Five Big Gator championship trophies await five new victors for the 52nd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 6-18.
The gator trophy was introduced in 2012, producing an iconic symbol of determination and triumph over the best race car drivers in the country during one of the biggest dirt racing events of the year.
In February, hundreds of drivers across seven series – and five divisions – will gather at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile to duel for the Big Gator championships and take home the massive gator trophy.
Among the world-class series competing will be the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series, Super DIRTcar Series, DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, DIRTcar Late Models, USAC Non-Wing Sprint Cars and All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars.
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Here’s what to expect:
DIRTcar UMP Modifieds (Feb. 6-11): Thirty-one drivers will walk away with a golden gator trophy this year, and more money than ever before.
The “Ironmen” of Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals will run Monday through Saturday with the events Monday through Friday featuring six races a night. Saturday will again serve as the DIRTcar UMP Modified Gator Championship finale, while also crowning the overall DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator Champion.
On Monday, each Feature will pay $600 to win, Tuesday’s Features will pay $700 to win, Wednesday’s Features will pay $1,000 to win, Thursday’s Features – which are lined up based on points from the first three nights (highest to lowest with a 10 car invert) – will pay $600 to win, and Friday’s Features – which will see the top 3 in each race lock into Saturday’s Gator title race – will pay $1,000 to win. The finale race on Saturday will pay $5,000 to win.
With seven-time and defending Big Gator champion Nick Hoffman expected to only focus on his World of Outlaws Late Model during DIRTcar Nationals, the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will see its first new Big Gator champion for the first time since 2015. More than 100 drivers will content for the victories and title. Including Justin Allagier, David Stremme, Matt Crafton, David Reutimann, Buzzie Reutimann, Kyle Strickler and Will Krup.
Big Gator Champions
2022 – Nick Hoffman
2021 — Nick Hoffman
2020 — Nick Hoffman
2019 — Nick Hoffman
2018 — Nick Hoffman
2017 — Nick Hoffman
2016 — Nick Hoffman
2015 — Austin Dillon
2014 — Ty Dillon
2013 — Ken Schrader
2012 — Ty Dillon
Sprint Cars (Feb. 7-11): The Sprint Car Big Gator champion will be determined between the two All Star Circuit of Champions events (Feb. 7-8) and the three season-opening World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series events (Feb. 9-11).
The five days of winged Sprint Car action will bring out the biggest names in the division, most looking for a strong start to the season to chase the World of Outlaws championship. Of the drivers attending will be 10-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz, four-time and defending World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet, 2019 Knoxville Nationals winner David Gravel, 2022 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year Spencer Bayston, Carson Macedo, Logan Schuchart, Sheldon Haudenschild, Jacob Allen and many more.
New this year, drivers will be competing for a special $20,000-to-win prize during Saturday’s finale, where the new Big Gator champion will be crowned. Gravel won his second Big Gator title last year.
Big Gator Champions
Non-Wing Sprint Cars (Feb. 13-14): The USAC Non-Wing Sprint Cars will make their Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals debut this year. The first ever Non-Wing Sprint Car Big Gator champion was crowned with the Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car Series in 2022, which was CJ Leary.
With the best Non-Wing Sprint Car drivers in the country expected to compete in the two-day event, the Series is positioning itself to open the second week of DIRTcar Nationals in thrilling fashion.
Big Gator Champion
Late Models (Feb. 13-18): The World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models will also see an increased Saturday (Feb. 18) purse paying $20,000 to win and $1,500 to start.
The DIRTcar Late Models will now race three nights, running Monday through Wednesday, Feb. 13-15. And on Wednesday, they’ll run Triple Features – the field split into three 25-lap races. Monday and Tuesday’s races will pay $7,000 to win, which the three Features on Wednesday will each pay $5,000 to win.
Then, the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models will take over for the rest of the week (Thursday to Saturday, Feb. 16-18) continuing their 2023 season that started at Volusia during Sunshine Nationals, Jan. 18-21. The overall Late Model Big Gator champion will be crowned on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Devin Moran is the two-time and defending Big Gator champion for the Late Models. However, this year, he’s in a new ride while multi-time Modified champion Nick Hoffman is the new pilot of the #9 car as he chases the World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year title. Other drivers looking to be the Gator king include defending champion Dennis Erb Jr., Chris Madden, Tanner English, Ryan Gustin, Max Blair, Payton Freeman and more.
Big Gator Champions
2012-Dennis Erb Jr.
Super DIRTcar Series (Feb. 15-18): With four nights of racing this year, drivers will contend for a larger overall purse. The Features Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 15-17, will pay $5,000 to win and Saturday’s (Feb. 18) Feature will pay $7,500 to win.
They’ll also see the testing of a new format for the four non-points events. Like the World of Outlaws, drivers will now draw for their qualifying order and their qualifying result will determine which Heat Race they’ll be in and where they’ll start. The top-two finishers from each Heat Race will go to the redraw.
There have been six different winners in the last six Super DIRTcar Series races at Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals. In one of the most exciting Big Gator championship battles, the title fight came down to the last lap on the last race of the event. Jimmy Phelps picked up the win and clinched his first Big Gator title.
Big Gator Champions
2022 – Jimmy Phelps
2021 – Max McLaughlin
2020 – Larry Wight
2019 – Larry Wight
2018 – Tim McCreadie
2017 – Brett Hearn
2016 – Matt Sheppard
2015 – Larry Wight
2014 – Stewart Friesen
2013 – Danny Johnson
2012 – Matt Sheppard
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either at DIRTVision.com or by downloading the DIRTVision App.