Seven divisions begin their journey for the 2023 Volusia Speedway Park title, March 17-18
After an exciting 2022 Volusia Speedway Park season, 2023 is expected to amp up the high-octane excitement as a new Volusia championship season begins on Saturday, March 18.
Seven Divisions – 604 Late Models, 602 Late Models, DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, 3/4 Modifieds, Thunder Stocks, the Pick Your Part Street Stocks, and Gladiators – will bring the best drivers in the region to the track each week, hungry for a win at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
An open practice will be held on Friday, March 17.
Here are the top storylines to follow this season:
604 Late Models
Back For More: The 604 Late Models had a mixed bag of Feature winners in 2022, but Lake Helen, FL’s Joe Kump brought home the 2022 Championship after a close points battle. His #721 Islamorada Bar & Grille Late Model had consistent speed throughout the season, winning last year’s season opener alongside five podium finishes in his championship campaign.
Making His Presence Known: In the early portion of the 2022 season, Dustin Carter was Kump’s closest opponent in the Championship chase. Aside from mechanical troubles that plagued the #5 Action Graphix Late Model in the summer, the 2021 Volusia 602 Late Model Champion enters year two with good momentum. Carter, from Decatur, GA, will be hard to miss in his bright yellow 604 Late Model.
Success To Come?: Last year was a roller-coaster ride for Garret Stewart. After beginning the year in his #67 DIRTcar UMP Modified, Stewart sold his car and bought a 604 Late Model to finish out the 2022 season. Though he has not won at the track where he won five straight DIRTcar UMP Modified Championships in a Late Model yet, Stewart is going to be a driver to keep an eye on in 2023.
Other likely drivers contending for the 604 Late Model Championship include the likes of Astor, FL’s Mikey Kopka, and Bunnell, FL’s David Clegg. Both won at Volusia in 2022, and each driver comes into 2023 with a fresh slate to build momentum.
602 Late Models
Mr. Two-Time: The 2022 season treated Mark Steube very well, winning a very close points battle by six points. The #M51 Morgan Speed Shop 602 Late Model was consistent throughout the season, finishing outside of the top 10 once. Consistency will be key again for the DeLand, FL driver if he wants to make it back-to-back titles.
A Little More: Travis Staats, from Umatilla, FL, had a strong season in 2022, however, just not strong enough as he lost the championship by six points. He finished in the top ten all but one time, making 2023 one where Staats looks to add more in the wins column.
Live Fast, Win Young: The 2022 season had no shortage of young winners. 14-year-old Trey Mills of St. Augustine, FL, and 15-year-old Jackson Hise, of Ocala, FL, both won two races in the 2022 season. Both drivers put themselves in contention to win every week and will be poised to do so again this season.
DIRTcar UMP Modifieds:
Old Guys Rule: 81-year-old dirt racing icon Buzzie Reutimann made 2022 an unbelievable year for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds at Volusia by claiming his first Volusia track championship and picking up a win. The Zephyrhills, FL driver isn’t done yet, either. He returns in 2023, looking for more wins to add to his legendary collection and another title.
Ready For Redemption: Another driver looking to put the gremlins in the past is the #7G of Seth Geary. The driver out of Gibsonton, FL, had a breakout performance in the early portion of the 2022 season. However, mechanical issues derailed his bid for a Volusia championship. The Longhorn Chassis driver won the DIRTcar Deep South Regional Championship in his UMP Modified in 2022. Could it be a sign of things to come?
Locals On The Rise: Other DIRTcar UMP Modified drivers in the field looking to make 2023 their biggest year yet include Bunnell, FL’s Dalton Lanich, Eustis, FL’s Zane Oedewaldt, and Interlachen, FL’s Josh Sanford. The seasoned veterans know what it takes to be competitive at Volusia and will try to put that experience to good use again this season.
Brotherly Battle: It was a perfect storm in 2022 for the brothers of Korbin and Lawton Minchew in the 3/4 Modifieds. Korbin avoided a sophomore slump by winning five races and eight total podiums en route to his first 3/4 Modified Championship. Lawton earned one win and five podiums in 2022. However, they will not be the only family to fight for a championship against.
Like Fathers, Like Sons: A familiar name to many in 3/4 Modifieds is that of Tad and Wade Olmsted. Father Tad kept consistency in 2022, finishing third in points. Wade would one-up his father, however, finishing second in points and earning a win at the Labor Day Classic to finish the season. Do not overlook this Orange City, FL duo entering 2023.
Another father-son pairing to watch out for is that of Lake Helen, FL’s Timmy Hogan and Steven Powers. Timmy had a strong 2022 season, winning two races and earning five podiums. He also swept the Spring Showdown in early March, building confidence toward this weekend. His son, Steven, enters his second season in a 3/4 Modified with more experience and motivation to battle for a 2023 Championship.
Lastly, the father-son pair of Wray and Wryan Shaffer have steadily built up their racing program in 2022, with Wryan earning a win at last December’s Battle in Barberville. The Shaffer name is familiar to many in the racing community, with Wray being one of few to win on both Volusia’s asphalt and dirt configurations. Expect more progress from the DeLand, FL pair in 2023.
Adding Two Quarters: Aside from the seasoned veterans of drivers including those mentioned previously, other young drivers are building up for a big season. Pierson, FL’s Colton Lane, and Palm Coast, FL drivers Logan Malone and Aidan Foley have made the step up from the Quarter Midget ranks to run competitive 3/4 Modifieds in 2023. With track time in 2022 helping these drivers build confidence, they have the potential to make big gains this season.
The Pick Your Part Street Stocks:
A Classic Duel: The Pick Your Part Street Stocks season was chock full of different winners, and a close points Championship. Separated by three points, Bruce Griffin won the Street Stocks Championship. The Miami, FL native persistently held top-five finishes in all but two races in 2022. Expect the same constant challenges from the #72 that “Just Wants To Go Fast!”
What Could’ve Been: Finishing second and third in the 2022 championship respectively, Rick O’Steen and Donnie Ashford could almost taste it. O’Steen finished a mere three points away to finish second in the championship again, and Ashford with a close twenty-two points. The sky’s the limit for both drivers if they want to make a run for the win.
New Year, Same Goals: It was business as usual for Shaun Daugharty in 2022, clinching his second straight Thunder Stock Championship with consistency, only finishing outside the top five once. The DeLeon Springs, FL driver has a great chance at going for his third straight Championship with continued consistency.
Continued Challenge: The Thunder Stocks continue to be a place where drivers can put on some of the best racing that Volusia Speedway Park has to offer. This goes for winners as well. Joe Belkey, Mike Tovet, Josh Byrd, Justin Reynolds, Bubba Christian and Patrick Thomas are among the winners that made up 2022, making for what could be an eventful 2023.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every race from Volusia Speedway Park live on DIRTVision – either at DIRTVision.com or on the DIRTVision App.