Thirteen-race grind begins Jan. 28 at North Florida Speedway
Before the iconic Big Gator trophy is awarded at the 52nd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 6-18, some of DIRTcar’s most hardcore racers will take the road less traveled and pursue the UMP Florida Modified Speedweeks championship.
The three-week grind compacts 13 races into 15 days, spread across North Florida Speedway in Lake City, East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, and Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville. An overall points tally will be kept, with drivers earning points for their finishes in each Feature to determine the champion after the final race day at Volusia on Saturday, Feb. 11.
A $2,000 check is on the line for the points champion with additional cash bonuses going to the rest of the top-10 points finishers. Past champions include Tyler Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, Oklahoma Modified veteran Jason Hughes and the defending Speedweeks champion from Paris, TN, Lucas Lee.
North Florida Winternationals – Jan. 28-29
North Florida Speedway in Lake City, FL, hosts the kickoff to the 13-race grind with a two-day Winternationals event at the 3/8-mile oval. The track is under new management this year and is set to host its first headline DIRTcar UMP Modified event with new owner/promoter Tom Bell at the helm. Bell, a former UMP Modified racer from Indiana, begins his first full season as head of the track this weekend.
Saturday’s Feature pays $1,000 to the winner with $2,000 going to Sunday’s winner. Past Winternationals Feature winners include Nicely, Illinois regional champion Allen Weisser and local favorite Jason Garver.
East Bay Winternationals – Jan. 31-Feb. 4.
After a day of practice on Monday, the Speedweeks intensity picks up with the start of a five-race trek at East Bay Raceway Park as part of the track’s 47th annual monthlong Winternationals event. Standing as one of the most unique racing venues in the State of Florida, drivers will navigate its one-of-a-kind black clay surface over five-straight nights for increasing grand prizes as the week progresses.
Tuesday and Wednesday’s Features are $1,000-to-win, Thursday and Friday offer $1,500-to-win, while the Saturday finale pays $5,000 to the 75-lap Feature winner. Seventy-five laps stands as one of the longest UMP Modified events run anywhere in the country, adding a unique endurance element to the event, and also includes a planned competition caution for refueling.
The famed “Clay by the Bay” track surface offers another challenge found at few other dirt tracks. Located on the east side of the Hillsborough Bay in Tampa, the nearby water has been shown to soak through the dirt and bleed back up onto the surface during high-tide, changing the track conditions mid-race.
52nd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals – Feb. 6-11
The final push for the Florida Speedweeks championship goes through the single toughest test in DIRTcar UMP Modified racing. The previous two editions of DIRTcar Nationals featured a roster of over 100 total UMP Modifieds competing over the six-day stretch. A similar, if not larger, car count is expected again this year.
The event format has been completely overhauled for 2023, featuring six separate Features on each of the first five nights of competition. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday’s Features will be lined up by Qualifying laps, while Thursday will set the field according to points accumulated by each driver over the previous three nights. Friday’s field will be split in half for the Gator Qualifier night before the $5,000-to-win Gator Championship event on Saturday.
The driver with the most points at week’s end will be crowned DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator champion and hoist the iconic Big Gator trophy. The Florida Speedweeks champion will also be determined after Saturday night, awarded to the driver with the most points over the three-week series.