Korbin Minchew

LAST LAP GASPS: The Sunshine Showdown provides the excitement and suspense to end the month of April

The 2022 season continues to pack on great racing, wholesome stories and clear championship favorites as the month of April wraps up racing.

 

The clear winner of having the biggest comeback was Wyatt Gainey in the 602 Late Models. The young stud was wrecked out early of his heat, having him start from the rear. 

 

Once the features started, Gainey and his “Big Red” 8 car started picking off his opponents, making his way up to the top 5. He wasn’t satisfied though.

 

Cautions helped Gainey get closer to the leaders and made his way past the faster cars until he got to leader Jackson Hise with five to go. He slowly crept up on last week’s Work Force 25 winner and with one to go, he had a shot. 

 

A high side move in turns 3 and 4 was all that was needed for Gainey to spoil the party for Hise, who had led all but one lap. The one he didn’t lead? The last one.

 

He wouldn’t be the only Gainey to visit victory lane tonight though.

In the 604 Late Models, it began with chaos. The 03 of Morrie West flipped off turn 2 after making contact with the 131 of Matt Herlong. Thankfully, the driver was okay.

 

After the lengthy red flag to clean up the debris and tow the flipped 03, the feature was dominated by one man; Nevin Gainey.

 

The senior Gainey grabbed the lead from polesitter David Clegg and Brandon Wells early. The 17G showed its strength on the early portion of a run by launching like a Saturn V rocket while guys like Mikey Kopka, Wells, Joe Kump and Dustin Carter jostled around for positions inside the top 5.

 

Nevin Gainey took home the 604 win, and showed his emotion in victory lane. He was proud to have shared a moment like this with his son by being able to win on the same night Wyatt did.

In contrast to last week’s feature, the ¾ modifieds provided clean racing throughout the 15 lap feature. Though, another familiar face returned to victory lane again. That was the 23 of Korbin Minchew. 

 

The championship leader has now won three out of the four ¾ modifieds races this season. Minchew and his brother, Lawton, have given off a dynamic similar to Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. in Talladega Nights, with Korbin Minchew winning and Lawton finishing second in tonight’s feature.

The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds had some wild action with a finish that was a carbon copy of the 602 Late Models feature.

 

At the sound of the green flag waving, the man to set the pace was Dalton Lanich, who created a healthy gap from the field over the usual front running guys such as Eric Moon, Seth Geary, Dillon Buhr and Buzzie Reutimann.

 

It was all going Lanich’s way until a caution with two to go made the field bunch back up for a green-white-checkered finish. At the drop of the green, Seth Geary was all over Lanich’s back bumper until the last lap, where he made a banzai move by pulling a slide job in front of Lanich and winning the feature.

 

This marks the second win for Geary this season, and gives him the championship lead over Moon, and defending champion Garret Stewart.

The Thunder Stocks, yet again, provided an excellent show with a unfamiliar face in victory lane.

 

All throughout the night, it was a four horse race between Shaun Daugharty, Dalton Strehle, Josh Byrd and Mark Tovet. Tovet and Strehle paced the field for most of the night, with the four drivers exchanging positions in the top 3 for most of the night.

 

When it came down to the wire, it was all Tovet and Byrd battling it out for the feature win. Byrd showed his late race pace was fast and strong. However, Tovet’s defending skills were stronger. At the wave of the checkered, it was the 1SHOT machine of Mark Tovet taking the Thunder Stock feature win.

There will be a week off in racing next Saturday, but the next race at the World’s Fastest Half Mile will be the Racer’s Memorial on May 7th. Gates will open at 4:00, with Hot Laps at 6:00. Can’t make it? Watch all the action live on DIRTVision. We’ll see you in two weeks!

AN EGG-SCELLENT EVENING: The Full Moon Shines Bright On New Championship Hunters

This year’s running of the Work Force 25 included a full moon on the rise, which meant a series of cheers, surprises, and chaos to a classic Easter weekend race. Not only that, there are some new faces and continued leads in some of the championship standings as race three of the 18 race season comes to a close.

 

In the 602 Late Models, it was a young gun show as both Jackson Hise and Trynt Lloyd battled it out through the 20 lap feature. The duo faced many challenges to their front running skill, including Mikey Kopka and Mark Steube. In the end, it was Hise that edged out Lloyd. This now puts him right in the battle for the points lead with Lloyd, Steube and Brad Fender Jr.

The 3/4 modifieds has a new face in a championship, and he’s got a lot cooking in the pot. Young Korbin Minchew got the feature win after a race riddled with cautions and chaos. Along with that, the modifieds also gave the Volusia 2022 season it’s first big one. A five car wreck that included the Shaffer duo of Wray and Wryan, defending champion Wade Olmsted and Dustin Peterson cut the competition down to just two big front runners; Minchew and Timmy Hogan, last week’s feature winner. Hogan used up all the track he could to pass Minchew, but didn’t pan out in the end. Don’t be surprised at all if they battle for the championship like they did to each other respectfully tonight.

The 604 Late Models was a tough challenge, but included a win from Nevin Gainey that went wire to wire in the Work Force 25 Main Feature. He had challenges all throughout the 25 lap feature, with guys like Jeff Choquette, Derike Bennett, Trynt Lloyd, again, Mikey Kopka, and Dustin Carter all making up the front running crew of the night. Though the battle for the championship is still wide open at this point, there might be some clear favorites come the end of the next race, the Sunshine Showdown.

The Thunder Stocks keep on producing, and tonight did not disappoint whatsoever. At the drop of the green flag, polesitter Justin Reynolds and heat race 2 winner Patrick Thomas battled in the early portion of the 20 lap feature. In the midway portion, it became clear that the top 3 favorites would be Reynolds, Thomas and Bubba Roling come time to throw the checkered. All of a sudden with five laps to go, Josh Byrd came into the picture. What seemed like out of nowhere, Byrd had strong momentum to clear both Reynolds and Thomas as he set his sights on the leading car of Bubba Roling. With one lap to go, Byrd was on Roling’s bumper, went low, cleared him off of turn 4, and stole the win after coming into the picture so late in the race. In his interview, he described how long it has been since his last win, and hopes it can continue his fast-paced momentum towards a Thunder Stock championship. 

Surprisingly enough, tonight was the Street Stock’s first race of the 2022 Volusia season. However, the long awaited beginning was all worth the wait with how the race had played out. At the start, it was Alan Peacock gaining the early lead. As the race progressed, it became clear that Rodney Wright would be the one to gap the field and win. Donnie Ashford and Bruce Griffin were battling for 2nd for the majority of the race, which gave Wright a good gap. Then, Ashford cleared Griffin. He closed the gap quickly and with one to go, Ashford passed Wright to give him the first win in the 2022 season. All around great racing in this class could make it a highly contested championship fight come November.

The next race for Volusia Speedway Park will next Saturday, April 23rd at the Sunshine Showdown. Gates will open at 4:00, with Hot Laps at 6:00. Can’t make the race? Watch the broadcast of all the action live on DIRTVision. We’ll see you then!

TWO IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: The Big Dog 25 Shows A Series Of Two’s To Come

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!

 

FIRST NIGHT FUN: Opening Night Proves That 2022 Is Not The Same

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!