If your number was 2 in tonight’s running of the Big Dog 25, you probably came home a winner. This was the case for both Trynt Lloyd and Joe Belkey as they won in their respective divisions in a 2 car. Though, while they enjoyed a great night, let’s rundown everything that happened in tonight’s racing.
Trynt Lloyd was by far the driver of the night as he took both the 602 & 604 Late Model feature wins. He won the 602 heat, and led the field for most of the way in both races. It did come with challenges to his lead, as Jason Fitzgerald finished second in both late model features, Trey Mills, Donnie Chappell and Joe Kump proved to bring some healthy competition to the late model field. It will be fun to see who else will make it to victory lane as the season goes on.
It only took 2 features, but Garret Stewart has returned to his winning ways at Volusia in the DIRTcar UMP Modified. Starting from the pole after a redraw, he showed the field the whole way to rack in another feature win in his time at Volusia. Without a doubt, the run for a 6th consecutive championship has returned with a vengeance. The question will be if anyone else will be able to challenge him. Seth Geary has proven to be fast, but does he have better consistency than what Stewart brings each season?
The ¾ modifieds showed themselves to be great in competition, wherever it is through the field. At the start, the dynamic duo of the Minchew’s showed up and out, with Korbin and Lawton leading most of the first half. Then, a familiar face to ¾ victory lane, TImmy Hogan, spoiled the party for the duo, and went on to win. The Olmsted’s of Tad and Wade also came to fight, so they will be something to watch for next Saturday.
Lastly, Joe Belkey came up and showed his dominance in the Thunder Stocks again, blowing out the field to win his second of the two features this season, in a number 2 car. Coincidence? Perhaps, but what was not questionable was the sheer speed he had out on the track. Don’t be surprised if he racks up a ton more wins as the season progresses.
Next Saturday will be the Work Force 25 here at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile. Gates will open at 4:00, with Hot Laps kicking off at 6:00. Can’t make it? No problem, DIRTVision will broadcast all the action live with flag to flag coverage. We’ll see you then!
If anything about tonight’s Opening Night Special at Volusia showed anything, it’s that nothing is over until it’s actually over, and that there are going to be some wide open championship battles throughout the season. Every winning driver had to grind each lap, and it surely made the night a great one to watch.
Hands down, the driver of the night was one, Joe Belkey. He not only won the 602 Late Model feature, but the Thunder Stock feature as well. He had to battle with Donnie Chappell in the early stages until his night was done due to a mechanical failure. From that point on, he was able to have a smooth ride the rest of the way en route to the win. In the Thunder Stocks, it was an uphill climb as he started dead last in the feature. Battling with defending champion Shaun Daugharty & Justin Reynolds, Belkey made his presence known. Not only that, tonight’s performance showed that it will not be surprising if he’s in the hunt for a championship in November.
In the 3/4 Modifieds, it almost became an endurance race as there were multiple cautions in the first few laps. After the final caution on lap 5 went green to checkered, it became a battle between brothers as Korbin & Lawton Minchew battled for the win. Defending champion, Wade Olmsted, made his way through the field. He would only to finish second to the eventual winner, Korbin Minchew.
The 604 Late Models was the Joe Kump Show, leading every lap of the night. Even though he commanded the field doesn’t mean there weren’t challenges to his lead. The defining two drivers in the battle for the win was Jeff Choquette and Donnie Chappell, with them both faltering at the end.
Finally, the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds showed that this could be the year a driver can tip Garret Stewart off the top step as champion. Seth Geary led all but one lap, while the rest of the field were jostling all around for position and space. Hunter Gustafson stayed on Geary’s trail throughout the race, while Stewart finished third to him in a close finish. Many drivers battled to try and earn a podium spot, or even top 5. In the end, it was Eric Moon and 80 year-old Buzzie Reutimann who took the remaining spots to secure a top 5 finish.
Volusia Speedway Park’s next race is the Spring Fling next Saturday on April 2nd. Gates will open at 4:00, and will be broadcasted live on DIRTVision. We’ll see you then! Below are photos by Dave Shank. We hope you enjoy!
Hoffman, Nicely, Wallace and more battle Stewart and the local field in $7K-to-win spectacle
BARBERVILLE, FL – The biggest DIRTcar UMP Modified brawl on the fall calendar is finally here. The eighth annual Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial race boasts a bigger $7,000-to-win purse this year, and the stars will be out to come and chase it.
Thursday night kicks things off with a practice session for all divisions. Hot Lap/Qualifying and Showdown Features for the UMP Modifieds highlight Friday’s program alongside a full show for 602 Late Models and Thunder Stocks. Modified Last Chance Showdowns and the 50-lap Feature are on-tap for Saturday, while DIRTcar Pro (604) Late Models and Street Stocks support the show.
Driver pre-registration is still open at the link below, but will be closed on Wednesday evening. Upon arrival, teams are reminded that all upper pit parking spaces have been booked, but plenty of room is still available around the Gator Pond.
All tickets will be sold at the gate on race day – $20 for single-day admission, $30 for both days. Kids 12-and-under are free. If you can’t be at the track, watch every lap of Friday and Saturday live with a FAST PASS subscription to DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
Here are the drivers to watch and storylines to follow this weekend…
TRACTOR HUNTING – The champ is here, and gunning for the gold. Or, in this case, the farm tractor trophy.
Defending DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion Nick Hoffman, of Mooresville, NC, just clinched his third consecutive DIRTcar national championship after another dominating season that saw him capture 26 Feature wins in 49 starts. In February, Hoffman also clinched a sixth consecutive DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator trophy as champion of the UMP Modified division – the most by any one driver in the event’s 50-year history.
However, there is one trophy he’s never hoisted in the Sunshine State. Hoffman will take his Elite Chassis #2 southbound one final time this year in search of his first win in the event, one year after coming up two spots short of victory in the Saturday finale.
HOME TURF – Over the last two seasons as a UMP Modified regular at Volusia, Garret Stewart has lost a total of four points Features.
The 2020 & 2021 track champion from Leesburg, FL, has since become the local favorite and will lead the charge into the Reutimann Memorial on the back of seven Feature wins in ten regular season starts at the track in 2021. Volusia underwent a resurfacing at the beginning of the year, which 100+ UMP Modified drivers raced on at the 50th DIRTcar Nationals in February. Stewart has now been racing on the new dirt all season, and says those laps on it are going to pay off come Saturday.
“I think we’ve actually gained on our car when it’s not so slick,” Stewart said. “So, I actually do think this year we have a little bit of help on our side just being on the race track seven or eight times throughout the year.”
FRIENDS IN SOUTHERN PLACES – It’s been another successful year behind the wheel for Matoaca, VA-driver Chris Arnold, who locked-up his first regional UMP Modified championship last weekend with the Southeast Dirt Modified Series. This weekend, he’ll have an extra resource on hand with him in the pit area – his car builder, David Reutimann.
Reutimann is the owner, founder and builder of Beak Built Chassis, which Arnold has been piloting for the past few seasons. David and father Buzzie, 80, of Zephyrhills, FL, will both be on the roster for the event – which David won in 2015 and 2016, when the event was held at East Bay Raceway Park.
NO MORE MR. NICE GUY – Tyler Nicely entered the Reutimann Memorial and came to Volusia last year, driving a brand-new Longhorn by Loenbro, with one goal in mind. Win.
When the weekend was over, he had done just that, defeating Hoffman and NASCAR star Justin Allgaier for his first career tractor trophy. This year, his goal is exactly the same – win in a brand-new car, in preparation for Florida in February.
“We’ve got a whole year under our belt and we ran solid during Speedweeks,” Nicely said. “I’m excited to get back. We’ll have a new car, and the car I started running at the end of the year. We’ll practice on both Thursday night, see which one I feel like I’ve got the best shot at and hopefully bring another one of them tractor trophies back to Owensboro.”
WILDCARD WINNER – Kenny Wallace brought his Elite Chassis #36 to Volusia last Saturday night, in preparation for this weekend, and won, defeating David Reutimann and Garret Stewart in the Wildcard 25 main event.
Wallace, of Arnold, MO, made his Reutimann Memorial debut last year and had a strong run in Saturday’s finale, driving all the way from 21st to finish 10th. He’ll be back on the roster for another try at the coveted farm tractor trophy and a $7,000 check this weekend.
Nicely preps for title defense, Stewart looks to continue reign of weekly dominance
The national points season has concluded, but one of the biggest DIRTcar UMP Modified events on the calendar still remains.
The eighth annual Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial kicks off in one week’s time – Thu-Sat, Nov. 18-20 – at Volusia Speedway Park. The nation’s best UMP Modified drivers will flock to the half-mile oval to take part in a night of practice on Thursday, followed by two nights of racing on Friday and Saturday.
Drivers will Hot Lap/Qualify to get Friday’s program started, then be divided into four separate Showdown Features. These Showdowns will take a number of transfers into Saturday’s Feature, while everyone else will file into a Last Chance Showdown. Once Last Chance Showdowns are complete on Saturday night, Feature cars will take to the track for the 50-lap, $7,000-to-win finale, live on DIRTVision.
When the race was founded in their remembrance in 2014, the depth of its reach and prestige in the DIRTcar UMP Modified world was only a fraction of where it stands today. The growing list of local, regional and national talent that attends every year has surprised even third-generation racing veteran David Reutimann.
“I never dreamed it could get this big,” he said of the event’s growing prestige. “It started off just as a local deal.”
Reutimann won the second and third editions of the event in 2015 and 2016, when it was held at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, FL. The race moved to Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and has now made its home at Volusia – right where Reutimann had always hoped it would.
“Out of all the dirt tracks that I’ve been to – and I’ve raced a lot of dirt for a lot of years – Volusia’s by far my favorite place,” Reutimann, of Sherrills Ford, NC, said. “I always wanted it to end up at Volusia. That was kinda my vision.”
Volusia is also a favorite to defending Reutimann Memorial winner Tyler Nicely. The track was covered with new dirt for the 2021 season, which suited him well for his victorious run on the second night of competition in the 50th DIRTcar Nationals in February.
“[DIRTcar Nationals] racetrack was perfect,” Nicely said. “It got slick every night we ran on it, so hopefully it’s like that and we can stay on top.”
He debuted a new Longhorn by Loenbro chassis in the event last year and made a statement win, holding off Justin Allgaier and Nick Hoffman to capture his first farm tractor trophy.
This year is more of the same for the driver from Owensboro, KY. He’ll take another new Longhorn with him to Barberville, looking to duplicate the success he found earlier this year at DIRTcar Nationals.
“We learned, just like when we went to Speedweeks, we just had a handful of races in on that Longhorn,” Nicely said. “We ran on the podium every night except for two, I think. I feel like we’ve learned more about the racecar and I’ve gotten better with the racecar.”
While Nicely, Hoffman and Allgaier bring the national talent, the local stars shine just as bright. Garret Stewart has won all but five points Features over the last two seasons en route to dominating consecutive track championships.
Although he enters the event as the local favorite, he has yet to reach Victory Lane in the track’s marquee events. Armed with an Elite Chassis, built by Hoffman – the three-time and defending DIRTcar national champion – Stewart’s feeling more confident than ever this season.
“I’m excited to see what we got because I feel like we’ve made gains since the last time we went to Volusia,” Stewart, of Leesburg, FL, said. “[Hoffman’s] helped me a little more this year than in years past. Hopefully that pays off.”
With pre-entries on the list including Hoffman, Nicely, Chris Arnold, Kenny Wallace and Justin Haley, Stewart knows he’s going to need to bring his A-game if he wants to beat them.
“We can’t have any mistakes the whole weekend,” Stewart said. “You’re going to have to put together Qualifying, Heat Race and a Feature. You can’t have any missteps, because those guys don’t make mistakes.”
$7,000, a unique custom trophy and a spot in the history books of one of Florida’s most prestigious dirt track races is at stake. Stewart will have home-track advantage and a legion of his local fanbase on his side as he chases what would be the biggest win of his career.
“Any big race at Volusia is awesome,” he said. “When you get national level guys, just to run well is exciting. But if we can win it, it would be huge for our program too.”
The on-track action begins with practice on Thursday, followed by racing on Friday and Saturday. If you can’t be at the track, stream every lap of Friday and Saturday live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
The Florida sun was shining bright as fans arrived for the running of the Clay Classic. Five classes were set to do battle, and as always, the fans got a great show.
The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds kicked off the night’s feature events with a 16-car field running 20 laps. Garret Stewart started inside of row two after the redraw and quickly found his way to the front. Veteran racer Buzzy Reutimann and Dillon Buhr battled through the early stages of the race for second position, but Reutimann exitted the race with a right front flat on lap 12. After the caution Josh Sanford moved up to challenge Buhr for second, but nobody had anything for Stewart as he went on to win with Buhr finishing second and Sanford third.
With the victory lane celebration cut short due to rain in the area we moved right into the 602 Late Model Feature event. The drivers knew the rain could shorten the race, so everyone was ready and willing to make big moves early. Landon Lungren was the early leader, but Dustin Carter was on a mission to get to the front and with a big move on the outside of turns three and four he took the lead and never looked back, winning the race and banking $1000! Joe Belkey finished second, and Robert Vaughn brought his car home in third.
The Street Stocks were ready to go next as rain still threatened to end the night’s racing. Chris Lawrance was in search of his 100th win and took the early lead, but on lap two Bubba Christian took the lead. A wreck on lap five brought out the caution and with lightning in the area we entered a brief delay. Once the lightning cleared the area and we got the race back underway, Bubba Christian resumed control and led the rest of the race to the win with Thomas Hill finishing second and Rick Osteen finishing third.
With rain no longer a threat the ¾ Mods took the track for their 15-lap feature event. Jesse Powers put his car out front early with Timmy Hogan in hot pursuit. As they approached lapped traffic Powers was able to clear the car of Stephanie Mathis, but as Hogan tried to clear she turned directly into his path causing damage to both cars. Neither were able to continue. When the race went back green Powers assumed the lead and held off the challenging Patrick Vareika to win his first ¾ mod feature event.
The final feature event of the night was the $750-to-win Thunderstocks. Scotty Kay Jr took the early lead, usually the safest place to be, but in this case a lapped car turned into his path trying to exit the track collecting Kay Jr. Fortunately Kay Jr was able to continue and remained the leader though his car was heavily damaged. Joe Belkey took advantage of the caution, and a side-by-side battle was on for the remainder of the race between him and Kay Jr. Each would lead laps, but when the checkered flag flew it was déjà vu for Belkey for a second week in a row losing the Thunderstock at the line by a nose, this week to Kay Jr.
Join us next week for the Short Track Shootout on Saturday Night right here at Volusia Speedway Park!
As the sun began to set over Volusia Speedway Park there was a different feeling in the air. A Showdown was coming. Not one at high noon, but instead under the lights. The young guns came looking to oust the outlaws, but would they be up to the task? As the night got underway one thing was clear, it was anyone’s showdown to win!
As the Showdowns got started a new name appeared at the top. Bryan Bernhardt came to town looking to take down the DIRTcar UMP Modified big guns. Local gunslingers Garret Stewart and Dillon Burh were sizing him up early not sure what to do with him. The duel for the lead was intense, but when the dust settled Stewart won the Showdown and held onto his title as the fastest gun in town. Bernhardt would bring it home in second while Buhr finished third.
Next on the track to settle the score were the ThunderStocks. Joe Belkey led early, while Bubba Roling and Shaun Daugharty battled for second. Roling exited on lap five leaving Daugharty on his own to duel Belkey. It looked as if Belkey was untouchable, but a late race caution closed the gap and when this gunfight ended only one was left standing as Daugharty took the win and claimed the $500 reward.
The 604 Late Model $1000-to-win was up next. One of the original outlaws Tuck Trentham won his heat race and was looking to show the young guns he still has what it takes to win a showdown! Trey Mills made a big move early through the middle to show he had other plans for how this showdown would end. Trey went to the lead on that move and never looked back, holding off challenges from Donnie Chappell and Brandon Wells to take the win in his showdown and put the old guns on notice that the young guns were here to stay!
The ¾ mods took the track next and lately the young gun Wade Olmsted has been on fire but in the heat the outlaw Timmy Hogan rode in on somebody else’s horse and stole the race on the last lap. In the Showdown Olmsted was looking for revenge and he found it as he strolled to a win and took home the bounty. Hogan would ride out of town a second place finisher with Jesse Powers running third.
There was only one Showdown left to decide on the night with the Street Stocks taking the track last. The young guns were outmatched in this race as another of the original outlaws was on the front row and ready to show he still had the fastest draw. Chris Lawrence would draw first and take the early lead. Bubba Christian and Heath Walker would duel for the right to challenge Lawrance for victory but on this night, it was all Lawrance scoring the win in the final Showdown of the night and taking the cash prize!
Next year these Cowboys can return to defend their titles as Sunshine Showdown winners. Next week, June 19th is the Clay Classic here at Volusia Speedway Park. Make your plans now to join us!
The 2021 Spring Fling was in full swing tonight. After a chilly Friday night of racing Saturday brought slightly warmer temperatures and some hot racing.
The night kicked off with a 604 Late Model Feature. Last night’s 602 winner Jackson Hise returned to try for a sweep of the weekend, but the night belonged to Donnie Chappell. Chappell started outside second row and quickly took the lead, never looking back. At times Chappell stretched as many as 10 car lengths on the field. The win sets the stage for the $5,000-to-win Bad Fast 50 on April 17th that will see the best of the best 604 Late Models competing for the cash!
The Thunder Stocks returned for a second consecutive night of racing in a $600-to-win shootout that drew in 24 starters. Alan Peacock lead flag-to-flag in a closely contested win. Dustin Turnage Jr. challenged throughout the race, and a late charge by Jason Garver wasn’t be enough as Peacock held on for the win. In victory lane Peacock’s mother had the biggest smile as it was her first trip to Volusia to see her son race, and he didn’t disappoint.
In the DIRTcar UMP Modified Feature Garret Stewart started pole. His competitors are used to trying to hold off his charges through the pack, but giving chase is a whole different game. Clay Harris hung with Stewart early, and Buhr made a late charge, but in the end Stewart scored the win. Next stop for Stewart is next weekend at the Bristol Bash!
The final feature of the night was a 16-car field of ¾ Mods. Paul Shead took the lead on lap 2 holding off challenges from Patrick Vareika to take the win. Wade Olmsted rode the cushion from a tenth place starting position to a solid third challenging Vareika on the outside for second.
We are off next week but will return Saturday, April 17th for the $5000-to-win Bad Fast 50!
The warm dry weather has finally returned to Florida and so has racing at Volusia Speedway Park! After a successful Sunshine Nationals and DIRTcar Nationals it’s finally time to kick off the 2021 Season! Opening night at Volusia is always fun for fans and drivers alike. Everyone is ready to get back to racing, and who better to lead lap number one of the new season than Trey Mills, fresh off his trip to Bristol. The fans love seeing Trey out front, and we’re sure it’s his favorite place to be.
The 602 Late Models kicked off the feature events for the night. Mikey Kopka, the 2020 602 Points Champion started inside pole, and Trey Mills was outside pole. Mills lead lap one, but Kopka charged to the front on lap two and never looked back, scoring a victory. Dustin Carter battled with Mills thru the middle portion of the race, eventually taking the 2nd position away. Mills held on for third, and Nick Kirkus brought his number 20 machine home in fourth.
Next out was the Street Stocks. Kopka was pulling double duty, and after his victory lane celebration ended he jumped in the number 46 starting outside pole. Kopka lead lap one, but Bubba Christian took the lead on lap 2. Tuck Trentham followed Christian thru, and the two battled for the lead throughout the race with Christian holding off all challenges and taking the win. Trentham was second, and Rick Osteen made his way thru the pack to finish third. Kopka came home in fourth.
The Big Dog 30 was next on the grid featuring a 30-lap DIRTcar UMP Modified race and a $1500 payday for the winner. Dillon Buhr started fourth and shot straight to the lead on lap one. Buhr was fast thru the middle of the race, but Garret Stewart was on the prowl, picking off cars one by one on several restarts. By the halfway point Stewart and Buhr were side by side battling, with Stewart taking the lead and going on to score another victory. Todd Neiheiser came thru the pack from his ninth place starting position to finish second, while Jeff Matthews and Dillon Buhr round out the top four.
The Thunder Stocks were the fourth feature of the night. Early leader Ron Adams held off challenges from several drivers before surrendering the lead with just three laps left to Mike Tovet who went on to win. Adams was unable to hold off Joey Haslauer on the final lap and fell to third place. Jonathan Croson was finished fourth.
The final feature of the night was won by Todd Latour. His dominance in the Compact 4 division continued as he easily worked his way to the front taking the win. Cameron Kight was second, and Nick Abatsas was third.
We race again next Friday and Saturday night for our Spring Fling! Check the schedule for class details! See you next weekend at Volusia Speedway Park.
After a week of bad weather capped by tropical storm Eta crossing the Florida peninsula and laying down several inches of rain, there wasn’t much hope that we would get to race, but on Thursday the skies cleared, the ground dried, and the enthusiasm returned. Volusia was set to race!
The night kicked off with a salute to our Veterans and our honorary starter Wally Wallace who served for 42 years dropping the first green flag. The heats set up what would be five of the most memorable features of the year. Rookies rose to the occasion, and the old guard proved they could still hang with the young guns of the sport.
The 602 Late Models were the first feature, and likely the most talked about feature in the Southeast in the coming week. After winning his heat race Trey Mills attempted to shock the world as the 12 year old started from the inside of row 2 to demonstrate how he stacks up against the elite of his class.
Multiple feature winner Dustin Carter assumed the early lead but suffered a mechanical problem just before hallway and surrender the lead to a challenging Mills. There was no looking back after that as Mills went on to win with Brenden Smith and Mikey Kopka rounding out the top three.
The second feature of the night proved to be one to remember as well. With the Reutimann Memorial Race just one week away, Justin Allgaier was in town to shake down his ride. David and Buzzy Reutimann were ready to go as well, but local hot shoe Garret Stewart wasn’t willing to share the podium just yet.
Stewart has won every UMP Modified race this season at VSP, and tonight was no exception. Holding off challenges from David Reutimann and later Allgaier, Stewart kept his perfect record intact and cruised to yet another win in 2020 collecting the $1000 in prize money.
The next feature up, the Florida Late Models saw a familiar face biding for another win on the night. Trey Mills once again raced from the front of the pack after a second-place heat race finish and a good draw put him on the pole for the 20-lap, 27-car, $1000-to-win feature event.
Clean air was the key as multiple wrecks rendered several cars unable to finish the event. Up front Mills handled the restarts like a seasoned veteran, holding off challenges from some of the best in the business, but a restart on lap 11 left Mills the hunter instead of the hunted as Shan Smith took advantage of the high line that was starting to come in and assumed the lead that he wouldn’t give up. Smith and Mills checked out on the pack running one, two but the story book ending had to wait another week as Smith was the victor this week and went home $1000 richer.
The ¾ Modified feature saw a familiar battle up front as heat race winner Pat Vareika attempted to sweep the night but to do so had to battle Paul Shead in the feature.
The side-by-side dual in the feature was led from the beginning by pole sitter Paul Shead, who assumed the high line while Vareika worked the bottom side. Lap after lap left us wondering which one would come out on top. Right down to the checkered flag they battled with Shead pulling ahead at the line to take the victory.
In the final feature of the night a 28-car field was ready to go after the $1000 prize money in the D4R Street Stock season finale. Bruce Griffin led them to green in a race with multiple wrecks, including one between Griffin and David Showers that ended with Griffin taking the trip to the pits on the hook.
Three-wide racing was the theme early and Justin McGauley used the battles behind him to put distance between himself and the field as he pulled away to win his first feature at Volusia Speedway Park. Joe Belkey went on to finish second and David Showers Jr finished third.
The next race is the Reutimann Memorial, which begins with a Thursday Practice and racing on Friday and Saturday nights. The November 19th -21st event is just days away so we will be racing again before you know it!