Reutimann Memorial

WAY 2 FAST: Hoffman Dominates at Volusia, Wins Eighth Annual Reutimann Memorial

Strickler and Nicely drop out early, Stewart hard charges 25th-to-6th

Nick Hoffman has won a lot of races at Volusia Speedway Park in his career. Just consult the golden gator farm at his home in Mooresville, NC, reflecting his unprecedented six-straight DIRTcar Nationals championships.

However, entering Saturday night, there remained one prestigious DIRTcar UMP Modified race he’d yet to win at the venue – the Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial.

With some speed on the bottom and a good line in Turns 3-4, Hoffman was able to swipe the lead away from defending race winner Tyler Nicely in the early going and hold the field off the rest of the way for his first career triumph in Florida’s most prestigious Dirt Modified race.

“Everything they do – the Reutimann family, Volusia Speedway Park, everybody that puts this deal on – I can’t thank them enough,” Hoffman said. “This race has kind of eluded me. I’ve ran second, I’ve ran third… I’ve been close, just not close enough to win.”

“Tyler [Nicely] beat us up pretty good last year, but this year I was just a little bit more on top of my game.”

Starting fourth after a Showdown Feature win Friday night, Hoffman didn’t have to wait long for his shot at the lead. Nicely jumped to the early lead from the pole and led the opening circuits before the first caution was displayed with four laps complete. But Hoffman was all over him on the restart and drove it deep into Turn 3 with speed and completed the pass coming out of Turn 4.

“[Nicely] was pretty good there at the beginning, and then I just kinda bided my time to get to second,” Hoffman said. “I was all over him on that restart, so I just figured I’d try and get the lead and control the pace.”

Hoffman collected his first career Reutimann Memorial win Saturday night (Jacy Norgaard Photo)

By this time, Strickler had cracked the whip on his #00EH, normally piloted by Longhorn by Loenbro head and former DIRTcar Nationals champion Steve Arpin, and followed Hoffman around Nicely to take second. Now only a second behind Hoffman, Strickler pinned the throttle.

Through lapped traffic the two raced, weaving inside-and-outside in an exciting chase around the half-mile oval with a blistering pace.

“This place – when it widens out like that, you can pretty much go anywhere,” Hoffman said. “It was actually really fun to maneuver through lapped traffic. I was having a pretty good time just picking lanes and trying to carry as much speed [as possible].”

The chase soon reached a fever pitch, bringing spectators to the edge of their seats, until Strickler lost the handle on his car in Turns 3-4 and looped it by himself to bring out the yellow.

He had just tapped the inside retaining wall, which sent him around in a spin and left him with nose damage. He took it to pit road in an attempt to make repairs but retired to the pits after the restart from the persistent damage.

One lap later, Nicely – who inherited Strickler’s runner-up spot – slowed suddenly on the backstretch and brought out caution again. He took his #25 to pit road with an apparent air cleaner issue and was back out for the restart, but dropped out one lap later, done for the night.

“Strickler just pushed the issue really hard, really early,” Hoffman said. “I was running way harder than I wanted to be at that point in time. Once he had his issue, I was able to cruise.”

And cruise he did. Hoffman drove the remaining 26 laps unchallenged and led the field back to the checkers to collect the $7,000 check and his first tractor trophy as winner of the eighth annual Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial.

“This is pretty unbelievable, the whole year we had,” Hoffman said. “From Summer Nationals, DIRTcar Nationals, everything we’ve done to get the DIRTcar national championship again… To get that ride with Scott [Bloomquist] and learn from him and run really well in the Late Model, that’s gonna catapult my career, I feel.”

Hoffman on the farm tractor trophy (Jacy Norgaard Photo)

Though he hadn’t raced at Volusia in 20 years, Victor Lee was thrilled to bag $3,000 for a runner-up finish to the #1-ranked driver in the country.

“We’ll take that as a win, for us,” Lee said. “There haven’t been too many people to beat Nick this year. He’s been phenomenal, he’s on his game, so hats off to him and his crew.”

The Danville, KY-native started third and kept his #4L inside the top-five the entire race while fighting mechanical issues throughout the night.

“At the end there, I was really hanging on,” Lee said. “I don’t know if I overheated the brakes and one started sticking on it or what. But when I rolled off the throttle, it wanted to turn dead-right without touching the brakes.”

Kenny Wallace crossed the line in third, improving on his best finish of 10th from his debut in the event last year.

“It was a great race for us,” Wallace said. “We started ninth and really didn’t know what to expect. This is my first year with an Elite Chassis, and I feel like I’ve been getting better all year long.”

Wallace, of Arnold, MO, steadily climbed through the top-10 over 50 laps and was battling for third with Chris Arnold before the final caution with 4-to-go. He hammered the throttle on the restart and powered around Arnold on the bottom to grab the spot, which he held for the final laps to bag a $2,000 check.

Lee (4) racing with Wallace (36) in the final laps (Jacy Norgaard Photo)

“I was really strong on the bottom,” Wallace said. “My car surprised me. I could really drive in hard on the bottom and I had to get used to that. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to drive in that hard on the bottom.”

2021 UMP Modified track champion Garret Stewart found himself in a challenging situation Saturday night after getting into a wreck the night before. He finished repairs on Saturday afternoon and arrived back at the track just in time, scooping a transfer spot from 12th in the first Last Chance Showdown. But he didn’t stop there – the Leesburg, FL-native climbed nineteen positions over 50 laps to finish the Feature 6th from 25th on the starting grid.

Reutimann Memorial Feature (50 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman[4]; 2. 4L-Victor Lee[3]; 3. 36-Kenny Wallace[9]; 4. 99W-Chris Arnold[7]; 5. 72-Todd Neiheiser[12]; 6. 67- Garret Stewart[25]; 7. 7G-Seth Geary[8]; 8. 99-Justin Haley[17]; 9. 00D-David Reutimann[20]; 10. 13P-Rich Pratt[11]; 11. 80D-Rich Dawson[1]; 12. 24B-Dillon Buhr[16]; 13. 8A-Austin Holcombe[27]; 14. 205-Travis Varnadore[15]; 15. 18-Eric Moon[23]; 16. 44-Jeff Parsons[26]; 17. 16C-John Clippinger[18]; 18. 00-Buzzie Reutimann[21]; 19. (DNF) 33C-Cody Overton[14]; 20. (DNF) 1A-Steve Meyer Jr[19]; 21. (DNF) 33M-Jeff Mathews[13]; 22. (DNF) 2J-Troy Johnson[22]; 23. (DNF) 25-Tyler Nicely[2]; 24. (DNF) 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt[28]; 25. (DNF) 00EH-Kyle Strickler[5]; 26. (DNF) 39W-Brandon Wells[6]; 27. (DNF) 84-Ryan Toole[10]; 28. (DNF) 88-Cody Thornhill[24]

Last Chance Showdown 1 (12 Laps, top-3 transfer) 1. 00-Buzzie Reutimann[1]; 2. 18-Eric Moon[3]; 3. 67-Garret Stewart[12]; 4. 10-Dustin Thayer[6]; 5. 80-Paul Shead[5]; 6. 2L-Jake Leitzman[4]; 7. 78-Troy Loomis[7]; 8. 17-Patrick Vareika[9]; 9. 7-Jason Fitzgerald[2]; 10. 96-Matt Johnson[14]; 11. 1P-Mike Phillips[11]; 12. 11P-Charlie Phillips[13]; 13. (DNF) 27S-Paul Schloss[15]; 14. (DNF) 57P-Zach Permann[8]; 15. (DNF) 17P-Robert Pitcher[10]

Last Chance Showdown 2 (12 Laps, top-3 transfer) 1. 2J-Troy Johnson[1]; 2. 88-Cody Thornhill[4]; 3. 44-Jeff Parsons[3]; 4. 8A-Austin Holcombe[11]; 5. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt[6]; 6. 54-Jason Jack[5]; 7. 51-Dalton Lanich[7]; 8. 22-David Daughtery[8]; 9. 7+7-Jeff Solinger[10]; 10. 33-Kenny Mihalik[13]; 11. 192-Tim McLeod[9]; 12. (DNF) M41-Steve Maisel[2]; 13. (DNF) 34P-Jim Passino[12]; 14. (DNF) 96S-Slade Parsons[14]; 15. (DNF) 4-Doug Penny[15]; 16. (DNF) 6-Ryan Ayers[16]

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: UMP Modifieds Take on Volusia for Eighth Annual Reutimann Memorial

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.

DRIVER PRE-REGISTRATION

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.

Hoffman holding his sixth career Big Gator trophy (Josh James Artwork)

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.

Stewart (67) racing with Hoffman (2) at Bristol Motor Speedway in April (Josh James Artwork)

“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.

Arnold in his DAI Motorsports #99W Beak Built Chassis at Bristol in April, where he finished third on Saturday (Josh James Artwork)

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.”

Nicely will defend his Reutimann crown from 2020 this weekend (Josh James Artwork)

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.

ALL ANGLES: Volusia’s Reutimann Memorial Set to Host National, Regional, Local Stars

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.

The event is run in memory of Emil Reutimann Jr., 56, father to Dale, 17, and crew member Gordon Stone, 16. Each were killed after a collision with a drunk driver, just south of Zephyrhills, FL, on Highway 301 while traveling to a race at Golden Gate Speedway in 1973.

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 in Volusia Victory Lane after winning a Feature at the 50th DIRTcar Nationals (Josh James Photo)

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.

Nicely in Victory Lane on night #2 of the 50th DIRTcar Nationals (Jim DenHamer Photo)

“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.”

Stewart in Victory Lane after winning the Sunshine Showdown earlier this season (Dave Shank Photo)

$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.

Reutimanns Remembered

Tonight was all about the Reutimann family and specifically remembering the lives of Emil and Dale Reutimann. With Buzzie and David already in the race, all that was left to run were a couple of Last Chance Showdowns and then onto the 50-lap main event.

The night’s opening ceremonies celebrated Emil and Dale’s memory on the stage of the front stretch and then went straight into a redraw that put Devin Dixon on the pole for the Feature. Before this could be run a pair of Last Chance Showdowns determined who else was in and who was going home.

The first Last Chance Showdown got off to a rough start with three straight cautions. Finally, on the fourth attempt, pole-sitter and eventual race winner Kenny Wallace led the field to a string of green flag laps. Three more cautions came out and when the final checkers flew Kenny Wallace, Jason Garver, and Todd Neiheiser transferred to the Feature.

The second Showdown saw the No. 1S of Brian Shaw making big moves to come to the front after an 11th place start. Shaw came all the way to third, finishing behind the winner, Brandon Wells, and second place Eric Moon to punch their tickets to the big show later in the evening.

The 50-lap Feature event left seats unused for the first portion of the race. From the driver introductions on the front stretch, to the four-wide salute, this show kept fans on their feet.
Pole-sitter Devin Dixon led the opening laps but by lap 22 had lap times slowing while other drivers were surging forward. Just before halfway Tyler Nicely once again found himself leading a race as lapped traffic issues slowed Dixon, allowing Nicely to catch him and make the pass. This pass cost Dixon an extra $500 as Nicely won the halfway leader award and banked an additional $500.00 on the weekend.

As the laps rolled on it was clear once again Nicely had the car to beat. Though Justin Allgaier was able to get past him a couple of times Nicely was able to gathered it up and find a way back to the lead. When Nick Hoffman joined the battle late in the race it looked as if he may have had a little something for the leader, but it wasn’t to be as Nicely went on to take the win and bank another $5,000.00 on top of his already bountiful weekend earnings. Allgaier came in second, and Hoffman brought it home in third. Rich Pratt took the Hard Charger award, worth $250.00.

The SS Shan Smith Sails to Another Victory

The Florida Late Models were back for another round at Volusia Speedway Park this weekend. The 27-car field started the first of three Heat races with a familiar face out front. 12-year-old Trey Mills won Heat one and looked to be the car to beat once more. He was followed in second by last night’s Thunder Stock winner, Jared Allison. Heats two and three were similar affairs with Nevin Gainey and Jeff Choquette taking wins.

The 17SS of Smith started on the outside pole and never looked back in the Feature. Choquette mounted several challenges after cautions closed the gap but was unable to take away Smith’s position. Smith went on to win and bank $1500.00, while Choquette settled for second.

Taking Home the Lyon’s Share of the Prize Money

Patrick Lyon’s #01 Street Stock isn’t only a good looking car, but a very fast one too. His competitors learned this the hard way tonight as Lyon ran away in his Heat race and continued the trend in the Feature. Shane Nichols and Joe Belkey both had brief stints out front, but when all was said and done the Lyon couldn’t be tamed and he went on to win and collect $750.00 for his night’s work.

Up Next at Volusia Speedway Park

Saturday, December 5th : Volusia Car Races
Saturday, December 12th: Volusia Karting

LITTLE 2, BIG 5K: Nicely Scores First Career Reutimann Memorial Victory at Volusia

Nicely’s Longhorn by Loenbro Chassis wins in first weekend out, Elite Chassis finish 2-3

BARBERVILLE, FL – Nov. 21, 2020 – When Tyler Nicely and his team loaded up after their testing session earlier this week, he knew he had a car he could take to Volusia Speedway Park and contend for his first Reutimann Memorial Feature victory.

Not only did Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, and his new Longhorn by Loenbro Chassis score the victory in the 7th annual Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial, he showed consistent strength in the new car throughout the weekend. Setting fast time and winning his Showdown Feature on Friday night set him up for a spot in the redraw on Saturday, where he took full advantage of his forward starting spot, leading 30 total laps en route to the $5,000 payday.

“I didn’t want to lose the race and I was going to do everything I could to win it,” Nicely said in Victory Lane. “I knew I just needed to get out in clean air and just dictate my own race. I knew we had a pretty good car early; I just knew I needed to make a smart move early to get to the lead.”

Starting from position #4 on the grid, Nicely showed speed right out of the gate, chasing down NASCAR standout Justin Allgaier, of Riverton, IL, and leader Devin Dixon, of Apollo Beach, FL, inside the first 10 laps. After an early caution, Nicely made the move around Allgaier for second and cracked the whip, gunning for leader Dixon’s rear bumper.

As Dixon worked his way around a slower car out of Turn 4 to complete Lap 21, he got a bit too wide out of the groove and the door opened for Nicely to his inside. Nicely threw it hard into Turn 1, slid up the track and took the lead away.

Dixon came back at him with a slide job of his own a few laps later, but the non-existent cushion up top threw him wide once again as Nicely drove back by. Dixon was able to grab the lead back briefly on Lap 27 after Nicely slipped high in Turn 2, but lost it again as Nicely threw a big slide job on he and Allgaier on a restart just one lap later.

Dave Shank Photo

Then came the opening Allgaier had been waiting for. Nicely slipped way high again in Turn 1 on Lap 35 as Allgaier jumped through the open door. Nicely recovered quickly though, throwing yet another slider for the lead as they came back around to Turn 1.

“We got the lead there and then Tyler slid me down in [Turn] 1,” Allgaier said. “I didn’t know if he was going to make 1 and 2 or not, so I jumped out of it. I wish, in hindsight, I’d have stayed in it.”

Allgaier’s presence out front seemed to spark a fire under Nicely’s seat. He dropped the hammer on the high side and never relinquished the lead again, fending off Allgaier and fellow Elite Chassis pilot Nick Hoffman’s surge for the front in the final laps.

Hoffman, the five-time DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified champion at Volusia, took a shot at Allgaier with five-to-go for the runner-up spot, but was unable to hold the car down in Turn 1 and gave the spot right back as he washed-up the track.

“Justin had a way better racecar, so once he showed me a nose, I just let him go back by; the only shot for Elite Chassis to win tonight,” Hoffman said.

Dave Shank Photo

The Elite cars brought the heat after one final restart in the home stretch but couldn’t get a big enough run in either groove to threaten for the lead. Nicely was too fast on the top side and brought the field back around to the checkers to score his first career Reutimann Memorial victory.

“I kinda liked getting that caution with six to go, just because that took the lapped cars out of it; that’s how I got passed for the lead when we got into lapped traffic,” Nicely said.

Allgaier crossed the stripe in second – now his best career finish in the event. He was the only driver that kept it inside the podium for all 50 laps, despite his feelings on how the race began for him.

“In the beginning there, I struggled to get a line that really worked for me. Once we figured that out, I was able to make up some time,” Allgaier said.

Hoffman rounded out the podium in third, crossing by a slim margin over Justin Haley and Austin Holcombe. His newly-built Elite Chassis was quite the hot rod in the latter half of the race, but ultimately came up one spot shy of tying his personal best finish in the event (second, 2018).

“At the middle of the race, I kinda got my motor too hot and kinda cruised for a little bit; I wanted to cruise anyway. Once it was time to go, I was able to cool it down and really hustle,” Hoffman said.

7th Annual Reutimann Memorial Feature RESULTS (50 Laps)
1. 25-Tyler Nicely[4]; 2. 7-Justin Allgaier[3]; 3. 2-Nick Hoffman[6]; 4. 11-Justin Haley[12]; 5. 8A-Austin Holcombe[9]; 6. 35-David Stremme[13]; 7. 67-Garrett Stewart[7]; 8. 13P-Rich Pratt[19]; 9. 313-Devin Dixon[1]; 10. 36-Kenny Wallace[21]; 11. 7G-Seth Geary[18]; 12. 99W-Chris Arnold[17]; 13. 33-Jeff Matthews[2]; 14. 18-Eric Moon[24]; 15. 4-Maverick Varnadore[5]; 16. 205-Travis Vanadore[16]; 17. 80-Rich Dawson[8]; 18. 2J-Troy Johnson[14]; 19. 1-Steve Stevenson[11]; 20. 33K-Kenny Mihalik[27]; 21. 00-Buzzie Reutimann[20]; 22. 1S-Brian Shaw[26]; 23. 00D-David Reutimann[10]; 24. 6-Ryan Ayers[15]; 25. 72-Todd Neiheiser[25]; 26. 39W-Brandon Wells[22]; 27. 80P-Paul Shead[28]; 28. 27-Jason Garver[23]

UMP Mod Last Chance Showdown 1 (15 Laps)
1. 36-Kenny Wallace[1]; 2. 27-Jason Garver[9]; 3. 72-Todd Neiheiser[13]; 4. 14D-David Taylor[3]; 5. M20-Mike Petoskey[2]; 6. 1SJ-Josh Sanford[4]; 7. 80P-Paul Shead[10]; 8. 73-Mark Rhoades[16]; 9. 7N7-Jeff Solinger[12]; 10. 40-Shawn Reiss[7]; 11. 1R-Ryan Rackley[11]; 12. 57-Mark Grosvenor[6]; 13. 11R-Jesse Rupe[5]; 14. 33K-Kenny Mihalik[8]; 15. 96-Cole Parker[14]; 16. (DNS) 32-Bruce Martin

UMP Mod Last Chance Showdown 2 (15 Laps)
1. 39W-Brandon Wells[2]; 2. 18-Eric Moon[13]; 3. 1S-Brian Shaw[11]; 4. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt[4]; 5. 17-Patrick Vareika[10]; 6. 17G-Brandon Grossman[1]; 7. Z06-Larry Mott[7]; 8. 141-Justin Galbreath[3]; 9. 21-Sean Monaghan[6]; 10. 62E-Kim Edington[5]; 11. 3C-Tony Campbell[9]; 12. 27S-Paul Schloss[14]; 13. 2D-Ray Durrence Jr[8]; 14. (DNS) 10-Dustin Thayer

SUNSHINE SHOWDOWNS: Allgaier, Dixon, Nicely, Mathews Win Reutimann Memorial Prelim Features at Volusia

Twenty drivers now locked into Saturday’s 50-lap, $5,000-to-win main event

BARBERVILLE, FL – Nov. 20, 2020 – Fifty-two of the best DIRTcar UMP Modified drivers in the country assembled at the Volusia Speedway Park Friday night for the preliminary night of action at the 7th annual Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial. Twenty names have since punched their ticket into Saturday’s $5,000-to-win main event.

Four 15-lap Showdown Features hit the track after two groups of Qualifying, locking the top-five finishers into Saturday’s Feature and taking the top-two into the redraw.

Showdown Feature #1 – Justin Allgaier

He hasn’t been able to drive his Federated Auto Parts #7 Elite Chassis as much as he would have liked to in 2020, but Justin Allgaier looked as if he had been in the car all season Friday night with a flag-to-flag victory in the first Showdown Feature.

Grabbing the lead into Turn 1 from the outside pole on the opening lap, Allgaier fought off all challengers from behind, including his chassis builder and 2020 DIRTcar UMP Modified national champion Nick Hoffman, for the $500 victory.

Hoffman held on for second, sending both he and Allgaier to the redraw. Also transferring into the Feature were Austin Holcombe, David Stremme and Chris Arnold.

Allgaier’s been steadily working on his dirt program recently and said he feels very comfortable with the car and the crew working tirelessly behind him. Hoffman’s been in his car for most of the season and has provided both he and Allgaier with a great opportunity to pick up the big $5,000 victory Saturday night.

“Well, tomorrow’s 50 laps, tonight was only 15,” Allgaier said of his outlook to Saturday. “I’ve got to not make a mistake. There’s a lot of guys tonight that got caught-out by the track conditions in Qualifying. The conditions tonight suited my driving style really well. But if it gets slick tomorrow, which I think it will, Nick’s [Hoffman] gonna be incredible. I know it.”

UMP Modifieds Feature 1 (15 Laps) RESULTS

  1. 7-Justin Allgaier[2]; 2. 2-Nick Hoffman[3]; 3. 8A-Austin Holcombe[4]; 4. 35-David Stremme[6]; 5. 99W-Chris Arnold[1]; 6. 36-Kenny Wallace[8]; 7. 14D-David Taylor[5]; 8. 11R-Jesse Rupe[13]; 9. 40-Shawn Reiss[11]; 10. (DNF) 27-Jason Garver[9]; 11. (DNF) 1R-Ryan Rackley[7]; 12. (DNF) 72-Todd Neiheiser[10]; 13. (DNF) 32-Bruce Martin[12]

Showdown Feature #2 – Devin Dixon

Through the first half of the second Showdown Feature, it appeared as though the event’s Best Appearing Car Award winner Rich Dawson was going to drive away flawlessly for the win. But Apollo Beach, FL’s Devin Dixon had other plans.

Dawson won the battle into Turn 1 on the opening lap, but Dixon never let him out of sight. A restart five laps in gave Dixon the opportunity he needed to make the move, which he did to Dawson’s inside in Turn 1 after furiously reeling him in lap-by-lap.

“Once we got going there, [Dawson] took off pretty good and then he started fading a little bit the later the race went, and we started getting better. Down there into [Turn] 1, he jumped the cushion a little bit and I just slid him, and it was on from there,” Dixon said.

From that point forward, Dixon set it on cruise and was never challenged for the lead again as he drove across the stripe, punching his ticket to the redraw with runner-up Dawson. Steve Stevenson, Ryan Ayers and Rich Pratt also transferred to the 50-lap Feature.

UMP Modifieds Feature 2 (15 Laps) RESULTS

  1. 313-Devin Dixon[2]; 2. 80-Rich Dawson[1]; 3. 1-Steve Stevenson[3]; 4. 6-Ryan Ayers[6]; 5. 13P-Rich Pratt[8]; 6. M20-Mike Petoskey[7]; 7. 1SJ-Josh Sanford[9]; 8. 57-Mark Grosvenor[12]; 9. 33K-Kenny Mihalik[5]; 10. 80P-Paul Shead[10]; 11. 7N7-Jeff Solinger[11]; 12. (DNF) 96-Cole Parker[4]; 13. (DNF) 73-Mark Rhoades[13]

Showdown Feature #3 – Tyler Nicely

For the first weekend out in a brand-new car, Tyler Nicley’s certainly gotten off to a great start.

After laying down the night’s fastest lap in Qualifying of 18.740, a $250 cash prize courtesy of the Reutimann family, Nicely grabbed the lead from the pole of the third Showdown Feature and never once even thought about giving it up. The Owensboro, KY-native led every single lap en route to the redraw and $500 prize with runner-up Maverick Varnadore.

Even when he proved a green-white-checkered finish could not throw him off of his game, at the end of the day, Nicely was still looking for more speed.

“We weren’t as good as we wanted to be in that Feature,” Nicely said. “Just tried to get the car to work well on the bottom and rotating. Tomorrow night will be different, 50 laps. Hopefully the track slows down a lot and we get a good redraw.”

Also transferring into the 50-lap Feature was two-time event winner David Reutimann, Troy Johnson and Seth Geary.

UMP Modifieds Feature 3 (15 Laps) RESULTS

  1. 25-Tyler Nicely[1]; 2. 4-Maverick Varnadore[4]; 3. 00D-David Reutimann[2]; 4. 2J-Troy Johnson[3]; 5. 7G-Seth Geary[6]; 6. 17G-Brandon Grossman[7]; 7. 141-Justin Galbreath[8]; 8. 99-Ronnie Chance[9]; 9. 62E-Kim Edington[12]; 10. 206-Larry Mott[10]; 11. 3C-Tony Campbell[13]; 12. 1S-Brian Shaw[11]; 13. 18-Eric Moon[5]

Showdown Feature #4 – Jeff Mathews

The 2017 Reutimann Memorial Feature winner had absolutely no problem putting himself in position to win it a second time Friday night. Jeff Mathews did just that with a flag-to-flag victory in the fourth and final Showdown Feature.

Mathews took the lead at the drop of the green and never looked back, leading every lap en route to the $500 victory and a spot in the redraw with runner-up Garrett Stewart.

Even the restarts Mathews faced along the way could not slow his momentum. But he knows Saturday is the big one, and he’ll have to be extra prepared to be there at the end of 50 laps.

“We didn’t really know which direction we wanted to go, if we wanted to be getting tighter or freeing-up, or trying to stay neutral,” Mathews said of his car setup. “I think we made the right call, but tomorrow’s a whole different ball game. We’ve got 50 laps, and I don’t think we’ll have this type of racetrack tomorrow night.”

Justin Haley, Travis Vanadore and Buzzie Reutimann also transferred into the Feature. Reutimann, the 79-year-old racing legend from Zephyrhills, FL, was perhaps the biggest star of the entire show when he was spun sideways about halfway through the race, gathered it back in on the restart and hung on to the fifth and final transfer spot to punch his ticket into the big show.

UMP Modifieds Feature 4 (15 Laps) RESULTS

  1. 33-Jeff Matthews[1]; 2. 67-Garrett Stewart[2]; 3. 11-Justin Haley[3]; 4. 205-Travis Vanadore[7]; 5. 00-Buzzie Reutimann[5]; 6. 24B-Dillon Buhr[4]; 7. 39W-Brandon Wells[6]; 8. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt[8]; 9. 21-Sean Monaghan[11]; 10. 2D-Ray Durrence Jr[10]; 11. 17-Patrick Vareika[12]; 12. (DNF) 10-Dustin Thayer[9]; 13. (DNF) 27S-Paul Schloss[13]

UP NEXT

The Reutimann Memorial action continues Saturday evening for the DIRTcar UMP the Modifieds, beginning with the redraw, Last Chance events and closing with the 50-lap, $5,000-to-win Feature. Catch all the action LIVE on DIRTVision!

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.