Shaun Daugharty

BORN TO BE WILD: Tropical Storms Stay Away, New Drivers Race To 2022 Victory Lane

The week leading up to the Wild Card 25 was nothing short of speculation, worry and anticipation. After talks of there being a tropical storm to ravage the night of racing, there was consideration of cancellation. Instead, the track management pushed on for racing and it was the best decision to make.

 

The Wild Card name lived up to the night provided, however. Unlikely winners and new faces to the 2022 victory lane made the night special.

 

Mikey Kopka has been mentioned many times throughout the 2022 season with one question; when will he break the bad luck? The Pierson native has come close so many times and was just unable to close the deal at the end of the night. That was until the 602 late models raced last night. Barring challenges from Lenny Dallman and Travis Staats, Kopka threw the monkey off his shoulders and cashed in the $700 in his 1A machine.

 

  1. 1A-Mikey Kopka[3]; 2. 18-Austin Leamon[7]; 3. 1AR-Travis Staats[4]; 4. 99-Colton Blair[2]; 5. 21D-Lenny Dallman[1]; 6. 57-Fletcher Mason[5]; 7. 35D-Justin Dean[6]; 8. 12-Billy Gast[9]; 9. 31-Tim Swartz[8]; 10. (DNF) 47-Michael Ridgeway[12]; 11. (DNF) M51-Mark Steube[10]; 12. (DNF) 3C-Cale Gilbert[11]; 13. (DNF) 23-Jason Papp[13]

The headliner for the Wild Card was the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds. A season high 22 cars made up the field for the $1,500 to win feature event. The race was controlled mostly by the 21J of Clay Harris. Harris started 5th and easily made his way up to lead the field. After a late race caution, the 21J was jumped on the restart and couldn’t make up the time lost. The man that took the race over was none other than points leader Seth Geary. Geary crossed under the line to get his third win of the season, including another tally mark to extend his points lead.

 

  1. 7G-Seth Geary[6]; 2. 67-Garret Stewart[9]; 3. 21J-Clay Harris[5]; 4. 51-Dalton Lanich[2]; 5. 15-Hunter Gustafson[4]; 6. 80-Paul Shead[1]; 7. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt[11]; 8. 3S-Josh Sanford[15]; 9. 17-Patrick Vareika[7]; 10. 34P-Jim Passino[18]; 11. 3-Tony Campbell[17]; 12. 34-Rob Giffen[16]; 13. 37-Eddie Scarberry[14]; 14. (DNF) 00-Buzzie Reutimann[13]; 15. (DNF) 11P-Charlie Phillips[21]; 16. (DNF) 1P-Mike Phillips[19]; 17. (DNF) 91-Jamie Green[12]; 18. (DNF) 22K-Dale Kelley[8]; 19. (DNF) 2-Joshua Kunstbeck[22]; 20. (DNF) 18-Eric Moon[3]; 21. (DNF) 2D-Ray Durrence Jr[20]; 22. (DNS) 7S-Ronnie Chance

The 604 late models was what the event almost ended with. Past lap 11, the race was stopped for rain coming into the area. It had sprinkled a few times prior to the cars going green, but nothing too serious. Fortunately, the rain stopped and added enough water to the track to help make the track tackier and faster. For the eventual winner, David Clegg, he talked about how he thought the track would be a disadvantage to him because he had struggled in the lead prior to the rain. 

 

When the race went back green, Clegg led the final 11 laps to be completed and gets his first win of 2022 under his belt.

 

  1. 07-David Clegg[6]; 2. 5-Dustin Carter[3]; 3. 51K-Mikey Kopka[2]; 4. 721-Joe Kump[10]; 5. 75-Sonny Thompson[5]; 6. 54T-Tuck Trentham[8]; 7. 12-Robert Gast[7]; 8. 26-Bill Adkins[9]; 9. 46C-Hamp Conley[12]; 10. RP1-David Castello[13]; 11. (DNF) 10S-Steve Shead[11]; 12. (DNF) 41-Derike Bennett[4]; 13. (DNF) 11K-Joshua Kunstbeck[1]

The Thunder Stocks were led and controlled by two men all night; Shaun Daugharty and Mike Tovet. Throughout the feature. They continued swapping the lead from each other until Tovet left everyone in the dust to collect the win in a caution free event.

 

  1. 1SHOT-Mike Tovet[4]; 2. 00-Shaun Daugharty[2]; 3. 20-Justin Reynolds[3]; 4. 1-Tanner Thomas[1]; 5. 9AR-Charlie Staats[6]; 6. 30-Chris Jeune[5]; 7. 73S-David Szczepanik[8]; 8. 96J-Scott Haas[11]; 9. 10S-Ronnie Scarberry[7]; 10. 27-Wesley Morgan[9]; 11. (DNS) 38-Charles King

Jimmy Wagner made the Street Stock feature his walk in the park for the entire 20 laps. He led from green to checkered and was close to lapping the field up to third by the end of lap 20. The win makes it his second, with a points lead to now be in sight.

The next event for the World’s Fastest Half Mile is the Bad Fast 30. Gates open at 4:00, with Hot Laps to follow at 6:00. Be sure to come out, or watch the broadcasting action live on DIRTVision. 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!

 

The Sunshine Showdown

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 Gator Nationals

After a soggy start to the weekend with a rainout on Saturday night, the Gator Nationals finally got underway on Sunday evening. Five classes of racing took to the track to do battle on this Memorial Day Weekend, and as expected the show kept fans on their feet all night.

The feature events kicked off with a 20-lap DIRTcar UMP Modified race and a $2000 winner’s purse. Seth Geary started on the pole and took the early lead. Garret Stewart charged thru the pack from his seventh starting position to second, and after a caution with five to go he got his chance at Geary. On the restart Stewart pulled to the inside of Geary and the two raced side-by-side for a couple of laps, but Geary was able to pull back ahead at the white flag and went on to win the race.

In the second feature event of the evening the Thunder Stocks took the track for what would be a caution filled race. Young Bubba Roling was the early leader holding off several challenges from seasoned veterans, but on a restart on lap seven Shaun Daugharty used the inside line in turn one to take the lead and never look back. Roling held on for a second place finish, and Charlie Staats finished third.

The third feature of the night was the 602 Late Models. With $1500 on the line we all knew this would be  a good race. Brenden Smith won his heat race and took the early lead in the feature, closely trailed by Mikey Kopka and Dustin Carter. As the race wound down it was clear that Brenden Smith was not going to be caught tonight. He went on to win with Kopka and Carter finishing second and third.

The ¾ Modifieds were the fourth feature of the night. Timmy Hogan took the early lead, while Wade Olmstead and Dustin Peterson put on a show behind him running side-by-side for second. With six laps to go Olmstead took the long way around turn one and two riding the cushion and taking the lead down the back stretch. A caution on the next lap tightened up the field, but once the green flag dropped it was clear Olmstead was on a mission. He went on to pick up his first feature win with Hogan and Powers rounding out the top three.

In the final feature of the night the Street Stocks took the track. An early side-by-side battle between David Showers Jr and Bubba Christian  set up a very fast paced race. Christian took the lead on the third lap and never looked back notching the victory. Chris Lawrance moved up to take second, and Showers finished third.

We thank everyone who joined us this Memorial Day weekend, especially our veterans. Our next race is the Sunshine Showdown on June 12th.