Brandon Overton

SEXY SURVIVAL: Overton Holds on for Second Career DIRTcar Nationals win

Brandon Overton wins at Volusia Speedway Park

The Evans, GA driver passed Dale McDowell on a restart en route to his 19th career World of Outlaws Win

Brandon Overton’s clock was ticking Wednesday night.

As the laps wound down at Volusia Speedway Park, so did the life of the engine inside his Longhorn Chassis.

Luckily for “Big Sexy,” his clock didn’t strike midnight. The engine held up long enough to take the checkered flag for his second career DIRTcar Nationals win.

Overton wasn’t sure he’d make it to the end in the last few laps—holding his breath and hoping the engine stayed together. All of this while Devin Moran lurked behind him.

“I was looking, and I could see it smoking, and I knew it’s got to be over pretty soon,” Overton said. “I was just getting it so tight down there I was just holding it to the floor. I could tell it was dying; it was just muffling out.

“Hell, there ain’t nothing you can do; it’s already done its damage.”

Before the engine started to blow, Overton’s car came to life in the second half of the race. The Evans, GA driver, took advantage of a caution for then race-leader Kyle Strickler and powered around Dale McDowell for the top spot.

Overton put the car anywhere he wanted to, thanks to wholesale changes made to his Late Model throughout the week.

“We’ve changed everything on this thing every single night, every single Feature we’ve ran,” Overton said. “The new body rules and stuff kind of has us in a little box, and we just got to figure it out.

“I had a pretty good package with the way everything was, and it changed a little bit. We just have to keep working; that’s what makes this fun.”

The DIRTcar Nationals win is Overton’s 19th World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series triumph—tying him with Jimmy Owens. It’s a win that may not have happened without Kyle Strickler’s lousy luck.

The Mooresville, NC driver dropped out while leading with 25 laps to go. He stated it was a problem his team found on Tuesday—one they hoped to fix before the Feature.

“We had drivetrain issues [Tuesday],” Strickler said. “The yoke pulled off the rear end, but everything felt good today. I thought we had a really good car and broke a lower jackshaft in the rear-end.

“I’m not sure if it had to do with last night or not, but the car was good and it’s just part of it.”

Devin Moran continued his hot streak to start the season, scoring his third trip to the DIRTcar Nationals podium with a second-place finish.

The Dresden, OH driver stated he thought he had a shot at winning before he saw Overton’s engine start to expire.

“I felt like I was catching him before that,” Moran said. “I don’t know if it’s because his engine was getting worse and worse.

“I wasn’t going to slide him in Turns 3 and 4 because I knew I was too far back. But I wanted to at least run a different line if he did blow up.”

Moran’s consistency puts him on a path toward his second straight “Big Gator” trophy—as he leads the week-long standings on the strength of three podiums.

Reigning Series Champion Brandon Sheppard passed more cars than anyone Wednesday, earning the Fox Factory Hard Charger award. “The Rocket Shepp” crossed the line third after switching to a backup car and starting 25th.

After he didn’t qualify through his Heat Race, the Rocket1 Racing team decided to switch cars—one that paid off.

“My team just comes thru in tough times like we had today,” Sheppard said. “It was really just a mutual agreement to switch cars, and it worked out. All of our cars are good. We were just missing something on that other one.”

Hudson O’Neal finished fourth, his second top-five finish of the season. Three-time Series champion Darrell Lanigan rounded out the top five.

Brandon Overton didn’t only win a “Gator,” but a race against time. It shows the clock hasn’t struck midnight on Overton’s success against the best Dirt Late Model racing has to offer.

UP NEXT: The World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series returns to Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 17 for their second night of DIRTcar Nationals, along with the Super DIRTcar Series. For tickets to the event: CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either online on with the DIRTVision App.

CASE Construction Feature (40 Laps): 1. 76-Brandon Overton[8]; 2. 9-Devin Moran[9]; 3. 1-Brandon Sheppard[25]; 4. 71-Hudson O’Neal[7]; 5. 29-Darrell Lanigan[4]; 6. 44-Chris Madden[2]; 7. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[13]; 8. 1R-Josh Richards[27]; 9. 81E-Tanner English[18]; 10. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[6]; 11. 1T-Tyler Erb[23]; 12. 44B-Colten Burdette[15]; 13. 111V-Max Blair[20]; 14. 16-Tyler Bruening[21]; 15. B1-Brent Larson[12]; 16. 6S-Blake Spencer[22]; 17. 11-Gordy Gundaker[14]; 18. 99B-Boom Briggs[28]; 19. 14M-Morgan Bagley[29]; 20. 39-Tim McCreadie[11]; 21. 17M-Dale McDowell[5]; 22. 10-Garrett Smith[10]; 23. 45-Kyle Hammer[30]; 24. 89-Ashton Winger[16]; 25. 3S-Brian Shirley[17]; 26. 8-Kyle Strickler[1]; 27. 25-Shane Clanton[24]; 28. 157-Mike Marlar[3]; 29. 97-Cade Dillard[19]; 30. 19R-Ryan Gustin[26] Fox Factory Hard Charger Award: Brandon Sheppard [+22}.

REDEMPTION RUN: Thornton Scores First DIRTcar Nationals Win in Dominant Fashion

Ricky Thornton Jr. Wins at Volusia Speedway Park

The Chandler, AZ driver, led all 30 laps en route to his first Volusia Speedway Park Victory

A year ago, Ricky Thornton Jr. seemed destined for his first DIRTcar Nationals win—until heartbreak struck. He lost the lead on a late-race restart, spoiling his chances for victory.

History didn’t have a chance to repeat itself Monday night. The Chandler, AZ driver took advantage of a caution-free Feature, leading all 30-laps to score his first DIRTcar Nationals win at Volusia Speedway Park.

Thornton jumped to the roof of his car in Victory Lane, raising two fists into the Florida sky and letting out a joyful scream—knowing he got his redemption and the $7,000 paycheck.

“I felt like we almost had one last year, and we gave it away there late in the race,” Thornton said. “This is pretty awesome.”

While Thornton dominated the event, he knew he had to be sharp at the start of the race. “RTJ” lined up next to Brandon Overton, who won the last DIRTcar Nationals Feature in 2021.

Thornton powered ahead of Overton on the outside lane, grabbing a lead he’d never relinquish off Turn 2. The outside was where Thornton wanted to go, allowing him to set his own pace in the early stages of the Feature.

“I actually preferred starting on the outside; that way, I could run into [Turn 1] as hard as I wanted,” Thornton said. “It worked out for us; I got a really good start and got out in front of [Overton].

“I was trying to distance myself as much as I could; that way, once we did get to traffic and I had to slow down, they wouldn’t get by me. The top never really slowed down all the way, so it’s pretty awesome.”

As Thornton drove away from the field, Chris Madden charged from his eighth starting position to finish second. The Gray Court, SC campaigner, took the opposite approach from Thornton, using the bottom en route to a runner-up finish.

Madden felt he could’ve had a shot at the win if he had a better starting position.

“We needed to start closer to the front,” Madden said. “We qualified good tonight, inverted back, and then started, I think eighth there.

“We had a really good racecar tonight. I’m really proud of my guys; I’m proud of our finish; I’m proud of our car and what we learned tonight. It was a great racetrack, and we had a fun race.”

Defending DIRTcar Nationals champion Devin Moran crossed the line third—his 13th straight top-10 finish in 2022.

The Dresden, OH driver felt he wasn’t good enough on the outside to contend with both Thornton and Madden.

“Ricky was checked out pretty good, and I think Chris [Madden] was a little better than us,” Moran said. “We were probably a third-place car, we were too tight to run the top, and we just need to work on it a little bit and get it ready for tomorrow.”

Pole-sitter Brandon Overton finished fourth, and Dale McDowell rounded out the top five.

Ricky Thornton Jr. didn’t back down from a second chance at winning his first Gator—giving him DIRTcar Nationals redemption. It’s a momentum that keeps his eyes on a larger prize—a “Big Gator” trophy on his mantle.

The quest for a “Big Gator” continues Tuesday night at Volusia Speedway Park as the Late Models return for their second night of action at DIRTcar Nationals. For tickets, CLICK HERE.

The Super DIRTcar Series and the Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Cars presented by Low-E Insulation will also join the racing card.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either online on with the DIRTVision App.

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 20RT-Ricky Thornton Jr[2]; 2. 44-Chris Madden[8]; 3. 9-Devin Moran[6]; 4. 76-Brandon Overton[1]; 5. 17M-Dale McDowell[4]; 6. 16-Tyler Bruening[7]; 7. 1-Brandon Sheppard[3]; 8. 157-Mike Marlar[12]; 9. 25-Shane Clanton[11]; 10. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[13]; 11. 32-Chris Simpson[10]; 12. 29-Darrell Lanigan[5]; 13. 19R-Ryan Gustin[14]; 14. 18D-Daulton Wilson[17]; 15. 40B-Kyle Bronson[15]; 16. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[9]; 17. 89-Ashton Winger[24]; 18. 58-Mark Whitener[18]; 19. 36-Logan Martin[21]; 20. 11-Spencer Hughes[16]; 21. 14M-Morgan Bagley[22]; 22. 31-Tyler Millwood[19]; 23. 97-Cody Overton[23]; 24. 11B-Stacy Boles[20]

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: World of Outlaws CASE Late Models prepare to Gator Hunt at Volusia Speedway Park

The field rolls to green at Volusia Speedway Park

The yearly quest for a “Big Gator” is on at Volusia Speedway Park as the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models make their second trip to the Florida this season for the 51st DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 16-19.

On Wednesday, Feb. 16, the World of Outlaws return for the first of four DIRTcar Nationals 40-lap, $10,000-to-win Features, during the week. The held over 30-lap, $10,000-to-win Feature from January’s Sunshine Nationals will run at the end of Wednesday’s event. The DIRTcar Nationals Features will continue Feb. 17-19.

Also, before The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet take center stage, two nights of DIRTcar Late Model action kick off the week with a pair of 30-lap, $7,000-to-win Features Feb. 14-15.

Drivers will accumulate points on all six nights to determine who adds a “Big Gator” trophy to their mantle. Wednesday’s Sunshine Nationals Feature won’t count toward the Big Gator Championship

The Super DIRTcar Series will join the Late Models all week, along with the debut of the Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Cars presented by Low-E Insulation on Feb. 14-15.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either online on with the DIRTVision App

Here are some of the storylines to keep an eye on entering DIRTcar Nationals:

Sheppard Rolls in Hot: Four-time and defending Series champion Brandon Sheppard is already off to a hot start in 2022. In January, he opened the season with two wins at the Wild West Shootout and backed it up with four wins across Florida.

The “Rocket Shepp” is also no stranger to Victory Lane at Volusia, winning eight DIRTcar Nationals Features since 2017. Despite those wins, he’s hoping to rebound after his best finish was sixth at the Florida venue in 2021.

He opened the 2022 season with a seventh-place finish at Sunshine Nationals and hopes to keep up that consistency during the seven-race week.

A World of Outlaws win at DIRTcar Nationals could give him a piece of World of Outlaws history, tying him with Josh Richards for most Series wins (78).

Skyline’s the Limit: Skyline Motorsports has double the odds of walking away with a “Big Gator” at this year’s DIRTcar Nationals.

Shane Clanton won the week-long chase in 2015, winning four out of five Features. The “Georgia Bulldog” has six DIRTcar Nationals victories and scored a top-10 when the Series visited Volusia in January.

Meanwhile, his teammate, 2021 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year Tyler Bruening, has been consistent at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile. The Decorah, IA driver, has four straight top-10’s at Volusia, including three in 2021 which kicked off his third-place points finish.

Bruening is still trying to find Victory Lane with the World of Outlaws for the first time. He’s found success on tracks a half-mile or larger, grabbing three top-fives and nine top-10s in 2021.

Erb is the Word: Brandon Sheppard isn’t the only Illinois driver who’s had a fast start to 2022. Dennis Erb Jr. also enjoys the Florida sun, especially after his second-place finish in the season opener at Sunshine Nationals.

The Carpentersville, IL driver backed it up with a Florida Speedweeks victory earlier this month, showing he’ll be a contender among the best dirt Late Model racing has to offer.

While he’s yet to win a Feature at DIRTcar Nationals, he’s scored two top-fives, and three top-10s in his last three races at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.

If Erb, flanked by 2021 Crew Chief of the Year Heather Lyne, can keep his consistency going at Volusia, it could put him in a position to contend for his first World of Outlaws CASE Late Models championship.

Viper Strike: The 2022 World of Outlaws Rookie Class has six drivers vying to be at the top of the list. But after one Feature, Max Blair stands above the rest.

In January, Blair opened the season with an eighth-place finish—nine spots ahead of the next highest finishing rookie Gordy Gundaker.

The Centerville, PA driver leads the Rookie of the Year standings heading into DIRTcar Nationals—18 points ahead of Gundaker and 20 points ahead of Tanner English.

While Blair has the early jump on his competition, five World of Outlaws Features are up for grabs at Volusia, and any of the six rookies could take advantage into The Rev in March.

Heat Seeking Mailman: When the quest for the “Big Gator” begins on Monday, Devin Moran is looking to go back-to-back.

The Dresden, OH driver has entered 13 races in 2022, grabbing three wins and eight top-fives. He’s only finished outside the top-10 once.

While “The Mailman” finished 22nd in the season opener at Volusia Speedway Park during Sunshine Nationals, he was in the top-five when bad luck sidelined him during the 30-lap Feature.

Moran has found success on half-mile tracks in the past—winning a Feature at DIRTcar Nationals in 2021 and backing it up with a victory at Bristol Motor Speedway last April.

Return of the Mac: Dale McDowell opened his 2022 season in style, winning the season opener at Sunshine Nationals just four months after being diagnosed with cancer.

The “Mac Daddy” will be back for DIRTcar Nationals and has a great chance to build off his victory.

In his last 10 races at Volusia Speedway Park, McDowell has a win, three top-fives, and five top-10s. The Chickamauga, GA driver is searching for his fourth DIRTcar Nationals win—his last coming in 2018.

He’ll also start on the outside pole of the held over 30-lap Feature from Sunshine Nationals.

Georgia Gator Hunt: Brandon Overton has accomplished a lot in his dirt Late Model career, including a 2021 season that may go unmatched.

But there’s one thing missing from “Big Sexy’s” trophy case—a Big Gator.

Overton’s success on a half-mile track in 2021 is one for the record books, winning both Dirt Late Model Dream’s and the 51st World 100 at Eldora Speedway. He also grabbed his first DIRTcar National Feature win last season.

WHEN AND WHERE

Feb. 16-19 – Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, FL

ABOUT THE TRACK

Volusia Speedway Park is a half-mile oval
Online – https://volusiaspeedwaypark.com

Previous Volusia Speedway Park Winners

2022- Dale McDowell on Jan. 21
2021 – Kyle Bronson on Jan. 14, Kyle Strickler on Jan. 16, Kyle Strickler on Feb. 10, Devin Moran on Feb. 11, Brandon Overton on Feb. 12
2020 – Brandon Sheppard on Feb. 12, Jimmy Owens on Feb. 13, Feb. 14 & Feb. 15
2019 – Brandon Sheppard on Feb. 13, Feb. 14, Feb. 15 and Feb. 16
2018 – Tim McCreadie – Feb. 14; Dale McDowell – Feb. 15; Scott Bloomquist – Feb. 16; Brandon Sheppard – Feb. 17
2017- Shane Clanton on Feb. 24; Don O’Neal on Feb. 25
2016 – Josh Richards on Feb. 18, 19; Shane Clanton on Feb. 20
2015 – Shane Clanton on Feb. 19, 20, 21
2014 – Casey Roberts on Feb. 20; Kyle Bronson on Feb. 22
2013 – Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 21; Billy Moyer on Feb. 22; Darrell Lanigan on Feb. 23
2012 – Dennis Erb Jr. on Feb. 23; Billy Moyer on Feb. 25
2011 – Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 17; Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 19
2010 – Josh Richards on Feb. 11; Brady Smith on Feb. 13
2009 – Josh Richards on Feb. 12; Steve Francis on Feb. 14
2008 – Josh Richards on Feb. 14; Billy Moyer on Feb. 16
2007 – Josh Richards on Feb. 17
2006 – Earl Pearson Jr. on Feb. 16; Steve Francis on Feb. 18; Chris Madden on Oct. 14
2005 – Billy Moyer on Feb. 17; Tim McCreadie on Feb. 19; Scott Bloomquist on Oct. 29
2004 – Steve Francis on Feb. 3; Bart Hartman on Feb. 4; Shannon Babb on Feb. 6; Scott Bloomquist on Feb. 8

 

TRACK RECORDS

Volusia Speedway Park- 15.645 set by Tim McCreadie on Feb. 14, 2018

On the Internet
World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Series
Twitter – Twitter.com/WoOLateModels – @WoOLateModels
Instagram – Instagram.com/WoOLateModels – @woolatemodels
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsLateModelSeries
YouTube – Youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws
DIRTVision – DIRTVision.com – Platinum annual FAST PASS for $299 or monthly FAST PASS for $39/month

Around the Turn: The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet make their first appearance at The Rev in Monroe, LA March 11-12. CLICK HERE for Tickets.

Feature Winners: (1 Driver)
Rank- Driver- Hometown-Wins

  1. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, GA- 1

Heat Race Winners (6 Drivers)
Rank- Driver- Hometown-Wins

  1. Dale McDowell-Chickamauga, GA-2
    Chris Madden-Gray Court, SC-2
  2. Brandon Sheppard- New Berlin, IL-1
    Devin Moran-Dresden, OH-1
    Ashton Winger, Hampton, GA-1
    Ross Robinson, Georgetown, DE-1

Last Chance Showdown Winners (4 Drivers)
Rank- Driver- Hometown-Wins

  1. Cade Dillard-Robeline, LA-1
    Hudson O’Neal- Martinsville, IN-1
    Max Blair, Centerville, PA-1
    Logan Martin, Plains, MO-1

Podium Finishes (3 Drivers)
Rank – Driver, Hometown – Podiums

  1. Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, GA-1
    Dennis Erb Jr., Carpentersville, IL-1
    Kyle Larson, Elk Grove, CA-1

Fox Factory Hard Charger Award Winners (1 Drivers)
Rank – Driver, Hometown – H.C.

  1. Hudson O’Neal, Martinsville, IN-1

Slick Woody’s Quick Time Award Winners (1 Drivers)
Rank – Driver, Hometown – QTs

  1. Kyle Hammer, Clinton, IL-1
    Dale McDowell, Chickamauga, GA-1

2022 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule & Winners

No./ Day, Date / Track / Location / Winner (Total Wins)
1. Thursday, Jan. 20 / Volusia Speedway Park/Barberville, FL / Dale McDowell (1)
2. Thursday, Jan. 21/Volusia Speedway Park/Barberville, FL/