Recaps

HALF-SECOND HERO: McLaughlin Edges Decker for First Career DIRTcar Nationals Win

BARBERVILLE, FL – Max McLaughlin raced home to his second Super DIRTcar Series win and his first trip to Volusia Speedway Park’s confetti-filled Victory Lane on Thursday night during the 50th DIRTcar Nationals.

The 20-year-old pilot of the #32C Sweetener’s Plus Big Block Modified was just barely able to box out future Hall of Famer Billy Decker in a wild finish where the two swapped lines on the track trying to block and slide each other at the same time. Hard charger Michael Maresca in the #7MM car cruised from 19th to third in an amazing run through the field.

After a lengthy rain delay, drama built quickly in the 30-lap Feature as McLaughlin made contact with seven-time Series champion Matt Sheppard on the first lap, sending Sheppard’s #9S up the race track and into Peter Britten’s #21A. Sheppard made his displeasure with McLaughlin known during the caution flag, but was able to recover for a fifth-place finish. 

“I got into the water there on lap one,” said McLaughlin, of Mooresville, NC. “It was a bonehead move, I guess. They checked up and he [Matt Sheppard] started pushing and I figured I’d go right below him. The left front hit the water and pushed up and I got into Matt. I hate that. That’s kind of what I was thinking about the whole race.”

When the race returned to green flag action, McLaughlin had to contend with some heavy hitters. “Mad Max” found a way around defending Series champion Mat Williamson as well as “The Baldwinsville Bandit” Jimmy Phelps, who started on the outside pole. 

However, once McLaughlin took the lead on Lap 15 there was no time to relax. Decker had his Gypsum Wholesalers #91 at full song around the top side of the speedway in pursuit during the closing stages.

“I didn’t really know where he was but I knew he was coming around the top,” McLaughlin said. “I knew I had to change something and I saw the [signal] sticks get smaller and smaller. I had to do something different.”

With an adjustment of his line, McLaughlin was able to hold Decker’s crimson #91 at bay. 

Decker did all he could to try and pass for the lead.

“We had to go where he wasn’t,” said Decker,  of Unadilla, NY. “I think we were as good as he was on the bottom, but he fired a little better on the restarts than we did. After a few laps, I think we got it rolling so it was one of those deals where he had to stick to his lane. I started hazing the outside and closing the gap. He obviously got the signal from the infield to move. If he didn’t, he was going to finish where I did. He had to move and I didn’t get him soon enough.”

Decker will look to improve just one more position tomorrow night for a coveted 50th Anniversary DIRTcar Nationals win.

Michael Maresca, from Pierrepont, NY, advanced 16 positions to capture his second consecutive third-place finish. The #7MM started the night behind the eight-ball.

“We buried ourselves in a hole in qualifying,” Maresca said. “We had a really good car all night. I think with it being a little bit wetter, I think it threw me off on my gear selection. We were able to capitalize on good restarts.”

A fast, widening race track gave him what he needed to work through two-thirds of the field in 30 laps. Unfortunately, for the pilot of the St. Lawrence Radiology Big Block Modified, Decker and McLaughlin were just a click faster. 

“Congrats to Max and Billy,” Maresca said. “I couldn’t keep up with them. I think I was just a little bit under-geared for that. But I know our car is good so we are just going to keep trucking and hopefully contend for a win tomorrow.”

Catch all the action in person or on DIRTVision on Friday, February 12 at Volusia Speedway Park as the Super DIRTcar Series take on The World’s Fastest Half-Mile for the fourth night in a row alongside the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models. 

Keep up with the Super DIRTcar Series at SuperDIRTcarSeries.com and on social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Full results available here

Feature (30 Laps) — 1. 32C-Max McLaughlin [5][$4,000]; 2. 91-Billy Decker [11][$2,000]; 3. 7MM-Michael Maresca [19][$1,000]; 4. 88-Mat Williamson [4][$800]; 5. 9S-Matt Sheppard [3][$700]; 6. 25-Erick Rudolph [15][$650]; 7. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [2][$600]; 8. 23-Kyle Coffey [21][$550]; 9. 21A-Peter Britten [6][$500]; 10. 1D-Tyler Dippel [10][$450]; 11. 8-Rich Scagliotta [14][$400]; 12. 7F-Tim Fuller [12][$375]; 13. 4-Billy VanInwegen [23][$350]; 14. 16X-Dan Creeden [26][$325]; 15. 118-Jim Britt [9][$300]; 16. 19M-Jessey Mueller [13][$300]; 17. 17D-Marcus Dinkins [25][$300]; 18. 1-Darwin Greene [22][$300]; 19. 20-Brett Hearn [16][$300]; 20. 14-CG Morey [29][$300]; 21. 88T-Tyler Jashembowski [17][$300]; 22. 30-Ryan Godown [8][$300]; 23. 6-Matt Stangle [1][$300]; 24. 2-Jack Lehner [7][$300]; 25. 33T-Cass Bennett [27][$300]; 26. 01W-Justin Wright [24][$300]; 27. 17-Rob Pitcher [20][$300]; 28. B52-Brandon Hightower [28][$300]; 29. 26-Derrick McGrew [18][$300]. Hard Charger Award: 7MM-Michael Maresca[+16].

OH MAN! Friesen Charges to Second Gator in Wide Open DIRTcar Nationals Feature

BARBERVILLE, FL — For the second consecutive night, Stewart Friesen charged to victory with the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds at Volusia Speedway Park’s 50th DIRTcar Nationals, sweeping to the lead past Erick Rudolph with 10 to go and holding on to the checkered flag.

A field of 32 roaring Big Block Modifieds took the green flag Wednesday night to start the second Series Feature of 2021, and after picking up his second Billy Whittaker Cars Fast-Time Award in two days and convincingly winning his Heat Race, Friesen redrew sixth to start the Feature. With Mat Williamson, Jack Lehner, Erick Rudolph, Billy Decker, Matt Sheppard and more in his midst, Friesen had his work cut out for him in the 30-lap Feature. 

“We had a plan coming into this,” said Friesen, of Sprakers, NY. “If you want the plan to work you gotta work the plan and it’s paid off.”

The hard work and wins have paid off indeed as Friesen collected his second $4,000 check at the DIRTcar Nationals. 

The Volusia Speedway Park surface produced phenomenal Feature racing for the Big Blocks as well as the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models. The fastest racing lines went high to low, low to high, and everywhere in between. Drivers had their choices to make passes happen. 

“This is a very technical and challenging race track right now,” noted Friesen. “It’s kind of like mogul skiing on ice. You gotta try to get the car loaded up right. If you miss it, it shoves, but if you get it loaded up this thing was on the money.”

In the first half of the race, Friesen and his #44 Halmar Racing Big Block were forced to watch the top 5 battle door-to-door. Then lapped traffic came into play and remained a factor as there was only a single caution flag for the Big Blocks all evening. 

“I was just trying to see which way those guys [lapped cars] were going,” said Friesen. “It’s super slick in spots and in other spots you think it’s slick, but it turns out to be gripped up. Watching Max [McLaughlin] and Erick [Rudoloph] dice there and I got passed and lost a bunch of spots. Jack [Lehner] and Maresca got back by me. It was an awesome race track. I was just trying to find different lines and move around.”

Rudolph, from Ransomville, NY, started third behind the formidable front row of Williamson, from St. Catharines, ON, and Lehner. Rudolph had an excellent initial start and immediately took the fight to the front row starters. After dispatching Lehner, he got alongside the defending Series champion Williamson.

Williamson and Rudolph drove cleanly side-by-side for several laps before Rudolph took over the top spot only to be assailed by Max McLaughlin in the #32C. McLaughlin and Rudolph went toe-to-toe but the #25R built a lead in lapped traffic. 

“We started third and were able to wrestle away the lead from Williamson,” said Rudolph. “It seemed like we were able to work lapped traffic pretty good and I really didn’t want to see the caution come out, but it made a race out of it. Friesen got by me and we were about the same speed but the race played into his favor tonight.” 

After a caution flag came out for a stalled out #19 of Tim Fuller, Friesen pounced and worked the middle of the track and the outside to make the pass on Rudolph. 

Maresca, from Pierrepont, NY, struggled in the first night of Series action. However, his #7MM came back on Wednesday with some important shock changes that helped the balance of the car. Maresca drove up from the sixth-place starting position, passing Lehner, Mclaughlin, and Williamson in the process and proved the St. Lawrence Radiology #7MM is likely a threat for more podiums throughout the rest of the DIRTcar Nationals. 

Danny Creeden, from Wurtsboro, NY, started deep in the field: 27th place. But the driver of the #16C used the long green flag runs to his advantage and managed to pass 11 cars for the hard charger award. He finished 16th.

In Tuesday’s opener, the #26 ended the Feature on its roof, but hard work overnight and through the day allowed Derrick McGrew Jr. to finish the Feature in 19th. 

Thursday is Night 10 of the 50th DIRTcar Nationals and race three for the Super DIRTcar Series. If you are unable to make it to Volusia Speedway Park, be sure to watch live on DIRTVision and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for full coverage of the DIRTcar Nationals. 

Full results available here

Feature (30 Laps)

  1. 44-Stewart Friesen [6][$4,000]; 2. 25-Erick Rudolph [3][$2,000]; 3. 7MM-Michael Maresca [7][$1,000]; 4. 32C-Max McLaughlin [4][$800]; 5. 91-Billy Decker [5][$700]; 6. 21A-Peter Britten [12][$650]; 7. 2-Jack Lehner [2][$600]; 8. 20-Brett Hearn [9][$550]; 9. 9S-Matt Sheppard [8][$500]; 10. 1D-Tyler Dippel [13][$450]; 11. 88-Mat Williamson [1][$400]; 12. 4-Billy VanInwegen [15][$375]; 13. 30-Ryan Godown [11][$350]; 14. 6-Matt Stangle [19][$325]; 15. 19M-Jessey Mueller [22][$300]; 16. 16X-Dan Creeden [27][$300]; 17. 118-Jim Britt [16][$300]; 18. 14-CG Morey [23][$300]; 19. 26-Derrick McGrew [21][$300]; 20. 88T-Tyler Jashembowski [24][$300]; 21. 46-Jeremy Smith [18][$300]; 22. 8-Rich Scagliotta [26][$300]; 23. 17D-Marcus Dinkins [30][$300]; 24. 23-Kyle Coffey [28][$300]; 25. 48T-Dave Rauscher [20][$300]; 26. 1-Darwin Greene [31][$300]; 27. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [10][$300]; 28. 17-Rob Pitcher [14][$300]; 29. 19-Tim Fuller [17][$300]; 30. B52-Brandon Hightower [25][$300]; 31. 33T-Cass Bennett [29][$300]; 32. 01W-Justin Wright [32][$300]

Hard Charger Award: 16X-Dan Creeden[+11]

BACKING IT IN: Friesen Holds off Britten in Dicey Duel, Bags First Big Block Gator of 2021

BARBERVILLE, FL — “Daddy, do we get an alligator?”

Yes, Parker Friesen, you do after your Dad, Stewart Friesen, held off a hard-charging Peter Britten to win the 30-lap DIRTcar Nationals Super DIRTcar Series opener Tuesday night at Volusia Speedway Park.

Britten, from Brisbane, Australia, in a brand new Ryder Racing-sponsored Bicknell chassis Big Block Modified, threw everything he had at Friesen in a mad duel through lapped traffic. Friesen held off the #21A machine for the checkered flag with an aggressive line around the top side of The World’s Fastest Half-Mile, and delivered that Gator Trophy to his young son in Victory Lane.

“It was a very technical race track,” said Friesen, now of Sprakers, NY. “That’s the closest I’ve ever driven a Big Block Modified to a wingless sprint car, I just backed it in. There’s not much grip on the right front.”

Britten and Friesen battled hard throughout the first half of the race. After a long green-flag run during the midpoint of the 30-lapper, Friesen caught the rear of the field. What ensued was a memorable duel where both drivers crisscrossed from top to bottom trying to find the fastest way around the lapped cars and each other.

“I was trying to get through the lapped cars as quick as I could, but it was tough because it was so slick,” Friesen noted. “I kept losing the right front. I felt Peter [Britten] give me a shot out of four one time but the Halmar team prevailed.”

With 19 laps to go, Britten got under Friesen on restart and drove by the #44 in Turn 1, but a caution flag flew for a hard crash involving multiple cars including Jim Britt, Tyler Jashembowski, and Dave Rauscher. Unfortunately for Britten, the pass was nullified as the lap was incomplete. 

“If I hadn’t gotten that caution and gone out ahead, Friesen was fast but we were right there with him,” Britten said. “It would have been interesting to see if we could have held him off. But I’m just tickled to be there.”

Expectations are high for Britten as he moved to a Bicknell-built chassis for the first time in his career. With an all-new all-black paint scheme, it’s hard to avoid the Batmobile comparisons given his nickname “Batman.” But it hasn’t all been good luck for Britten in Florida this year.

“We wrecked a car and it’s been a thrash since then,” Britten said. “A lot of people helped me to get to where I am even to just make it back to the race track. Me and Dylan [Zacharias] thrashed on this thing day and night basically to get it ready. It’s a good feeling to be up here for sure.”

Friesen, who also competes in the NASCAR Truck Series, is now an eight-time DIRTcar Nationals Feature winner after the $4,000 victory. But the native of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, was racing with a heavy heart following news coming out of his native province. 

“I’m thinking about my friends in St. Catharines, Ontario, Doug and Todd Gordon at Concept 1 Fabrication,” Friesen said. “They had a big fire. They lost a lot, if not everything. They are diehard racers who I grew up with. When I first started racing I could go and see “Flash” and he’d fix me up. We’re going to work hard to get him fixed up again.”

Rounding out the podium was the Gypsum Racing #91 of Billy Decker. The “Franklin Flyer” passed Max McLaughlin for third on the last lap. Decker and McLaughlin traded sliders in the closing stages of the Feature, but the veteran came out on top. 

“The Gypsum Wholesaler car was really good,” Decker said. “It was a tough track tonight. We were blazing around the top. I got to third on a restart and hit lapped traffic and Max [McLaughlin] got by us. Then we hit more lapped traffic we got back by him on the last lap. I’m happy to come out of here with a top-three tonight and we’ll see what we can scrounge up tomorrow.”

CG Morey, of Rutland, VT, advanced 13 positions for the hard charger award. After starting 28th, Morey survived to finish 14th. 

Heat Race winners were Friesen, Britten, Jimmy Phelps, and McLaughlin. 

All 32 Big Block Modifieds on the property started the Feature. 

Derrick Mcgrew Jr. found himself on his roof in Turn 1 after a short wall ride. The young driver got out of the stricken #26 under his own power looking no worse than disappointed. 

Friesen picked up the first Billy Whittaker Cars Fast-Time Award with a 17.463 lap around The World’s Fastest Half-Mile

The action continues on Wednesday night with another 30-lap, $4,000-to-win Super DIRTcar Series Feature plus the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models. 

Follow the Super DIRTcar Series on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram plus bookmark SuperDIRTcarSeries.com for race reports, features, and more. 

If you can’t make it to the race track be sure to watch live with DIRTVision.

Full race results are available here

Feature (30 Laps)

  1. 44-Stewart Friesen [2][$4,000]; 2. 21A-Peter Britten [3][$2,000]; 3. 91-Billy Decker [6][$1,000]; 4. 32C-Max McLaughlin [4][$800]; 5. 88-Mat Williamson [7][$700]; 6. 9S-Matt Sheppard [8][$650]; 7. 25-Erick Rudolph [18][$600]; 8. 1D-Tyler Dippel [11][$550]; 9. 4-Billy VanInwegen [9][$500]; 10. 16X-Dan Creeden [5][$450]; 11. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [1][$400]; 12. 19-Tim Fuller [15][$375]; 13. 7MM-Michael Maresca [16][$350]; 14. 23-Kyle Coffey [19][$325]; 15. 14-CG Morey [28][$300]; 16. 8-Rich Scagliotta [21][$300]; 17. 17-Rob Pitcher [22][$300]; 18. 1-Darwin Greene [17][$300]; 19. 46-Jeremy Smith [23][$300]; 20. 17D-Marcus Dinkins [32][$300]; 21. 30-Ryan Godown [10][$300]; 22. 20-Brett Hearn [14][$300]; 23. 48T-Dave Rauscher [20][$300]; 24. 19M-Jessey Mueller [24][$300]; 25. 26-Derrick McGrew [25][$300]; 26. B52-Brandon Hightower [30][$300]; 27. 88T-Tyler Jashembowski [29][$300]; 28. 2-Jack Lehner [12][$300]; 29. 6-Matt Stangle [13][$300]; 30. 118-Jim Britt [26][$300]; 31. 33T-Cass Bennett [31][$300]; 32. 01W-Justin Wright [27][$300]

Hard Charger: 14-CG Morey[+13]

The 2020 Door Closer

Cool temperatures and hot racing were on tap for the final night of the 2020 season at Volusia Speedway Park. As always, the side-by-side racing was at its best and fans got everything they could ever want from a Saturday night show at the World’s Fastest Half Mile!

The Florida Late Models kicked off the feature events with David Clegg putting on an exhibition in his #07 Snow Brothers Chassis. Clegg pulled out to a big lead early and never looked back. Kunstbeck in the #11 contended for second early before falling back, leaving the #84 of Gray and the #721 of Kump to battle it out for the runner up position. Kump eventually secured the position with five to g,o but the night belonged to Clegg, who went on to win and bank a cool $1500 in winnings!

The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds were running for $1200, and 20 cars lined up to take their shot at the cash prize. Pole-sitter Eric Moon took the early lead, but after a caution on lap three David Reutimann made a quick pass in turn one to grab the lead. Seth Geary worked his way to second challenging Reutimann right to the end, but Reutimann held on to take the win and a nice pay day. Geary came home in second, and Garver brought the #27 home in third.

The Thunder Stocks were up next. Ron Adams led the early laps of this race, holding off early challenges from the #17 of Alan Peacock. As the laps ticked off Jason Garver worked his way up to challenge Adams, but the big mover of the night was Joe Belkey. The fifteenth place starting position isn’t normally where you look to find the eventual winner of a race, but by lap 7 Belkey was challenging Adams, and after a three-wide battle that included Garver, Belkey once and for all put his #112 Monte Carlo out front and cruised to a win and a $750 pay day. Garver held on for second ,and pole-sitter Joey Haslauer came back to finish third.

The ¾ mods were the fourth feature on the night. Pole-sitter Paul Shead has been hard to beat all year and after he jumped out front it looked as if the result would once again be the same, but Pat Vareika stormed up beside Shead on lap two to take the lead and pulled away to take the win. Shead held on for second, and young Mason Olmsted made a last-lap pass on the outside to take third from Tim Hogan.

Jimmy Wagner led the Street Stocks to the green flag, but Tuck Trentham led the first lap. A veteran of racing at Volusia Speedway Park, Trentham looked untouchable in the early laps, but a familiar name from earlier in the evening found his way to the front after a three-wide pass on the outside of turn four. Thunder Stock winner Joe Belkey put his #119 car out front and held off multiple challenges for the lead from Trentham to take the Street Stock win and bank another $750 on the night. Chris Lawrence used a late-race restart to move up to the second position, while Trentham brought his car home in third.

The Compact 4s were the final race of the night and the final race of the 2020 season. In an almost Cat in the Hat-like rhyme Todd Latour in his Compact 4 shut the door on the 2020 season. Leading every lap and gapping the field, Latour was never challenged, taking the win and $150.

With that the 2020 season has come to an end. We return to action in January for the DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals, followed by the legendary DIRTcar Nationals. Get your tickets now!

Reutimanns Remembered

Tonight was all about the Reutimann family and specifically remembering the lives of Emil and Dale Reutimann. With Buzzie and David already in the race, all that was left to run were a couple of Last Chance Showdowns and then onto the 50-lap main event.

The night’s opening ceremonies celebrated Emil and Dale’s memory on the stage of the front stretch and then went straight into a redraw that put Devin Dixon on the pole for the Feature. Before this could be run a pair of Last Chance Showdowns determined who else was in and who was going home.

The first Last Chance Showdown got off to a rough start with three straight cautions. Finally, on the fourth attempt, pole-sitter and eventual race winner Kenny Wallace led the field to a string of green flag laps. Three more cautions came out and when the final checkers flew Kenny Wallace, Jason Garver, and Todd Neiheiser transferred to the Feature.

The second Showdown saw the No. 1S of Brian Shaw making big moves to come to the front after an 11th place start. Shaw came all the way to third, finishing behind the winner, Brandon Wells, and second place Eric Moon to punch their tickets to the big show later in the evening.

The 50-lap Feature event left seats unused for the first portion of the race. From the driver introductions on the front stretch, to the four-wide salute, this show kept fans on their feet.
Pole-sitter Devin Dixon led the opening laps but by lap 22 had lap times slowing while other drivers were surging forward. Just before halfway Tyler Nicely once again found himself leading a race as lapped traffic issues slowed Dixon, allowing Nicely to catch him and make the pass. This pass cost Dixon an extra $500 as Nicely won the halfway leader award and banked an additional $500.00 on the weekend.

As the laps rolled on it was clear once again Nicely had the car to beat. Though Justin Allgaier was able to get past him a couple of times Nicely was able to gathered it up and find a way back to the lead. When Nick Hoffman joined the battle late in the race it looked as if he may have had a little something for the leader, but it wasn’t to be as Nicely went on to take the win and bank another $5,000.00 on top of his already bountiful weekend earnings. Allgaier came in second, and Hoffman brought it home in third. Rich Pratt took the Hard Charger award, worth $250.00.

The SS Shan Smith Sails to Another Victory

The Florida Late Models were back for another round at Volusia Speedway Park this weekend. The 27-car field started the first of three Heat races with a familiar face out front. 12-year-old Trey Mills won Heat one and looked to be the car to beat once more. He was followed in second by last night’s Thunder Stock winner, Jared Allison. Heats two and three were similar affairs with Nevin Gainey and Jeff Choquette taking wins.

The 17SS of Smith started on the outside pole and never looked back in the Feature. Choquette mounted several challenges after cautions closed the gap but was unable to take away Smith’s position. Smith went on to win and bank $1500.00, while Choquette settled for second.

Taking Home the Lyon’s Share of the Prize Money

Patrick Lyon’s #01 Street Stock isn’t only a good looking car, but a very fast one too. His competitors learned this the hard way tonight as Lyon ran away in his Heat race and continued the trend in the Feature. Shane Nichols and Joe Belkey both had brief stints out front, but when all was said and done the Lyon couldn’t be tamed and he went on to win and collect $750.00 for his night’s work.

Up Next at Volusia Speedway Park

Saturday, December 5th : Volusia Car Races
Saturday, December 12th: Volusia Karting

LITTLE 2, BIG 5K: Nicely Scores First Career Reutimann Memorial Victory at Volusia

Nicely’s Longhorn by Loenbro Chassis wins in first weekend out, Elite Chassis finish 2-3

BARBERVILLE, FL – Nov. 21, 2020 – When Tyler Nicely and his team loaded up after their testing session earlier this week, he knew he had a car he could take to Volusia Speedway Park and contend for his first Reutimann Memorial Feature victory.

Not only did Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, and his new Longhorn by Loenbro Chassis score the victory in the 7th annual Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial, he showed consistent strength in the new car throughout the weekend. Setting fast time and winning his Showdown Feature on Friday night set him up for a spot in the redraw on Saturday, where he took full advantage of his forward starting spot, leading 30 total laps en route to the $5,000 payday.

“I didn’t want to lose the race and I was going to do everything I could to win it,” Nicely said in Victory Lane. “I knew I just needed to get out in clean air and just dictate my own race. I knew we had a pretty good car early; I just knew I needed to make a smart move early to get to the lead.”

Starting from position #4 on the grid, Nicely showed speed right out of the gate, chasing down NASCAR standout Justin Allgaier, of Riverton, IL, and leader Devin Dixon, of Apollo Beach, FL, inside the first 10 laps. After an early caution, Nicely made the move around Allgaier for second and cracked the whip, gunning for leader Dixon’s rear bumper.

As Dixon worked his way around a slower car out of Turn 4 to complete Lap 21, he got a bit too wide out of the groove and the door opened for Nicely to his inside. Nicely threw it hard into Turn 1, slid up the track and took the lead away.

Dixon came back at him with a slide job of his own a few laps later, but the non-existent cushion up top threw him wide once again as Nicely drove back by. Dixon was able to grab the lead back briefly on Lap 27 after Nicely slipped high in Turn 2, but lost it again as Nicely threw a big slide job on he and Allgaier on a restart just one lap later.

Dave Shank Photo

Then came the opening Allgaier had been waiting for. Nicely slipped way high again in Turn 1 on Lap 35 as Allgaier jumped through the open door. Nicely recovered quickly though, throwing yet another slider for the lead as they came back around to Turn 1.

“We got the lead there and then Tyler slid me down in [Turn] 1,” Allgaier said. “I didn’t know if he was going to make 1 and 2 or not, so I jumped out of it. I wish, in hindsight, I’d have stayed in it.”

Allgaier’s presence out front seemed to spark a fire under Nicely’s seat. He dropped the hammer on the high side and never relinquished the lead again, fending off Allgaier and fellow Elite Chassis pilot Nick Hoffman’s surge for the front in the final laps.

Hoffman, the five-time DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified champion at Volusia, took a shot at Allgaier with five-to-go for the runner-up spot, but was unable to hold the car down in Turn 1 and gave the spot right back as he washed-up the track.

“Justin had a way better racecar, so once he showed me a nose, I just let him go back by; the only shot for Elite Chassis to win tonight,” Hoffman said.

Dave Shank Photo

The Elite cars brought the heat after one final restart in the home stretch but couldn’t get a big enough run in either groove to threaten for the lead. Nicely was too fast on the top side and brought the field back around to the checkers to score his first career Reutimann Memorial victory.

“I kinda liked getting that caution with six to go, just because that took the lapped cars out of it; that’s how I got passed for the lead when we got into lapped traffic,” Nicely said.

Allgaier crossed the stripe in second – now his best career finish in the event. He was the only driver that kept it inside the podium for all 50 laps, despite his feelings on how the race began for him.

“In the beginning there, I struggled to get a line that really worked for me. Once we figured that out, I was able to make up some time,” Allgaier said.

Hoffman rounded out the podium in third, crossing by a slim margin over Justin Haley and Austin Holcombe. His newly-built Elite Chassis was quite the hot rod in the latter half of the race, but ultimately came up one spot shy of tying his personal best finish in the event (second, 2018).

“At the middle of the race, I kinda got my motor too hot and kinda cruised for a little bit; I wanted to cruise anyway. Once it was time to go, I was able to cool it down and really hustle,” Hoffman said.

7th Annual Reutimann Memorial Feature RESULTS (50 Laps)
1. 25-Tyler Nicely[4]; 2. 7-Justin Allgaier[3]; 3. 2-Nick Hoffman[6]; 4. 11-Justin Haley[12]; 5. 8A-Austin Holcombe[9]; 6. 35-David Stremme[13]; 7. 67-Garrett Stewart[7]; 8. 13P-Rich Pratt[19]; 9. 313-Devin Dixon[1]; 10. 36-Kenny Wallace[21]; 11. 7G-Seth Geary[18]; 12. 99W-Chris Arnold[17]; 13. 33-Jeff Matthews[2]; 14. 18-Eric Moon[24]; 15. 4-Maverick Varnadore[5]; 16. 205-Travis Vanadore[16]; 17. 80-Rich Dawson[8]; 18. 2J-Troy Johnson[14]; 19. 1-Steve Stevenson[11]; 20. 33K-Kenny Mihalik[27]; 21. 00-Buzzie Reutimann[20]; 22. 1S-Brian Shaw[26]; 23. 00D-David Reutimann[10]; 24. 6-Ryan Ayers[15]; 25. 72-Todd Neiheiser[25]; 26. 39W-Brandon Wells[22]; 27. 80P-Paul Shead[28]; 28. 27-Jason Garver[23]

UMP Mod Last Chance Showdown 1 (15 Laps)
1. 36-Kenny Wallace[1]; 2. 27-Jason Garver[9]; 3. 72-Todd Neiheiser[13]; 4. 14D-David Taylor[3]; 5. M20-Mike Petoskey[2]; 6. 1SJ-Josh Sanford[4]; 7. 80P-Paul Shead[10]; 8. 73-Mark Rhoades[16]; 9. 7N7-Jeff Solinger[12]; 10. 40-Shawn Reiss[7]; 11. 1R-Ryan Rackley[11]; 12. 57-Mark Grosvenor[6]; 13. 11R-Jesse Rupe[5]; 14. 33K-Kenny Mihalik[8]; 15. 96-Cole Parker[14]; 16. (DNS) 32-Bruce Martin

UMP Mod Last Chance Showdown 2 (15 Laps)
1. 39W-Brandon Wells[2]; 2. 18-Eric Moon[13]; 3. 1S-Brian Shaw[11]; 4. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt[4]; 5. 17-Patrick Vareika[10]; 6. 17G-Brandon Grossman[1]; 7. Z06-Larry Mott[7]; 8. 141-Justin Galbreath[3]; 9. 21-Sean Monaghan[6]; 10. 62E-Kim Edington[5]; 11. 3C-Tony Campbell[9]; 12. 27S-Paul Schloss[14]; 13. 2D-Ray Durrence Jr[8]; 14. (DNS) 10-Dustin Thayer

SUNSHINE SHOWDOWNS: Allgaier, Dixon, Nicely, Mathews Win Reutimann Memorial Prelim Features at Volusia

Twenty drivers now locked into Saturday’s 50-lap, $5,000-to-win main event

BARBERVILLE, FL – Nov. 20, 2020 – Fifty-two of the best DIRTcar UMP Modified drivers in the country assembled at the Volusia Speedway Park Friday night for the preliminary night of action at the 7th annual Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial. Twenty names have since punched their ticket into Saturday’s $5,000-to-win main event.

Four 15-lap Showdown Features hit the track after two groups of Qualifying, locking the top-five finishers into Saturday’s Feature and taking the top-two into the redraw.

Showdown Feature #1 – Justin Allgaier

He hasn’t been able to drive his Federated Auto Parts #7 Elite Chassis as much as he would have liked to in 2020, but Justin Allgaier looked as if he had been in the car all season Friday night with a flag-to-flag victory in the first Showdown Feature.

Grabbing the lead into Turn 1 from the outside pole on the opening lap, Allgaier fought off all challengers from behind, including his chassis builder and 2020 DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion Nick Hoffman, for the $500 victory.

Hoffman held on for second, sending both he and Allgaier to the redraw. Also transferring into the Feature were Austin Holcombe, David Stremme and Chris Arnold.

Allgaier’s been steadily working on his dirt program recently and said he feels very comfortable with the car and the crew working tirelessly behind him. Hoffman’s been in his car for most of the season and has provided both he and Allgaier with a great opportunity to pick up the big $5,000 victory Saturday night.

“Well, tomorrow’s 50 laps, tonight was only 15,” Allgaier said of his outlook to Saturday. “I’ve got to not make a mistake. There’s a lot of guys tonight that got caught-out by the track conditions in Qualifying. The conditions tonight suited my driving style really well. But if it gets slick tomorrow, which I think it will, Nick’s [Hoffman] gonna be incredible. I know it.”

UMP Modifieds Feature 1 (15 Laps) RESULTS

  1. 7-Justin Allgaier[2]; 2. 2-Nick Hoffman[3]; 3. 8A-Austin Holcombe[4]; 4. 35-David Stremme[6]; 5. 99W-Chris Arnold[1]; 6. 36-Kenny Wallace[8]; 7. 14D-David Taylor[5]; 8. 11R-Jesse Rupe[13]; 9. 40-Shawn Reiss[11]; 10. (DNF) 27-Jason Garver[9]; 11. (DNF) 1R-Ryan Rackley[7]; 12. (DNF) 72-Todd Neiheiser[10]; 13. (DNF) 32-Bruce Martin[12]

Showdown Feature #2 – Devin Dixon

Through the first half of the second Showdown Feature, it appeared as though the event’s Best Appearing Car Award winner Rich Dawson was going to drive away flawlessly for the win. But Apollo Beach, FL’s Devin Dixon had other plans.

Dawson won the battle into Turn 1 on the opening lap, but Dixon never let him out of sight. A restart five laps in gave Dixon the opportunity he needed to make the move, which he did to Dawson’s inside in Turn 1 after furiously reeling him in lap-by-lap.

“Once we got going there, [Dawson] took off pretty good and then he started fading a little bit the later the race went, and we started getting better. Down there into [Turn] 1, he jumped the cushion a little bit and I just slid him, and it was on from there,” Dixon said.

From that point forward, Dixon set it on cruise and was never challenged for the lead again as he drove across the stripe, punching his ticket to the redraw with runner-up Dawson. Steve Stevenson, Ryan Ayers and Rich Pratt also transferred to the 50-lap Feature.

UMP Modifieds Feature 2 (15 Laps) RESULTS

  1. 313-Devin Dixon[2]; 2. 80-Rich Dawson[1]; 3. 1-Steve Stevenson[3]; 4. 6-Ryan Ayers[6]; 5. 13P-Rich Pratt[8]; 6. M20-Mike Petoskey[7]; 7. 1SJ-Josh Sanford[9]; 8. 57-Mark Grosvenor[12]; 9. 33K-Kenny Mihalik[5]; 10. 80P-Paul Shead[10]; 11. 7N7-Jeff Solinger[11]; 12. (DNF) 96-Cole Parker[4]; 13. (DNF) 73-Mark Rhoades[13]

Showdown Feature #3 – Tyler Nicely

For the first weekend out in a brand-new car, Tyler Nicley’s certainly gotten off to a great start.

After laying down the night’s fastest lap in Qualifying of 18.740, a $250 cash prize courtesy of the Reutimann family, Nicely grabbed the lead from the pole of the third Showdown Feature and never once even thought about giving it up. The Owensboro, KY-native led every single lap en route to the redraw and $500 prize with runner-up Maverick Varnadore.

Even when he proved a green-white-checkered finish could not throw him off of his game, at the end of the day, Nicely was still looking for more speed.

“We weren’t as good as we wanted to be in that Feature,” Nicely said. “Just tried to get the car to work well on the bottom and rotating. Tomorrow night will be different, 50 laps. Hopefully the track slows down a lot and we get a good redraw.”

Also transferring into the 50-lap Feature was two-time event winner David Reutimann, Troy Johnson and Seth Geary.

UMP Modifieds Feature 3 (15 Laps) RESULTS

  1. 25-Tyler Nicely[1]; 2. 4-Maverick Varnadore[4]; 3. 00D-David Reutimann[2]; 4. 2J-Troy Johnson[3]; 5. 7G-Seth Geary[6]; 6. 17G-Brandon Grossman[7]; 7. 141-Justin Galbreath[8]; 8. 99-Ronnie Chance[9]; 9. 62E-Kim Edington[12]; 10. 206-Larry Mott[10]; 11. 3C-Tony Campbell[13]; 12. 1S-Brian Shaw[11]; 13. 18-Eric Moon[5]

Showdown Feature #4 – Jeff Mathews

The 2017 Reutimann Memorial Feature winner had absolutely no problem putting himself in position to win it a second time Friday night. Jeff Mathews did just that with a flag-to-flag victory in the fourth and final Showdown Feature.

Mathews took the lead at the drop of the green and never looked back, leading every lap en route to the $500 victory and a spot in the redraw with runner-up Garrett Stewart.

Even the restarts Mathews faced along the way could not slow his momentum. But he knows Saturday is the big one, and he’ll have to be extra prepared to be there at the end of 50 laps.

“We didn’t really know which direction we wanted to go, if we wanted to be getting tighter or freeing-up, or trying to stay neutral,” Mathews said of his car setup. “I think we made the right call, but tomorrow’s a whole different ball game. We’ve got 50 laps, and I don’t think we’ll have this type of racetrack tomorrow night.”

Justin Haley, Travis Vanadore and Buzzie Reutimann also transferred into the Feature. Reutimann, the 79-year-old racing legend from Zephyrhills, FL, was perhaps the biggest star of the entire show when he was spun sideways about halfway through the race, gathered it back in on the restart and hung on to the fifth and final transfer spot to punch his ticket into the big show.

UMP Modifieds Feature 4 (15 Laps) RESULTS

  1. 33-Jeff Matthews[1]; 2. 67-Garrett Stewart[2]; 3. 11-Justin Haley[3]; 4. 205-Travis Vanadore[7]; 5. 00-Buzzie Reutimann[5]; 6. 24B-Dillon Buhr[4]; 7. 39W-Brandon Wells[6]; 8. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt[8]; 9. 21-Sean Monaghan[11]; 10. 2D-Ray Durrence Jr[10]; 11. 17-Patrick Vareika[12]; 12. (DNF) 10-Dustin Thayer[9]; 13. (DNF) 27S-Paul Schloss[13]

UP NEXT

The Reutimann Memorial action continues Saturday evening for the DIRTcar UMP the Modifieds, beginning with the redraw, Last Chance events and closing with the 50-lap, $5,000-to-win Feature. Catch all the action LIVE on DIRTVision!

Nicely Done

Night one of the Emil and Dale Reutimann Memorial started off with some sprinkles, but it surely didn’t dampen the spirits of the racers who traveled from several different states to be a part of this event.

The racing kicked off with the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds taking the track for their Hot Laps/Qualifying. Three flights of cars went after the bonus money for the Fast Time, and when all was said and done Tyler Nicely topped the field with his lap of 18.740, banking $250.00 before the features ever got under way.

Other special awards, such as the longest haul, were awarded during the opening ceremonies following Qualifying. Mark Rhoades, who towed from West Chicago, Illinois, took home $500.00 for his long haul, Rich Dawson took home $250.00 for the best appearing car, and Qualifiers 2-4 also took home a little extra cash.

When it came time for the four Showdown Features, there was more than just a $500.00 check on the line. Only the top five transferred, leaving many to run Saturday’s Last Chance Showdown to try to gain a spot in the field. Justin Allgaier won the first Showdown with contenders like Stremme and Hoffman filling transfer spots. Kenny Wallace ran a strong sixth, but with only five transferring he will have to try again tomorrow to make the field.

In Showdown number two Devin Dixon punched his ticket to the big show with local drivers like Rich Pratt gained a spot in the field as well. Mark Rhoades, the longest haul winner, will have another long road ahead as he finished 13th and will have to come from the back tomorrow to earn a spot in the field.

Showdown number three saw fast qualifier Tyler Nicely getting the job done again, holding off an early charge from David Reutimann and a late-race effort from Mark Varnadore to score the win and take home another $500.00, bringing his bank role to $750.00 on the night leading up to the big race and making it known he is the man to beat this weekend.

In the fourth and final Showdown, local hot shoe Garrett Stewart squared off against Jeff Matthews, with Matthews taking the win and Stewart a close second. Fan favorite Buzzie Reutimann raced his way into the big show with a fifth place finish, holding off Dillon Buhr for the final transfer spot.

Clay leads the way

The 602 Late Models were back in action this weekend with a 21-car field. Clay Harris, whose night started off on a bad note with engine problems in his modified, made the most of things, winning his heat race and leading every lap of the Feature with lap times nearly a half-second faster than his nearest competitors. With just he and a single crew member with him tonight, Harris scored a big victory for the Wilkerson Farms-sponsored ride.

Mikey Kopka, who won  his Heat race, ran strong all night, but late race issues would lead to an 11th place finish, while Dustin Carter moved up to finish second. Last weeks winner, Trey Mills ran an impressive third, swapping positions back and fourth with the best in the business. Other notable drivers like Jackson Hise had a disappointing night as a right front flat tire dropped him to the back of the field and he later had to pit again with car trouble.

One for One in Thunder Stocks

Jared Allison had never driven a Thunder Stock before tonight, but that didn’t stop the Late Model driver from jumping in the car and giving it a shot. He finished third in his Heat and start sixth in the Feature behind cars most would bet on to win. Boome Canary won his Heat and led a good part of the Feature before car troubles took him out of contention, and Jason Garver proved duct tape numbers don’t mean you aren’t going to be fast are always hard to run with, let alone beat.

Allison battled early with veteran Kevin Durden for position, eventually finding his way to the lead on lap ten. In a race that saw cars on top of cars, lead cars making mistakes and taking cars with them when they went, and utter chaos at times, Allison picked and clawed his way to the front and is now one-for-one in his Thunder Stock racing career.

Looking Forward

Saturday is the Emil And Dale Reutimann Memorial. Hot laps start at 5:45 with racing to follow. It will be a big night of racing with a 50 lapper, Last Chance Showdown, and Street Stocks along with Florida Late Models on hand to round out the show. Watch every lap LIVE on DIRTVision.