Hughes, Hoffman Celebrate UMP Modified Wins; Sheppard Takes Late Model Opener

Spencer Hughes Stuns UMP Modifieds at DIRTcar Nationals to Swipe $5K Gator

Hoffman clinches fifth consecutive event crown; Brandon Sheppard tops Late Models

BARBERVILLE, FL — Feb. 10, 2020 — On a night when Nick Hoffman and Kyle Strickler were expected to go wheel-to-wheel for the biggest UMP Modified prize in Florida, it was 19-year-old Spencer Hughes who stunned them all on a green-white-checkered finish to win the Gator Championship race Monday at Volusia Speedway Park’s DIRTcar Nationals presented by Bozard Ford.

Hoffman and Strickler, who each won their qualifying races over the weekend, wound up starting side-by-side in row five. Polesitter Jason Hughes charged out early with Spencer Hughes giving chase. A wild incident on Lap 21 saw Strickler and David Stremme try to squeeze through a tight gap between Michael Altobelli on the bottom of the track and the slowing car of Tyler Nicely at the top. Strickler got the worst of it when he made heavy contact with Nicely, damaging his front end so severely he was ultimately forced out of the race.

The Feature went green nearly the entire remaining 21 laps, but the caution flag waved again just as Jason Hughes had his eyes on the checkered flag coming off Turn 4. On the ensuing Green-White-Checkered finish, Spencer Hughes swept past Jason Hughes and held on to win the $5,000 Gator Championship race.

The event concludes the UMP Modified portion of the DIRTcar Nationals. Hoffman survived with a severely beat up car to finish fifth, which was enough for him to clinch his fifth consecutive DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified Championship thanks to his two victories and six top-five finishes in six nights of racing.

“We had a really good week,” said Hoffman, of Mooresville, NC. “I think I jinxed myself today as we hadn’t used our spare nose all week, then we wiped it out on the last lap of the whole week. It was very eventful tonight, though. Definitely not the way we wanted it to go. Starting 10th, I probably had the best car to win the race but wasn’t able to show it. Then we bit the front-end early running into Kyle (Strickler) and then it wasn’t steering like I needed it to, so we just tried to stay out of trouble.”

For the first time in this year’s event, Dirt Late Models hit the track with Brandon Sheppard picking up right where he left off at the 2019 DIRTcar Nationals … in victory lane. Sheppard, who won the final four nights of last year’s event, dominated the kickoff to Late Model Week at the DIRTcar Nationals to lead an all-Illinois podium with Brian Shirley and Dennis Erb Jr.

Sheppard, of New Berlin, Ill., was smooth on three restarts from cautions, never allowing anyone to rattle him as he seeks his second straight DIRTcar Nationals championship this week.

DIRTcar Nationals Race Report; Volusia Speedway Park; Feb. 9, 2020

DIRTcar UMP Modified ‘Gator Championship’ (30 laps): 1. 11H-Spencer Hughes [2][$5,000]; 2. 12H-Jason Hughes [1][$2,000]; 3. 95-Michael Altobelli [14][$1,250]; 4. 23-Ryan Cripe [8][$1,000]; 5. 2-Nick Hoffman [10][$800]; 6. 18L-Michael Long [17][$700]; 7. 35-David Stremme [5][$600]; 8. 96M-Mike McKinney [12][$575]; 9. 7JA-Justin Allgaier [3][$550]; 10. K19-Will Krup [25][$525]; 11. 77-Ray Bollinger [16][$500]; 12. 36-Kenny Wallace [13][$500]; 13. 5-Curt Spalding [21][$500]; 14. 3L-Jeff Leka [6][$500]; 15. 75-Terry Phillips [22][$450]; 16. OOD-David Reutimann [23][$425]; 17. 7-Drake Troutman [18][$400]; 18. 7CT-Christian Thomas [20][$375]; 19. 99M-Mike Mullen [28][$350]; 20. 99-Hunt Gossum [11][$300]; 21. 67-Garret Stewart [19][$300]; 22. 7A-Shane Sabraski [26][$300]; 23. 52-Colin Green [24][$300]; 24. 90-Jason Beaulieu [29][$300]; 25. 88-Matt Crafton [30][$300]; 26. 12L-Lucas Lee [15][$300]; 27. 22-Dale Kelley [31][$300]; 28. 8KS-Kyle Strickler [9][$300]; 29. 25-Tyler Nicely [4]; 30. 45J-Johnny Broking [27]; 31. 49-Brian Ruhlman [7][-]; 32. 65-Todd Sherman [32][-]. KSE Hard Charger Award: K19-Will Krup [+15].

 DIRTcar Late Model Feature (30 Laps): 1. 1S-Brandon Sheppard [2][$7,000]; 2. 3S-Brian Shirley [5]; 3. 28-Dennis Erb, [8]; 4. 39-Tim McCreadie [1]; 5. 5-Mark Whitener [11]; 6. 0M-Chris Madden [4]; 7. 72-Michael Norris [3]; 8. 29V-Darrell Lanigan [14]; 9. 7W-Ricky Weiss [6]; 10. 76B-Brandon Overton [22]; 11. 97-Cade Dillard [20]; 12. 20-Jimmy Owens [17]; 13. 12-Ashton Winger [9]; 14. 15-Donny Schatz [7]; 15. 17M-Dale McDowell [10]; 16. 99B-Boom Briggs [16]; 17. O-Rick Eckert [18]; 18. 40B-Kyle Bronson [13]; 19. 21-Ivedent Lloyd, [15]; 20. 25Z-Mason Zeigler [23]; 21. 16B-Tyler Bruening [12]; 22. 6-Blake Spencer [24]; 23. OOO-Kyle Lear [19]; 24. 89-GR Smith [21]. KSE Hard Charger Award: 76B-Brandon Overton[+12].