No gator will be safe when Devin Moran returns to Volusia Speedway Park for the Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 13-18.
However, this year, he’ll be hunting for golden gator trophies and his third straight Big Gator Championship behind the wheel of a new, yet already proven, ride.
Moran joined Double Down Motorsports, owned by Roger Sellers, in December after parting ways with Tye Twarog Racing – the team he won his two Big Gator titles with – a couple months prior. The pairing was an instant success during Sunshine Nationals in January at Volusia with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models, sweeping both Features.
“You always expect to win,” Moran said about their expectations. “Really, you never know what is going to happen until you get out there and get the year started, obviously, with a new team and two brand new cars. We tested a couple nights and really didn’t feel that great. We felt like we had a good practice for Volusia. Everyone made the right calls, and everyone worked together really good, and, yeah, it worked out.”
He credits their success to instant chemistry, but also to the notebook he’s built with Longhorn that’s led to three Volusia Feature wins and Big Gator titles.
Before switching to Longhorn Chassis in 2020, Moran only had two top-10 finishes at the half-mile Florida track between 2017 and 2019. After the move, he’s only finished outside the top-five twice at Volusia – due to DNFs.
While Double Down Motorsports’ Longhorns aren’t the same chassis he had last year, the feel was no different, Moran said, using the proven setups from his notebook.
“Ever since I got in this Longhorn car, the standard package they gave me to run, I don’t know, they just run really good [at Volusia],” Moran said. “Cars are just really good right now and the package they gave me is just really good.”
His switch to the new team also came with a move back to his father’s shop and a number change – however a familiar one. Moran returned to the #99 this year, the number the Dresden, OH driver started his career with and the number his father, Donnie Moran, made famous throughout his Late Model career.
Bringing the number back to Victory Lane during Sunshine Nationals was a special moment for the entire Moran family.
“A lot of people don’t realize I was the number 99 until 2017 when I started racing for Tye, which is really when I got on the national scene a little bit more,” Moran said. “I was used to it, but there were a lot of people that weren’t used to the 99. To get back in it and to win the first two nights in it, I was extremely happy and dad, I think, was even happier. To see the 99 back on the car, it’s kind of a family thing that everyone really likes and everyone is really glad to see it for sure.”
Now, he hopes to keep his winning ways going with the #99 at Volusia, eyeing more golden gator trophies and a third consecutive Big Gator Championship. Late Model week at Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals will commence Monday, Feb. 13, with the DIRTcar Late Models and continue with the Series through Wednesday, Feb. 15, which will see a triple Feature night. Then, the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models will take over Thursday, Feb. 16, through Saturday, Feb. 18, with a $187,000 overall purse. Saturday’s finale will pay $20,000 to win and crown the 2023 Big Gator Champion – based on points collected from each Feature throughout the week.
“I’d love to win a first gator with Roger (Sellers), Double Down Motorsports and Lazydays RV,” Moran said. “I’d love nothing more than to win a third gator in a row.”
To watch Moran and the rest of the World of Outlaws CASE Late Model and DIRTcar Late Model stars compete at Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, get your tickets HERE.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.