RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME: Devin Moran Strikes First With DIRTcar Late Models Win 

The Mailman leads the Big Gator title chase after an unpredictable Feature race


At the start, Devin Moran wrestled lap after lap for a podium finish. By the end, he got more than that.

After avoiding a massive late-race accident on the front stretch, Moran inherited the lead and ran away with Tuesday night’s DIRTcar Late Model victory during Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals.

The 25-lap Feature started with Brandon, FL’s Kyle Bronson and Oakwood, IL’s Bobby Pierce leading the field to the green flag. On the first lap, Pierce used the high line to swing by Bronson for the lead.

While Pierce had competition in Moran, Gray Court, SC’s Chris Madden, and Martinsville, IN drivers Ricky Thornton Jr. and Hudson O’Neal, Pierce had a car that could work multiple lanes of the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” in the Feature.

As the “Smooth Operator” displayed the dominance that won him the 2023 World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model title, the battle inside the podium raged on with Madden and Moran in a tight race for second place. Moran ended the duel by using the bottom line to pass “Smokey.”

When the field approached the green flag with six to go, Pierce’s fuel line broke – his #32 car slowed in front of the field and created a large wreck that involved 13 cars, ending the night for Pierce, Madden, O’Neal, Mike Marlar, Nick Hoffman and Brandon Sheppard. All left the accident OK.

Moran was able to sneak through the wreck and come out with the lead. When the race resumed, the white #99 was able to hold off Thornton in the final six laps and find itself parked in Victory Lane again at Volusia – after winning with the World of Outlaws at Sunshine Nationals in January. However, this time, Moran got a famous golden gator trophy.

“I felt like the car was really good,” Moran said. “I could run the bottom really well when the other guys couldn’t when I got up to second. I saw a flame come out of Bobby’s hood and the wreck started from there. I didn’t see what happened, but I knew Bobby was having trouble. The track changed a lot from the start of the Feature and it really slicked off and slowed the cars down. It was a lot of fun. Obviously, having the #20RT on your rear makes you give it all you got. I drove it hard and it’s a great way to start the week.”

Thornton came home in second after following Moran on the outside to miss the restart wreck.

“The car was great,” Thornton said. “We moved around where we needed to, though I didn’t see the wreck because I fired on the top and I was next to Devin. I’m glad nobody got hurt. It sucks to tear up stuff, but it was a good night for the team, and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

Bronson rallied to end the night in third place – fighting an ill-handling car to pass Centerville, PA’s Max Blair on the final lap.

“(The wreck) kind’ve helped me out there a little bit even though we got grazed,” Bronson said. “The beginning of the race, I was way too tight, and we had a big curve at the beginning of the race and (the car) finally pushed up, so when we did that, I put the right front and let it steer around there pretty good.”

Blair had to settle for a fourth-place finish and Robeline, LA’s Cade Dillard completed the night’s top-five after avoiding the carnage on the Lap 19 wreck.

UP NEXT: The DIRTcar Late Models return for one more night of racing in the 53rd Federated Auto Parts on Wednesday, Feb. 14, with three Features paying $5,000-to-win and Monday’s makeup Feature paying $7,000-to-win. For more info, visit DIRTcarNationals.com.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch every lap live on DIRTVision – available either online or through the DIRTVision App.

RESULTS (25 laps):

  1. 99-Devin Moran[5]; 2. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[9]; 3. 40B-Kyle Bronson[1]; 4. 111-Max Blair[6]; 5. 97-Cade Dillard[12]; 6. B5-Brandon Sheppard[20]; 7. 12-Ashton Winger[11]; 8. 44-Chris Madden[3]; 9. 19-Dustin Sorensen[23]; 10. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[16]; 11. 18D-Daulton Wilson[24]; 12. 1T-Tyler Erb[18]; 13. 114-Jordan Koehler[7]; 14. 32-Bobby Pierce[2]; 15. 157-Mike Marlar[14]; 16. 1-Hudson O’Neal[4]; 17. 9-Nick Hoffman[8]; 18. 18-Chase Junghans[10]; 19. 16-Tyler Bruening[17]; 20. 174-Ethan Dotson[15]; 21. 7T-Drake Troutman[21]; 22. 6JR-Parker Martin[19]; 23. 17M-Dale McDowell[13]; 24. 3S-Brian Shirley[22]