DIRTcar Nationals Thursday Program Cancelled Due to Persistent Rain in Area
Event will resume Friday as regularly scheduled with the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series and the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds
BARBERVILLE, Fla. - February 23, 2017 - Night 10 of DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park has been cancelled due to an extended heavy rain storm that hit the area on Wednesday and Thursday and a forecast of continued rain well into the day.
DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park will resume on Friday, Feb. 24, with the pit gates opening at 1:00pm, grandstands opening at 5:00pm. Hot laps for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series will kick off on-track activities at 6:00pm.
Fans that have purchased tickets in advance can use Thursday night's tickets as a credit toward one of the final two nights of DIRTcar Nationals. The ticket window at Volusia Speedway Park will be closed on Thursday and will reopen early at 3:00pm on Friday to assist those customers with Wednesday and Thursday tickets.
For more information about DIRTcar Nationals visit www.DIRTcarNationals.com or call 844-DIRT-TIX. Follow DIRTcar Nationals on social media: @DIRTcarNats on Twitter and Facebook.com/DIRTcar.
By The Numbers: DIRTcar Racing UMP Modifieds at the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals
By Clayton Johns
BARBERVILLE, FL - February 22, 2017 - The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds concluded their portion of the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park on Tuesday night. Ten feature races over the course of seven days produced plenty of thrilling action and culminated in Nick Hoffman earning his second straight Big Gator as the DIRTcar UMP Modified Nationals champion.
Here are some of the more interesting facts and figures to come from a week of action at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile.
1 - Number of points separating Big Gator champion Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, NC from second-place finisher Jacob Hawkins of Fairmont, WV. Hoffman won the championship 489 points to 488.
2 - Wins by Jacob Hawkins at the 2017 DIRTcar Nationals. Hawkins won the first and last UMP Modified features.
3 - Drivers who raced all 15 nights of the DIRTcar UMP Modified Florida Tour for Deep South points, including the DIRTcar Nationals (Kenny Wallace, Kyle Strickler, Shon Flanary)
4 - First time DIRTcar UMP Modified winners at the DIRTcar Nationals (Jacob Hawkins, Will Krup, Jonathan Taylor, JE Stalder)
18.121 - Fastest qualifying time of the week, set by Brian Ruhlman of Clarklake, Mich. on Sunday, February 19.
19 - Number of States plus one Canadian province represented by DIRTcar UMP Modified drivers.
27- Drivers who earned top-five finishes in 10 features.
30- Number of different UMP Modified winners at the DIRTcar Nationals since 2011. Six different drivers won at the 2017 edition.
36- Car number of Kenny Wallace, the only driver who competed in all 15 DIRTcar UMP Modified Florida events
67- Highest single-night car count (Friday, February 17).
76- Drivers who entered in at least one night of DIRTcar UMP Modified competition at 2017 DIRTcar Nationals.
523- Total laps of competition for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds over 8 days including qualifying, heat races, B-Mains and features.
$5,000- Nick Hoffman’s payday for winning the 30-lap Big Gator championship on Monday night.
The 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals continue on Thursday, February 23 with the World of Outlawas Craftsman® Late Model Series and Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds. Hot laps will start the on-track activities at 6:00pm.
Fans that have purchased tickets in advance can use Wednesday night's tickets as a credit toward one of the final three nights of DIRTcar Nationals. For more information about DIRTcar Nationals visit www.DIRTcarNationals.com or call 844-DIRT-TIX. Follow DIRTcar Nationals on social media: @DIRTcarNats on Twitter and Facebook.com/DIRTcar.
DIRTcar Nationals Wednesday Program Cancelled Due to Heavy Rain
Event will resume Thursday as regularly scheduled with the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series and the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds
BARBERVILLE, Fla. - February 22, 2017 - Night nine of DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park has been cancelled due to a heavy rain storm that hit the area on Wednesday morning and a forecast of continued rain throughout the day.
DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park will resume on Thursday, Feb. 23, with the pit gates opening at 1:00pm, grandstands opening at 5:00pm. Hot laps for the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series will kick off on-track activities at 6:00pm.
Fans that have purchased tickets in advance can use Wednesday night’s tickets as a credit toward one of the final three nights of DIRTcar Nationals. The ticket window at Volusia Speedway Park will be closed on Wednesday and will reopen at 4:30pm on Thursday.
Three-day pit pass wristbands, valid for Feb. 20-22 events, will receive a one-day refund. Wristbands should be mailed to the World Racing Group at 7575 W Winds Blvd NW D, Concord, NC 28027 after the event; refunds will not be issued at the track.
For more information about DIRTcar Nationals visit www.DIRTcarNationals.com or call 844-DIRT-TIX. Follow DIRTcar Nationals on social media: @DIRTcarNats on Twitter and Facebook.com/DIRTcar.
BARBERVILLE, FL— February 22, 2017— Brandon Sheppard fought his way to Victory Lane during night eight of the 46th annual DIRTcar Nationals in the 30-lap DIRTcar Racing Late Model Feature. It wasn’t an easy path for Sheppard to get to the front of the pack as Brian Shirley tried to fend him off any way possible.
Sheppard started in the fourth position but found his way to second within the first 10 laps. He passed Shane Clanton, who started the feature third, early on and then had to duel with Tyler Erb. Sheppard then began reeling in Shirley and was at his door knocking by lap 10. They ran side-by-side and the lead position was juggled between the No. 1 and No. 3 machines for several laps. Sheppard finally made the pass on lap 13 but Shirley didn’t surrender as they continued to run side-by-side.
“One of the things I’ve struggled with here a lot is knowing where I need to be on the track,” said Sheppard. “Mark [Richards] talked to me a bunch before we went out for that race and he was giving me pointers on where I need to pick up speed, and where I need to be out of the gas, and how to keep my momentum up… I feel like I learned a lot for later in the week.”
It was Clanton who next found his way to Shirley’s bumper and also found his way around to claim the second position with only five laps to go. Clanton, with his No.25 Capital Racecars chassis, was then gunning for the lead and for Sheppard. Unfortunately for Clanton, he ran out of laps once he was close enough to pass for the lead.
The 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals continues on Wednesday, Feb. 22 and a ‘Big Gator’ will be up for grabs as the DIRTcar Late Model Swamp King Championship will top off the DIRTcar Late Model portion of the event.
Feature (30-lap): 1. 1- Brandon Sheppard; 2. 25- Shane Clanton; 3. 3s- Brian Shirley; 4. 14- Darrell Lanigan; 5. 20- Rodney Sanders; 6.15s- Donny Schatz; 7. 9- Tyler Erb;8. 39- Tim McCreadie; 9. 7F- Jason Fitzgerald; 10. 44- Chris Madden; 11. 17M- Dale McDowell; 12. 18- Eric Wells; 13. 7- Rick Eckert; 14.7W- Ricky Weiss; 15. 11- Austin Hubbard; 16. 9- Devin Moran; 17. 4-D's- Chad Hollenbeck; 18. 28E- Dennis Erb Jr;19. 21- Billy Moyer Jr; 20. 99B- Boom Briggs; 21. 7m- Donald Mcintosh; 22. 18c- Chase Junghans; 23. 40B- Kyle Bronson; 24. 38s- Kenny Pettyjohn
B-Main 1: 1.18c- Chase Junghans ; 2. 28E- Dennis Erb Jr ; 3. 14M- Morgan Bagley ; 4. 15- Steve Francis ; 5. 16T- Tyler Bruening ; 6. 6- Blake Spencer ; 7. 14r- Reid Millard ; 8. 27- Jeff Beyers; 9. 116- Brandon Overton ;10. 21L- Ivedent Lloyd Jr [DNS]
B-Main 2: 1. 21- Billy Moyer Jr; 2. 7m- Donald Mcintosh; 3. 93- Donald Bradsher; 4. 2c- Joey Coulter; 5. B1- Brent Larson; 6. 0v- Coleby Frye; 7. 11B- Stacy Boles; 8. 2F- Dennis Franklin ; 9. 3c-Charles LaPlant[DNS]; 10.72-Mike Norris[DNS]
B-Main 3:1. 38s- Kenny Pettyjohn; 2. 7W- Ricky Weiss; 3. 99j- Frank Heckenast Jr; 4. 5- Don O'Neal; 5. 16- Jason Jameson; 6. 71- Hudson O'Neal; 7. 22*- G.R. Smith; 8. 1*- Chub Frank; 9. 16H- Mike Hammerle; 10. 2H- Nick Hoffman
Heat 1: 1.20- Rodney Sanders ; 2.15s- Donny Schatz ; 3.18- Eric Wells ; 4.28E- Dennis Erb Jr ; 5.15- Steve Francis ; 6.16T- Tyler Bruening ; 7.116- Brandon Overton ; 8.14M- Morgan Bagley 
Hoffman Completes Big Gator Triumph; Hawkins, Taylor and Stalder Earn Victories
By Clayton Johns
BARBERVILLE, FL - February 22, 2017 - Jacob Hawkins won the battle, but Nick Hoffman won the war and the Big Gator as the overall 2017 UMP Modified DIRTcar Nationals champion at Volusia Speedway Park on Tuesday night. Hawkins, Jonathan Taylor, and JE Stalder all added Gator trophies to their mantles after winning one of three UMP Modified features on night eight of the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals.
Triple 15-lap features on the last of eight straight nights of UMP Modified competition were lined up based on DIRTcar Nationals point standings with the bottom third in feature 1, middle third in feature 2 and highest third in the final 15-lap event.
In the final UMP Modified feature of the week, Hawkins of Fairmont, WV went on a tear. He drove the No.13 from the ninth starting spot, passing eight cars in seven laps to take the lead. Hawkins then led the final eight in the same fashion he ran all week - in the top lane, against the cushion - to score his second win of the DIRTcar Nationals.
“That’s my preferred line. I always enjoy it when I can get up there and hustle the car a little bit,” Hawkins said. “I have to congratulate Nick Hoffman on thee [Big Gator] win. It wasn’t for a lack of effort on our part. He definitely was the class of the field all week. I’m glad we were able to pull this last win off.”
Despite Hawkins’ lightning-quick effort, Hoffman of Mooresville, NC turned in a second-place finish. His fourth-straight podium result edged Hawkins by just one point to win the Big Gator for the second straight year.
“We were really dominant last year and to come back this year and do the same thing means a lot,” Hoffman said. “I was a little worried there when he got to second when we had the caution and I was back in sixth. Luckily everybody picked the bottom on the restart and I was able to pick a few of them off right there.”
Stalder of Martins Ferry, Oh. started on the pole for the first 15-lap feature and paced every lap to secure the win. He held off a late surge from Robert Garnes of Ripley, WV who tried to slide to the number one spot in the final two corners.
“It’s great,” Stalder said of his first Volusia win. “I’ve been coming here for a lot of years. I’ve had a lot of bad luck and finally turned it around tonight.”
AJ Fike of Galesburg, Ill. earned a third-place finish ahead of 15-year-old Mooresville, NC native Slater McCray, grandson of former NASCAR racer Ron Hornaday. Jared Spalding of Troy, Penn. representing the University of Northwestern Ohio team rounded out the top-five in feature 1.
In the second feature, Taylor of Saltsburg, Pa. launched from the fourth-starting spot to lead the opening lap. Taylor found the outside groove to his liking, banging his right-rear tire against a small cushion. He opened a convincing lead that was eliminated by a red flag when Blake Spalding hit the front stretch wall and flipped on his roof on lap seven. He was uninjured by the incident.
The short break didn’t seem to both Taylor, as he drove away from former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton on the restart. Taylor’s victory was never in doubt as he crossed the finish line 1.9 seconds ahead of Crafton.
“I’m speechless,” Taylor remarked in Victory Lane. “This is absolutely a dream come true, the highlight of my career.”
“We’ve struggled this week, unfortunately, but the last two nights with a little bit of moisture in the track we’ve really learned a lot. We’ve just tried to keep going and I think tonight it finally paid off,” Taylor said.
Chase Collins of Jacksonville, Fla., Garrett Stewart of Leesburg, Fla. and Austin Holcombe of Elm City, NC rounded out the top-five in feature 2.
The Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds now takeover as the open-wheel component at the 46th DIRTcar Nationals. The “Beasts of the Northeast” join the DIRTcar Late Models on Wednesday night before the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series invades the track for three nights beginning on Thursday. Tickets are available online at www.dirtcar.ticketforce.com or by calling 1-844-DIRT-TIX.
46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park DIRTcar UMP Modified Notebook - February 21, 2017
BARBERVILLE, FL- February 20, 2017- On the seventh day of the 46th annual DIRTcar Nationals, 43 Late Models migrated to Volusia Speedway Park to test their luck at the 'World's Fastest Half-Mile'. The season opening swing through Georgia and Florida continues and drivers are hoping to leave the track with a coveted Gator trophy in the passenger seat. Chris Madden began his collection of gators tonight.
Madden steadily gained ground on pole sitter and race leader Brian Shirley who had made a significant breakaway from the rest of the field early in the race. With the help of a restart, Madden was able to make a pass on the high-side of Brian Shirley on lap 13 to claim the lead.
"We got a good restart and then we were able to get out in the clean air and we had a pretty good car tonight," said Chris Madden. "It was too tight the first 10 or so laps but overall we had a great race car. I'm going to take this [Gator] home to my little man, Avery."
Shirley was running a line on the bottom of the track which seemed to be working for him until Madden tested the waters in the middle of the track and started catching up.
"It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't deal," said Shirley in response to his choice to run the bottom of the track. "I mean he got around us there and got away from me and I just changed my line and reeled him back in. I know we had a car capable of winning the race."
Chub Frank was also among the front runners Monday night and was trailing closely behind Shirley and Madden until his right-rear tire exploded. Frank doesn't have a full crew right now, so with the help of his friend and relative, Doug Eck, and a few others he had a new tire on quickly, but had to restart at the rear. He ultimately finished 21 of the 24-car Feature.
DIRTcar Racing Late Models will continue to run through Wednesday and the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series will pick up on Thursday. Tickets for the event are available here or by calling 844-DIRT-TIX.
World of Outlaws Statement Regarding Incident at Volusia Speedway Park
BARBERVILLE, FLA. - Feb. 20, 2017 - On Sunday, February 19 a racecar involved in a multi-car accident became airborne and landed off the racing surface, injuring three participants during the 46th annual DIRTcar Nationals, a World of Outlaws-sanctioned dirt track racing event hosted by Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.
The three individuals were standing in what is commonly referred to as the "pit area" or "pits." The pit area at a World of Outlaws event is separate from the main grandstand and is where the teams participating in the event stage their race cars and support equipment. The individuals struck by the race car were treated immediately by emergency personnel on hand at the event and transported to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla.
While racing side by side entering Turn 1 at the Speedway several sprint cars touched sparking a chain reaction accident in the middle of the 24-car field. One car was hit by another and subsequently made heavy contact with a steel guardrail betweens Turn 1 and Turn 2. The car's momentum carried it forward flipping it into the air and towards the catch fence. The car made contact with the upper portion of the catch fence in Turn 2, tumbling over the fence. As it was coming to a stop it struck the individuals referenced above. The driver of the race car was not injured.
The guard rail used at Volusia Speedway Park is the same type of guardrail used on most major interstates across America and can be found at motorsports venues of all types and classifications. The catch fence installed at Volusia Speedway Park relies on a combination of steel posts, wire mesh and heavy duty steel retention cables as is common in motorsports applications. The World of Outlaws will run 148 races at 83 different race tracks in 32 states during the 2017 season. Each facility is unique, but must meet the safety requirements established by its insurance provider in order to host a World of Outlaws event.
"The safety and well being of every individual attending a World of Outlaws, whether as a participant in the pit area, a fan in the grandstand, a concession worker, race official or emergency responder is a priority." said World of Outlaws President Tom Deery. "The World of Outlaws compete at the best dirt tracks in the country, we are constantly evaluating and implementing new procedures to improve safety at our events and have already begun that process in response to this weekend's incident. We ask the racing community to keep the individuals who have not yet been released from the hospital in their prayers and plan to respect their privacy as requested by the families."
February 20, 2017 — Volusia Speedway Park staff and management worked through the night Sunday to provide support to the family and friends of the participants involved in the incident in the pit area outside of Turn 2 during the World of Outlaws feature event portion of the program and to further evaluate all aspects of the situation.
Prior to the 46th annual running of the DIRTcar Nationals, the safety measures in place at the speedway have done their job. Under its current ownership since 2005, no race car has compromised a catch fence at the speedway. The safety arrangement in Turns 1 and 2 at Volusia Speedway Park includes an earthen reinforced steel guardrail on the racing surface, a buffer area and a cable reinforced steel catch fence.
The catch fence protecting the pit area at the exit of Turn 2 utilizes a different configuration than that which is used around the balance of the facility. As a result, in addition to repairing the catch fence, the pit area closest to the racing surface in Turn 2 will be closed to all competitors, participants and officials for the remaining six nights of racing. While not affected by the incident Sunday night, a small set of bleachers intended for use by competitors and crew members that would have fallen within the restricted area has also been removed.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of our racing family injured Sunday night, and we are encouraged by the reports of the excellent care they are receiving at Halifax," said Brian Carter, CEO of Volusia Speedway Park. "We have implemented additional safety measures and are very proud of our emergency medical personnel and their response to the incident."
February 19, 2017 - Three participants in the pit area were injured in an incident at a DIRTcar Nationals World of Outlaws event at Volusia Speedway Park Sunday night when a car went through the fence in turn two. All patients were treated by emergency personnel immediately according to safety protocol and transported to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla.
UPDATE: Feb. 20, 4:00AM
We would like to extend a thank you for everyone's thoughts and prayers for the three participants injured in the pit area Sunday night during the 46th running of the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
Two of the three individuals remain in the care of medical staff at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. Each have family present at the hospital and have requested privacy at this time.
Michael Brooks, 69, of Kalamazoo, Mich., is one of the individuals involved. His family and friends are at Halifax Health Medical Center and have requested privacy.
Meanwhile, Gary Streek, of the United Kingdom, has been discharged. His uncle, Alan Wardel, was admitted after experiencing some discomfort while visiting Streek at Halifax, but has since been discharged as well.
UPDATE: Feb. 20, 11:00AM
Justin Allgaier Motorsports Crew Chief Kelly Kovski sustained injuries during the mishap Sunday night. He is being treated at Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach, FL. and is listed in stable condition according to a statement issued by Justin on behalf of the family.
The family requests privacy at this time and appreciates all prayers and well wishes. They would also like to thank the first responders and medical staff for their rapid response.
Justin will not compete in the remainder of the DIRTcar Nationals events this year and wishes to thank those teams and crew members who assisted in getting the car loaded so that everyone could get to the hospital to be with Kelly.
The 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park will continue as scheduled with racing tonight.