Mother Nature has been the nemesis of Florida tracks this season, but tonight she finally gave us a break. Five classes, a perfect racetrack, and excited fans made this a great race night all together.
The 602 Late Models kicked off the evening with the $1500-to-win Work Force 30-lapper. Early leader Travis Staats looked to be in control until a mechanical failure left him barely able to roll. Dustin Carter assumed the lead and never looked back, at times gapping the field by near half a track. He took the win in a caution filled race that left many unable to finish. Mikey Kopka finished a solid second and Joe Belkey came from the back to finish third.
Next up were the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds. Patrick Vareika and Larry Burkins led the field to green after the redraw. Burkins assumed the early lead, but Dillon Buhr charged to the front on lap four.
The first caution flew on lap 11 when pole sitter Vareika slowed on the back stretch. Lapped traffic had separated the leaders prior to the caution, but with the field bunched up the race for the win had just got a lot closer as Burkins, Stewart, and the rest of the field were back within striking distance.
When the race restarted a side-by-side battle quickly got underway between Buhr and Stewart, each taking turns running the high and low side. Stewart, who started tenth, took the lead for the final time with two laps to go and took the win and $1000. Buhr finished second, with Burkins and Rackley rounding out the top four.
The Thunder Stocks were next to race with Alan Peacock taking the early lead, but on lap two Jason Garver took the top position. Garver’s luck ran out, though, on lap five as his engine officially reached its expiration date.
On the restart David Showers Sr led the field to green with Dustin Turnage Jr and Joey Haslauer close behind. Showers led the rest of the race and took the win with second going to Peacock, who picked his way thru the field from seventh place putting on a great show along the way!
The Dirts4Racing ¾ Mods were the fourth class on track for their feature event with fifteen cars taking the green flag. Robert Fleming Jr and Dustin Peterson started on the front row with Peterson leading lap one. That lead wouldn’t last long as Patrick Vareika took the lead on lap two never looking back. The biggest mover of the night was definitely young Wade Olmsted, who came from thirteenth to second!
Last out were the Dirts4Racing Street Stocks. David Showers Jr took the early lead, followed closely by Tim Gay and Tuck Trentham. Showers Jr and Gay battled side by side for several laps with Gay finally getting clear out front. Showers continued to challenge, but Gay held on for the win banking $750.
Our next race is the Dennis North Memorial on Saturday, May 8th. The 604 Late Models, DIRTcar UMP Mods, ¾ Mods, Thunder Stocks, and Street Stocks are on the Schedule. Don’t miss it!
The 2021 Spring Fling was in full swing tonight. After a chilly Friday night of racing Saturday brought slightly warmer temperatures and some hot racing.
The night kicked off with a 604 Late Model Feature. Last night’s 602 winner Jackson Hise returned to try for a sweep of the weekend, but the night belonged to Donnie Chappell. Chappell started outside second row and quickly took the lead, never looking back. At times Chappell stretched as many as 10 car lengths on the field. The win sets the stage for the $5,000-to-win Bad Fast 50 on April 17th that will see the best of the best 604 Late Models competing for the cash!
The Thunder Stocks returned for a second consecutive night of racing in a $600-to-win shootout that drew in 24 starters. Alan Peacock lead flag-to-flag in a closely contested win. Dustin Turnage Jr. challenged throughout the race, and a late charge by Jason Garver wasn’t be enough as Peacock held on for the win. In victory lane Peacock’s mother had the biggest smile as it was her first trip to Volusia to see her son race, and he didn’t disappoint.
In the DIRTcar UMP Modified Feature Garret Stewart started pole. His competitors are used to trying to hold off his charges through the pack, but giving chase is a whole different game. Clay Harris hung with Stewart early, and Buhr made a late charge, but in the end Stewart scored the win. Next stop for Stewart is next weekend at the Bristol Bash!
The final feature of the night was a 16-car field of ¾ Mods. Paul Shead took the lead on lap 2 holding off challenges from Patrick Vareika to take the win. Wade Olmsted rode the cushion from a tenth place starting position to a solid third challenging Vareika on the outside for second.
We are off next week but will return Saturday, April 17th for the $5000-to-win Bad Fast 50!
Florida didn’t get the memo that we were running the Spring Fling this weekend as cold weather came back to town. Last weekend’s shorts and tee shirts were replaced by long pants and jackets while last weekend’s winners were replaced by new ones.
The 602 Late Models kicked the night off with a first-time winner. Jackson Hise had led several races at Volusia Speedway Park but had been plagued with car problems trying to get that first win. Tonight was his night as he led flag-to-flag, holding off challenges from Dustin Carter and last week’s winner Mikey Kopka to get the win. His friend Trey Mills joined him in victory lane to congratulate Hise, a truly great moment shared by these two future stars.
If the 602 Feature was about the youth of the sport, the Street Stocks was all about the veteran drivers. Tuck Trentham led the first sixteen of 20 laps, but a late charge by Rich Pratt and Thomas Hill set the stage for a great finish. Pratt used a restart and a good old fashioned threading of the needle to take the lead in the closing laps and score himself a victory. Trentham held on for second, and Chris Lawrance took home third.
Thunder Stocks brought out more veterans with last week’s winner Mike Tovet leading the early laps. Tovet surrendered the lead at the halfway point to Scotty Kay Jr., who went on to win. Kay hadn’t raced with us since the 2019 season but picked up speed as the night went on, and in the end, pulled away from the field. Tovet held on for second, and Peacock finished third. Bubba Roling, whose hauler was involved in an accident on the way to the track, arrived and unloaded just before the feature started, driving from 19th to 7th, an impressive run for no practice and a cold race car.
The Compact 4s ended the night with a four-car field taking the green flag. Cameron Kight led the early laps, but spun in turn two, allowing Todd Latour to t0 score back-to-back wins in the class.
The Spring Fling continues tomorrow as the 604 Late Models are slotted to run. They will be joined by the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, Thunder Stocks, and ¾ Mods.
The warm dry weather has finally returned to Florida and so has racing at Volusia Speedway Park! After a successful Sunshine Nationals and DIRTcar Nationals it’s finally time to kick off the 2021 Season! Opening night at Volusia is always fun for fans and drivers alike. Everyone is ready to get back to racing, and who better to lead lap number one of the new season than Trey Mills, fresh off his trip to Bristol. The fans love seeing Trey out front, and we’re sure it’s his favorite place to be.
The 602 Late Models kicked off the feature events for the night. Mikey Kopka, the 2020 602 Points Champion started inside pole, and Trey Mills was outside pole. Mills lead lap one, but Kopka charged to the front on lap two and never looked back, scoring a victory. Dustin Carter battled with Mills thru the middle portion of the race, eventually taking the 2nd position away. Mills held on for third, and Nick Kirkus brought his number 20 machine home in fourth.
Next out was the Street Stocks. Kopka was pulling double duty, and after his victory lane celebration ended he jumped in the number 46 starting outside pole. Kopka lead lap one, but Bubba Christian took the lead on lap 2. Tuck Trentham followed Christian thru, and the two battled for the lead throughout the race with Christian holding off all challenges and taking the win. Trentham was second, and Rick Osteen made his way thru the pack to finish third. Kopka came home in fourth.
The Big Dog 30 was next on the grid featuring a 30-lap DIRTcar UMP Modified race and a $1500 payday for the winner. Dillon Buhr started fourth and shot straight to the lead on lap one. Buhr was fast thru the middle of the race, but Garret Stewart was on the prowl, picking off cars one by one on several restarts. By the halfway point Stewart and Buhr were side by side battling, with Stewart taking the lead and going on to score another victory. Todd Neiheiser came thru the pack from his ninth place starting position to finish second, while Jeff Matthews and Dillon Buhr round out the top four.
The Thunder Stocks were the fourth feature of the night. Early leader Ron Adams held off challenges from several drivers before surrendering the lead with just three laps left to Mike Tovet who went on to win. Adams was unable to hold off Joey Haslauer on the final lap and fell to third place. Jonathan Croson was finished fourth.
The final feature of the night was won by Todd Latour. His dominance in the Compact 4 division continued as he easily worked his way to the front taking the win. Cameron Kight was second, and Nick Abatsas was third.
We race again next Friday and Saturday night for our Spring Fling! Check the schedule for class details! See you next weekend at Volusia Speedway Park.
With the spin of a wrench Phil Dietz took Carson Macedo from an uneasy feeling to the best car in the field on Friday night.
The revered crew chief at Jason Johnson Racing went to work after a mediocre preliminary performance and sent the Lemoore, CA native on track with what he called “one of the best cars I’ve ever driven in my life.”
Macedo masterfully picked his way from tenth-t0-first and executed a late-race pass to steal the win from Sam Hafertepe Jr. with four laps remaining at Volusia Speedway Park. A confidence booster and chemistry builder for a driver and team that know their potential can reach championship heights in 2021 with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
“It’s not every night that your car is that dominant,” Macedo mentioned of his Kistler powered Maxim #41. “I mean that thing was just perfect to drive. Phil [Dietz], Clyde [Knipp], and Nate [Repetz] were incredible tonight. You know, I felt really balanced and great all through DIRTcar Nationals last month, but early tonight I just didn’t feel good. Phil and the guys made a lot of changes for the feature and nailed it. I could go anywhere I wanted. I’m so happy to get a win for this team, these sponsors, a lot of really great people involved.”
At the start of Friday’s 30-lap, $10,000-to-win feature, it was Sam Hafertepe Jr. of Sunnyvale, TX and David Gravel of Watertown, CT pacing the field. Hafertepe, who won his second DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash of the season to claim pole position, bolted away and controlled the opening 11 laps. The first stoppage was a surprise when points leader Logan Schuchart stopped in turn four following contact with Gio Scelzi amidst a top five battle.
Macedo made his biggest move on that first restart, advancing four spots in one lap with a great fire off the high side of the half-mile. The next restart, however, spelled trouble when the #41 had to line up on the low line. Restarting with 17 laps remaining, Macedo surprised himself and quickly took third from Sheldon Haudenschild, and then set his sights on Hafertepe and Gravel out front.
“Hafertepe chose the outside and I was stuck on the bottom, which made me nervous,” Macedo noted on the final restart. “I was on the top every restart prior to that and the bottom wasn’t getting great starts. I didn’t really get a good start, but it was fairly decent and let me sneak back into the top groove in front of Donny. I got that run on Sheldon because he went low, and I was able to slide by him real quick. I felt like my car was as good as those guys, if not better once I got to third. I just needed traffic to move around a bit and capitalize.”
And capitalize he did. With heavy lap traffic in play, Macedo reeled in the lead duo and made it a three-way war with seven laps left. The #15H, #2 and #41 ran bumper-t0-bumper-to-bumper with the win on the line.
Macedo slid by Gravel for second on the 24th lap and two laps later, he was sliding Hafertepe for the top spot. His massive turn one slider with four laps to go was a thing of beauty, sweeping through the middle and clearing Hafertepe with ease to steal the top spot in the waning circuits.
The final four laps went by like a breeze as the 24-year-old pilot drove off into the Florida night with a 2.167-second advantage at the checkered flag. Friday’s feature victory marked the seventh of Macedo’s World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series career, and his first of the 2021 season.
Albeit only three of 80+ races are complete, Macedo still achieved a milestone by moving atop the World of Outlaws championships standings for the first time in his career. Something he knows is useless in the middle of March, but deep down means a lot to a California kid chasing his dreams.
“It doesn’t mean anything because we’re so early in the year it just doesn’t matter yet,” Macedo said on the points lead. “For me, personally, inside my own head, it’s really cool. My goal in this sport is to be a World of Outlaws champion. In order to do that, at some point you gotta lead the points. You have to clear those milestones and hit those accomplishments to get there, right? We have a team capable of winning it this year. I know it’s too early to think of that though, we’re just gonna do our best every night and let the cards fell where they fall.
Settling for a second-place finish after leading the opening 25 laps was Sam Hafertepe Jr. aboard the Townline Variety #15H. A tough pill to swallow for a driver that’s hungry to end his nine-year winless drought with the Outlaws, but it’s the latest sign that his operation is as good as ever. Friday’s runner-up result is Hafertepe’s best Series finish since a third-place finish at Lernerville’s Silver Cup in 2013.
“We’ve made leaps and bounds compared to what we came here with in February,” Hafertepe commented on the progression of his program. “To be right here right now is like a win to us. We’ll keep building and look to get better.”
Rounding out the podium with a last-lap pass to finish third was Fresno, CA’s Gio Scelzi aboard the KCP Racing #18. It was his first night with trusted crew chief and friend Bernie Stuebgen of Indy Race Parts in the KCP camp and their revived relationship already appears to be paying dividends again.
“It’s huge, it’s like getting the band back together,” Scelzi said on working with Stuebgen again, who he won his first two Outlaw races with. “I’m feeling comfortable and confident with myself. If we keep running like this, the wins will come eventually.”
Closing out the top ten at Volusia Speedway Park was Donny Schatz in the Tony Stewart Racing #15, David Gravel in the Big Game Motorsports #2, Sheldon Haudenschild in the Stenhouse Jr. Marshall Racing #17, Cory Eliason in the Rudeen Racing #26, Parker Price-Miller in the PPM Racing #19, Logan Schuchart in the Shark Racing #1S, and Aaron Reutzel in the Roth Motorsports #83.
UP NEXT – On Saturday, March 6, the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series ends a 38-year absence from Tampa’s East Bay Raceway Park. If needed, a Sunday rain date is scheduled to complete the show. You can BUY TICKETS HERE.
BARBERVILLE, FL – Michael Maresca stomped his throttle at the drop of the green flag and drove wheel-to-wheel with seven-time Volusia Speedway Park winner and three-time Big Gator champion Matt Sheppard to capture his first career Super DIRTcar Series Feature win.
The Pierrepont, NY driver of the #7MM is the pride of the North Country back in New York after topping a DIRTcar Nationals podium crowded with Series championships and Gator trophy winners. Seven-time Series champion Matt Sheppard, from Waterloo, NY, finished second while three-time champ and Gypsum Racing driver Billy Decker finished third.
That’s the definition of a stout crowd.
“Everyone’s dream, when they start racing in the Northeast, is to win a Super DIRTcar Series race and I finally won one,” Maresca said. “It’s cool to start the year off with a win and to get a Big Block win is especially awesome. It means a lot. I don’t think it’s set in yet. I try to go with the mindset that each race is the same but I’m sure tonight, when I’m lying in bed, I’ll think about all the struggles in the past and realize how awesome this is.”
Maresca, who raced a DIRTcar Late Model earlier in the week, has found speed in his Big Block around The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
“Our car had been consistent the last two nights,” he said. “We’ve made little tweaks here or there. We did some testing and the track really suited my style for those first 10 laps when it was really racy.
“We’ve been close the last couple of nights. Our first night was rough but we completely regrouped and went back after it.”
He’s found success with his setup using a new shock package on the #7MM.
“I want to thank the guys at Penske Racing Shocks,” Maresca said. “They gave us a package to get around this place that’s working really good. There are only two of us here running them. My whole team just kept working and we got it done. I’m really happy to get this car in Victory Lane for those guys.”
When the green flag flew to start the 30-lap Feature, there was an immediate battle between the #9S of Sheppard and Maresca. Sheppard threw his Big Block to the outside but couldn’t execute the pass.
“We had a really good race there,” Maresca said. “I figured Sheppard would be on the bottom but he came around the outside and I was able to clear him and move up. I think we had a really stout race car.”
Despite falling short of the win, Sheppard was pleased with his result.
“It was a good night for us,” Sheppard said. “We gave Michael [Maresca] a run on the high side for a while but I just couldn’t get by him once he cleared down to the bottom. I think he was a little better than me anyway.”
Billy Decker has been wracking up podiums all week but, once again, needed a little more out of his Bicknell to get in a winning position.
“We like parking on the front stretch but obviously we’d like to park down there,” said Decker, of Unadilla, NY. “The Gypsum Wholesaler car has been good. These guys work really hard. We’ve been consistent. We’ve had a rocket since we unloaded it. We didn’t always Time Trial well some nights but we raced really good every night which is important because we normally run really long races. We’re looking forward to it.”
Max McLaughlin still leads the 50th DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator championship going into Saturday’s finale. Billy Decker rides in second while Maresca climbed into third. Both McLaughlin and Maresca have a chance to win their first Big Gator the same year as their first Little Gators.
Billy VanInwegen picked up a strong fourth-place finish. He will be eager to come back for the 50-lap Feature while Peter Britten grabbed another top-five.
Next up, on Saturday, Feb. 13, the final night of the 50th DIRTcar Nationals is set to pit the stars of the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds against each other for 50 laps and a $5,000-to-win prize. If you can’t make it to the track, watch live on DIRTVision. Hot Laps begin at 5:30pm (ET).