Mikey Kopka

A CLASSIC DOGFIGHT: Top Gun Sprint Cars Return To Volusia and The Kids School The Late Models

The return of the Top Gun Sprint Car Series, young guns claiming the late models, and fast paced action were the ingredients to what made tonight’s Top Gun Classic worth the wait.

 

Even though it doesn’t feel that long, the Top Gun Sprint Cars returned to the World’s Fastest Half Mile for their first of three races at the track for their 2022 campaign. Tonight, it was all the Danny Martin Jr show as he dominated the majority of the times he was out on track. He started the night out by winning his heat race with Brandon Grubaugh challenging at times. 

 

After an invert and starting 7th, Martin quickly made up ground and took the lead early in the program. From that point on, it was all eyes on him as he led over five seconds for the majority of the feature. Cautions and lap cars didn’t do him in either, as he led with Grubaugh behind him to take the Top Gun win. It’s his 6th win of the season, making his championship bid early in the 24 car.

 

  1. 24-Danny Martin Jr[7]; 2. G6-Brandon Grubaugh[6]; 3. 82-Garrett Green[8]; 4. 21B-Brandon McLain[4]; 5. 10TRB-Bob Martin[11]; 6. 6S-Robbie Smith[5]; 7. 26-Jeff Bye[1]; 8. 97B-Dustin Burtron[3]; 9. 14-Danny Jones[13]; 10. 67-Jacob McLain[9]; 11. 20-Frank Carlsson Jr[10]; 12. 13-Nathan Barouch[2]; 13. (DNF) 0X-Clint Weiss[12]; 14. (DNS) 32-Andrew Griffin; 15. (DNS) 12B-Bryan Eckley; 16. (DNS) 41-Matt Kurtz

 

In the 604 Late Models, it was looking to be David Clegg’s race throughout the majority of the night.. That was until Trey Mills had something to say about it.

 

Winning his heat, Mills was bound to start the night smooth. He had competition all around the 20 lap feature from Jackson Hise, Mark Fleischer and Clegg. But at the end, the fourteen year old driver took home the $1,000 check after getting past Clegg with a few laps to go.

 

  1. 14JR-Trey Mills[5]; 2. 07-David Clegg[2]; 3. 18B-Mark Fleischer[1]; 4. 388-Jackson Hise[9]; 5. 54T-Tuck Trentham[6]; 6. 51K-Mikey Kopka[4]; 7. 12-Robert Gast[13]; 8. 5-Dustin Carter[7]; 9. 51A-Larry Anderson[8]; 10. 721-Joe Kump[14]; 11. 10S-Steve Shead[11]; 12. 46C-Hamp Conley[10]; 13. (DNF) 15M-Chris Meyer[12]; 14. (DNF) 7-Jason Fitzgerald[3]

 

Mills wasn’t the only young gun to win in a late model tonight through all the chaos and excitement of the 602 Late Models. At the start of the feature, it was looking like it would be the night where Mikey Kopka would have all his gremlins sorted out and get home the win in the late models. However, Kole Platt and Jackson Hise challenged Kopka for the lead, with Platt leading the final few laps.

 

When a late race caution came out, Platt went slow on the throttle and opened the door for Hise. He took the lead going into turn one and didn’t look back the rest of the way. This marks Hise’s 2nd win at Volusia this season and could be some added momentum into the Gator Nationals.

 

  1. 388-Jackson Hise[6]; 2. 1A-Mikey Kopka[3]; 3. 44P-Kole Platt[9]; 4. M51-Mark Steube[2]; 5. 14JR-Trey Mills[4]; 6. 1AR-Travis Staats[8]; 7. 18-Austin Leamon[7]; 8. 31-Tim Swartz[1]; 9. 21D-Lenny Dallman[11]; 10. 99-Colton Blair[10]; 11. 12-Billy Gast[12]; 12. 3C-Cale Gilbert[15]; 13. (DNF) *69-Brad Fender Jr[14]; 14. (DNF) 18R-Bubba Roling[5]; 15. (DNF) 11-J R Gray[13]

 

The final two laps were nothing short of heart racing for Chris Olmstead and Timmy Hogan in the ¾ modifieds. Throughout the night, the two drivers swapped the lead through both their heat race and feature. Even with cautions being thrown almost every five laps for the chaos, it also made the show closer and exciting.

 

Coming into turn one with two to go, Timmy Hogan lost brakes and drove high into turn one, easily giving Olmstead the lead. All of a sudden after exiting turn two, Olmstead ran out of fuel and began sputtering. Hogan retook the lead and won. A closing Korbin Minchew finished second, so he will continue to lead the points.

 

  1. 26-Timmy Hogan[2]; 2. 23K-Korbin Minchew[3]; 3. 99-Wade Olmsted[7]; 4. 23L-Lawton Minchew[4]; 5. 32P-Jesse Powers[15]; 6. 26L-Colton Lane[14]; 7. 51-Dustin Peterson[6]; 8. 7-Chris Olmstead[1]; 9. 57-Nathyn Hwan[11]; 10. 0-CR Hill[16]; 11. (DNF) 21-Robert Fleming Jr[10]; 12. (DNF) 21J-Jeff Newton[12]; 13. (DNF) 72-Van Rayburn[8]; 14. (DNF) 67-Tad Olmsted[5]; 15. (DNF) 27-Steven Powers[9]; 16. (DNF) 10-Ethyn Hwan[13]

 

Finally, the Street Stocks was nothing but the Jimmy Wagner Show. The Reutimann Racing driver won his heat race earlier in the evening and was smooth the whole race. It’ll be a major gain if he continues to race for the Street Stock championship when November arrives.

 

  1. 17W-Jimmy Wagner[3]; 2. 17-Alan Peacock[1]; 3. 72-Bruce Griffin[9]; 4. Y7-Zach Yakaboski[4]; 5. 7R-Rick O’Steen[5]; 6. 11K-Kameron McGauley[10]; 7. 46F-Chuck Frater[7]; 8. 1-Patrick Thomas[6]; 9. 63-Chris Lawrence[15]; 10. 83F-Kody Fisher[14]; 11. 9-Gavin VanHoose[12]; 12. (DNF) 40-Clayton Ruth[8]; 13. (DNF) C5-Stephen Copeland[11]; 14. (DNF) 388-Walt Kahr[13]; 15. (DNF) 99-Rodney Wright[2]; 16. (DNS) B11-Buddy Higgins

 

The next race at the World’s Fastest Half Mile will be the Gator Nationals. Gates open at 4:00 with Hot Laps at 6:00. The racing will also be broadcasted live on DIRTVision. We’ll see you then!

 

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!

The Season Opener, Take Two!

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.

Nicely Done

Night one of the Emil and Dale Reutimann Memorial started off with some sprinkles, but it surely didn’t dampen the spirits of the racers who traveled from several different states to be a part of this event.

The racing kicked off with the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds taking the track for their Hot Laps/Qualifying. Three flights of cars went after the bonus money for the Fast Time, and when all was said and done Tyler Nicely topped the field with his lap of 18.740, banking $250.00 before the features ever got under way.

Other special awards, such as the longest haul, were awarded during the opening ceremonies following Qualifying. Mark Rhoades, who towed from West Chicago, Illinois, took home $500.00 for his long haul, Rich Dawson took home $250.00 for the best appearing car, and Qualifiers 2-4 also took home a little extra cash.

When it came time for the four Showdown Features, there was more than just a $500.00 check on the line. Only the top five transferred, leaving many to run Saturday’s Last Chance Showdown to try to gain a spot in the field. Justin Allgaier won the first Showdown with contenders like Stremme and Hoffman filling transfer spots. Kenny Wallace ran a strong sixth, but with only five transferring he will have to try again tomorrow to make the field.

In Showdown number two Devin Dixon punched his ticket to the big show with local drivers like Rich Pratt gained a spot in the field as well. Mark Rhoades, the longest haul winner, will have another long road ahead as he finished 13th and will have to come from the back tomorrow to earn a spot in the field.

Showdown number three saw fast qualifier Tyler Nicely getting the job done again, holding off an early charge from David Reutimann and a late-race effort from Mark Varnadore to score the win and take home another $500.00, bringing his bank role to $750.00 on the night leading up to the big race and making it known he is the man to beat this weekend.

In the fourth and final Showdown, local hot shoe Garrett Stewart squared off against Jeff Matthews, with Matthews taking the win and Stewart a close second. Fan favorite Buzzie Reutimann raced his way into the big show with a fifth place finish, holding off Dillon Buhr for the final transfer spot.

Clay leads the way

The 602 Late Models were back in action this weekend with a 21-car field. Clay Harris, whose night started off on a bad note with engine problems in his modified, made the most of things, winning his heat race and leading every lap of the Feature with lap times nearly a half-second faster than his nearest competitors. With just he and a single crew member with him tonight, Harris scored a big victory for the Wilkerson Farms-sponsored ride.

Mikey Kopka, who won  his Heat race, ran strong all night, but late race issues would lead to an 11th place finish, while Dustin Carter moved up to finish second. Last weeks winner, Trey Mills ran an impressive third, swapping positions back and fourth with the best in the business. Other notable drivers like Jackson Hise had a disappointing night as a right front flat tire dropped him to the back of the field and he later had to pit again with car trouble.

One for One in Thunder Stocks

Jared Allison had never driven a Thunder Stock before tonight, but that didn’t stop the Late Model driver from jumping in the car and giving it a shot. He finished third in his Heat and start sixth in the Feature behind cars most would bet on to win. Boome Canary won his Heat and led a good part of the Feature before car troubles took him out of contention, and Jason Garver proved duct tape numbers don’t mean you aren’t going to be fast are always hard to run with, let alone beat.

Allison battled early with veteran Kevin Durden for position, eventually finding his way to the lead on lap ten. In a race that saw cars on top of cars, lead cars making mistakes and taking cars with them when they went, and utter chaos at times, Allison picked and clawed his way to the front and is now one-for-one in his Thunder Stock racing career.

Looking Forward

Saturday is the Emil And Dale Reutimann Memorial. Hot laps start at 5:45 with racing to follow. It will be a big night of racing with a 50 lapper, Last Chance Showdown, and Street Stocks along with Florida Late Models on hand to round out the show. Watch every lap LIVE on DIRTVision.