13-Nathan Barouch[2]; 13. (DNF) 0X-Clint Weiss[12]; 14. (DNS) 32-Andrew Griffin; 15. (DNS) 12B-Bryan Eckley; 16. (DNS) 41-Matt Kurtz

 

In the 604 Late Models, it was looking to be David Clegg’s race throughout the majority of the night.. That was until Trey Mills had something to say about it.

 

Winning his heat, Mills was bound to start the night smooth. He had competition all around the 20 lap feature from Jackson Hise, Mark Fleischer and Clegg. But at the end, the fourteen year old driver took home the $1,000 check after getting past Clegg with a few laps to go.

 

  1. 14JR-Trey Mills[5]; 2. 07-David Clegg[2]; 3. 18B-Mark Fleischer[1]; 4. 388-Jackson Hise[9]; 5. 54T-Tuck Trentham[6]; 6. 51K-Mikey Kopka[4]; 7. 12-Robert Gast[13]; 8. 5-Dustin Carter[7]; 9. 51A-Larry Anderson[8]; 10. 721-Joe Kump[14]; 11. 10S-Steve Shead[11]; 12. 46C-Hamp Conley[10]; 13. (DNF) 15M-Chris Meyer[12]; 14. (DNF) 7-Jason Fitzgerald[3]

 

Mills wasn’t the only young gun to win in a late model tonight through all the chaos and excitement of the 602 Late Models. At the start of the feature, it was looking like it would be the night where Mikey Kopka would have all his gremlins sorted out and get home the win in the late models. However, Kole Platt and Jackson Hise challenged Kopka for the lead, with Platt leading the final few laps.

 

When a late race caution came out, Platt went slow on the throttle and opened the door for Hise. He took the lead going into turn one and didn’t look back the rest of the way. This marks Hise’s 2nd win at Volusia this season and could be some added momentum into the Gator Nationals.

 

  1. 388-Jackson Hise[6]; 2. 1A-Mikey Kopka[3]; 3. 44P-Kole Platt[9]; 4. M51-Mark Steube[2]; 5. 14JR-Trey Mills[4]; 6. 1AR-Travis Staats[8]; 7. 18-Austin Leamon[7]; 8. 31-Tim Swartz[1]; 9. 21D-Lenny Dallman[11]; 10. 99-Colton Blair[10]; 11. 12-Billy Gast[12]; 12. 3C-Cale Gilbert[15]; 13. (DNF) *69-Brad Fender Jr[14]; 14. (DNF) 18R-Bubba Roling[5]; 15. (DNF) 11-J R Gray[13]

 

The final two laps were nothing short of heart racing for Chris Olmstead and Timmy Hogan in the ¾ modifieds. Throughout the night, the two drivers swapped the lead through both their heat race and feature. Even with cautions being thrown almost every five laps for the chaos, it also made the show closer and exciting.

 

Coming into turn one with two to go, Timmy Hogan lost brakes and drove high into turn one, easily giving Olmstead the lead. All of a sudden after exiting turn two, Olmstead ran out of fuel and began sputtering. Hogan retook the lead and won. A closing Korbin Minchew finished second, so he will continue to lead the points.

 

  1. 26-Timmy Hogan[2]; 2. 23K-Korbin Minchew[3]; 3. 99-Wade Olmsted[7]; 4. 23L-Lawton Minchew[4]; 5. 32P-Jesse Powers[15]; 6. 26L-Colton Lane[14]; 7. 51-Dustin Peterson[6]; 8. 7-Chris Olmstead[1]; 9. 57-Nathyn Hwan[11]; 10. 0-CR Hill[16]; 11. (DNF) 21-Robert Fleming Jr[10]; 12. (DNF) 21J-Jeff Newton[12]; 13. (DNF) 72-Van Rayburn[8]; 14. (DNF) 67-Tad Olmsted[5]; 15. (DNF) 27-Steven Powers[9]; 16. (DNF) 10-Ethyn Hwan[13]

 

Finally, the Street Stocks was nothing but the Jimmy Wagner Show. The Reutimann Racing driver won his heat race earlier in the evening and was smooth the whole race. It’ll be a major gain if he continues to race for the Street Stock championship when November arrives.

 

  1. 17W-Jimmy Wagner[3]; 2. 17-Alan Peacock[1]; 3. 72-Bruce Griffin[9]; 4. Y7-Zach Yakaboski[4]; 5. 7R-Rick O’Steen[5]; 6. 11K-Kameron McGauley[10]; 7. 46F-Chuck Frater[7]; 8. 1-Patrick Thomas[6]; 9. 63-Chris Lawrence[15]; 10. 83F-Kody Fisher[14]; 11. 9-Gavin VanHoose[12]; 12. (DNF) 40-Clayton Ruth[8]; 13. (DNF) C5-Stephen Copeland[11]; 14. (DNF) 388-Walt Kahr[13]; 15. (DNF) 99-Rodney Wright[2]; 16. (DNS) B11-Buddy Higgins

 

The next race at the World’s Fastest Half Mile will be the Gator Nationals. Gates open at 4:00 with Hot Laps at 6:00. The racing will also be broadcasted live on DIRTVision. We’ll see you then!

 

LAST LAP GASPS: The Sunshine Showdown provides the excitement and suspense to end the month of April

The 2022 season continues to pack on great racing, wholesome stories and clear championship favorites as the month of April wraps up racing.

 

The clear winner of having the biggest comeback was Wyatt Gainey in the 602 Late Models. The young stud was wrecked out early of his heat, having him start from the rear. 

 

Once the features started, Gainey and his “Big Red” 8 car started picking off his opponents, making his way up to the top 5. He wasn’t satisfied though.

 

Cautions helped Gainey get closer to the leaders and made his way past the faster cars until he got to leader Jackson Hise with five to go. He slowly crept up on last week’s Work Force 25 winner and with one to go, he had a shot. 

 

A high side move in turns 3 and 4 was all that was needed for Gainey to spoil the party for Hise, who had led all but one lap. The one he didn’t lead? The last one.

 

He wouldn’t be the only Gainey to visit victory lane tonight though.

In the 604 Late Models, it began with chaos. The 03 of Morrie West flipped off turn 2 after making contact with the 131 of Matt Herlong. Thankfully, the driver was okay.

 

After the lengthy red flag to clean up the debris and tow the flipped 03, the feature was dominated by one man; Nevin Gainey.

 

The senior Gainey grabbed the lead from polesitter David Clegg and Brandon Wells early. The 17G showed its strength on the early portion of a run by launching like a Saturn V rocket while guys like Mikey Kopka, Wells, Joe Kump and Dustin Carter jostled around for positions inside the top 5.

 

Nevin Gainey took home the 604 win, and showed his emotion in victory lane. He was proud to have shared a moment like this with his son by being able to win on the same night Wyatt did.

In contrast to last week’s feature, the ¾ modifieds provided clean racing throughout the 15 lap feature. Though, another familiar face returned to victory lane again. That was the 23 of Korbin Minchew. 

 

The championship leader has now won three out of the four ¾ modifieds races this season. Minchew and his brother, Lawton, have given off a dynamic similar to Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. in Talladega Nights, with Korbin Minchew winning and Lawton finishing second in tonight’s feature.

The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds had some wild action with a finish that was a carbon copy of the 602 Late Models feature.

 

At the sound of the green flag waving, the man to set the pace was Dalton Lanich, who created a healthy gap from the field over the usual front running guys such as Eric Moon, Seth Geary, Dillon Buhr and Buzzie Reutimann.

 

It was all going Lanich’s way until a caution with two to go made the field bunch back up for a green-white-checkered finish. At the drop of the green, Seth Geary was all over Lanich’s back bumper until the last lap, where he made a banzai move by pulling a slide job in front of Lanich and winning the feature.

 

This marks the second win for Geary this season, and gives him the championship lead over Moon, and defending champion Garret Stewart.

The Thunder Stocks, yet again, provided an excellent show with a unfamiliar face in victory lane.

 

All throughout the night, it was a four horse race between Shaun Daugharty, Dalton Strehle, Josh Byrd and Mark Tovet. Tovet and Strehle paced the field for most of the night, with the four drivers exchanging positions in the top 3 for most of the night.

 

When it came down to the wire, it was all Tovet and Byrd battling it out for the feature win. Byrd showed his late race pace was fast and strong. However, Tovet’s defending skills were stronger. At the wave of the checkered, it was the 1SHOT machine of Mark Tovet taking the Thunder Stock feature win.

There will be a week off in racing next Saturday, but the next race at the World’s Fastest Half Mile will be the Racer’s Memorial on May 7th. Gates will open at 4:00, with Hot Laps at 6:00. Can’t make it? Watch all the action live on DIRTVision. We’ll see you in two weeks!

TWO IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: The Big Dog 25 Shows A Series Of Two’s To Come

If your number was 2 in tonight’s running of the Big Dog 25, you probably came home a winner. This was the case for both Trynt Lloyd and Joe Belkey as they won in their respective divisions in a 2 car. Though, while they enjoyed a great night, let’s rundown everything that happened in tonight’s racing.

 

Trynt Lloyd was by far the driver of the night as he took both the 602 & 604 Late Model feature wins. He won the 602 heat, and led the field for most of the way in both races. It did come with challenges to his lead, as Jason Fitzgerald finished second in both late model features, Trey Mills, Donnie Chappell and Joe Kump proved to bring some healthy competition to the late model field. It will be fun to see who else will make it to victory lane as the season goes on.

 

It only took 2 features, but Garret Stewart has returned to his winning ways at Volusia in the DIRTcar UMP Modified. Starting from the pole after a redraw, he showed the field the whole way to rack in another feature win in his time at Volusia. Without a doubt, the run for a 6th consecutive championship has returned with a vengeance. The question will be if anyone else will be able to challenge him. Seth Geary has proven to be fast, but does he have better consistency than what Stewart brings each season?

 

The ¾ modifieds showed themselves to be great in competition, wherever it is through the field. At the start, the dynamic duo of the Minchew’s showed up and out, with Korbin and Lawton leading most of the first half. Then, a familiar face to ¾ victory lane, TImmy Hogan, spoiled the party for the duo, and went on to win. The Olmsted’s of Tad and Wade also came to fight, so they will be something to watch for next Saturday.

 

Lastly, Joe Belkey came up and showed his dominance in the Thunder Stocks again, blowing out the field to win his second of the two features this season, in a number 2 car. Coincidence? Perhaps, but what was not questionable was the sheer speed he had out on the track. Don’t be surprised if he racks up a ton more wins as the season progresses.

 

Next Saturday will be the Work Force 25 here at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile. Gates will open at 4:00, with Hot Laps kicking off at 6:00. Can’t make it? No problem, DIRTVision will broadcast all the action live with flag to flag coverage. We’ll see you then!

 

Torrential Rain Cancels Spring Fling

It wasn’t all sunny and fun as heavy showers, wet mud and saturated surfaces ended any chances of racing the April 2nd Spring Fling. Rains came rolling through the track late Thursday night, and is expected to continue receiving rain the rest of the weekend. Please stay safe for those in the area as the forecast for today and tomorrow shows more torrential rain to come.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though, as we will be back racing on April 9th for the Big Dog 25. Be sure to stop by or tune in on DIRTVision to see all the great action from the World’s Fastest Half Mile!

BLUE COLLAR MAN: Erb grabs first DIRTcar Nationals Gator at Volusia

Dennis Erb Jr. wins at Volusia

NASCAR Cup Series Champion Alan Kulwicki once said, “In every aspect of life, have a game plan and do your best to achieve it.”

Dennis Erb Jr. knew he had to master Turns 1 and 2 if he wanted a gator. He wasted no time executing hisgame plan, thundering past Frank Heckenast Jr. in the middle of the Volusia Speedway Park surface.

It’s a lead he’d never relinquish—fending off challenges from Brandon Sheppard and Chase Junghans to score his first World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models win of 2022 Friday night at DIRTcar Nationals.

“I mean, we were able to get the lead and roll off through that middle on the start,” Erb said. “We kept going real good and had a good start. After that, the car was working good, and we just had to keep hitting our marks and keep the rest of them behind us.”

The path toward his 10th career Series triumph in his 250th start wasn’t clear for the Late Model veteran. Erb and defending champion Brandon Sheppard gave the fans at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile” an epic battle for the lead around the Feature’s halfway point.

The reigning champion swung high while Erb held his ground on the bottom, gaining enough momentum to pull ahead as a caution came out on Lap 25.

“I saw him out there and started to get a little worried,” Erb said. “I started to try and carry a little more speed through [Turns} 1 and 2. I knew [Sheppard] was pretty much committed up there, so I knew if I could beat him on the bottom, we were in pretty good shape.”

Sheppard faded to fourth at the checkered flag. The four-time Series champion stated he stayed on the top side of the racetrack for too long after Erb pulled away.

“[Erb] was swinging out a little bit wider after he knew I was there,” Sheppard said. “I stayed out there a little bit too long after he got out there ahead of me. I should’ve moved down behind him and kept my left rear tire underneath me.

“Instead, I stayed a little too long, and then I overheated it. I was trying to move around, and it wasn’t as good. After a couple of guys got by me, I was able to get down there and cool my left rear tire off, and I drove back to them.”

Sheppard wasn’t the only driver who tried to dethrone Erb from the lead. Chase Junghans quickly closed on the top spot in the final laps but fell short.

The Manhattan, KS driver used patience early in the race before unleashing speed toward the end.

“I just bided my time and tried not to blow my tires off this thing and keep it under me,” Junghans said. “Those lap cars kind of got in the way at the end, but that’s how it goes. Luckily, we’re just up here getting interviewed.”

Once Junghans saw Sheppard’s line ahead of him, his decision to go to the outside paid off, leading to his first podium finish of the season.

“I saw Sheppard running the top, and I was like kind of pinching the corner on the bottom,” Junghans said. “So, I said screw it, I’ll go up there, and kind of follow him. I chose his line a little bit, but I’d kind of turn off the top and try to drive straight down the hill, and it seemed like that’s where I’d gain a bunch of ground.”

Three-time Series Champion Darrell Lanigan finished third for the second straight night. The Union, KY driver’s car came to life in the final 15 laps, leading him to another top three.

“We just gave it all we got,” Lanigan said. “We had a little bit of a chance there, and it was coming back to us a little bit. We just got up on the wheel and tried to make something happen.

“I just can’t run where I want to on the racetrack yet, and if we get our car right, I think we’ll be able to run up front.”

Dale McDowell, the leading World of Outlaws CASE Late Models winner in 2022, rounded out the top five.

Dennis Erb Jr.’s game plan worked to perfection Friday night, proving a good start can lead to glory on the racetrack. It’s a start that could position him toward a run at a championship at the end of the season.

UP NEXT: The battle for the “Big Gator” trophy ends Saturday night at Volusia Speedway Park in a 40 lap, $10,000-to-win finale. For Tickets: CLICK HERE. The Super DIRTcar Series will hand out a “Big Gator.”

Devin Moran leads the DIRTcar Nationals standings—37 points ahead of Chris Madden. McDowell and Sheppard are tied for third—54 points behind Moran.

Madden is currently the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models point leader—10 points ahead of Dale McDowell.

CASE Construction Feature (40 Laps): 1. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[2]; 2. 18-Chase Junghans[7]; 3. 29-Darrell Lanigan[4]; 4. 1-Brandon Sheppard[5]; 5. 17M-Dale McDowell[6]; 6. 44-Chris Madden[8]; 7. 16-Tyler Bruening[9]; 8. 71-Hudson O’Neal[17]; 9. 25-Shane Clanton[14]; 10. 9-Devin Moran[20]; 11. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[1]; 12. 81E-Tanner English[11]; 13. 6-Nick Hoffman[22]; 14. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[18]; 15. 11-Gordy Gundaker[30]; 16. 157-Mike Marlar[13]; 17. 111V-Max Blair[21]; 18. 99B-Boom Briggs[26]; 19. 1R-Josh Richards[27]; 20. 45-Kyle Hammer[29]; 21. 89-Ashton Winger[10]; 22. 46-Earl Pearson Jr[16]; 23. 3S-Brian Shirley[23]; 24. 25B-Mike Benedum[15]; 25. B1-Brent Larson[28]; 26. 11H-Spencer Hughes[12]; 27. 10-Garrett Smith[24]; 28. 76-Brandon Overton[3]; 29. 33M-Michael Norris[19]; 30. 19R-Ryan Gustin[25] FOX FACTORY HARD CHARGER: Gordy Gundaker [+15]

SEXY SURVIVAL: Overton Holds on for Second Career DIRTcar Nationals win

Brandon Overton wins at Volusia Speedway Park

The Evans, GA driver passed Dale McDowell on a restart en route to his 19th career World of Outlaws Win

Brandon Overton’s clock was ticking Wednesday night.

As the laps wound down at Volusia Speedway Park, so did the life of the engine inside his Longhorn Chassis.

Luckily for “Big Sexy,” his clock didn’t strike midnight. The engine held up long enough to take the checkered flag for his second career DIRTcar Nationals win.

Overton wasn’t sure he’d make it to the end in the last few laps—holding his breath and hoping the engine stayed together. All of this while Devin Moran lurked behind him.

“I was looking, and I could see it smoking, and I knew it’s got to be over pretty soon,” Overton said. “I was just getting it so tight down there I was just holding it to the floor. I could tell it was dying; it was just muffling out.

“Hell, there ain’t nothing you can do; it’s already done its damage.”

Before the engine started to blow, Overton’s car came to life in the second half of the race. The Evans, GA driver, took advantage of a caution for then race-leader Kyle Strickler and powered around Dale McDowell for the top spot.

Overton put the car anywhere he wanted to, thanks to wholesale changes made to his Late Model throughout the week.

“We’ve changed everything on this thing every single night, every single Feature we’ve ran,” Overton said. “The new body rules and stuff kind of has us in a little box, and we just got to figure it out.

“I had a pretty good package with the way everything was, and it changed a little bit. We just have to keep working; that’s what makes this fun.”

The DIRTcar Nationals win is Overton’s 19th World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series triumph—tying him with Jimmy Owens. It’s a win that may not have happened without Kyle Strickler’s lousy luck.

The Mooresville, NC driver dropped out while leading with 25 laps to go. He stated it was a problem his team found on Tuesday—one they hoped to fix before the Feature.

“We had drivetrain issues [Tuesday],” Strickler said. “The yoke pulled off the rear end, but everything felt good today. I thought we had a really good car and broke a lower jackshaft in the rear-end.

“I’m not sure if it had to do with last night or not, but the car was good and it’s just part of it.”

Devin Moran continued his hot streak to start the season, scoring his third trip to the DIRTcar Nationals podium with a second-place finish.

The Dresden, OH driver stated he thought he had a shot at winning before he saw Overton’s engine start to expire.

“I felt like I was catching him before that,” Moran said. “I don’t know if it’s because his engine was getting worse and worse.

“I wasn’t going to slide him in Turns 3 and 4 because I knew I was too far back. But I wanted to at least run a different line if he did blow up.”

Moran’s consistency puts him on a path toward his second straight “Big Gator” trophy—as he leads the week-long standings on the strength of three podiums.

Reigning Series Champion Brandon Sheppard passed more cars than anyone Wednesday, earning the Fox Factory Hard Charger award. “The Rocket Shepp” crossed the line third after switching to a backup car and starting 25th.

After he didn’t qualify through his Heat Race, the Rocket1 Racing team decided to switch cars—one that paid off.

“My team just comes thru in tough times like we had today,” Sheppard said. “It was really just a mutual agreement to switch cars, and it worked out. All of our cars are good. We were just missing something on that other one.”

Hudson O’Neal finished fourth, his second top-five finish of the season. Three-time Series champion Darrell Lanigan rounded out the top five.

Brandon Overton didn’t only win a “Gator,” but a race against time. It shows the clock hasn’t struck midnight on Overton’s success against the best Dirt Late Model racing has to offer.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series returns to Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 17 for their second night of DIRTcar Nationals, along with the Super DIRTcar Series. For tickets to the event: CLICK HERE.

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

CASE Construction Feature (40 Laps): 1. 76-Brandon Overton[8]; 2. 9-Devin Moran[9]; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard[25]; 4. 71-Hudson O’Neal[7]; 5. 29-Darrell Lanigan[4]; 6. 44-Chris Madden[2]; 7. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[13]; 8. 1R-Josh Richards[27]; 9. 81E-Tanner English[18]; 10. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[6]; 11. 1T-Tyler Erb[23]; 12. 44B-Colten Burdette[15]; 13. 111V-Max Blair[20]; 14. 16-Tyler Bruening[21]; 15. B1-Brent Larson[12]; 16. 6S-Blake Spencer[22]; 17. 11-Gordy Gundaker[14]; 18. 99B-Boom Briggs[28]; 19. 14M-Morgan Bagley[29]; 20. 39-Tim McCreadie[11]; 21. 17M-Dale McDowell[5]; 22. 10-Garrett Smith[10]; 23. 45-Kyle Hammer[30]; 24. 89-Ashton Winger[16]; 25. 3S-Brian Shirley[17]; 26. 8-Kyle Strickler[1]; 27. 25-Shane Clanton[24]; 28. 157-Mike Marlar[3]; 29. 97-Cade Dillard[19]; 30. 19R-Ryan Gustin[26] Fox Factory Hard Charger Award: Brandon Sheppard [+22}.

REDEMPTION RUN: Thornton Scores First DIRTcar Nationals Win in Dominant Fashion

Ricky Thornton Jr. Wins at Volusia Speedway Park

The Chandler, AZ driver, led all 30 laps en route to his first Volusia Speedway Park Victory

A year ago, Ricky Thornton Jr. seemed destined for his first DIRTcar Nationals win—until heartbreak struck. He lost the lead on a late-race restart, spoiling his chances for victory.

History didn’t have a chance to repeat itself Monday night. The Chandler, AZ driver took advantage of a caution-free Feature, leading all 30-laps to score his first DIRTcar Nationals win at Volusia Speedway Park.

Thornton jumped to the roof of his car in Victory Lane, raising two fists into the Florida sky and letting out a joyful scream—knowing he got his redemption and the $7,000 paycheck.

“I felt like we almost had one last year, and we gave it away there late in the race,” Thornton said. “This is pretty awesome.”

While Thornton dominated the event, he knew he had to be sharp at the start of the race. “RTJ” lined up next to Brandon Overton, who won the last DIRTcar Nationals Feature in 2021.

Thornton powered ahead of Overton on the outside lane, grabbing a lead he’d never relinquish off Turn 2. The outside was where Thornton wanted to go, allowing him to set his own pace in the early stages of the Feature.

“I actually preferred starting on the outside; that way, I could run into [Turn 1] as hard as I wanted,” Thornton said. “It worked out for us; I got a really good start and got out in front of [Overton].

“I was trying to distance myself as much as I could; that way, once we did get to traffic and I had to slow down, they wouldn’t get by me. The top never really slowed down all the way, so it’s pretty awesome.”

As Thornton drove away from the field, Chris Madden charged from his eighth starting position to finish second. The Gray Court, SC campaigner, took the opposite approach from Thornton, using the bottom en route to a runner-up finish.

Madden felt he could’ve had a shot at the win if he had a better starting position.

“We needed to start closer to the front,” Madden said. “We qualified good tonight, inverted back, and then started, I think eighth there.

“We had a really good racecar tonight. I’m really proud of my guys; I’m proud of our finish; I’m proud of our car and what we learned tonight. It was a great racetrack, and we had a fun race.”

Defending DIRTcar Nationals champion Devin Moran crossed the line third—his 13th straight top-10 finish in 2022.

The Dresden, OH driver felt he wasn’t good enough on the outside to contend with both Thornton and Madden.

“Ricky was checked out pretty good, and I think Chris [Madden] was a little better than us,” Moran said. “We were probably a third-place car, we were too tight to run the top, and we just need to work on it a little bit and get it ready for tomorrow.”

Pole-sitter Brandon Overton finished fourth, and Dale McDowell rounded out the top five.

Ricky Thornton Jr. didn’t back down from a second chance at winning his first Gator—giving him DIRTcar Nationals redemption. It’s a momentum that keeps his eyes on a larger prize—a “Big Gator” trophy on his mantle.

The quest for a “Big Gator” continues Tuesday night at Volusia Speedway Park as the Late Models return for their second night of action at DIRTcar Nationals. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

The Super DIRTcar Series and the Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Cars presented by Low-E Insulation will also join the racing card.

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

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[2]; 2. 44-Chris Madden[8]; 3. 9-Devin Moran[6]; 4. 76-Brandon Overton[1]; 5. 17M-Dale McDowell[4]; 6. 16-Tyler Bruening[7]; 7. 1-Brandon Sheppard[3]; 8. 157-Mike Marlar[12]; 9. 25-Shane Clanton[11]; 10. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[13]; 11. 32-Chris Simpson[10]; 12. 29-Darrell Lanigan[5]; 13. 19R-Ryan Gustin[14]; 14. 18D-Daulton Wilson[17]; 15. 40B-Kyle Bronson[15]; 16. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[9]; 17. 89-Ashton Winger[24]; 18. 58-Mark Whitener[18]; 19. 36-Logan Martin[21]; 20. 11-Spencer Hughes[16]; 21. 14M-Morgan Bagley[22]; 22. 31-Tyler Millwood[19]; 23. 97-Cody Overton[23]; 24. 11B-Stacy Boles[20]

The Wild Card 25

With the eighth annual Emil and Dale Reutimann Memorial race just one week away, the stars of the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds were in the house to shake down their cars and try to find any edge to increase their chance of taking home the win next weekend.

The night started off with a 602 Late Model feature that saw Devin Walker following up a heat race win by over half a track, with a feature win that looked very similar at times. He was challenged by multiple feature race winner Donnie Chappell on a few restarts, but on the longer runs Walker slipped away, eventually taking the checkers first. Chappell went on to finish second, and after a heated battle that took place over multiple laps Travis Staats edged out Dustin Carter for third.

The second class out was the ¾ Modifieds. With a championship on the line, the drivers took the track for their last race of the season. Lawton and Korbin Minchew took turns leading the early laps, but on lap seven veteran racer Patrick Varieka took the lead. A battle for the lead between Varieka, Timmy Hogan, and Wade Olmsted involved lapped traffic, drawing a caution and setting up a two-lap shootout for the win. Varieka held off the challenging Hogan to grab the win, and Olmsted came home third and clinched his first championship in only his third season of racing.

The race the fans had been waiting for was up next as the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds took the track. Kenny Wallace started outside of the front row after his heat race win, with other heat race winners Seth Geary and David Reutimann on the second row. Treb Jacoby made the trip from Missouri and started on the pole, but Wallace and Reutimann jumped out front early. They caught the rear of the 26-car field quickly setting up a maze to navigate, but Reutimann kept Wallace right in his sights. Geary ran strong until a mechanical issue took him out with four to go, leaving Jacoby and Garrett Stewart to race for third. Wallace went on to win with Reutimann second and Stewart giving the fans just a small preview of what is in store for them next Friday and Saturday night!

The Street Stock feature saw veteran drivers leading the field to green with Tuck Trentham on the pole and Chris Lawrance on the outside. Another long-time contender, Jimmy Wagner got in on the action early, but it was Trentham’s night to shine as he drove his number 54 machine to victory, leading every lap. Wagner finished second, and Thomas Hill came home in third.

The final feature of the night was the Thunder Stocks. Shaun Daughtary got to the front quickly and gave a repeat performance of his heat race win taking the checkers in feature as well. Charlie Staats finished second and Sean Babcock finished third.

Next weekend is the big one: the eighth annual Emil and Dale Reutimann Memorial. Practice starts Thursday night, with racing Friday and Saturday night. You won’t want to miss this one as all of the stars of the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will be there!

The Fall Classic

The Fall Classic couldn’t have been more appropriately named as the weather was perfect and the sound of racing was in the air. The Top Gun Sprints were in town, and the stands were packed for what was to be a great night of racing.

The night’s main events kicked off with a $1,000-to-win 604 Late Model Feature with 14 cars taking the green flag. David Clegg led this one from the green flag and looked to have it in the bag, but a late race caution with five to go wiped away the lead he had built up. On the restart Derike Bennett moved to the outside to challenge and in turn three took the lead and went on to win the race. Clegg finished second, and Joe Kump rounded out the top three.

Next up were the Top Gun Sprints. Twenty-two cars made the trip to Volusia for this event, and the crowd couldn’t wait to get their sprint car fix. Tyler Clem took the lead from Brandon McLain on lap two and proceeded to walk away from the field. On lap 8 a caution closed the gap back up, but Clem wouldn’t be caught tonight. Clem became the winner, followed by Hayden Campbell and AJ Maddox in second and third.

The third feature of the night was the ¾ modifieds. With the championship series winding down a good finish was a must for those in contention. Timmy Hogan took the early lead, followed by Jesse Powers and Wade Olmsted. Olmsted moved to second after a mid-race caution and on the last lap gave the challenge to Hogan on the inside, but Hogan held him off at the line and went on to win the feature. Olmsted was second and Powers brought it home in third.

The 602 Late Models were up next with 16 entries taking the green flag. Brandon Yates jumped out to the early lead, followed by Jackson Hise. They swapped the lead back and forth with Yates resuming the lead coming to a caution flag with five laps to go, allowing Dustin Carter to close the gap and join in on the battle. When the green flag flew again it wasn’t a full lap before turn four became a parking lot with cars trying to avoid hitting the sideways Carter piled up. A lengthy caution left Yates and Hise to battle it out with Kopka now in striking range in third. Kopka suffered a flat right rear taking him out of contention. Yates went on to win the feature, followed by Hise and Lenny Dallman in second and third.

The final feature of the night was the Thunder Stocks. Shaun Daugharty went to the front on lap one, followed closely by Josh Byrd while a few car lengths back Alan Peacock and Ron Adams battled for the third position. Adams brought out a caution with a flat right rear and tightened the field back up. On the restart Peacock moved to second and challenged Daugharty for the lead briefly before another cation came out when Adams lost a motor off of turn four. Once track clean up was complete Daugharty  once again led the field to green and captured the win, followed by Byrd in second and Charlie Staats in third.

We will be back at VSP for more racing action on Saturday, November 13th! Stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter for more info!

photos by Dave Shank

The Labor Day Classic Night 2

The second night of The Labor Day Classic had a hard act to follow with all of the action on night one; and with the 604 Late Models in town it was sure to be a great night of racing.

The feature events kicked off with the 604 Late Models. Thirty-seven cars came to town to take a shot at the $2000 winner’s purse, and after four heat races and a Last Chance Showdown won by Nick Kirkus, the field was set. Johnny Collins and Jackson Hise brought the field to the green with Collins leading lap one. On lap two Donnie Chappell took the lead and never looked back, holding off a late challenge from Clay Harris, who came from 8th to 2nd but wasn’t able to find a way around Chappell. Chappell scored the win and a second straight big payday at VSP.

The second feature of the night was the ¾ Modifieds. The previous night’s winner Jesse Powers was looking to go back to back on the weekend, but he would have to come from deep in the field if he wanted to make it happen. The front row saw young Lawton Minchew and veteran Timmy Hogan lead the field to the green. Hogan took the early lead and found his way back to victory lane followed closely by Wade Olmsted in second and Korbin Minchew in third.

Third out were the 602 Late Models. Thirty-three cars returned after night one to contend for the $2000 winner’s purse. Four heat races and a Last Chance Showdown won by Devin Walker set the field with Chase Collins and Nevin Gainey leading the field to the green. Trey Mills found his way to the front early and was in for a few battles before this one was over. Jason Garver threw the challenges early to mid-race, and later in the race Devin Walker moved up to second and challenged for the lead, but in the end, Mills took the checkered flag, scoring another victory at VSP. Walker came home second and Garver third.

The final feature of the night was the ThunderStocks. Twenty-five cars lined up for this one, and with several previous race winners in the field, it was pretty much anyone’s race to win. Jason Garver and Justin Reynolds started on the front row and when the green flag dropped the duel was on. Garver and Reynolds swapped the lead back and forth early, but eventually Reynolds got clear and Bud Chancey moved up to challenge. As the laps wound down Reynolds held on to the lead, taking the win and banking $750. Chancey finished second and Shaun Daugharty finished third.

Join us again on September 18th as the ThunderStock Series returns to VSP. Thank you to everyone who came out and enjoyed the Labor Day Classic with us and enjoy your Holiday tomorrow!