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NEW FACES: Four First-Time DIRTcar Nationals Feature Winners Grace Volusia Victory Lane in Five-Feature Night

Logano 19th-to-3rd in impressive UMP Modified debut; Michael Jr. beats division’s best in stacked Feature

Five separate DIRTcar UMP Modified Features raced, four first-time winners went to Volusia Speedway Park Victory Lane on Friday night.

Night #4 of the 50th DIRTcar Nationals was all about appreciation for each and every one of the 96 UMP Modified drivers signed-in for competition; everyone got to form-up in the four-wide salute to the fans and race a 15-lap Feature for $700-to-win and a chance to stand in Victory Lane, front and center on the DIRTVision cameras.

Each race was lined up by the overall event points standings going into the evening, inverting both the top-10 starters in each race and the order the Features ran in. When all was said and done, four brand-new faces and one repeat winner from last year stood in Victory Lane, collecting their Volusia Gator trophies as DIRTcar Nationals Feature victors.

Feature #1 – David Reutimann

David Reutimann’s first DIRTcar Nationals victory came on Friday last year in the quad-Feature night, setting the stage for his second act as Friday night’s only repeat winner of the five Features contested.

“We’re not in the race we need to be in, but it’s a far cry from dropping out nine laps into the Feature because we were terrible last night,” Reutimann said in Victory Lane. “Track’s a little bit different; they’ve done a great job. Track’s got a little moisture in it, so it was fun.”

Reutimann started 15th on the grid and advanced through the field rapidly, using the wrecks and restarts to his advantage to gain his first chunks of position. By Lap 3, he had already cracked the top-five and was hot on the trail of the leaders.

Reutimann finally reached the back of leader Taylor Cook as they got the two-to-go signal, and that’s when he pulled the trigger. A great run down the backstretch set Reutimann up for the pass on the high side coming out of Turn 4, which he executed perfectly to take the lead and the eventual win for his second career Volusia Gator trophy.

Jim DenHamer Photo

Crossing the stripe third was none other than the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano, making his DIRTcar Nationals debut in a UMP Modified. Starting dead-last 19th place on the grid, Logano avoided multiple wrecks in front of him and made several clean passes under green-flag conditions to grab the final podium spot in what was a very impressive first competitive start in a UMP Modified.

“I only got one gear, and it was to go,” Logano told DIRTVision pit reporter Chase Raudman in his post-race interview. “It was a good time, I finished third, that’s great, and learned a little bit. Got a little bit of damage to fix, and we’ll come back at it tomorrow night.”

DIRTcar Feature #1 (15 Laps) 1. OOD-David Reutimann [15]; 2. 21-Taylor Cook [1]; 3. 15L-Joey Logano [19]; 4. OO-Buzzie Reutimann [17]; 5. 11-Jesse Rupe [2]; 6. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt [18]; 7. 25P-Robert Poole [6]; 8. 62E-Kim Edington [8]; 9. 22J-John Baker [3]; 10. O2-Chris Cook [11]; 11. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [5]; 12. 4-Craig Shaw [13]; 13. 40-Shawn Reiss [16]; 14. 88B-Chris Bolyard [9]; 15. 27C-Billy Cevaal [12]; 16. M41-Steve Maisel [7]; 17. 27G-Jason Garver [4]; 18. 27-Tom Wakefield [10]; 19. 7F-Bryan Foy [14]

Feature #2 – Clay Harris

The first of four first-time Volusia Gator trophy winners went to Jupiter, FL’s own Clay Harris.

Harris, a notable 602 Late Model driver, wasted no time, getting right to work on leader Troy Johnson from his fourth-place starting spot in the early going. He got a good run on Johnson on Lap 5, completed the pass and cruised home for the win after a late restart, despite making an error in car setup.

“We tightened it up for the slick and it ended up being hammer-down,” Harris said in Victory Lane. “We had a little hiccup, but we recovered and [the car] was awesome tonight.”

Josh James Photo

DIRTcar Feature #2 (15 Laps) 1. 21J-Clay Harris [4]; 2. 2J-Troy Johnson [2]; 3. 12-John McClure [1]; 4. 57-Mark Grosvenor [12]; 5. 88S-Chris Smith [8]; 6. 11N-Gene Nicholas [5]; 7. 97-Mitch Thomas [7]; 8. 60-Shannon Fisk [3]; 9. 47-Collin Thirlby [15]; 10. 7+7-Jeff Solinger [9]; 11. 20-Tyler Hendrix [6]; 12. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [11]; 13. 6B-Dave Baldwin [13]; 14. O1-Earnie Woodard [19]; 15. 8-David Pinkerton [17]; 16. 59-Doug Stine [18]; 17. A1-Gary Bentley [14]; 18. 83-Brianna Robinson [16]; 19. 21D-Danny Schwartz [10]

Feature #3 – Chad Roush

The third UMP Modified Feature was mostly a game of attrition and staying out of trouble. Chad Roush did this the best out of his 18 other competitors.

While several wrecks took out multiple cars before a single lap was ever completed, Roush kept his nose clean up front and wasted zero time, making the pass to go from third to the lead on Lap 2.

A few restarts were thrown at him with high pressure behind from names like KC Burdette and Tony Anderson, but Roush held strong out front to pick up his first career DIRTcar Nationals victory.

“We gave one away a couple years ago down here, so I had to redeem myself,” Roush said in Victory Lane.

Jim DenHamer Photo

DIRTcar Feature #3 (15 Laps) 1. 32-Chad Roush [8]; 2. 44-KC Burdette [11]; 3. 176-Scotty Owens [16]; 4. 22T-Tony Anderson [6]; 5. 2A-Matt Altiers [10]; 6. 6-Ryan Fowler [19]; 7. 463-Daniel Sanchez [18]; 8. 15B-Dave Baker [7]; 9. 22K-Dale Kelley [3]; 10. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [1]; 11. 33-Ken Mihalik [15]; 12. 114-Clayton Bryant [5]; 13. 72-Todd Neiheiser [12]; 14. 15-Joey Miller [2]; 15. 24-Travis Dickson [4]; 16. 8A-Austin Holcombe [9]; 17. 11M-Tyler Morehouse [14]; 18. 74-Mike Franklin [17]; 19. 81-Steve Axtell [13]

Feature #4 – Nick Allen

In what was easily the best race of the night for the lead, Nick Allen squared off with three-time NASCAR Truck Series champion Matt Crafton and came out on top in the end for his first career Volusia Gator trophy.

Allen pulled out to a comfortable lead from the outside pole in the early going but was quickly met by a challenge from seventh-starting Crafton, who was a rocket ship on the bottom.

Crafton pulled up alongside Allen and took the spot away for two consecutive laps as the field eclipsed half-way; their side-by-side battle bringing those in attendance to the edge of their seats. Allen then cracked the whip on the top side and wrestled the lead back, fending Crafton off in the final laps and crossing the stripe first to collect the $700 check.

“I knew [Crafton] was good around the bottom; I just couldn’t hold the bottom like he could,” Allen said. “I was just trying to carry a little more momentum through the middle.”

Josh James Photo

DIRTcar Feature #4 (15 Laps) 1. 21A-Nick Allen [2]; 2. 88-Matt Crafton [7]; 3. 67-Garret Stewart [1]; 4. 12L-Lucas Lee [11]; 5. 77-Ray Bollinger [5]; 6. 4T-Zeke McKenzie [4]; 7. 45H-Kyle Hammer [12]; 8. 99-Hunt Gossum [17]; 9. 6A-Ryan Ayers [10]; 10. 95-Michael Altobelli [15]; 11. 23-Ryan Cripe [16]; 12. 17T-Tyler Evans [18]; 13. 45-Johnny Broking [14]; 14. 7D-Brad DeYoung [13]; 15. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [19]; 16. T9-Ryan Thomas [9]; 17. 3L-Jeff Leka [8]; 18. 7T-Drake Troutman [6]; 19. 9-Ken Schrader [3]

Feature #5 – Richard Michael Jr.

With Strickler, Hoffman, Stremme, Nicely, Arpin, McKinney and Hughes all in the same Feature, Richard Michael Jr. knew he had to be on his A-game if he wanted to win his first Volusia Gator trophy from outside the front row Friday night.

When the green flag dropped on a re-do of the original start after polesitter Kyle Strickler hit the Turn 2 wall, taking him out of the race, Michael pulled that A-game right from out of his pocket and put it on full display, leading all 15 en route to his first DIRTcar Nationals victory in dominating fashion.

“This is probably the biggest one of my career,” Michael said in Victory Lane. “We used to come down here a lot; haven’t been down here in about eight years. Every time we came down here, we didn’t have any good equipment.”

Once he got the lead on the original restart, Michael took off and flat-out ran away with the win, pulling away from the stacked competition in his Elite Chassis, built by Nick Hoffman, who finished fourth.

“We just put this car together about a week and a half ago at Nick [Hoffman’s] place. I’ve just got to thank him; if it wasn’t for him, there’s no way we’d be in Victory Lane,” he said.

Jim DenHamer Photo

DIRTcar Feature #5 (15 Laps) 1. 17X-Richard Michael [2]; 2. 7-Justin Allgaier [4]; 3. 96M-Mike McKinney [3]; 4. 2-Nick Hoffman [10]; 5. 25-Tyler Nicely [9]; 6. OOEH-Steve Arpin [6]; 7. 5S-Curt Spalding [8]; 8. 18L-Michael Long [15]; 9. 12H-Jason Hughes [5]; 10. 25W-Allen Weisser [13]; 11. 49-Brian Ruhlman [17]; 12. 35-David Stremme [7]; 13. 11H-Spencer Hughes [19]; 14. K19-Will Krup [14]; 15. 36-Kenny Wallace [12]; 16. O5-Dave Wietholder [20]; 17. 51-Brandon Green [18]; 18. 80-Rich Dawson [16]; 19. 8S-Kyle Strickler [1]; 20. 11J-Justin Haley [11]

UP NEXT

The first of the two Gator Championship qualifying nights for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds hits the track Saturday night in Round #5 of the 50th DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park. Half of the field in attendance will race while the other half will have the night off and return on Sunday for their qualifier night, all helping to determine a portion of Monday night’s starting field for the $5,000-to-win Gator Championship finale.

Catch all the action live on DIRTVision!

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Hughes, Strickler Collect Wins in Second Night of DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified Twin-20s at Volusia

First DIRTcar Nationals win for Hughes while Strickler remains unbothered by injury

A new single-day record car count 96 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds signed-in to compete Thursday night at Volusia Speedway Park for Round #3 of the 50th DIRTcar Nationals and graced those in attendance with another double-shot of Feature racing action.

Jason Hughes, the Dirt Modified veteran from Westville, OK, made the move early on Wednesday night winner Tyler Nicely to hoist the gator trophy as a first-time DIRTcar Nationals winner in Feature #1. Kyle Strickler, with a bandaged-up finger and all, caught David Stremme in the thick of lapped traffic and made the move to win Feature #2.

Feature #1 – Jason Hughes

Dirt Modified racing and chassis-building veteran Jason Hughes had made multiple DIRTcar Nationals appearances with the UMP Modifieds in his career but had never been able to reach Victory Lane. Until Thursday night.

“I’m pretty happy, we finally got us a gator,” Hughes said. “I felt like we got one stolen from us last year, and to come back and get one this year is pretty good.”

Hughes started his journey to Victory Lane from the fourth position and wasted no time going forward, reaching the runner-up spot inside of the first five laps. Tyler Nicely, Feature #1 winner from Wednesday night, led the opening laps and looked to be the one to beat until an early caution flag stacked up the field with Hughes right on his tail.

The green flag waived and Nicely got a solid start, as did Hughes. They raced close for three corners before Nicely made a rare slip-up out of the groove in Turn 4, opening the door for Hughes down low to take the spot.

“[Nicely] got in there tight and shoved across the corner and I got turned underneath him, and that was what got us out front,” Hughes said.

Josh James Photo

Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, came back at Hughes to his inside just a few laps later but was unsuccessful. Hughes put it on cruise control after a few more restarts and took the checkered flag for his first time at Volusia, Nicely coming in right behind.

Steve Arpin, of Fort Frances, ON, bagged his first podium finish of the week and his first at DIRTcar Nationals since his championship year in 2007 with a third-place run Thursday night. Fellow Longhorn by Loenbro chassis driver Mike McKinney was scheduled to start third and was penalized to the tail for a late arrival to staging, but overcame the fault and made it all the way back up to eighth by the checkered flag.

Feature (20 Laps) 1. 12H-Jason Hughes [4]; 2. 25-Tyler Nicely [1]; 3. OOEH-Steve Arpin [7]; 4. 21A-Nick Allen [2]; 5. 11J-Justin Haley [6]; 6. 77-Ray Bollinger [14]; 7. K19-Will Krup [10]; 8. 96M-Mike McKinney [3]; 9. 45H-Kyle Hammer [11]; 10. 88-Matt Crafton [25]; 11. 80-Rich Dawson [20]; 12. 7D-Brad DeYoung [17]; 13. 4T-Zeke McKenzie [12]; 14. 45-Johnny Broking [15]; 15. 15B-Dave Baker [23]; 16. 9-Ken Schrader [18]; 17. 21D-Danny Schwartz [19]; 18. 8A-Austin Holcombe [9]; 19. 2A-Matt Altiers [13]; 20. 72-Todd Neiheiser [24]; 21. 176-Scotty Owens [21]; 22. 24-Travis Dickson [22]; 23. 23-Ryan Cripe [16]; 24. 22K-Dale Kelley [5]; 25. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [8] Hard Charger: 88-Matt Crafton[+15]

Feature #2 – Kyle Strickler

Kyle Strickler went from the hospital, back to the track, from the Last Chance Showdown to the Feature and from 23rd to third in the Feature on Wednesday for one of the wildest nights in DIRTcar Nationals history. He backed that up Thursday night with his ninth career Feature win in the event, holding off longtime competitor Nick Hoffman in the process.

Fellow notable DIRTcar Nationals frontrunner David Stremme brought it home right behind them. Stremme, Hoffman and Strickler have become among the brightest faces of the UMP Modified division over the past few years, which Strickler made it a point to acknowledge in his Victory Lane interview on DIRTVision.

“These three cars here on the front-stretch here, we come down here and this Speedweeks means so much to us. We know who we’ve gotta outrun when we get here, and we all work really hard,” Strickler said.

Stremme kicked off the 20-lap Feature by jumping out to the lead in the opening laps, looking very strong and keeping Strickler and Hoffman at bay behind him. That was, until he hit lapped traffic.

Josh James Photo

Just past the halfway point, Stremme dove deep into a field of slower traffic, which gave Strickler and Hoffman the opportunity they needed to slip by. Which, they did, when Stremme got pinched a bit by a lapped car out of Turn 2 on Lap 13. Strickler got a great run out of the corner and drove firmly into Turns 3-4, sliding up in front of Stremme to complete the pass as they crossed the stripe.

“I was adjusting my driving style, and when we caught lapped traffic, it’s so tough when you’re the leader. So, that helped us out a bunch, and I think the track started coming our way too,” Strickler said.

Hoffman went with him one lap later to secure the second spot. A final restart appeared with 5 laps remaining but did not affect the running order; Strickler was just too smooth for anyone to catch.

Feature (20 Laps) 1. 8S-Kyle Strickler [1]; 2. 2-Nick Hoffman [4]; 3. 35-David Stremme [2]; 4. 18L-Michael Long [8]; 5. 7-Justin Allgaier [6]; 6. 5S-Curt Spalding [12]; 7. 11H-Spencer Hughes [10]; 8. 17X-Richard Michael [16]; 9. T9-Ryan Thomas [14]; 10. 7T-Drake Troutman [7]; 11. 51-Brandon Green [5]; 12. O5-Dave Wietholder [22]; 13. 99-Hunt Gossum [21]; 14. 36-Kenny Wallace [3]; 15. 67-Garret Stewart [19]; 16. 17T-Tyler Evans [15]; 17. 49-Brian Ruhlman [11]; 18. 25W-Allen Weisser [23]; 19. 21H-Clay Harris [13]; 20. 22T-Tony Anderson [17]; 21. 95-Michael Altobelli [9]; 22. 44-KC Burdette [20]; 23. OOD-David Reutimann [18]; 24. 12L-Lucas Lee [24] Hard Charger: O5-Dave Wietholder[+10]

UP NEXT

The DIRTcar UMP Modified action continues Friday night at Volusia Speedway Park with one of the pit area’s favorite nights of the year – everybody runs a Feature! A total of five Feature races for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds is preliminarily scheduled for competition, lined up by points totals after the already completed Features. Catch all the action on DIRTVision!

Qualifying Event Results:

Qualifying Flight-A 1. 12H-Jason Hughes, 18.519; 2. 96M-Mike McKinney, 18.519; 3. 2A-Matt Altiers, 18.652; 4. OOEH-Steve Arpin, 18.678; 5. 22K-Dale Kelley, 18.92; 6. 45-Johnny Broking, 18.993; 7. 8A-Austin Holcombe, 19.074; 8. 45H-Kyle Hammer, 19.096; 9. 4-Craig Shaw, 19.128; 10. OO-Buzzie Reutimann, 19.181; 11. 7D-Brad DeYoung, 19.313; 12. 11N-Gene Nicholas, 19.332; 13. 97-Mitch Thomas, 19.354; 14. 9PG-Percy Gendreau, 19.382; 15. 15B-Dave Baker, 19.476; 16. 74-Mike Franklin, 19.556; 17. M41-Steve Maisel, 19.559; 18. 12-John McClure, 19.753; 19. 33-Ken Mihalik, 19.82; 20. 21D-Danny Schwartz, 19.892; 21. 89W-Rick Weitekamp, 20.896; 22. 27S-Paul Schloss, 22.19; 23. 176-Scotty Owens, NT; DNS. 40-Shawn Reiss, NT

Qualifying Flight-B 1. 11J-Justin Haley, 18.46; 2. 21A-Nick Allen, 18.663; 3. 25-Tyler Nicely, 18.686; 4. 4T-Zeke McKenzie, 18.71; 5. 77-Ray Bollinger, 18.912; 6. 80-Rich Dawson, 18.984; 7. 6A-Ryan Ayers, 19.002; 8. 23-Ryan Cripe, 19.013; 9. K19-Will Krup, 19.176; 10. 31G-Stephen Pedulla, 19.192; 11. 88-Matt Crafton, 19.292; 12. 88S-Chris Smith, 19.422; 13. 83-Brianna Robinson, 19.46; 14. 24-Travis Dickson, 19.483; 15. 7F-Bryan Foy, 19.52; 16. 72-Todd Neiheiser, 19.541; 17. 9-Ken Schrader, 19.59; 18. 57-Mark Grosvenor, 19.616; 19. 88B-Chris Bolyard, 20.21; 20. 11M-Tyler Morehouse, 20.446; 21. 27-Tom Wakefield, 20.482; 22. 59-Doug Stine, 20.872; 23. 22J-John Baker, 21.092; 24. O2-Chris Cook, NT

Qualifying Flight-C 1. 35-David Stremme, 18.298; 2. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 18.486; 3. 51-Brandon Green, 18.494; 4. 36-Kenny Wallace, 18.679; 5. 95-Michael Altobelli, 18.737; 6. 7T-Drake Troutman, 18.749; 7. 21H-Clay Harris, 18.83; 8. 17T-Tyler Evans, 18.836; 9. 25P-Robert Poole, 18.984; 10. 32-Chad Roush, 18.992; 11. 3L-Jeff Leka, 19.077; 12. 67-Garret Stewart, 19.092; 13. 22T-Tony Anderson, 19.235; 14. 27G-Jason Garver, 19.246; 15. A1-Gary Bentley, 19.293; 16. 25W-Allen Weisser, 19.38; 17. 99-Hunt Gossum, 19.423; 18. 463-Daniel Sanchez, 19.484; 19. 21-Taylor Cook, 19.521; 20. O1-Earnie Woodard, 19.563; 21. 6-Ryan Fowler, 19.606; 22. 60-Shannon Fisk, 19.747; 23. 62E-Kim Edington, 20.108; 24. 7+7-Jeff Solinger, 20.138

Qualifying Flight-D 1. 7-Justin Allgaier, 18.362; 2. 12L-Lucas Lee, 18.409; 3. 2-Nick Hoffman, 18.503; 4. 5S-Curt Spalding, 18.603; 5. 11H-Spencer Hughes, 18.605; 6. 8S-Kyle Strickler, 18.634; 7. OOD-David Reutimann, 18.754; 8. 18L-Michael Long, 18.815; 9. 15-Joey Miller, 18.875; 10. 44-KC Burdette, 18.99; 11. O5-Dave Wietholder, 19.133; 12. 17X-Richard Michael, 19.167; 13. T9-Ryan Thomas, 19.172; 14. 47-Collin Thirlby, 19.21; 15. 11-Jesse Rupe, 19.339; 16. 114-Clayton Bryant, 19.358; 17. 20-Tyler Hendrix, 19.374; 18. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt, 19.494; 19. 81-Steve Axtell, 19.548; 20. 8-David Pinkerton, 19.576; 21. 2J-Troy Johnson, 19.685; 22. 6B-Dave Baldwin, 19.707; 23. 12M-David Moheng, 21.074; 24. 27C-Billy Cevaal, 21.542

Heat #1 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 12H-Jason Hughes [1]; 2. 22K-Dale Kelley [3]; 3. 8A-Austin Holcombe [4]; 4. 2A-Matt Altiers [2]; 5. 7D-Brad DeYoung [6]; 6. 97-Mitch Thomas [7]; 7. 176-Scotty Owens [12]; 8. 15B-Dave Baker [8]; 9. 4-Craig Shaw [5]; 10. M41-Steve Maisel [9]; 11. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [11]; 12. 33-Ken Mihalik [10]

Heat #2 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 96M-Mike McKinney [1]; 2. OOEH-Steve Arpin [2]; 3. 45H-Kyle Hammer [4]; 4. 45-Johnny Broking [3]; 5. 21D-Danny Schwartz [10]; 6. 11N-Gene Nicholas [6]; 7. 74-Mike Franklin [8]; 8. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [7]; 9. OO-Buzzie Reutimann [5]; 10. 12-John McClure [9]; 11. 27S-Paul Schloss [11]; 12. 40-Shawn Reiss [12]

Heat #3 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 25-Tyler Nicely [2]; 2. 11J-Justin Haley [1]; 3. K19-Will Krup [5]; 4. 77-Ray Bollinger [3]; 5. 9-Ken Schrader [9]; 6. 7F-Bryan Foy [8]; 7. 83-Brianna Robinson [7]; 8. 27-Tom Wakefield [11]; 9. 22J-John Baker [12]; 10. 88-Matt Crafton [6]; 11. 88B-Chris Bolyard [10]; 12. 6A-Ryan Ayers [4]

Heat #4 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 21A-Nick Allen [1]; 2. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [5]; 3. 4T-Zeke McKenzie [2]; 4. 23-Ryan Cripe [4]; 5. 80-Rich Dawson [3]; 6. 24-Travis Dickson [7]; 7. 72-Todd Neiheiser [8]; 8. 88S-Chris Smith [6]; 9. O2-Chris Cook [12]; 10. 11M-Tyler Morehouse [10]; 11. 57-Mark Grosvenor [9]; 12. 59-Doug Stine [11]

Heat #5 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 35-David Stremme [1]; 2. 51-Brandon Green [2]; 3. 95-Michael Altobelli [3]; 4. 21H-Clay Harris [4]; 5. 22T-Tony Anderson [7]; 6. 99-Hunt Gossum [9]; 7. 21-Taylor Cook [10]; 8. 25P-Robert Poole [5]; 9. A1-Gary Bentley [8]; 10. 6-Ryan Fowler [11]; 11. 62E-Kim Edington [12]; 12. 3L-Jeff Leka [6]

Heat #6 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 36-Kenny Wallace [2]; 2. 7T-Drake Troutman [3]; 3. 49-Brian Ruhlman [1]; 4. 17T-Tyler Evans [4]; 5. 67-Garret Stewart [6]; 6. 25W-Allen Weisser [8]; 7. 463-Daniel Sanchez [9]; 8. 7+7-Jeff Solinger [12]; 9. 27G-Jason Garver [7]; 10. 32-Chad Roush [5]; 11. 60-Shannon Fisk [11]; 12. O1-Earnie Woodard [10]

Heat #7 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 2-Nick Hoffman [2]; 2. 7-Justin Allgaier [1]; 3. 11H-Spencer Hughes [3]; 4. T9-Ryan Thomas [7]; 5. OOD-David Reutimann [4]; 6. O5-Dave Wietholder [6]; 7. 20-Tyler Hendrix [9]; 8. 81-Steve Axtell [10]; 9. 2J-Troy Johnson [11]; 10. 15-Joey Miller [5]; 11. 11-Jesse Rupe [8]; 12. 12M-David Moheng [12]

Heat #8 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 8S-Kyle Strickler [3]; 2. 18L-Michael Long [4]; 3. 5S-Curt Spalding [2]; 4. 17X-Richard Michael [6]; 5. 44-KC Burdette [5]; 6. 12L-Lucas Lee [1]; 7. 47-Collin Thirlby [7]; 8. 114-Clayton Bryant [8]; 9. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [9]; 10. 6B-Dave Baldwin [11]; 11. 8-David Pinkerton [10]; 12. 27C-Billy Cevaal [12]

Last Chance Showdown 1 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 176-Scotty Owens [3]; 2. 15B-Dave Baker [5]; 3. 97-Mitch Thomas [1]; 4. 33-Ken Mihalik [13]; 5. 11N-Gene Nicholas [2]; 6. 74-Mike Franklin [4]; 7. 4-Craig Shaw [7]; 8. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [6]; 9. 12-John McClure [10]; 10. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [11]; 11. M41-Steve Maisel [9]; 12. OO-Buzzie Reutimann [8]; 13. 27S-Paul Schloss [12]; 14. 40-Shawn Reiss [14]

Last Chance Showdown 2 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 24-Travis Dickson [2]; 2. 72-Todd Neiheiser [4]; 3. 6A-Ryan Ayers [13]; 4. 7F-Bryan Foy [1]; 5. 88S-Chris Smith [6]; 6. 88-Matt Crafton [9]; 7. 11M-Tyler Morehouse [10]; 8. O2-Chris Cook [8]; 9. 83-Brianna Robinson [3]; 10. 59-Doug Stine [14]; 11. 27-Tom Wakefield [5]; 12. 57-Mark Grosvenor [12]; 13. 22J-John Baker [7]; 14. 88B-Chris Bolyard [11]

Last Chance Showdown 3 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 99-Hunt Gossum [1]; 2. 25W-Allen Weisser [2]; 3. 3L-Jeff Leka [13]; 4. 32-Chad Roush [10]; 5. 6-Ryan Fowler [9]; 6. 463-Daniel Sanchez [4]; 7. 7+7-Jeff Solinger [6]; 8. 60-Shannon Fisk [12]; 9. 21-Taylor Cook [3]; 10. 25P-Robert Poole [5]; 11. 62E-Kim Edington [11]; 12. A1-Gary Bentley [7]; 13. 27G-Jason Garver [8]; 14. O1-Earnie Woodard [14]

Last Chance Showdown 4 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer1. O5-Dave Wietholder [1]; 2. 12L-Lucas Lee [2]; 3. 114-Clayton Bryant [6]; 4. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [8]; 5. 15-Joey Miller [9]; 6. 81-Steve Axtell [5]; 7. 2J-Troy Johnson [7]; 8. 20-Tyler Hendrix [3]; 9. 11-Jesse Rupe [11]; 10. 8-David Pinkerton [12]; 11. 27C-Billy Cevaal [14]; 12. 6B-Dave Baldwin [10]; 13. 47-Collin Thirlby [4]; 14. 12M-David Moheng [13]

TWICE AS NICE: Nicely, Hoffman Find Victory Lane in Twin-20 DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified Features at Volusia

Strickler bags podium finish out of Last Chance Showdown after hospital visit just hours before

A grand total of 94 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds packed Volusia Speedway Park’s pit area Wednesday for night #2 of competition at the 50th DIRTcar Nationals, prompting a format change that called for two separate, 20-lap Features before the night was out.

Volusia’s reigning Reutimann Memorial winner Tyler Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, took advantage of another slick and smooth racing surface to grab the win in the first Feature, while the five-time and defending DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified champion Nick Hoffman, of Mooresville, NC, did the same to score the victory in Feature #2.

Feature #1 – Tyler Nicely

Tyler Nicely seems to be picking up right where he left off at Volusia last November.

His then-brand-new Longhorn by Loenbro chassis powered him to his first career victory in the track’s marquee event, the Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial, in November of last year. Less than three months have passed and he’s already back in Victory Lane. This time, making the pass for the lead on Lucas Lee and holding off another star-studded cast of competitors for his fourth career win in the event.

“All Speedweeks I’ve been trying to get this win; I’m glad it’s on this stage at Volusia,” Nicely said. “It’s always nice to win it with a bunch of cars, standing on this stage and getting a gator.”

Nicely’s been in action since the opening round of the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park two weeks ago and hadn’t been able to find Victory Lane through those five starts plus another last weekend at North Florida Speedway. But after a third-place finish in Tuesday night’s opener, Nicely cashed out with his momentum and advanced two spots higher to collect the $1,000 victory Wednesday night.

Nicely started on the outside of the front row and immediately went to work on polesitter Lucas Lee, catching him in open track and making the pass to his inside on Lap 5.

From there on out, it Nicely’s race to lose. Nobody seemed to have anything for the race leader by the end of 20 circuits as he crossed to collect the checkers. However, if there had been just one more caution later in the race, he may have had a familiar foe knocking on his door.

Jim DenHamer Photo

Kyle Strickler, of Mooresville, NC, may have gone though one of the most bizarre, painful, yet most successful runs to the front in DIRTcar Nationals history Wednesday night.

Earlier in the evening, Strickler was taken in an ambulance to a nearby hospital after severely cutting his left middle finger in the pit area while operating the lift his team uses to raise their car up.

“When I was in the ambulance after almost cutting my finger off, they told me, ‘it’s a hard no on you racing tonight,’ because that was the first question I asked them,” Strickler said. “We ended up going to the hospital, getting it stitched up and making it back here in time.”

Indeed, he did get back to the track on time. But only to tag the tail of Last Chance Showdown #1, where he snagged the final transfer spot into the first Feature. This set him up for a 23rd-place starting spot in that event, where he drove all the way back to finish third, making for what will surely be one of the most memorable nights of his career.

Feature (20 Laps) 1. 25-Tyler Nicely [3]; 2. 5S-Curt Spalding [4]; 3. 8S-Kyle Strickler [23]; 4. OOEH-Steve Arpin [8]; 5. 25W-Allen Weisser [14]; 6. 12L-Lucas Lee [2]; 7. 21A-Nick Allen [1]; 8. 6A-Ryan Ayers [11]; 9. 88-Matt Crafton [15]; 10. 36-Kenny Wallace [6]; 11. 80-Rich Dawson [5]; 12. 3L-Jeff Leka [7]; 13. 7D-Brad DeYoung [17]; 14. 9-Ken Schrader [21]; 15. 2A-Matt Altiers [20]; 16. 7T-Drake Troutman [9]; 17. 32-Chad Roush [24]; 18. 23-Ryan Cripe [16]; 19. 114-Clayton Bryant [19]; 20. K19-Will Krup [13]; 21. A1-Gary Bentley [22]; 22. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [18]; 23. 8A-Austin Holcombe [12]; 24. 21H-Clay Harris [10] Hard Charger: 8S-Kyle Strickler[+20]

Feature #2 – Nick Hoffman

Nick Hoffman has often preferred the slicker, slower racing surfaces at the big tracks like Volusia. That certainly showed again Wednesday night, as he took full advantage of it in collecting his 19th career DIRTcar Nationals Feature win.

Compared to the Feature event previous, Hoffman wasted even less time in moving to the front, making the pass on polesitter David Stremme on Lap 3. From there on out, nobody had anything for the two-time and defending UMP Modified national points champion as he crossed the stripe for the win.

He makes it look so simple on the DIRTVision cameras, but sometimes, much of the battle is won before the race even starts in the pit area. Like Tuesday night, it came down to a tire selection to help Hoffman pick up the win.

Jim DenHamer Photo

“I knew it was probably gonna latch-up there in the second Feature, so I went with the hard tire again tonight,” Hoffman said. “Once it started to latch-up, I got really tight and just couldn’t maneuver quite like I needed to.”

Hoffman’s Elite Chassis had yet another good showing with himself and Justin Allgaier finishing 1st and 3rd, respectively.

“I know every nook and cranny on that racecar, so that really helps. Just running my own chassis for the last eight years; we’ve got a really good balance, obviously, at this place. It just suits my style, momentum racing, and when it gets dead slick like this, it’s really where I’m the best,” Hoffman said.

The DIRTcar UMP Modified action continues Thursday night from Volusia Speedway Park’s 50th DIRTcar Nationals with Round #3 of racing. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision!

Feature (20 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman [2]; 2. 96M-Mike McKinney [4]; 3. 7-Justin Allgaier [6]; 4. 35-David Stremme [1]; 5. 12H-Jason Hughes [3]; 6. 11J-Justin Haley [7]; 7. 49-Brian Ruhlman [9]; 8. 18L-Michael Long [5]; 9. 51-Brandon Green [14]; 10. 95-Michael Altobelli [8]; 11. 67-Garret Stewart [11]; 12. 11H-Spencer Hughes [12]; 13. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [17]; 14. T9-Ryan Thomas [21]; 15. O5-Dave Wietholder [19]; 16. 17X-Richard Michael [13]; 17. 77-Ray Bollinger [10]; 18. 4T-Zeke McKenzie [15]; 19. 4R-Ricky Thornton [24]; 20. 25P-Robert Poole [18]; 21. 45-Johnny Broking [22]; 22. 17T-Tyler Evans [16]; 23. 15-Joey Miller [23]; 24. 22K-Dale Kelley [20] Hard Charger: T9-Ryan Thomas[+7]

Qualifying Event Results

Qualifying Flight-A 1. 21A-Nick Allen, 18.212; 2. 25-Tyler Nicely, 18.444; 3. 80-Rich Dawson, 18.466; 4. 6A-Ryan Ayers, 18.676; 5. K19-Will Krup, 18.789; 6. 3L-Jeff Leka, 18.819; 7. 7T-Drake Troutman, 18.861; 8. 88-Matt Crafton, 18.969; 9. 7D-Brad DeYoung, 18.984; 10. 114-Clayton Bryant, 19.022; 11. 44-KC Burdette, 19.095; 12. 27G-Jason Garver, 19.15; 13. 9-Ken Schrader, 19.213; 14. 6-Ryan Fowler, 19.252; 15. 72-Todd Neiheiser, 19.369; 16. 21-Taylor Cook, 19.555; 17. M41-Steve Maisel, 19.649; 18. 24-Travis Dickson, 19.692; 19. 6B-Dave Baldwin, 19.81; 20. 27-Tom Wakefield, 19.872; 21. 8-David Pinkerton, 20.064; 22. 33-Ken Mihalik, 20.359; DNS. 8S-Kyle Strickler, NT; DQ. 21S-Kenny Shaw, 19.666

Qualifying Flight-B 1. 5S-Curt Spalding, 18.504; 2. 12L-Lucas Lee, 18.553; 3. 36-Kenny Wallace, 18.665; 4. OOEH-Steve Arpin, 18.716; 5. 21H-Clay Harris, 18.892; 6. 8A-Austin Holcombe, 18.919; 7. 176-Scotty Owens, 19.111; 8. 23-Ryan Cripe, 19.147; 9. 32-Chad Roush, 19.198; 10. A1-Gary Bentley, 19.313; 11. 11N-Gene Nicholas, 19.403; 12. 2A-Matt Altiers, 19.441; 13. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt, 19.443; 14. 9PG-Percy Gendreau, 19.548; 15. 25W-Allen Weisser, 19.703; 16. 57-Mark Grosvenor, 19.707; 17. 62E-Kim Edington, 19.856; 18. O1-Earnie Woodard, 20.057; 19. 11M-Tyler Morehouse, 20.087; 20. 22J-John Baker, 20.222; 21. 89W-Rick Weitekamp, 20.861; 22. 12M-David Moheng, 21.049; DQ. 47-Collin Thirlby, 19.63

Qualifying Flight-C 1. 2-Nick Hoffman, 18.463; 2. 35-David Stremme, 18.48; 3. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 18.586; 4. 15-Joey Miller, 18.629; 5. 31G-Stephen Pedulla, 18.68; 6. 4T-Zeke McKenzie, 18.767; 7. 17X-Richard Michael, 18.789; 8. 67-Garret Stewart, 18.92; 9. 18L-Michael Long, 18.942; 10. 11J-Justin Haley, 18.979; 11. 2J-Troy Johnson, 19.107; 12. 99-Hunt Gossum, 19.152; 13. 11-Jesse Rupe, 19.305; 14. O5-Dave Wietholder, 19.309; 15. T9-Ryan Thomas, 19.539; 16. 463-Daniel Sanchez, 19.574; 17. 74-Mike Franklin, 19.579; 18. 15B-Dave Baker, 19.604; 19. 83-Brianna Robinson, 19.662; 20. 60-Shannon Fisk, 19.709; 21. 81-Steve Axtell, 19.777; 22. O2-Chris Cook, 19.981; 23. 20-Tyler Hendrix, 20.371; 24. 59-Doug Stine, 20.852

Qualifying Flight-D 1. 12H-Jason Hughes, 18.318; 2. 96M-Mike McKinney, 18.443; 3. 51-Brandon Green, 18.783; 4. 11H-Spencer Hughes, 18.898; 5. 7-Justin Allgaier, 18.9; 6. 45-Johnny Broking, 18.907; 7. 77-Ray Bollinger, 18.908; 8. 17T-Tyler Evans, 18.934; 9. 97-Mitch Thomas, 19.143; 10. 88S-Chris Smith, 19.205; 11. 45H-Kyle Hammer, 19.303; 12. 95-Michael Altobelli, 19.313; 13. 25P-Robert Poole, 19.411; 14. 22K-Dale Kelley, 19.549; 15. 22T-Tony Anderson, 19.579; 16. 4R-Ricky Thornton, 19.769; 17. 12-John McClure, 19.805; 18. 21D-Danny Schwartz, 19.886; 19. 88B-Chris Bolyard, 20.252; 20. 7+7-Jeff Solinger, 20.439; 21. 11Z-Rob Pitcher, 21.008; 22. 27C-Billy Cevaal, 21.447; 23. 27S-Paul Schloss, 22.292

Heat #1 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 21A-Nick Allen [1]; 2. 80-Rich Dawson [2]; 3. 7T-Drake Troutman [4]; 4. K19-Will Krup [3]; 5. 7D-Brad DeYoung [5]; 6. 9-Ken Schrader [7]; 7. M41-Steve Maisel [9]; 8. 6B-Dave Baldwin [10]; 9. 44-KC Burdette [6]; 10. 72-Todd Neiheiser [8]; 11. 8-David Pinkerton [11]; 12. 8S-Kyle Strickler [12]

Heat #2 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 25-Tyler Nicely [1]; 2. 3L-Jeff Leka [3]; 3. 6A-Ryan Ayers [2]; 4. 88-Matt Crafton [4]; 5. 114-Clayton Bryant [5]; 6. 21-Taylor Cook [8]; 7. 6-Ryan Fowler [7]; 8. 27G-Jason Garver [6]; 9. 24-Travis Dickson [9]; 10. 27-Tom Wakefield [10]; 11. 33-Ken Mihalik [11]; 12. 21S-Kenny Shaw [12]

Heat #3 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 5S-Curt Spalding [1]; 2. 36-Kenny Wallace [2]; 3. 21H-Clay Harris [3]; 4. 25W-Allen Weisser [8]; 5. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [7]; 6. 11N-Gene Nicholas [6]; 7. 62E-Kim Edington [9]; 8. 32-Chad Roush [5]; 9. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [11]; 10. 11M-Tyler Morehouse [10]; 11. 176-Scotty Owens [4]; 12. 47-Collin Thirlby [12]

Heat #4 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 12L-Lucas Lee [1]; 2. OOEH-Steve Arpin [2]; 3. 8A-Austin Holcombe [3]; 4. 23-Ryan Cripe [4]; 5. 2A-Matt Altiers [6]; 6. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [7]; 7. 22J-John Baker [10]; 8. A1-Gary Bentley [5]; 9. 57-Mark Grosvenor [8]; 10. O1-Earnie Woodard [9]; 11. 12M-David Moheng [11]

Heat #5 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 2-Nick Hoffman [1]; 2. 18L-Michael Long [5]; 3. 49-Brian Ruhlman [2]; 4. 17X-Richard Michael [4]; 5. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [3]; 6. T9-Ryan Thomas [8]; 7. 81-Steve Axtell [11]; 8. 74-Mike Franklin [9]; 9. 20-Tyler Hendrix [12]; 10. 2J-Troy Johnson [6]; 11. 83-Brianna Robinson [10]; 12. 11-Jesse Rupe [7]

Heat #6 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 35-David Stremme [1]; 2. 11J-Justin Haley [5]; 3. 67-Garret Stewart [4]; 4. 4T-Zeke McKenzie [3]; 5. O5-Dave Wietholder [7]; 6. 60-Shannon Fisk [10]; 7. 15-Joey Miller [2]; 8. 15B-Dave Baker [9]; 9. 59-Doug Stine [12]; 10. O2-Chris Cook [11]; 11. 463-Daniel Sanchez [8]; 12. 99-Hunt Gossum [6]

Heat #7 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 12H-Jason Hughes [1]; 2. 7-Justin Allgaier [3]; 3. 77-Ray Bollinger [4]; 4. 51-Brandon Green [2]; 5. 25P-Robert Poole [7]; 6. 22T-Tony Anderson [8]; 7. 12-John McClure [9]; 8. 45H-Kyle Hammer [6]; 9. 97-Mitch Thomas [5]; 10. 88B-Chris Bolyard [10]; 11. 27S-Paul Schloss [12]; 12. 11Z-Rob Pitcher [11]

Heat #8 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 5 Transfer 1. 96M-Mike McKinney [1]; 2. 95-Michael Altobelli [6]; 3. 11H-Spencer Hughes [2]; 4. 17T-Tyler Evans [4]; 5. 22K-Dale Kelley [7]; 6. 4R-Ricky Thornton [8]; 7. 45-Johnny Broking [3]; 8. 21D-Danny Schwartz [9]; 9. 88S-Chris Smith [5]; 10. 7+7-Jeff Solinger [10]; 11. 27C-Billy Cevaal [11]

Last Chance Showdown 1 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 9-Ken Schrader [1]; 2. 8S-Kyle Strickler [13]; 3. 6-Ryan Fowler [4]; 4. 24-Travis Dickson [8]; 5. 6B-Dave Baldwin [5]; 6. 8-David Pinkerton [11]; 7. 33-Ken Mihalik [12]; 8. 27-Tom Wakefield [10]; 9. 21-Taylor Cook [2]; 10. M41-Steve Maisel [3]; 11. 27G-Jason Garver [6]; 12. 44-KC Burdette [7]; 13. 72-Todd Neiheiser [9]; 14. 21S-Kenny Shaw [14]

Last Chance Showdown 2 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. A1-Gary Bentley [6]; 2. 32-Chad Roush [5]; 3. 11N-Gene Nicholas [1]; 4. 11M-Tyler Morehouse [9]; 5. 62E-Kim Edington [3]; 6. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [2]; 7. O1-Earnie Woodard [10]; 8. 57-Mark Grosvenor [8]; 9. 12M-David Moheng [12]; 10. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [7]; 11. 176-Scotty Owens [11]; 12. 22J-John Baker [4]; 13. 47-Collin Thirlby [13]

Last Chance Showdown 3 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. T9-Ryan Thomas [1]; 2. 15-Joey Miller [4]; 3. 81-Steve Axtell [3]; 4. 99-Hunt Gossum [14]; 5. 20-Tyler Hendrix [7]; 6. 463-Daniel Sanchez [12]; 7. 60-Shannon Fisk [2]; 8. 2J-Troy Johnson [9]; 9. 15B-Dave Baker [6]; 10. 74-Mike Franklin [5]; 11. 83-Brianna Robinson [11]; 12. O2-Chris Cook [10]; 13. 59-Doug Stine [8]; 14. 11-Jesse Rupe [13]

Last Chance Showdown 4 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 45-Johnny Broking [4]; 2. 4R-Ricky Thornton [2]; 3. 45H-Kyle Hammer [5]; 4. 22T-Tony Anderson [1]; 5. 7+7-Jeff Solinger [10]; 6. 97-Mitch Thomas [7]; 7. 88S-Chris Smith [8]; 8. 12-John McClure [3]; 9. 88B-Chris Bolyard [9]; 10. 27C-Billy Cevaal [12]; 11. 27S-Paul Schloss [11]; 12. 21D-Danny Schwartz [6]; 13. 11Z-Rob Pitcher [13]

CHAMP STRIKES FIRST: Hoffman Kicks off 50th DIRTcar Nationals with 18th Career Event Win at Volusia

Spalding pleased with runner-up after leading most, Arpin sixth in return to Volusia

There was just no stopping the five-time and defending DIRTcar Nationals champion Tuesday night.

Nick Hoffman scribed yet another chapter in his big book of DIRTcar UMP Modified dominance at Volusia Speedway Park with his 18th Feature win in event history, making the pass on eventual runner-up Curt Spalding in the second half of the race after a restart to claim victory.

Chilly temperatures and a smooth, slick racing surface made for ideal track conditions for the two-time and defending DIRTcar UMP Modified national points champion to race on.

“Normally I suck earlier in the week here. It’s normally pretty fast and I’m just not as good in that condition. For it to be this slick already this early in the week, hats off to the track prep crew. It’s way easier on equipment and makes our week a hell of a lot easier when the track is slower,” Hoffman said.

Volusia’s track surface was just recently redone, which presented each driver with a new element to take into account as they selected tire compounds for the 20-lap Feature.

“I just went harder on tire than them guys around me, so that definitely paid off by the end of the race,” Hoffman said. “My cars just work way better on a harder tire, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me.”

Hoffman, of Mooresville, NC, put those tires to the test almost immediately, taking second from his fourth-place starting spot in just five laps. Spalding, of Watervliet, MI, had jumped to the lead from the outside pole and had a decent gap on Hoffman in the opening circuits, until Hoffman turned on the jets and closed the gap to just a car-length as they approached halfway.

A caution flag on Lap 9 reset the field gave Spalding his first test on the restart, which he solidly passed by keeping Hoffman at bay behind him, but only for a few more times around. Another yellow on Lap 13 put Hoffman right behind him once more, and Spalding knew what was coming.

“I knew he was gonna banzai me,” Spalding said. “I was pretty good in [Turns] 3 and 4, and he had to get me passed in 1 and 2, and I knew it.”

Hoffman got a tremendous run to Spalding’s outside as they took the green on the restart, then blasted off again out of Turn 2 to complete the pass as they raced down the backstretch.

“I was able to roll down the hill and get the momentum on the front-straightaway, and I was actually just riding at [Spalding’s] quarter-panel, running at about quarter-throttle so that way, when he peeled-off to run the bottom, I could just gas-up and drive back by him,” Hoffman said.

Spalding was able to maintain second through the checkered flag while Hoffman cruised to the victory by almost five seconds. Despite giving up the lead in the second half, he was very pleased with his performance.

Luis Torres Photo

“We’re very happy,” Spalding said. “To unload with this caliber of cars and get the job done, we’re pretty happy.”

Tyler Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, crossed the line in third after a strong drive from fifth. The most recent Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial winner found a hot rod early in the week with his new Longhorn by Loenbro chassis, as did fellow Loenbro pilot Steve Arpin, who placed sixth in his first race back in his own car at Volusia since 2008.

Polesitter David Stremme crossed the stripe in fourth after slipping back in the first half, but his Lethal Chassis cars looked strong, especially with fellow Lethal racer Spalding going runner-up.

The DIRTcar UMP Modified action continues from the 50th DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park Wednesday night with another 20-lap, $1,000-to-win program in race #2 of 7 for the division. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision!

DIRTcar UMP Modified Feature (20 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman [4]; 2. 5S-Curt Spalding [2]; 3. 25-Tyler Nicely [5]; 4. 35-David Stremme [1]; 5. 17X-Richard Michael [6]; 6. OOEH-Steve Arpin [13]; 7. 36-Kenny Wallace [7]; 8. 3L-Jeff Leka [10]; 9. K19-Will Krup [3]; 10. 96M-Mike McKinney [12]; 11. 6A-Ryan Ayers [27]; 12. 7-Justin Allgaier [20]; 13. O5-Dave Wietholder [9]; 14. 80-Rich Dawson [25]; 15. 12H-Jason Hughes [8]; 16. 25W-Allen Weisser [29]; 17. 49-Brian Ruhlman [19]; 18. 4T-Zeke McKenzie [11]; 19. 51-Brandon Green [18]; 20. 9-Ken Schrader [17]; 21. T9-Ryan Thomas [28]; 22. 11H-Spencer Hughes [32]; 23. 7T-Drake Troutman [16]; 24. 11J-Justin Haley [15]; 25. 67-Garret [31]; 26. 12L-Lucas Lee [23]; 27. 45H-Kyle Hammer [30]; 28. 45-Johnny Broking [24]; 29. 88-Matt Crafton [26]; 30. 23-Ryan Cripe [14]; 31. 77-Ray Bollinger [22]; 32. 99-Hunt Gossum [21] Hard Charger: 6A-Ryan Ayers[+16]

Qualifying Flight-A 1. 12H-Jason Hughes, 18.369; 2. 3L-Jeff Leka, 18.568; 3. 9-Ken Schrader, 18.753; 4. 25-Tyler Nicely, 18.844; 5. 11-Jesse Rupe, 18.845; 6. 114-Clayton Bryant, 18.866; 7. 80-Rich Dawson, 18.869; 8. 51-Brandon Green, 18.89; 9. 97-Mitch Thomas, 18.914; 10. 15-Joey Miller, 18.948; 11. 2J-Troy Johnson, 19.056; 12. 25W-Allen Weisser, 19.066; 13. O5-Dave Wietholder, 19.115; 14. 32-Chad Roush, 19.115; 15. 44-KC Burdette, 19.117; 16. 24-Travis Dickson, 19.311; 17. 9PG-Percy Gendreau, 19.451; 18. 83-Brianna Robinson, 19.557; 19. 12-John McClure, 19.84; 20. 89W-Rick Weitekamp, 20.22; DNS. A1-Gary Bentley, NT; DNS. 78-Rich Pratt, NT; DQ. 7+7-Jeff Solinger, 20.121

Qualifying Flight-B 1. 2-Nick Hoffman, 18.118; 2. 35-David Stremme, 18.529; 3. 4T-Zeke McKenzie, 18.61; 4. 7-Justin Allgaier, 18.616; 5. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 18.624; 6. 96M-Mike McKinney, 18.661; 7. 45H-Kyle Hammer, 19.081; 8. 17T-Tyler Evans, 19.132; 9. 22T-Tony Anderson, 19.23; 10. 2A-Matt Altiers, 19.248; 11. 176-Scotty Owens, 19.251; 12. 6B-Dave Baldwin, 19.263; 13. 95-Michael Altobelli, 19.278; 14. 463-Daniel Sanchez, 19.364; 15. 88S-Chris Smith, 19.481; 16. 88-Matt Crafton, 19.485; 17. 60-Shannon Fisk, 19.489; 18. 6-Ryan Fowler, 19.782; 19. 21D-Danny Schwartz, 19.862; 20. 8-David Pinkerton, 20.001; 21. 8A-Austin Holcombe, NT; 22. 11N-Gene Nicholas, NT; 23. 77S-Jim Shipman, NT

Qualifying Flight-C 1. 36-Kenny Wallace, 18.658; 2. 23-Ryan Cripe, 18.924; 3. 67-Garret Stewart, 18.948; 4. K19-Will Krup, 19.197; 5. 99-Hunt Gossum, 19.248; 6. 77-Ray Bollinger, 19.256; 7. OOEH-Steve Arpin, 19.29; 8. 72-Todd Neiheiser, 19.32; 9. 31G-Stephen Pedulla, 19.329; 10. 15B-Dave Baker, 19.383; 11. 27G-Jason Garver, 19.564; 12. 6A-Ryan Ayers, 19.622; 13. 7F-Bryan Foy, 19.623; 14. 4-Craig Shaw, 19.755; 15. 22J-John Baker, 19.893; 16. 81-Steve Axtell, 19.975; 17. 62E-Kim Edington, 20.015; 18. O1-Earnie Woodard, 20.061; 19. 33-Ken Mihalik, 20.116; 20. 57-Mark Grosvenor, 20.166; 21. 59-Doug Stine, 20.966; 22. 27-Tom Wakefield, 21.285; 23. 27S-Paul Schloss, 22.024

Qualifying Flight-D 1. 12L-Lucas Lee, 18.979; 2. 5S-Curt Spalding, 19.106; 3. 11J-Justin Haley, 19.116; 4. 45-Johnny Broking, 19.124; 5. 17X-Richard Michael, 19.149; 6. T9-Ryan Thomas, 19.321; 7. 11H-Spencer Hughes, 19.377; 8. 7T-Drake Troutman, 19.412; 9. 7D-Brad DeYoung, 19.474; 10. 74-Mike Franklin, 19.517; 11. 47-Collin Thirlby, 19.83; 12. 20-Tyler Hendrix, 19.864; 13. M41-Steve Maisel, 19.912; 14. 22K-Dale Kelley, 19.96; 15. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt, 20.01; 16. 21S-Kenny Shaw, 20.057; 17. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt, 20.166; 18. 11M-Tyler Morehouse, 20.206; 19. 18L-Michael Long, 20.311; 20. 88B-Chris Bolyard, 20.588; 21. 40-Shawn Reiss, 20.689; 22. 5-Jerry Foster, 20.786; 23. 73-Mark Rhodes, 21.168

Heat #1 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 12H-Jason Hughes [1]; 2. O5-Dave Wietholder [7]; 3. 9-Ken Schrader [2]; 4. 80-Rich Dawson [4]; 5. 12-John McClure [10]; 6. 44-KC Burdette [8]; 7. 97-Mitch Thomas [5]; 8. 2J-Troy Johnson [6]; 9. 7+7-Jeff Solinger [12]; 10. 11-Jesse Rupe [3]; 11. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [9]; 12. A1-Gary Bentley [11]

Heat #2 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 25-Tyler Nicely [2]; 2. 3L-Jeff Leka [1]; 3. 51-Brandon Green [4]; 4. 25W-Allen Weisser [6]; 5. 114-Clayton Bryant [3]; 6. 15-Joey Miller [5]; 7. 32-Chad Roush [7]; 8. 24-Travis Dickson [8]; 9. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [10]; 10. 83-Brianna Robinson [9]; 11. 78-Rich Pratt [11]

Heat #3 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 2-Nick Hoffman [1]; 2. 4T-Zeke McKenzie [2]; 3. 49-Brian Ruhlman [3]; 4. 22T-Tony Anderson [5]; 5. 45H-Kyle Hammer [4]; 6. 95-Michael Altobelli [7]; 7. 176-Scotty Owens [6]; 8. 88S-Chris Smith [8]; 9. 60-Shannon Fisk [9]; 10. 21D-Danny Schwartz [10]; 11. 8A-Austin Holcombe [11]; 12. 77S-Jim Shipman [12]

Heat #4 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 35-David Stremme [1]; 2. 96M-Mike McKinney [3]; 3. 7-Justin Allgaier [2]; 4. 17T-Tyler Evans [4]; 5. 463-Daniel Sanchez [7]; 6. 88-Matt Crafton [8]; 7. 6B-Dave Baldwin [6]; 8. 2A-Matt Altiers [5]; 9. 6-Ryan Fowler [9]; 10. 8-David Pinkerton [10]; 11. 11N-Gene Nicholas [11]

Heat #5 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 36-Kenny Wallace [1]; 2. OOEH-Steve Arpin [4]; 3. 99-Hunt Gossum [3]; 4. 67-Garret Stewart [2]; 5. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [5]; 6. 27G-Jason Garver [6]; 7. 33-Ken Mihalik [10]; 8. 59-Doug Stine [11]; 9. 27S-Paul Schloss [12]; 10. 7F-Bryan Foy [7]; 11. 22J-John Baker [8]; 12. 62E-Kim Edington [9]

Heat #6 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. K19-Will Krup [2]; 2. 23-Ryan Cripe [1]; 3. 77-Ray Bollinger [3]; 4. 6A-Ryan Ayers [6]; 5. 15B-Dave Baker [5]; 6. 72-Todd Neiheiser [4]; 7. 81-Steve Axtell [8]; 8. O1-Earnie Woodard [9]; 9. 4-Craig Shaw [7]; 10. 57-Mark Grosvenor [10]; 11. 27-Tom Wakefield [11]

Heat #7 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 17X-Richard Michael [3]; 2. 11J-Justin Haley [2]; 3. 12L-Lucas Lee [1]; 4. 7D-Brad DeYoung [5]; 5. 11H-Spencer Hughes [4]; 6. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt [9]; 7. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [8]; 8. 47-Collin Thirlby [6]; 9. M41-Steve Maisel [7]; 10. 18L-Michael Long [10]; 11. 40-Shawn Reiss [11]; 12. 73-Mark Rhodes [12]

Heat #8 – Flight (D) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 5S-Curt Spalding [1]; 2. 7T-Drake Troutman [4]; 3. 45-Johnny Broking [2]; 4. T9-Ryan Thomas [3]; 5. 21S-Kenny Shaw [8]; 6. 74-Mike Franklin [5]; 7. 20-Tyler Hendrix [6]; 8. 88B-Chris Bolyard [10]; 9. 22K-Dale Kelley [7]; 10. 11M-Tyler Morehouse [9]; 11. 5-Jerry Foster [11]

Last Chance Showdown 1 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 80-Rich Dawson [1]; 2. 25W-Allen Weisser [2]; 3. 44-KC Burdette [5]; 4. 32-Chad Roush [8]; 5. 24-Travis Dickson [10]; 6. 114-Clayton Bryant [4]; 7. 15-Joey Miller [6]; 8. 7+7-Jeff Solinger [11]; 9. 12-John McClure [3]; 10. 2J-Troy Johnson [9]; 11. 83-Brianna Robinson [14]; 12. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [15]; 13. 97-Mitch Thomas [7]; 14. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [12]; 15. 11-Jesse Rupe [13]; 16. 78-Rich Pratt [16]; 17. A1-Gary Bentley [17]

Last Chance Showdown 3 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 88-Matt Crafton [6]; 2. 45H-Kyle Hammer [3]; 3. 17T-Tyler Evans [2]; 4. 22T-Tony Anderson [1]; 5. 95-Michael Altobelli [5]; 6. 8A-Austin Holcombe [15]; 7. 463-Daniel Sanchez [4]; 8. 88S-Chris Smith [9]; 9. 176-Scotty Owens [7]; 10. 60-Shannon Fisk [11]; 11. 6B-Dave Baldwin [8]; 12. 6-Ryan Fowler [12]; 13. 2A-Matt Altiers [10]; 14. 21D-Danny Schwartz [13]; 15. 8-David Pinkerton [14]; 16. 11N-Gene Nicholas [16]; 17. 77S-Jim Shipman [17]

Last Chance Showdown 3 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 6A-Ryan Ayers [2]; 2. 67-Garret Stewart [1]; 3. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [3]; 4. 15B-Dave Baker [4]; 5. 72-Todd Neiheiser [6]; 6. 33-Ken Mihalik [7]; 7. 81-Steve Axtell [8]; 8. 57-Mark Grosvenor [14]; 9. 59-Doug Stine [9]; 10. O1-Earnie Woodard [10]; 11. 4-Craig Shaw [12]; 12. 27G-Jason Garver [5]; 13. 22J-John Baker [15]; 14. 27-Tom Wakefield [16]; 15. 27S-Paul Schloss [11]; 16. 7F-Bryan Foy [13]; 17. 62E-Kim Edington [17]

Last Chance Showdown 4 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. T9-Ryan Thomas [2]; 2. 11H-Spencer Hughes [3]; 3. 74-Mike Franklin [6]; 4. 47-Collin Thirlby [9]; 5. 7D-Brad DeYoung [1]; 6. 11M-Tyler Morehouse [14]; 7. 18L-Michael Long [13]; 8. 22K-Dale Kelley [12]; 9. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [7]; 10. 88B-Chris Bolyard [10]; 11. 20-Tyler Hendrix [8]; 12. M41-Steve Maisel [11]; 13. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt [5]; 14. 40-Shawn Reiss [15]; 15. 21S-Kenny Shaw [4]; 16. 5-Jerry Foster [16]; 17. 73-Mark Rhodes [17]

Sunshine Nationals, DIRTcar Nationals 2022 dates set for action-packed Florida openers

Volusia Speedway Park will host the Sunshine Nationals, on Jan. 20-22, and the DIRTcar Nationals, on Feb. 8-19

Two of the biggest season-opening events at Volusia Speedway Park for the World of Outlaws and DIRTcar will act as the perfect bookends for the series’ 2022 Florida events.

The Sunshine Nationals, featuring the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models, will kick off the Late Model season with another thrilling Late Model-Palooza, on Jan. 20-22.

Then, after a couple weeks of more exciting dirt racing around Florida, the 51st DIRTcar Nationals will commence, Feb. 8-19, featuring the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars, DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, All Star Circuit of Champions, DIRTcar Late Models, World of Outlaws Late Models and the Super DIRTcar Series.

“Dirt racing in Florida is going to be bigger and better than ever at the start of 2022,” said Brian Carter, World of Outlaws and DIRTcar CEO. “Demonstrating our commitment to our fans and drivers, we’ve coordinated with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series so there is no overlap of events, allowing fans to enjoy the best Late Model drivers in the world battle throughout Florida on a weekly basis from January to February.

“Then, that will lead into the always action-packed DIRTcar Nationals at the beginning of February where the best Sprint Car, Late Model, Modified and Big Block drivers will compete for the must-have golden gator trophies.”

The 2021 Sunshine Nationals set a high bar for the World of Outlaws Late Model season, producing two eye-widening events and a first-time winner. And this year’s 50th DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 2-13, has again attracted the top race car drivers in the world, including two-time defending World of Outlaws Sprint Car champion Brad Sweet , Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano, Kenny Wallace, three-time defending World of Outlaws Late Model champion Brandon Sheppard and 2019 Super DIRTcar Series champion Mat Williamson.

Tickets for this year’s 50th DIRTcar Nationals are available now at VolusiaSpeedwayPark.com. Ticket’s for 2022’s Sunshine Nationals and DIRTcar Nationals will be available there at a later date.

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision with the annual Platinum FAST PASS subscription for $299/year or the monthly FAST PASS subscription for $39/month.

BACK FOR MORE: Steve Arpin Returns to UMP Modified Racing at Volusia with Longhorn by Loenbro

New racing venture, partnership with Longhorn bred relationship with McKinney and Nicely

For the first time since his accident in 2008, Steve Arpin will return to the seat of a DIRTcar UMP Modified this week in the 50th DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

The former DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified champion from Fort Frances, ON, won a record five-consecutive Features at Volusia in 2007, leading to his first event points title. A year later, he decided to leave the dirt track world behind to pursue other racing ventures after suffering severe burns when a water line came unhooked while on the track.

This year, Arpin makes his return to Volusia behind the wheel of a Longhorn Modified by Loenbro Motorsports, debuting his new #00eh against a deep field of UMP Modified talent as they race seven-straight nights, Feb. 2-8, in search of the Big Gator championship.

Twelve seasons away from the DIRTcar world has left Arpin longing to strap back into the seat of his own UMP Modified, and what better place to do it than on the 50th anniversary of Volusia’s biggest event.

“The time was coming regardless because this has been where my passion is from the get-go,” he said.

EXPLORING HIS PASSION

Since his debut in 2013, Arpin has become a household name in the Rallycross world, competing internationally in events under several sanctioning bodies and the X Games. Several seasons of success on the circuit have quenched his thirst for thrills, but his passion for the dirt track has never been a dying flame.

“When I got into Rallycross, I was actually in Brazil racing, right after the X Games, and I called my dad and said, ‘This is as much fun I’ve had since I was racing Dirt Modifieds.’ So that’s always been my benchmark for where my love in the sport is,” he said.

Arpin’s car for the 2007 DIRTcar Nationals (Rick Young Photo)

Like most of the nation’s top wheelmen, Arpin advanced through several levels of motorsports before seeing success on the big stage. Racing everything from go-karts, mini-sprints and even snowmobiles as a kid, Arpin got his first Modified start at the age of 15. Although he had raced (and won) at Volusia before, a 23-year-old Arpin came to Volusia in 2007 and made DIRTcar Nationals history with his record five-consecutive Feature wins – one that has since only been tied by Jared Landers in 2009.

His accident in the following year’s DIRTcar Nationals took him out for the better part of 2008. Then, in 2009, he cashed-in on an opportunity to drive in the ARCA Menard’s Series. Some great finishes there landed him a NASCAR Xfinity Series ride at JR Motorsports in 2010 before making starts for Turner Motorsports in both the Truck and Xfinity Series through the 2012 season.

Two seasons of Rallycross competition led Arpin to NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi’s new Rallycross program for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Loenbro Motorsports proprietors Paul & Jon Leach were co-owners of the operation at the time and eventually took over the team’s assets after Ganassi’s disinvolvement in 2017.

NEW VENTURE

Arpin has been with Loenbro ever since and brought the Modified program into the mix in October of last year. Loenbro partnered with Longhorn Chassis to build cars at their shop in China Grove, NC, as well as Bilstein Shocks, to provide customers with their own take on the UMP Modified.

“For me, it was just all about the people,” Arpin said. “It wasn’t the plan going into 2020 that this is what we were going to be doing. I had a great opportunity to start building a relationship with Bilstein on lots of the other programs that we’re doing. Ultimately, those conversations just led to the Modified program.”

Bloom working at the Loenbro Shop

The Loenbro squad brings in several experienced professionals to the table, including those who have already worked with some of the division’s biggest names. Austin Bloom, who worked with multi-time DIRTcar Nationals Feature winner Kyle Strickler, has helped the team with their Rally car program and is one of many on the frontlines of the Loenbro Modified fabrication efforts.

“It was about that group of people all collaborating all their strengths to build an awesome racecar,” Arpin said. “It’s all just a bunch of steel, you just need really good people to tell it what to do.”

TEAM LONGHORN

For every great car, there’s a great driver sitting behind the wheel, and Longhorn by Loenbro’s got quite a stacked lineup ready for to compete in the 50th DIRTcar Nationals and throughout the 2021 season.

Mike McKinney, of Plainfield, IL, suits up with a Loenbro Longhorn for the 2021 season after a solid year of competition in 2020 that saw him reach DIRTcar UMP Modified Victory Lane 19 times. The Magic Man has zero plans of scaling back on that number in 2021, and Longhorn by Loenbro is where he feels he has the best chance of continuing his success in the future.

“For me, it was kind of a business decision,” McKinney said. “This sport – it isn’t a hobby of mine; it isn’t something I do for fun. It’s something I take very seriously and want to be around for a long time.”

Like Loenbro, McKinney has built a professional relationship with the folks at Bilstein Shocks, which also aided in making the connection to Loenbro.

“For me, it’s a no-brainer with the support that Steve and the Loenbro guys are going to bring,” McKinney said. “I’ve worked really close with Bilstein Shocks, and they’re the primary shock on this car. To work directly with them on one chassis brand’s gonna help a lot.”

Outside the Loenbro Motorsports headquarters in China Grove, NC

Two-time and defending Summit Racing Equipment American Modified Series champion Tyler Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, also stepped up to the plate with a Longhorn by Loenbro last fall and scored two big victories – one right at Volusia Speedway Park in the 7th annual Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial.

Nicely was introduced to Arpin and the opportunity to drive a Longhorn by Loenbro through his team’s new business partners, John & Scott Clippinger. Scott and Arpin are longtime racing friends and reconnected last year, settling on a plan for both John and Nicely to drive Loenbro Longhorns in 2021.

“This is a good opportunity for me to try and take my racing career to the next level,” Nicely said. “We’re all gunning to be in a Late Model, so we’re just surrounding ourselves with the right people and trying to make the next move in our racing careers.”

Both McKinney and Nicely spent several years with their former chassis brand Elite Chassis, owned and operated by two-time and defending DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion Nick Hoffman. Each won numerous races and are very pleased with the time they spent driving under the Elite banner. Their talks were mutually understanding, and all recognized that the switch was just the next step in each of their racing careers.

“I talked with Nick and he understands the people I’m involved with, Bilstein and them,” McKinney said. “He understands it as well, to be in this sport, you’ve got to surround yourself with the right people and the right help. Nick’s been my buddy well before he was building Modifieds, and he’s going to continue being my buddy.”

“I still consider Nick one of my best friends,” Nicely said. “If it wasn’t for Nick, my name probably wouldn’t have been a bigger name in the Modifieds. He’s helped me tremendously.”

2021 READY

Back at the shop, Arpin and the Loenbro group have some big plans for 2021 and beyond. In addition to continuing the Rallycross ventures, Arpin and Loenbro plan on producing their Longhorn chassis under multiple different rules packages for the different sanctioning bodies across the country. But there’s a reason why they’re starting 2021 racing with the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds.

Inside the Loenbro Motorsports headquarters in China Grove, NC

 “It’s where the technology is,” Arpin said. “It’s been fascinating watching Hoffman and [David] Stremme do what they’ve done with their cars. The Lethal [Chassis] and the Elites – they’re good cars.

“To have the opportunity to come out and compete with those guys… I feel like they’re at the top of their game, and if you want to be the best, you’ve got to race against the best.”

The events that are yet to unfold for Arpin as he makes his return to DIRTcar UMP Modified racing in 2021 are as good as anyone’s guess. But one thing’s for sure – he’s proud of where he’s been, and has the utmost confidence in his team to help him reach new heights.

“I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in my Modified career, but I’ve been gone for a long time,” Arpin said. “For the likes of Justin Labonte and everyone at Longhorn to have the confidence in me to take this over… it’s truly one of the highlights of my career.”

Be on the lookout for Arpin as he takes on a full week of DIRTcar UMP Modified racing in the 50th DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 2-8. McKinney, Nicely, Hoffman, Stremme and more will be on the track; catch all the action live on DIRTVision!

ANOTHER ANIMAL: Higher Purses, New Track Surface Await Super DIRTcar Series at Volusia Speedway Park

The Super DIRTcar Series returns to action on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Volusia Speedway Park kicking off five straight days of Big Block Modified action. The Series helps ring in 50 years of prestigious DIRTcar Nationals history with expanded purses and a brand new racing surface.

The Big Blocks start with a four-pack of 30-lap Features worth $4,000-to-win to set up a $5,000-to-win 50-lap Feature finale. The purse has also been expanded to increase the amount to start each Feature to $300 Tuesday through Friday and $350 on Saturday. 

Plus, the World’s Fastest Half-Mile now has a brand new surface, which has been raced on already by the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models and has received high praise from the racers. 

Three-time Big Gator champion and seven-time Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard, from Waterloo, NY, knows not to haul south with any assumptions about Volusia from one year to the next. He’s ready to add to his eight-win DIRTcar Nationals victory count. 

“Volusia is certainly another animal compared to most of the tracks we’ve been to,” Sheppard said. “I’ve been going to Volusia for a long time now. It’s tough. It’s a tough place to get figured out from year to year. It seems like you go one year and you think you’ve got a handle on it. You go back the next year and everything changes. I don’t know what it is about the place but there are definitely certain guys that run really well down there and certain guys that seem to struggle. I think I’ve had it a little bit of both ways. Last year was one of the years I struggled. Hopefully, we can turn that around this year.”

Sheppard earned a place in the DIRTcar Nationals Top 50 Drivers list, which included drivers from the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series, World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series, DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, and Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds.

Despite coming from various racing backgrounds all premier dirt racers want a Big Gator of their own to take home, signifying they won the championship of their division.

“The Big Gators are in my basement with a bunch of my other trophies. I kept a few of the little gators but everyone loves them so I gave a few of them away to fans and crew members,” Sheppard said. “I’ve got a trophy shelf across the top of my shop and there is a Big Gator up there along with one of the stuffed animal gators. Whenever kids come over to my house they are always intrigued by the big bronze gator on the floor.”

That’s one crowded trophy shelf. It never hurts to have a Big Gator to keep the rest in line. 

You can watch Matt Sheppard and the stars of the Super DIRTcar Series at the DIRTcar Nationals Feb. 9-13 at Volusia Speedway Park. Get your tickets at DIRTcarNationals.com

If you can’t make it to the speedway be sure to sign up for DIRTVision and watch all the action live and in HD. Be sure to get the all-new DIRTVision Platinum FAST PASS Annual Subscription which includes all Super DIRTcar Series races plus all NAPA Super DIRT Week events, World of Outlaws, and DIRTcar Racing plus weekly racing from Knoxville, Williams Grove, Jacksonville, and more.

CHASSIS WARS: Top DIRTcar UMP Modified Chassis Builders Ready for Battle at Volusia

Drivers hit Volusia Speedway Park for seven-straight nights, Feb. 2-8, in 50th DIRTcar Nationals

Volusia Speedway Park will be the latest battleground of a chassis war among the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds during the 50th DIRTcar Nationals.

Elite Chassis and Lethal Chassis have been among the most successful brands in recent UMP Modified history — accounting for 48 percent of all Feature wins recorded by the top-10 drivers in 2020 national points. But in 2021, a new challenger will look to end their reign.

October 2020 brought forth the formation of Longhorn Modifieds by Loenbro Motorsports into the DIRTcar realm, featuring the 2007 DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified champion Steve Arpin and Longhorn Chassis proprietor Justin Labonte joining forces to start the production of Loenbro-unique chassis from within their shop in China Grove, NC. The brand immediately recruited several big-name drivers to their lineup, including a few of Elite’s biggest names.

Strickler (middle) in Victory Lane at The Dirt Track at Charlotte at the 2020 Drydene World Short Track Championship with runner-up Chris Arnold (right) and third-place Nick Hoffman (left) [Michael Boggs Photo]
Longhorn by Loenbro made its first on-track appearance in the Drydene World Short Track Championship at The Dirt Track at Charlotte with 8-time DIRTcar Nationals Feature winner Kyle Strickler at the controls. A $4,000 Feature win Saturday night verified the brand’s projected competitiveness and gave a glimpse into the future of the battle forming between Elite and Longhorn.

Two-time and defending Summit Racing Equipment American Modified Series champion Tyler Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, took the checkered flag in last November’s Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial at Volusia, besting Elite Chassis owner/fabricator Nick Hoffman and NASCAR regular Justin Allgaier in a 50-lap, $5,000-to-win throwdown. Hoffman and Allgaier drove their Elite Chassis to a 2-3 finish Saturday’s night main event, but could not catch Nicely, a former Elite pilot, making his debut in a brand-new Longhorn by Loenbro.

Their next heavyweight bout went down the very next weekend at 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, TN, where Nicely took his Loenbro Longhorn to Victory Lane on Friday night with Allgaier and Hoffman again finishing 2-3. But Saturday night was Hoffman’s turn to get one for Elite, besting Nicely over 25 laps to keep the friendly rivalry going.

While their competitiveness was on full display in the fall of last season, the Loenbro Longhorns will face some decorated Elite and Lethal drivers at Volusia come February.

Hoffman posing with his 2020 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals championship trophy (Josh James Photo)

Hoffman, the two-time and defending DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion, has left Volusia in each of the last five DIRTcar Nationals with the Big Gator trophy and a total of 16 Feature wins in the event since his first in 2012. His triumph in 2020 kicked off one of the most dominant seasons in Elite’s history, featuring four of the top 10 drivers in DIRTcar UMP Modified national points standings at season’s end driving Elite Chassis – himself, Mike McKinney, Will Krup and Hunt Gossum. All four combined for 61 total Feature victories in DIRTcar-sanctioned competition.

Former NASCAR veteran David Stremme founded Lethal Chassis in 2014, serving several big names in the UMP Modified community that always bring tough competition into the state of Florida.

Stremme himself has two career DIRTcar Nationals Feature wins. Spencer Hughes pulled off a thrilling victory in last year’s Gator Championship on Monday night, passing Jason Hughes (no relation) on the final lap to bag the $5,000 prize. NASCAR Xfinity Series star Justin Haley scored his first DIRTcar Nationals victory in 2019, as did Michigan’s Curt Spalding last year. Floridian Modified veteran Devin Dixon and North Carolina’s Austin Holcombe are also projected to join Lethal’s roster at Volusia in 2021.

The 50th DIRTcar Nationals will feature a stacked lineup from Elite, including the regulars Hoffman, Allgaier and Krup. Kenny Wallace, who switched to Elite last fall, makes his first Elite starts at Volusia this year. Garret Stewart, Volusia’s winningest driver in 2020, and Kyle Hammer, the Illinoisan making his first trip south for Florida Speedweeks this year, also bring Elites for 2021.

Stremme in his Lethal Chassis at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Melanie Cherry Photo, 2020)

Longhorn by Loenbro will also bring a stellar lineup to Volusia in February, including Nicely and Strickler. Arpin will make his return to the seat of a UMP Modified for the first time since 2008, alongside Floridian Modified veteran Jeff Mathews. Plainfield, IL-wheelman Mike McKinney will also be making his very first trip south to compete at the 50th DIRTcar Nationals behind the wheel of a Longhorn after spending all eight of his first UMP Modified seasons with Elite, finishing second only to Hoffman in 2020 national points.

The rosters for each side are set. Every driver knows the score. When the teams pull into Volusia to compete for seven-straight nights, the gloves will come off in search of dirt racing’s most prized trophies. There’s no telling what kind of history will be made in the 50th edition of DIRTcar Nationals when the ironmen hit the track.

Don’t miss the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds in action at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 2-8. Tickets are on sale now at DIRTcarNationals.com or by calling 844-DIRT-TIX. If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live from the comfort of your home with a Platinum Fast Pass subscription to DIRTVision!

Bronson Declared Sunshine Nationals Pro Late Model Feature Winner, McCarter Determined Champion After Page’s Disqualification at Volusia

McCarter goes 20th-to-second to win title by 5 points, Bronson collects another $10k for finale victory

Kyle Bronson’s dominance at Volusia Speedway Park’s Sunshine Nationals continued Saturday night with an unexpected win.

Michael Page was initially declared the winner of the DIRTcar Pro Late Model Feature, beating everyone to the checkered flag first, but faced a disqualification following a post-race technical inspection.

It was determined by DIRTcar and Crate Racin’ USA officials that Page’s car had a valve spring installation height infraction, nullifying his victory. Upon a passing inspection of Bronson’s engine, Bronson was awarded the $10,000 check and declared the Feature winner.

“Anytime you can make some money, it’s always good. You hate to win ‘em that way, but we all know how these deals are going in. You’ve got to be 100 percent right,” Bronson said.

Mack McCarter was determined the overall Sunshine Nationals mini-series champion of the Pro Late Model division after back-to-back second-place finishes, beating Bronson 140 to 135 points over the two contested races.

Bronson began his charge to the front from outside the third row, using the early caution flags to his advantage by doing some of his passing work on the restarts. By Lap 6, he had cracked the top-three and was hot on the trail of second-place Joseph Joiner and leader Page.

Bronson was able to get by Joiner on Lap 13, setting him up for a charge through lapped traffic in pursuit of Page, who was a few car-lengths ahead. Bronson was able to close the gap to just over .3 seconds before Page pulled away again, and a final yellow was displayed with just eight laps remaining.

When the checkered fell, Bronson was unable to get ahead of Page at the stripe, leaving him with a runner-up finish but only for a few hours. Page’s technical inspection wrapped up after midnight on Sunday; Bronson passed his and was declared the winner in the early morning hours.

This victory now makes four Feature wins in five starts for the Brandon, FL-native in Sunshine Nationals Pro Late Model competition after sweeping all three Features last year, and two total on the weekend after his World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series triumph Thursday night.

“We won $10,000, motor got torn down and was 100 percent right and everything passed. So, I’m more than happy with it. We won two races this week for $20,000 and it’s going to help us pay for Speedweeks a little bit,” Bronson said.

Outside of Victory Lane was another unsung hero, making his Sunshine Nationals and Volusia Speedway Park debut, and he did not disappoint. Twenty-seven-year-old Mack McCarter put on a dazzling display of passing on both nights in his first-ever appearance, coming all the way from 20th to cross the line in third Saturday. He was later awarded a second-place finish following Page’s disqualification.

McCarter, of Gatlinburg, TN, was awarded Hard Charger honors on both nights, passing 17 cars Thursday en route to his runner-up finish and 18 cars (17 on-track) Saturday. As impressive as the run was, he knew he may have had something for the leader had he started farther forward.

Jacy Norgaard Photo

“Our racecar is really good when [the track] blows off and gets kinda dirty,” McCarter said. “We qualified really well but the invert put us behind in the Heat and we didn’t tighten-up enough. I think if we would have started up front, I would’ve had a good shot to run, and possibly have won.”

Overall, McCarter was pleased with his performance and that of his crew and car builder. Considering he made his first-ever laps on the track just two days prior, coming out of the weekend with two runner-up finishes and an overall mini-series title wasn’t too shabby.

“Just to come down here and run with these guys like Kyle Bronson, outrun him Thursday night and then finish behind him tonight, it just speaks volumes to where our team is,” McCarter said.

Feature (30 Laps) 1. 40B-Kyle Bronson [6][$10,000]; 2. 51-Mack McCarter [20][$5,000]; 3. 23-Cory Hedgecock [13][$3,000]; 4. O1-Jason Welshan [19][$2,000]; 5. 10-Joseph Joiner [3][$1,500]; 6. 385-Mark Whitener [4][$1,200]; 7. 14JR-John Baker [14][$900]; 8. 97-Cody Overton [18][$700]; 9. 66-Jake Knowles [25][$600]; 10. 30-Todd Cooney [8][$550]; 11. 83-Jensen Ford [10][$500]; 12. 121-Pearson Lee [22][$400]; 13. 7T-Trever Taylor [5][$400]; 14. 87R-Jake Rainey [7][$400]; 15. 5-John Collins [23][$400]; 16. 44C-Curtis Cline [24][$400]; 17. 33-Jeff Mathews [9][$400]; 18. 66K-Dylan Knowles [1][$400]; 19. K37-Drew Kennedy [26][$400]; 20. 2-Trynt Lloyd [12][$400]; 21. 7A-Corey Almond [17][$400]; 22. 6-Clay Harris [16][$400]; 23. OO-Richie Stephens [15][$400]; 24. T8-Steve Banal [11][$400]; 25. 66JK-Jody Knowles [21][$400] DQ – 18X-Michael Page [2] Hard Charger: 51-Mack McCarter [+18]

Qualifying Flight-A 1. 121-Pearson Lee, 17.391; 2. 51T-Chad Tuten, 17.541; 3. O1-Jason Welshan, 17.622; 4. 10-Joseph Joiner, 17.625; 5. 87R-Jake Rainey, 17.644; 6. OO-Richie Stephens, 17.7; 7. 7T-Trever Taylor, 17.821; 8. 7H-Jeremy Holtzclaw, 17.871; 9. 69X-Carder Miller, 17.872; 10. 33-Jeff Mathews, 18.011; 11. 87A-Walker Arthur, 18.06; 12. 72S-Chase Washington, 18.111; 13. 42-Steve Stratton, 18.225; 14. 40S-Cody Smith, 18.234; 15. 23-Cory Hedgecock, 18.278; 16. OO7-Dusty Sparkman, 18.408; 17. 26C-Von Casey, 18.551; 18. 39X-Zack Shelton, 18.578; 19. N59-Chad Evans, 18.792; 20. 87-Jarrod Carey, 19.128; DQ. 6JR-Cole Exum, 17.894

Qualifying Flight-B 1. 51-Mack McCarter, 17.52; 2. 18X-Michael Page, 17.528; 3. 7A-Corey Almond, 17.53; 4. 515-David Markham, 17.531; 5. T8-Steve Banal, 17.576; 6. 5-John Collins, 17.611; 7. 385-Mark Whitener, 17.684; 8. 30-Todd Cooney, 17.742; 9. K37-Drew Kennedy, 17.743; 10. 14JR-John Baker, 17.802; 11. 92-Joseph Brown, 17.879; 12. 55-Matt Long, 17.88; 13. 14M-Trey Mills, 17.934; 14. 2021-Jeff Provenzino, 17.985; 15. 40-Joel Callahan, 18.025; 16. 3R-Ryan Van, 18.101; 17. 26-Jimmy Sharpe, 18.22; 18. 9-Jimmy Waldrop, 18.275; 19. 6H-Jimmy Halford, 18.431; 20. 11-Daniel Dial, 18.63; 21. 16-Tom Egner, 18.839

Qualifying Flight-C 1. 83-Jensen Ford, 17.549; 2. 97-Cody Overton, 17.62; 3. 6-Clay Harris, 17.665; 4. 80-Ben Scott, 17.671; 5. 388-Jackson Hise, 17.681; 6. 2-Trynt Lloyd, 17.701; 7. 40B-Kyle Bronson, 17.741; 8. 66K-Dylan Knowles, 17.759; 9. 66-Jake Knowles, 17.774; 10. 95-Brandon Williams, 17.826; 11. 44-John Ruggerio, 17.86; 12. 7F-Jason Fitzgerald, 17.979; 13. 44C-Curtis Cline, 18.011; 14. 66JK-Jody Knowles, 18.058; 15. 32-Curtis Clover, 18.105; 16. 23P-Ahnna Parkhurst, 18.124; 17. 27-Garrett Llyod, 18.221; 18. 14-Jerry Green, 18.234; 19. 3-Raymond Folwell, 18.241; 20. 301-Shawn Cooney, 18.339; 21. 39-Troy Dixon, 18.921; 22. 4-Trey Davis, 19.208

Heat #1 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 7T-Trever Taylor [1]; 2. 87R-Jake Rainey [2]; 3. 23-Cory Hedgecock [8]; 4. 69X-Carder Miller [5]; 5. 87A-Walker Arthur [6]; 6. 121-Pearson Lee [4]; 7. O1-Jason Welshan [3]; 8. 42-Steve Stratton [7]; 9. 26C-Von Casey [9]; 10. N59-Chad Evans [10]; 11. 6JR-Cole Exum [11]

Heat #2 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 10-Joseph Joiner [3]; 2. 33-Jeff Mathews [5]; 3. OO-Richie Stephens [2]; 4. 40S-Cody Smith [7]; 5. 51T-Chad Tuten [4]; 6. 7H-Jeremy Holtzclaw [1]; 7. 72S-Chase Washington [6]; 8. 87-Jarrod Carey [10]; 9. OO7-Dusty Sparkman [8]; 10. 39X-Zack Shelton [9]

Heat #3 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 385-Mark Whitener [1]; 2. T8-Steve Banal [2]; 3. 7A-Corey Almond [3]; 4. 51-Mack McCarter [4]; 5. K37-Drew Kennedy [5]; 6. 14M-Trey Mills [7]; 7. 40-Joel Callahan [8]; 8. 92-Joseph Brown [6]; 9. 6H-Jimmy Halford [10]; 10. 16-Tom Egner [11]; 11. 26-Jimmy Sharpe [9]

Heat #4 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 18X-Michael Page [4]; 2. 30-Todd Cooney [1]; 3. 14JR-John Baker [5]; 4. 5-John Collins [2]; 5. 55-Matt Long [6]; 6. 2021-Jeff Provenzino [7]; 7. 515-David Markham [3]; 8. 3R-Ryan Van [8]; 9. 9-Jimmy Waldrop [9]; 10. 11-Daniel Dial [10]

Heat #5 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 40B-Kyle Bronson [1]; 2. 83-Jensen Ford [4]; 3. 6-Clay Harris [3]; 4. 44C-Curtis Cline [7]; 5. 44-John Ruggerio [6]; 6. 27-Garrett Llyod [9]; 7. 388-Jackson Hise [2]; 8. 66-Jake Knowles [5]; 9. 3-Raymond Folwell [10]; 10. 32-Curtis Clover [8]; 11. 39-Troy Dixon [11]

Heat #6 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 66K-Dylan Knowles [1]; 2. 2-Trynt Lloyd [2]; 3. 97-Cody Overton [4]; 4. 66JK-Jody Knowles [7]; 5. 80-Ben Scott [3]; 6. 95-Brandon Williams [5]; 7. 7F-Jason Fitzgerald [6]; 8. 14-Jerry Green [9]; 9. 23P-Ahnna Parkhurst [8]; 10. 301-Shawn Cooney [10]; 11. 4-Trey Davis [11]

Last Chance Showdown 1 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. O1-Jason Welshan [7][-]; 2. 121-Pearson Lee [5][-]; 3. 69X-Carder Miller [1][-]; 4. 87A-Walker Arthur [3][]; 5. 72S-Chase Washington [8][]; 6. 51T-Chad Tuten [4][]; 7. N59-Chad Evans [13][]; 8. 42-Steve Stratton [9][]; 9. 7H-Jeremy Holtzclaw [6][]; 10. 26C-Von Casey [11][]; 11. 87-Jarrod Carey [10][]; 12. 39X-Zack Shelton [14][]; 13. 40S-Cody Smith [2][]; 14. OO7-Dusty Sparkman [12][]; 15. 6JR-Cole Exum [15][]

Last Chance Showdown 2 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 51-Mack McCarter [1][-]; 2. 5-John Collins [2][-]; 3. K37-Drew Kennedy [3][-]; 4. 14M-Trey Mills [5][]; 5. 55-Matt Long [4][]; 6. 40-Joel Callahan [7][]; 7. 2021-Jeff Provenzino [6][]; 8. 92-Joseph Brown [9][]; 9. 6H-Jimmy Halford [11][]; 10. 515-David Markham [8][]; 11. 3R-Ryan Van [10][]; 12. 16-Tom Egner [13][]; 13. 9-Jimmy Waldrop [12][]; 14. 26-Jimmy Sharpe [15][]

Last Chance Showdown 3 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 66JK-Jody Knowles [2][-]; 2. 44C-Curtis Cline [1][-]; 3. 44-John Ruggerio [3][-]; 4. 7F-Jason Fitzgerald [8][]; 5. 80-Ben Scott [4][]; 6. 3-Raymond Folwell [11][]; 7. 27-Garrett Llyod [5][]; 8. 66-Jake Knowles [9][]; 9. 14-Jerry Green [10][]; 10. 388-Jackson Hise [7][]; 11. 32-Curtis Clover [13][]; 12. 301-Shawn Cooney [14][]; 13. 39-Troy Dixon [15][]; 14. 4-Trey Davis [16][]; 15. 95-Brandon Williams [6][]; 16. 23P-Ahnna Parkhurst [12][]

Rain showers force cancellation of night two of the Sunshine Nationals

Persistent rain showers creating saturated grounds at Volusia Speedway Park have forced World of Outlaws, DIRTcar and track officials to cancel Friday’s event at the speedway. It will not be made up.

Those who purchased a ticket in advance to Friday’s event at Volusia will receive a face-value credit to their MyDirtTickets.com account to be used towards any World of Outlaws event available at WorldofOutlaws.com/tix. If a credit to your account does not work for you, CLICK HERE to be taken to the refund request page.

You have the option to exchange your Friday only ticket for a Saturday only ticket and your Friday only pit pass for a Saturday only pit pass at the Speedway gate on Saturday.

If you purchased a three-day pit pass, Friday only pit pass, or a Friday only ticket, you’ll need to mail your wrist band or ticket back to the office at 7575 West Winds Blvd. Concord, NC 28027. You must include all wrist bands and/or tickets and a return mailing address.

Fans can look forward to the Sunshine Nationals finale at Volusia Saturday, Jan. 16, featuring the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models, DIRTcar Late Models, 602 Late Models and Florida Late Models.

For the latest on the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models and DIRTcar, make sure to follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Also at www.WorldofOutlaws.com and DIRTcar.com.