For the second year, Volusia Speedway Park welcomed the 360 Sprint Cars and 3/4 Modifieds on Friday night for Winter racing to close out the 2023 season at the Battle in Barberville.
After two high-octane Feature races – Danny Martin Jr. and Colton Lane picked up their first Boot trophy for their record efforts.
360 Sprint Cars
One year ago, Danny Martin Jr. finished one spot short of winning the inaugural Battle in Barberville.
This time, with a fresh paint scheme and a fast #24 Shaw Racing 360 Sprint Car, Martin used the track conditions to his advantage to pick up his first Boot trophy on Friday night.
He began the night by winning Heat 2, then pulled the Joker card in the redraw – letting the Sarasota, FL driver choose where he wanted to start in the Feature. He chose the pole position.
In a Feature that endured multiple cautions throughout the 20-lap race, Martin separated himself from the fast field of 360 Sprint Cars to control, dominate, and cross the line as a winner at Volusia for the first time since August of 2022.
“We’ve been struggling here (recently),” Martin said. “We got out front with clean air and everyone was quick. We have a different motor we’ve been trying with stuff on it and I was definitely comfortable. We’ll see what happens tomorrow night, we found a fuel leak, got it tightened up and the rest of the night we were quick. I can’t thank my guys enough, along with Shaw Racing Chassis, O’Donnell Engines and Berryman Shocks.”
Coming home behind Martin was AJ Maddox. The Tampa, FL driver had a rough Heat race but was able to start up on the front row after the redraw. From there, Maddox held down his second-place running position and try to chase Martin, but he never got the chance needed to get by.
Defending Battle in Barberville champ Tyler Clem completed the podium of the Feature. The St. Petersburg, FL native set the Quicktime but suffered hard luck after drawing sixth place on the redraw. The Smith Racing #14 was able to forge its way up to finish in the top five.
Rounding out the top-five finishers were Jacksonville, FL’s Mark Ruel Jr., and Sanford, FL’s Dennis Misurca.
The youth of the 3/4 Modifieds division has been a growing one since 2021. After a journey filled with hard lessons and tough pills, the clay gates of Volusia Victory Lane opened to one of the division’s rising stars, Colton Lane.
The 13-year-old from Pierson, FL had been close to securing a Feature win in 2023, with Lady Luck having a word about when it became his time to shine. This time, Lane became the boss of the night.
Lane kicked off the night by breaking the track record with a 20.431 lap time, then winning his Heat race.
Placed in fourth at the start of the Feature after the invert, Lane had to work his way around the top 3/4 Modified drivers, including Lake Helen, FL natives Steven Powers and Timmy Hogan for the lead. Once the #26L grabbed the top spot on lap five into the 15-lap race, Lane used the high line to drive away from the field and earn his first career win at Volusia in the 3/4 Modifieds.
“I was trying to get around (the field) and it was tight,” Lane said. “I couldn’t use the inside line so I had to use the outside. (The cautions) made me a little nervous at first, but I had to sit er’ down in the car and I just went. Thanks to all of my friends and family, Mom and Dad, and all of my sponsors for the love and support.”
Hogan managed to earn his fifth straight top-two finish with a second-place result. After losing the lead, he was able to fend off the hungry batch of 3/4 Modifieds to complete the 2023 season on a high note.
Finishing third in the results was Deland, FL’s Ethyn Hwan. Powers fought a top-five finish with a fourth-place finish, and DeLeon Springs, FL’s Brad Fender made a huge comeback to finish fifth after hitting the pit road attenuator tire halfway through the Feature.
The track is back on Saturday night for the finale to the 2nd Annual Battle in Barberville. The night will feature the 360 Sprint Cars fighting for $3,000 to win Feature, and a locked-in spot to January’s Germfree Southern Sprint Car Shootout. The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will join the Sprint Cars to close out their 2023 season.
If you can’t make it to the track, watch the action live on DIRTVision – available either online or through the DIRTVision app.
For the latest on Volusia Speedway Park, follow on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and at VolusiaSpeedwayPark.com.
About Volusia Speedway Park
Volusia Speedway Park, The World’s Fastest Half Mile, is a 0.5-mile dirt track located in DeLeon Springs, Florida. VSP is home to the most prestigious dirt racing events, such as the Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Germfree Southern Sprint Car Shootout, Sunshine Nationals, and the Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial. The track hosts weekly races year-round with divisions of Dirt Late Models, Modifieds & Stock Cars. The track also hosts dirt karting races at the facility. For more information, visit VolusiaSpeedwayPark.com.