Volusia Speedway Park

STREAK SNAPPER: Page Wins Pro Late Model Sunshine Nationals Opener at Volusia, Denies Bronson of Four-Peat

McCarter soars from 19th-to-second, Bronson finishes fourth right after World of Outlaws win

The last time Kyle Bronson and Michael Page went head-to-head in DIRTcar Pro Late Model action at Volusia Speedway Park, Bronson got the upper-hand in a furious battle for the inaugural DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals finale victory. On Thursday night, it was Page’s turn to shine.

Page, of Douglasville, GA, led all 25 laps en route to his first victory in the event, snapping Bronson’s three-race win streak that be built in last year by sweeping the weekend and winning all three Pro Late Model Features and clinching the overall event championship.

A big move at the drop of the opening green flag really set Page out front quickly and gave him the advantage he needed over his competition. After redrawing sixth upon winning his Heat Race earlier in the evening, Page came out of Turn 4 considerably lower than the two cars in front of him on the original start and zoomed into third-place, full-bore into Turn 1. By the time he entered Turn 3, Page was the race leader.

The +5-spot differential in one lap made for quite an exciting sequence of passes, showing off the alive-and-well strength of a new power plant under the hood of 2003 MasterSbilt Race Cars chassis that Page used in his runner-up finish in this event last year.

“It’s a new motor, a Matt Bishop racing engine, a local guy around where we live, and that thing ran better than anything I’ve ever drove Crate-wise. And for an old MasterSbilt, that thing will get around the racetrack as good as anything,” Page told DIRTVision pit reporter Ruben Mireles in Victory Lane.

Beyond a few restarts in the second half of the race, not much else gave Page a serious challenge for the top spot. Bronson, however, was stopped just a bit short of his quest to continue his winning streak.

After winning the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series Feature just one hour before, Bronson hopped into his Pro Late Model and went from the pole but did not look as strong as he did with the Outlaws.

Bronson had faded back to sixth at one point but was able to rebound on the late restarts and lock up a fourth-place finish.

One of the race’s biggest highlights outside of the Page-Bronson storylines was the climb of young Tennessean Mack McCarter. He and his #51 came all the way from 19th to finish second in the Feature. McCarter had passed 15 cars in 10 laps and made the most of his time in the podium, even making up a little distance on leader Page in the closing circuits.

But there just was no catching Page and his #18x. His start was just too great, and the car was just too stable for any worthy challengers.

“I just tried to do something; to go where they couldn’t,” Page said. “The car just took off immediately. Sometimes doing whatever they don’t do is the right thing to do, but sometimes it’ll kick you in the butt. But it worked out tonight.”

Magic Man Mark Whitener crossed the stripe in third after a solid run inside the top-six the entire distance. Driving for Dale Mosley Racing this weekend, he really had a handle on his Pro Late Model ride, setting a new personal-best finish in the event.

The Sunshine Nationals action continues Friday night with more Pro Late Model, World of Outlaws, 602 Late Model and Florida Late Model action from Volusia Speedway Park on night #2 of the DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision!

Feature (25 Laps) 1. 18X-Michael Page [6]; 2. 51-Mack McCarter [19]; 3. 385-Mark Whitener [7]; 4. 40B-Kyle Bronson [1]; 5. 23-Cory Hedgecock [10]; 6. 66-Jake Knowles [2]; 7. 14JR-John Baker [4]; 8. 66K-Dylan Knowles [9]; 9. 10-Joseph Joiner [14]; 10. 6-Clay Harris [11]; 11. 14M-Trey Mills [3]; 12. 97-Cody Overton [15]; 13. 121-Pearson Lee [24]; 14. O1-Jason Welshan [22]; 15. 92-Joseph Brown [12]; 16. 87A-Walker Arthur [13]; 17. 30-Todd Cooney [26]; 18. 7A-Corey Almond [16]; 19. 66JK-Jody Knowles [25]; 20. 5-John Collins [5]; 21. 40-Joel Callahan [17]; 22. 55-Matt Long [23]; 23. 69X-Carder Miller [20]; 24. OO-Richie Stephens [18]; 25. 2-Trynt Llyod [21]; 26. OO7-Dusty Sparkman [8] Hard Charger: 51-Mack McCarter[+17]

Qualifying Flight-A 1. 30-Todd Cooney, 17.224; 2. 3-Raymond Folwell, 17.557; 3. 18X-Michael Page, 17.71; 4. 66K-Dylan Knowles, 17.819; 5. 51-Mack McCarter, 17.871; 6. 515-David Markham, 17.933; 7. 87A-Walker Arthur, 17.978; 8. 40B-Kyle Bronson, 17.986; 9. 51T-Chad Tuten, 18.001; 10. 3R-Ryan Van, 18.017; 11. 385-Mark Whitener, 18.023; 12. 97-Cody Overton, 18.049; 13. O1-Jason Welshan, 18.078; 14. 7F-Jason Fitzgerald, 18.152; 15. 44-Curtis Cline, 18.166; 16. 95-Brandon Williams, 18.214; 17. 9-Jimmy Waldrop, 18.555; 18. 7T-Trever Taylor, NT; DQ. 33-Jeff Mathews, 17.969

Qualifying Flight-B 1. 6-Clay Harris, 17.619; 2. 69X-Carder Miller, 17.998; 3. 5-John Collins, 18.089; 4. 23P-Ahnna Parkhurst, 18.179; 5. 55-Matt Long, 18.185; 6. 80-Ben Scott, 18.218; 7. 40-Joel Callahan, 18.22; 8. 14M-Trey Mills, 18.227; 9. 42-Steve Stratton, 18.26; 10. OO7-Dusty Sparkman, 18.271; 11. K37-Drew Kennedy, 18.298; 12. 10-Joseph Joiner, 18.348; 13. 87-Jarrod Corey, 18.481; 14. 7H-Jeremy Holtzclaw, 18.529; 15. 27-Garrett Llyod, 18.614; 16. 26-Jimmy Sharpe, 18.633; 17. 14-Jerry Green, 18.848; 18. 39X-Zack Shelton, 18.98

Qualifying Flight-C 1. 23-Cory Hedgecock, 17.65; 2. OO-Richie Stephens, 17.814; 3. 2021-Jeff Provenzano, 17.827; 4. 92-Joseph Brown, 17.908; 5. 14JR-John Baker, 17.955; 6. 66-Jake Knowles, 18.03; 7. 7A-Corey Almond, 18.112; 8. 388-Jackson Hise, 18.119; 9. 2-Trynt Llyod, 18.186; 10. 121-Pearson Lee, 18.213; 11. 66JK-Jody Knowles, 18.329; 12. 6H-Jimmy Halford, 18.461; 13. 32-Curks Clover, 18.485; 14. 72S-Chase Washington, 18.582; 15. 11-Daniel Dial, 18.661; 16. 301-Shawn Cooney, 19.316; 17. 16-Tom Egner, 19.428; 18. 39-Troy Dixon, 19.513; 19. T8-Steve Bonal, NT

Heat #1 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 18X-Michael Page [3]; 2. 385-Mark Whitener [6]; 3. 87A-Walker Arthur [1]; 4. 51-Mack McCarter [2]; 5. O1-Jason Welshan [7]; 6. 30-Todd Cooney [4]; 7. 44-Curtis Cline [8]; 8. 51T-Chad Tuten [5]; 9. 9-Jimmy Waldrop [9]; 10. 33-Jeff Mathews [10]

Heat #2 – Flight (A) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 40B-Kyle Bronson [1]; 2. 66K-Dylan Knowles [3]; 3. 97-Cody Overton [6]; 4. 3-Raymond Folwell [4]; 5. 3R-Ryan Van [5]; 6. 7F-Jason Fitzgerald [7]; 7. 515-David Markham [2]; 8. 95-Brandon Williams [8]; 9. 7T-Trever Taylor [9]

Heat #3 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer
1. 5-John Collins [3]; 2. 6-Clay Harris [4]; 3. 40-Joel Callahan [1]; 4. 55-Matt Long [2]; 5. K37-Drew Kennedy [6]; 6. 14-Jerry Green [9]; 7. 27-Garrett Llyod [8]; 8. 87-Jarrod Corey [7]; 9. 42-Steve Stratton [5]

Heat #4 – Flight (B) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 14M-Trey Mills [1]; 2. OO7-Dusty Sparkman [5]; 3. 10-Joseph Joiner [6]; 4. 69X-Carder Miller [4]; 5. 23P-Ahnna Parkhurst [3]; 6. 7H-Jeremy Holtzclaw [7]; 7. 39X-Zack Shelton [9]; 8. 80-Ben Scott [2]; 9. 26-Jimmy Sharpe [8]

Heat #5 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 14JR-John Baker [2]; 2. 23-Cory Hedgecock [4]; 3. 7A-Corey Almond [1]; 4. 2-Trynt Llyod [5]; 5. 66JK-Jody Knowles [6]; 6. 2021-Jeff Provenzano [3]; 7. 32-Curks Clover [7]; 8. 11-Daniel Dial [8]; 9. 16-Tom Egner [9]; 10. T8-Steve Bonal [10]

Drydene Heat #6 – Flight (C) (8 Laps) – Top 3 Transfer 1. 66-Jake Knowles [2]; 2. 92-Joseph Brown [3]; 3. OO-Richie Stephens [4]; 4. 121-Pearson Lee [5]; 5. 72S-Chase Washington [7]; 6. 388-Jackson Hise [1]; 7. 6H-Jimmy Halford [6]; 8. 301-Shawn Cooney [8]; 9. 39-Troy Dixon [9]

Last Chance Showdown 1 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 51-Mack McCarter [1]; 2. O1-Jason Welshan [3]; 3. 30-Todd Cooney [5]; 4. 7F-Jason Fitzgerald [6]; 5. 3-Raymond Folwell [2]; 6. 3R-Ryan Van [4]; 7. 44-Curtis Cline [7]; 8. 95-Brandon Williams [10]; 9. 515-David Markham [8]; 10. 51T-Chad Tuten [9]; 11. 9-Jimmy Waldrop [11]; 12. 7T-Trever Taylor [12]; 13. 33-Jeff Mathews [13]

Last Chance Showdown 2 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 69X-Carder Miller [2]; 2. 55-Matt Long [1]; 3. K37-Drew Kennedy [3]; 4. 14-Jerry Green [5]; 5. 23P-Ahnna Parkhurst [4]; 6. 7H-Jeremy Holtzclaw [6]; 7. 87-Jarrod Corey [9]; 8. 39X-Zack Shelton [8]; 9. 42-Steve Stratton [11]; 10. 27-Garrett Llyod [7]; 11. 80-Ben Scott [10]; 12. 26-Jimmy Sharpe [12]

Last Chance Showdown 3 (10 Laps) – Top 2 Transfer 1. 2-Trynt Llyod [1]; 2. 121-Pearson Lee [2]; 3. 66JK-Jody Knowles [3]; 4. 2021-Jeff Provenzano [5]; 5. 6H-Jimmy Halford [8]; 6. 32-Curks Clover [7]; 7. 11-Daniel Dial [9]; 8. 39-Troy Dixon [12]; 9. 301-Shawn Cooney [10]; 10. 72S-Chase Washington [4]; 11. 388-Jackson Hise [6]; 12. 16-Tom Egner [11]; 13. T8-Steve Bonal [13]

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: DIRTcar Pro Late Models Return with a Strong Field for 2nd annual Sunshine Nationals

Bronson preps for title defense, double duty with Whitener and Matthews

A grand total of 86 Late Models filled the Volusia Speedway Park pit area last year for the Saturday night finale of the inaugural DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals.

This year promises to be even bigger with the addition of a fourth class into the mix, setting some DIRTcar Pro Late Model drivers up for a double duty weekend alongside the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models as they kick off their season at the event, running Jan. 14-16.

Others will be making their maiden voyage to the event, in hopes to capture the $10,000 top prize in Saturday night’s 30-lap finale. A night of practice on Wednesday will precede Thursday and Friday’s preliminary action; all three nights of racing will be broadcast live on DIRTVision. Get yourself a Fast Pass subscription today and be on the lookout for these drivers in the field to make some waves.

Here are the top storylines to follow at the Sunshine Nationals:

BRONSON EYES REPEAT – The inaugural Sunshine Nationals winner returns in 2021 to defend his DIRTcar Pro Late Model crown behind the wheel of his Racecar Engineering #40B. Last year, the Brandon, FL-native put together a complete weekend sweep, setting fast time in practice Wednesday night before winning all three Pro Late Model Features Thursday-Saturday and collecting $13,500 in first-place money for his efforts. After watching him take down headline Late Model names such as Michael Page, Randy Weaver and Max Blair in last year’s finale, Killer is the clear favorite heading into the 2nd annual event.

This year, with the addition of the World of Outlaws to the racing program, Bronson is expected to pull the double, racing in both classes while chasing after his second career Outlaws victory.

Bronson’s new Pro Late Model ride for 2021

MAGIC MAN RETURNS – Another Floridian with a chance to make it happen in this year’s event is Mark Whitener. He’ll also be pulling double duty in his Pro Late Model and Super Late Model with the Outlaws, looking for his first career victory in the event. Magic Man had a decent showing in last year’s event with the Pro Late Models with a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s finale. He struggled Friday night, dropping out early after starting on the outside pole, but is ready for redemption this time around.

Whitener has had success in the past at Volusia, landing himself a spot in the World of Outlaws redraw in three of his six DIRTcar Nationals starts last year, following a fifth-place effort in the opening night of Late Model week with the DIRTcar Late Models.

NEW YEAR, NEW CAR – It was an up-and-down kind of event for Jake Knowles in 2020. While he missed the Feature on Thursday night and placed 20th after starting sixth on Saturday, Knowles did have a solid fourth-place run on Friday night that showed he knows how to get around Volusia.

The 35-year-old from Rome, GA, will be starting the year off behind the wheel of a Jason Welshan-owned Savage Chassis house car instead of his usual red/white #66 while his own Savage Chassis is being built. Knowles already has one weekend of competition on the car, finishing 17th in Sunday’s Ice Bowl event at Talladega Short Track.

Jake Knowles’ Savage Chassis ride for the 2021 Sunshine Nationals

MACK ATTACK – The younger of the McCarter brothers, whose father Mitch owns 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, TN, Mack McCarter comes into this weekend riding a big momentum swing from three consecutive Crate Late Model Feature wins in his last four starts. Mack swept the Crate competition at 411’s Leftover event in November, then went to Volunteer Speedway the next weekend and won the Crate portion of the Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series Grinch 40. Look out for this young talent as he makes his debut in the Sunshine Nationals this weekend.

TURNAROUND TIME – Another double-duty pilot from the state of Florida, Hollywood Jeff Mathews is one of the more experienced drivers in the Late Model field. As a former UMP Modified regular, Mathews knows his way around Volusia just as well as anyone else and has shown that on several occasions; most recently picking up a Modified Showdown Feature win in November at Volusia’s Reutimann Memorial.

He did not have the Sunshine Nationals results he was looking for in 2020, with finishes of 16th, 17th and 23rd, but 2021 could be different as Mathews is coming off a year that included four Features wins in his Late Model ventures.

THE BIG 5-O: Ironmen UMP Modified Drivers Take on 50th DIRTcar Nationals Feb. 2-8, 2021

New stars Hoffman, Nicely set to battle with veterans Wallace, Stremme and others

Jan. 6, 2021 – The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds have long been known as the “Ironmen” of the DIRTcar Nationals.

For the past several years of the iconic Florida event, they’ve competed the first seven nights alongside the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series and World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series.

When the stout field rolls into Volusia Speedway Park Feb. 2-8 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the event, one hand will point to the division’s future stars while the other reaches back on the history books. Some of the division’s most exciting points chases and storylines have been produced over the past 15 years, featuring a slew of instantly recognizable names.

Rick Young Photo (2007)

The 2007 DIRTcar Nationals was headlined with the success of one young Canadian, who ushered in a new level of dominance not previously seen in DIRTcar Nationals UMP Modified history. Twenty-three-year-old Steve Arpin, of Fort Frances, ON, brought his Larry Shaw Race Cars #00 into the facility and made his mark on history, winning an incredible five consecutive Features in seven nights to earn his first DIRTcar Nationals championship. It seemed as though Arpin would hold this record forever, until one man sparked a legacy of his own the following year.

When Arpin was seriously injured at Volusia in February 2008, the door swung open for another driver to step up to the plate. Jared Landers, of Batesville, AR, won two Features that year, setting him up for a memorable run in 2009 where he won five non-consecutive Features over seven nights of racing, tying Arpin’s record and crowning him DIRTcar Nationals champion for the first time in his career.

The next four years didn’t see quite the level of dominance brought on by Arpin and Landers but was made up for with a diverse group of Feature winners and champions.

Present-day Late Model veteran Dave Hess Jr., of Waterford, PA, won two Features en route to his Golden Eagle trophy in 2010, one year before Emporia, KS’s own Clint Bowyer led the charge of NASCAR-driven success at the event.

Bowyer won three Features on his way to a Golden Eagle in 2011, paving the way for fellow Richard Childress Racing teammates Ty and Austin Dillon’s three newly styled Big Gator championship trophies, collected from 2012-2015. The brothers won a combined 12 DIRTcar Nationals Features over that period, missing out on only the 2013 points championship to another NASCAR legend, Kenny Schrader.

While Austin hoisted his first Big Gator in 2015 with Ty finishing just 10 points behind in third, one driver stood between them in the points that year.

Belleville, IL-born Nick Hoffman, now residing in Mooresville, NC, has since been the one man to beat when it comes to the UMP Modifieds at the DIRTcar Nationals. He and his blue/orange Elite Chassis #2 have been tearing up Volusia in February for the past five years, winning 13 Features and five consecutive Big Gator trophies from 2016-2020.

Hoffman (2) and David Stremme (35) racing for position in the 2020 DIRTcar Nationals (Rick Neff Photo)

Armed with his second consecutive DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals championship and DIRTcar UMP Modified national championship honors that 2020 brought him, 2021 is looking brighter than ever for the reigning Big Gator champion to repeat at Volusia.

Of course, several big-name contenders in the division will be gunning for their right to hoist the Big Gator trophy as well, including former NASCAR stars David Stremme, Kenny Wallace and 2020 Reutimann Memorial winner Tyler Nicely.

Tickets for the 50th annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 2-13, are on sale now at DIRTcarNationals.com. If you can’t make it to the track, be sure to tune into DIRTVision to watch all the action live from the comfort of your home!

Previous UMP Modified Feature Winners
February 10, 2020 – Spencer Hughes
February 9, 2020 – Kyle Strickler
February 8, 2020 – Nick Hoffman
February 7, 2020 – Curt Spalding, Jason Beaulieu, Christian Thomas, David Reutimann
February 6, 2020 – Nick Hoffman
February 5, 2020 – Kyle Strickler
February 4, 2020 – Michael Long
February 11th, 2019 — Kyle Strickler
February 11th, 2019 — Kyle Strickler
February 11th, 2019 —Lucas Lee
February 8th, 2019 — R.C. Whitwell, Justin Haley, Gordy Gundaker, Brandon Green, Jesse Rupe
February 7th, 2019 — Nick Hoffman
February 6th, 2019 — Taylor Cook
February 5th, 2019 — Michael Long
February 11th, 2018 — Kyle Strickler
February 10th, 2018 — Tyler Nicely
February 9th, 2018 — Kyle Strickler, Tyler Nicely, Frank Paladino, Larry Mott
February 8th, 2018 — Nick Hoffman
February 7th, 2018 — Nick Hoffman
February 6th, 2018 — David Stremme
February 21st, 2017 — Jacob Hawkins, Jonathan Taylor, J.E. Stalder
February 20th, 2017 — Nick Hoffman
February 19th, 2017 — Nick Hoffman
February 19th, 2017 — Will Krup
February 17th, 2017 — Nick Hoffman
February 16th, 2017 — Brian Ruhlman
February 15th, 2017 — Nick Hoffman
February 14th, 2017 — Jacob Hawkins
February 16th, 2016 — Derrick Ramey, Justin Allgaier, Ray Bollinger
February 15th, 2016 — Nick Hoffman
February 14th, 2016 — Brian Ruhlman
February 13th, 2016 — Nick Hoffman
February 12th, 2016 — Trent Young
February 11th, 2016 — Tyler Nicely
February 10th, 2016 — Nick Hoffman
February 9th, 2016 — Nick Hoffman
February 16th, 2015 — Austin Dillon
February 15th, 2015 — Austin Dillon
February 14th, 2015 — Nick Hoffman
February 13th, 2015 — Ty Dillon
February 12th, 2015 — David Stremme
February 11th, 2015 — Kyle Strickler
February 10th, 2015 — Austin Dillon
February 18th, 2014 — Ty Dillon
February 18th, 2014 — Joel Ortberg
February 17th, 2014 — Ty Dillon
February 16th, 2014 — Austin Dillon
February 15th, 2014 — Ty Dillon
February 14th, 2014 — Ty Dillon
February 13th, 2014 — Kyle Bronson
February 11th, 2014 — Kyle Strickler
February 19th, 2013 — Ty Dillon
February 19th, 2013 — Jacob Poel
February 19th, 2013 — Jason Zimmer
February 18th, 2013 — Ken Schrader
February 17th, 2013 — Matt Westfall
February 16th, 2013 — Jacob Poel
February 15th, 2013 — Nick Hoffman
February 12th, 2013 — Rodney Sanders
February 21st, 2012 — Austin Dillon
February 21st, 2012 — Mike Wedelstadt
February 21st, 2012 — Tyler Carpenter
February 20th, 2012 — Nick Hoffman
February 19th, 2012 — Kenny Wallace
February 18th, 2012 — Chad Kinder
February 17th, 2012 — Ty Dillon
February 16th, 2012 — Kenny Wallace
February 15th, 2012 — Kenny Wallace
February 14th, 2012 — Dale Mathison
February 15th, 2011 — Ty Dillon
February 15th, 2011 — Kenny Schrader
February 15th, 2011 — Austin Dillon
February 14th, 2011 — Ty Dillon
February 13th, 2011 — Clint Bowyer
February 12th, 2011 — Richie Tosh
February 11th, 2011 — Ryan Gustin
February 10th, 2011 — Clint Bowyer
February 9th, 2011 — Clint Bowyer
February 8th, 2011 — Austin Dillon
February 8th, 2010 — Jared Landers
February 7th, 2010 — Austin Dillon
February 6th, 2010 — Dave Hess, Jr.
February 4th, 2010 — David McWilliams
February 3rd, 2010 — Dave Hess, Jr.
February 10th, 2009 — Austin Dillon
February 9th, 2009 — Jared Landers
February 8th, 2009 — Jared Landers
February 7th, 2009 — Randy Hall
February 6th, 2009 — Jared Landers
February 5th, 2009 — Austin Dillon
February 4th, 2009 — Jared Landers
February 3rd, 2009 — Jared Landers
February 11th, 2008 — Dave Groves
February 10th, 2008 — Tim Hancock
February 9th, 2008 — Dave Hess, Jr.
February 8th, 2008 — Jared Landers
February 7th, 2008 — Jared Landers
February 6th, 2008 — Scott Drake
February 5th, 2008 — Jesse Stovall
February 12th, 2007 — Joey Kramer
February 11th, 2007 — Steve Arpin
February 10th, 2007 — Steve Arpin
February 9th, 2007 — Steve Arpin
February 8th, 2007 — Steve Arpin
February 7th, 2007 — Steve Arpin
February 6th, 2007 — Kenny Wallace
February 12th, 2006 – Joey Kramer
February 10th, 2006 – Duke Whiseant
February 9th, 2006 – Duke Whiseant
February 8th, 2006 – Chad Ohnsted
February 7th, 2006 – Craig Thatcher
February 6th, 2006 – Blake Jetvig
February 14th, 2005 – Joey Kramer
February 13th, 2005 – Craig Thatcher
February 12th, 2005 – Joey Kramer
February 11th, 2005 – Joey Kramer
February 10th, 2005 – Craig Thatcher
February 9th, 2005 – Steve Arpin

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.