News

Wins first career Gator at DIRTcar Nationals

BARBERSVILLE, Fla. – February 17, 2017 – Jason Johnson made a grand entrance into 2017 Friday night, winning the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series opener at the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals. Johnson, whose 2016 season was highlighted by a Knoxville Nationals victory, took home his first Gator and a $10,000 purse.

“Yeah, 365 days later we start the season off in the best case scenario,” said Johnson, rehashing on his team’s troubles last season. “It’s a long season, and you need to condition for it. My little [Jaxx] on FaceTime over there… he and my wife mean the world to me, and I wish he could be here for the win. [The win] is huge for our operation, for our team, for the people working on this team and for my self-confidence.”

For Johnson’s four World of Outlaws wins last season, Johnson brought his son up on stage to wave their index finger in the air symbolizing “No.1.” This time Johnson scaled the wing of his No. 41 Priority Aviation Services, LLC/ Mesilla Valley Transportation Maxim car solo, but dropped back down to high-fives and hugs from his crew. Johnson, who was involved in a horrific wreck earlier in the week, opted to withdraw from the All-Star Circuit of Champions finale Thursday night.  But one day later, consistently bested 35 other cars on sprint car racing’s biggest stage.

Johnson started on the outside of the first row for the 30-lap feature event. Where he started, is where he stayed. Johnson – continuing to stay on-top of the wheel and high on the track – darted to the front within the first lap. Sweet followed Johnson to the front but from the bottom. The first of three cautions came on the third lap, when David Gravel suffered from more mechanical failures. Notably, Gravel raced nearly 80 races without blowing a motor heading into this year’s DIRTcar Nationals. The caution regrouped the field, giving Sweet the opportunity to recreate last season’s season opener with a win.

“I’ll tell you what, I really thought we were going to have something there for Jason,” Sweet said. “I had to [eventually] move to the top but Johnson set a really torrid pace out there. He did it, so hats-off to him. We have two more nights so hopefully we can end up where he is.”

Sweet swapped spots with Brian Brown throughout the race, but in the final two laps swiftly moved passed him on the front straightaway. Brown forfeited third to a red-hot Christopher Bell, who rounded-out the podium. Bell not only beat Johnson in the dash, but also set the night’s quick time with a 13.121.

“I kind of struggled on starts and restarts there,” said Bell, who led the feature field into the green flag. “Mistakes on my part for starts and restarts, but this thing is really fast. It’s a great machine to drive. Thank you Tony [Stewart] for letting me come out and have some fun.”

From the victory, Johnson leads the points championship for the first time in his career. As Sweet alluded to, Johnson’s aggressive driving style opened up the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” for him. Earlier in the program, Johnson qualified third but claimed his stake for a Gator in the third heat. His car weaved in-and-around series newcomer Brent Marks. Though he was in a transfer spot, Johnson did not let off the gas.

He went on to start fourth in the Craftsman Club Dash and finish second after yet another battle – with Brown. Brown’s uncle and crew member, 2001 Series Champion Danny Lasoski, is the most winningest sprint car driver at Volusia Speedway Park. He is scheduled to compete predominantly with the Outlaws, though it will not be full-time.

Series veteran Jason Sides set the pace early in the program, recording the quickest time in hot laps of 13.602. Sides went on to set quick-time in qualifying – putting him in position to “Double Down” as his nickname suggests – but the time only stood until Bell knocked him off with 15 drivers remaining. Ultimately, four out of the five top-qualifiers were series regulars. Three regulars finished the night in the Top-five.

Volusia Speedway Park Notebook

RACE NOTES:Jason Johnson collects his first win of the season Friday night, beating fellow series regular Brad Sweet by a 3.553-second margin. Sweet and Brian Brown battled nearly the entire 30 laps, until quick-timer Cristopher Bell made a last-minute moved to knock Brown off the podium.

CONTINGENCY WINNERS: MSD Ignitions ($25 cash): Jacob Allen; MSD Ignitions ($50 cash): Jason Johnson; Penske Shocks ($50 cash): Kerry Madsen; JE Pistons ($50 cash): Daryn Pittman; VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash): Joey Saldana; Edelbrock ($50 cash): Joey Saldana; Comp Cams ($50 cash): Joey Saldana; Morton Buildings ($50 cash): Joey Saldana; Super Flow ($50 cash): Kraig Kinser; Craftsman Club Fast Five ($100 cash): Jason Johnson, Jason Sides, Brad Sweet, Daryn Pittman, Brent Marks;Craftsman/Sears: Christopher Bell; KSE Hard Charger: Chad Kemenah; Comp Cams ($50 product certificate): Jason Johnson; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Brent Marks; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Jason Sides

SEASON WINNERS: Jason Johnson – 1 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 17)

World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Volusia Speedway Park, Fla.; Feb. 18, 2017

A-Main - (30 Laps) - 1. 41-Jason Johnson [2] [$10,000]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [5] [$5,500]; 3. 14-Christopher Bell [1] [$3,200]; 4. 21-Brian Brown [3] [$2,800]; 5. 9-Daryn Pittman [7] [$2,500]; 6. 49X-Tim Shaffer [9] [$2,300]; 7. 10H-Chad Kemenah [20] [$2,200]; 8. 24R-Rico Abreu [13] [$2,100]; 9. 2M-Kerry Madsen [14] [$2,050]; 10. 18-Ian Madsen [6] [$2,000]; 11. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier [11] [$1,500]; 12. 17-Joey Saldana [15] [$1,200]; 13. 1-Dale Blaney [24] [$1,100]; 14. 15-Donny Schatz [16] [$1,050]; 15. 11K-Kraig Kinser [17] [$1,000]; 16. 19-Brent Marks [8] [$900]; 17. 13D-Danny Dietrich [23] [$800]; 18. 4-Paul McMahan [10] [$800]; 19. 87-Aaron Reutzel [19] [$800]; 20. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [18] [$800]; 21. 7S-Jason Sides [4] [$800]; 22. 27-Greg Hodnett [12] [$800]; 23. 2-Shane Stewart [21] [$800]; 24. 1A-Jacob Allen [25]; 25. 5-David Gravel [22] [$800]; Lap Leaders: Jason Johnson 1-30; KSE Hard Charger Award: 10H-Chad Kemenah [+13]

Qualifying - 1. 14-Christopher Bell, 13.121; 2. 5-David Gravel, 13.126; 3. 41-Jason Johnson, 13.161; 4. 7S-Jason Sides, 13.223; 5. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.247; 6. 18-Ian Madsen, 13.262; 7. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 13.296; 8. 9-Daryn Pittman, 13.298; 9. 24R-Rico Abreu, 13.306; 10. 5W-Lucas Wolfe, 13.312; 11. 19-Brent Marks, 13.314; 12. 10H-Chad Kemenah, 13.318; 13. 49X-Tim Shaffer, 13.340; 14. 21-Brian Brown, 13.345; 15. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier, 13.352; 16. 27-Greg Hodnett, 13.395; 17. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.413; 18. 2M-Kerry  Madsen, 13.431; 19. 13D-Danny Dietrich, 13.446; 20. 2-Shane Stewart, 13.448; 21. 1-Dale Blaney, 13.460; 22. 4-Paul McMahan, 13.464; 23. 17-Joey Saldana, 13.501; 24. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.510; 25. 24-Terry McCarl, 13.521; 26. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.537; 27. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 13.555; 28. 1A-Jacob Allen, 13.573; 29. W20-Greg Wilson, 13.590; 30. 17X-Caleb Helms, 13.610; 31. 59H-Justin Henderson, 13.691; 32. 7W-Tasker Phillips, 13.774; 33. 13-Clyde Knipp, 13.891; 34. 59S-Ben Schmidt, 13.915; 35. 2X-Parker Price-Miller, 13.916; 36. O7-Jacob Wilson, 14.016

Heat 1 -  (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 49-Brad Sweet [2] ; 2. 14-Christopher Bell [1] ; 3. 49X-Tim Shaffer [4] ; 4. 24R-Rico Abreu [3] ; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser [5] ; 6. W20-Greg Wilson [8] ; 7. 1-Dale Blaney [6] ; 8. 24-Terry McCarl [7] ; 9. 13-Clyde Knipp [9]

Heat 2 -  (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 18-Ian Madsen [2] ; 2. 21-Brian Brown [4] ; 3. 4-Paul McMahan [6] ; 4. 2M-Kerry Madsen [5] ; 5. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [3] ; 6. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [7] ; 7. 17X-Caleb Helms [8] ; 8. 59S-Ben Schmidt [9] ; 9. 5-David Gravel [1]

Heat 3 -  (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 41-Jason Johnson [1] ; 2. 19-Brent Marks [3] ; 3. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier [4] ; 4. 17-Joey Saldana [6] ; 5. 87-Aaron Reutzel [7] ; 6. 59H-Justin Henderson [8] ; 7. 13D-Danny Dietrich [5] ; 8. 2X-Parker Price-Miller [9] ; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart [2]

Heat 4 -  (8 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 7S-Jason Sides [1] ; 2. 9-Daryn Pittman [2] ; 3. 27-Greg Hodnett [4] ; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [6] ; 5. 10H-Chad Kemenah [3] ; 6. 2-Shane Stewart [5] ; 7. 7W-Tasker Phillips [8] ; 8. 1A-Jacob Allen [7] ; 9. O7-Jacob Wilson [9]

Craftsman Club Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 8 starting positions of A-feature) -  1. 14-Christopher Bell [2] ; 2. 41-Jason Johnson [4] ; 3. 21-Brian Brown [1] ; 4. 7S-Jason Sides [3] ; 5. 49-Brad Sweet [6] ; 6. 18-Ian Madsen [5] ; 7. 9-Daryn Pittman [8] ; 8. 19-Brent Marks [7]

B-Main -  (12 Laps - Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 2-Shane Stewart [4] [-]; 2. 5-David Gravel [1] [-]; 3. 13D-Danny Dietrich [3] [-]; 4. 1-Dale Blaney [5] [-]; 5. 59H-Justin Henderson [11] [$300]; 6. 17X-Caleb Helms [10] [$250]; 7. W20-Greg Wilson [9] [$225]; 8. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [7] [$200]; 9. 59S-Ben Schmidt [14] [$200]; 10. 1A-Jacob Allen [8] [$200]; 11. 2X-Parker Price-Miller [15] [$200]; 12. 7W-Tasker Phillips [12] [$200]; 13. 24-Terry McCarl [6] [$200]; 14. 13-Clyde Knipp [13] [$200]; 15. 1S-Logan Schuchart [2] [$200]; 16. O7-Jacob Wilson [16] [$200]

 

Double Stack: Hoffman Scores Second Gator
 
By Clayton Johns
 
BARBERVILLE, FL - February 18, 2017 - Nick Hoffman darted past Robbie Eilers on the opening lap and turned in a dominating 20-lap performance in the main event for his second UMP Modified win of the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park on Friday night.
 
Hoffman, a Mooresville, NC native, was perfect all night long. He turned in his second perfect night of the week after he set quick time overall in qualifying before winning his heat race and capped the night with a main event victory.
 
Eilers of Highland, Ill. started on the pole, but Hoffman dove past him on the bottom of the first two corners and never looked back on his way to the victory.
 
"Rolling out on to the track before the feature, I knew I would be pretty dialed in," Hoffman said.
"Robbie just buried it into [turn] one a little too deep and missed the bottom on the first lap. I drove by him by the center and led every lap. It was really good and after that I just made sure to hit my marks."
 
On lap 12, Hoffman raced his way into lapped traffic and had to negotiate slower cars. It was a short challenge though, as a caution on lap 14 granted Hoffman a clean racetrack for the final six laps.
 
Hoffman's teammate, Willie Krup of Mount Carmel, Ill., used the restart to take second from Eilers and then sustained the runner-up spot for his first podium finish this week.
 
"If I could hit the bottom without the water being out there [in turn three], we were pretty decent," Krup said. "All in all, it was a pretty good run for us. I've had a fast car all week, I just haven't gotten the good finishes yet."
 
Krup had one final opportunity to steal a win from his teammate when the second and final caution waved for a spin on lap 19 just before Hoffman could take the checkered flag. However, Hoffman wouldn't be denied as he drove to victory by over two seconds following the restart.
 
"The way it went all night, I knew if I just hit the bottom and didn't miss it, I'd be fine," Hoffman explained. "It was pretty nerve-wracking riding around during that caution thinking something might break."
 
Eilers maintained the third spot for his first top-five finish of the week. Rounding out the top-five were Trent Young of Crofton, Ky. and Jacob Hawkins of Fairmont, WV.
 
"It's fun here. This is our first trip here," Eilers said. "It's Ty Dillon's old car. The car is familiar with the track, just not me. I think this is good for our first time here."
 
Hoffman now enters the weekend of split qualifying nights for Monday's $5,000-to-win event on a high as the only driver with a pair of Gator trophies this week.
 
"It's definitely a confidence booster," Hoffman said. "The biggest thing is to make sure you get through the heat race, don't run into anybody and try to keep all four tires inflated."
 
Krup, Eilers, Devin Dixon of Apollo Beach, Fla., Taylor Cook of Stanley, NC, and David Stremme of South Bend, Ind. were also heat race winners. Matt Crafton of Tulara, Cali., Tyler Clem of St.Petersburg, Fla. and Justin Allgaier of Riverton, Ill. claimed B-Main victories.
 
The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds return to action on Saturday night for the first of two qualifying nights for Monday's $5,000-to-win show. They join the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series for the second straight night. Additional event information is available at www.dirtcarnationals.com.

46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park
DIRTcar UMP Modified Notebook - February 17, 2017
A-Main - (20 Laps) - 1. 2 - Nick Hoffman [3]; 2. K9 - Will Krup [4]; 3. 3E - Robbie Eilers [1]; 4. 10Y - Trent Young [7]; 5. 13 - Jacob Hawkins [11]; 6. 35 - David Stremme [6]; 7. 49 - Brian Ruhlman [9]; 8. 58 - Devin Dixon [5]; 9. 90 - Jason Beaulieu [13]; 10. 78 - Rich Pratt [14]; 11. 77 - Ray Bollinger [23]; 12. 8 -Kyle Strickler [26]; 13. 65 - Josh Rice [27]; 14. 2 - Jonathan Taylor [2]; 15. 12 - Tyler Nicely [12] 16. 14T - Tyler Clem [20]; 17. 36 - Kenny Wallace [15]; 18. 98F - Derek Fisher [8]; 19. 17T - Tyler Evans [25]; 20. 72 - Todd Neiheiser [10]; 21. 21C - Taylor Cook [16]; 22. 28BX - Robert Garnes [28]; 23. 24Z - Zeke McKenzie [18]; 24. D4 - Dave Jamison [22]; 25. 7 - Justin Allgaier [21]; 26. 2X4 - Chase Collins [24]; 27. 88 - Matt Crafton [19]; 28. 45J - Johnny Broking [17].

Qualifying Group 1 - 1. 10Y-Trent Young, 18.850; 2. 88-Matt Crafton, 18.990; 3. 90-Jason Beaulieu, 19.030; 4. 58-Devin Dixon, 19.133; 5. 17T-Tyler Evans, 19.574; 6. 22T-Tony Anderson, 19.613; 7. Z06-Larry Mott, 19.613; 8. 98-Shon Flanary, 19.714; 9. 12K-Scotty Kincaid, 19.943; 10. 1B-Brad Hall, 20.039; 11. 11T-Dugan Thye, 20.885; 12. 17A-Charles O'Neal, 23.359.

Qualifying Group 2 - 1. 18-Jason Intoppa, 19.189; 2. 98F-Derek Fisher, 19.227; 3. D4-Dave Jamieson, 19.236; 4. 5-Jonathan Taylor, 19.469; 5. 8A-Austin Holcombe, 19.577; 6. 78-Rich Pratt, 19.677; 7. 25B-Shawn Beasley, 20.000; 8. 9G-Ernie Gingerick, 20.080; 9. 2J-Troy Johnson, 20.170; 10. 01-Jared Spalding, 20.560; 11. 05-David Wietholder, 21.439.

Qualifying Group 3 - 1. 36-Kenny Wallace, 18.501; 2. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 18.753; 3. 14T-Tyler Clem, 18.917; 4. K9-Will Krup, 18.944; 5. 17JE-J.E. Stalder, 19.106; 6. 2M-David Mitchell, 19.249; 7. 11N-Gene Nicholas, 19.447; 8. 71M-Shayne Meadows, 19.926; 9. 23G-Robbie Gates, 19.993; 10. 89W-Rick Weitekamp, 20.948; 11. 76-Layton Norris, 21.839.

Qualifying Group 4 - 1. 2-Nick Hoffman, 18.417; 2. 21C-Taylor Cook, 18.553; 3. 54-Larry Burkins, 18.723; 4. 72-Todd Neiheiser, 19.070; 5. 77-Ray Bollinger, 19.129; 6. 9-Ken Schrader, 19.160; 7. 3L-Jeff Leka, 19.346; 8. 8-Kyle Strickler, 19.685; 9. 07-Jeff Thomas, 19.907; 10. 71T-Brent Thompson, 20.226; 11. 00-Will Norris, 20.370.

Qualifying Group 5 - 1. 7-Justin Allgaier, 19.069; 2. 45J-Johnny Broking, 19.113; 3. 13-Jacob Hawkins, 19.127; 4. 3E-Robbie Eilers, 19.185; 5. 33-Jeff Mathews, 19.274; 6. 4-Mike Learman, 19.734; 7. 7S-Paul Shead, 19.745; 8. 28BX-Robert Grimes, 19.828; 9. 1-Blake Spalding, 19.870; 10. 6B-Dave Baldwin, 19.896; 11. 6-Dylan Browning, 20.203.

Qualifying Group 6 - 1. 28B-Jason Brookover, 18.834; 2. 25-Tyler Nicely, 19.010; 3. 24Z-Zeke McKenzie, 19.148; 4. 35-David Stremme, 19.219; 5. 2x4-Chase Collins, 19.299; 6. 67-Garrett Stewart, 19.340; 7. 65-Josh Rice, 19.422; 8. 9S-Slater McCray, 19.675; 9. 64JR-Billy Workman Jr., 19.703; 10. 71-Jessie Hoskins, 20.460; 11. 96J-Matt Johnson, 21.292.

Heat 1 (8 Laps - Top 3 finishers transfer to A-Feature, Winner Redraws) - 1. 58-Devin Dixon [1]; 2. 10Y-Trent Young [4]; 3. 90-Jason Beaulieu [2]; 4. 88-Matt Crafton [3]; 5. 17T-Tyler Evans [5]; 6. 22T-Tony Anderson [6]; 7. 98-Shon Flanary [8]; 8. 12K-Scotty Kincaid [9]; 9. Z06-Larry Mott [7]; 10. 11T-Dugan Thye [11]; 11. 17A-Charles O'Neal [12]; 12. 1B-Brad Hall [10].

Heat 2 (8 Laps - Top 3 finishers transfer to A-Feature, Winner Redraws)- 1. 5-Jonathan Taylor [1]; 2. 98F-Derek Fischer [3]; 3. 78-Rich Pratt [6]; 4. D4-Dave Jamieson [2]; 5. 25B-Shawn Beasley [7]; 6. 8A-Austin Holcombe [5]; 7. 01-Jared Spalding [10]; 8. 9G-Ernie Gingerich [8]; 9. 2J-Troy Johnson [9], 10. 18I-Jason Intoppa [DNS]; 11. 05-David Wietholder [DNS].

Heat 3 (8 Laps - Top 3 finishers transfer to A-Feature, Winner Redraws) - 1. K9-Willy Krup [1]; 2. 49-Brian Ruhlman [3]; 3. 36-Kenny Wallace [4]; 4. 14T-Tyler Clem [2]; 5. 17JE-J.E. Stalder [5]; 6. 23G-Robbie Gates [9]; 7. 71M-Shayne Meadows [8]; 8. 2M-David Mitchell [6]; 9. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [10]; 10. 76-Layton Norris [11].

Heat 4 (8 Laps - Top 3 finishers transfer to A-Feature, Winner Redraws) - 1. 2-Nick Hoffman [4]; 2. 72-Todd Neiheiser [1]; 3. 21C-Taylor Cook [3]; 4. 77-Ray Bollinger [5]; 5. 3L-Jeff Leka [7]; 6. 8-Kyle Strickler [8]; 7. 9-Ken Schrader [6]; 8. 71T-Brent Thompson [10]; 9. 07-Jeff Thomas [9]; 10. 00-Will Norris [11]; 11. 54-Larry Burkins [2].

Heat 5 (8 Laps - Top 3 finishers transfer to A-Feature, Winner Redraws) - 1. 3E-Robbie Eilers [1]; 2. 13-Jacob Hawkins [2]; 3. 45J-Johnny Broking [3]; 4. 7-Justin Allgaier [4]; 5. 33-Jeff Mathews [5]; 6. 4-Mike Learman [6]; 7. 28BX-Robert Garnes [8]; 8. 1-Blake Spalding [9]; 9. 7S-Paul Shead [9]; 10. 6B-Dave Baldwin [10]; 11. 6-Dylan Browning [11].

Heat 6 (8 Laps - Top 3 finishers transfer to A-Feature, Winner Redraws) - 1. 35-David Stremme [1]; 2. 25-Tyler Nicely [3]; 3. 24Z-Zeke McKenzie [2]; 4. 2x4-Chase Collins [5]; 5. 65-Josh Rice [7]; 6. 67-Garrett Stewart [6]; 7. 64JR-Billy Workman Jr. [9]; 8. 9S-Slater McCray [8]; 9. 71-Jesse Hoskins [10]; 10. 96J-Matt Johnson [11]; 11. 28B-Jason Brookover [4].

B-Main 1 - (10 Laps, Top 3 finishers transfer to A-Feature) - 1. 88-Matt Crafton [1]; 2. D4-Matt Jamieson [2]; 3. 17T-Tyler Evans [3]; 4. 98-Shon Flanery [7]; 5. 22T-Tony Anderson [5]; 6. 12K-Scotty Kincaid [9]; 7. 01-Jared Spalding [8]; 8. 9G-Ernie Gingerich [10]; 9. 11T-Dugan Thye [13]; 10. 2J-Troy Johnson [12]; 11. Z06-Larry Mott [11]; 12. 17A-Charles O'Neal [15]; 13. 25B-Shawn Beasley [4]; 14. 8A-Austin Holcombe [6]; 15. 18I-Jason Intoppa [14]; 16. 05-David Weitholder [16]; 17. 1B-Brad Hall [17].

B-Main 2 - (10 Laps, Top 3 finishers transfer to Feature) - 1. 14-Tyler Clem [1]; 2. 77-Ray Bollinger [2]; 3. 8-Kyle Strickler [6]; 4. 3L-Jeff Leka [4]; 5. 9-Ken Schrader [8]; 6. 54-Larry Burkins [16]; 7. 71M-Shayne Meadows [7]; 8. 71T-Brent Thompson [10]; 9. 07-Jeff Thomas [12]; 10. 00-Will Norris [14]; 11. 2M-David Mitchell [9]; 12. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [11]; 13. 76-Layton Norris [13]; 14. 17JE-J.E. Stalder [3]; 15. 23G-Robbie Gates; 16. 11N-Gene Nicholas [DNS].

B-Main 3 - (10 Laps, Top 3 finishers transfer to Feature) - 1. 7-Justin Allgaier [1]; 2. 2x4-Chase Collins; 3. 65-Josh Rice [4]; 4. 28BX-Robert Garnes [7]; 5. 67-Garrett Stewart [6]; 6. 64JR-Billy Workman Jr. [8]; 7. 7S-Paul Shead [11]; 8. 33-Jeff Mathews [3]; 9. 9S-Slater McCray [10]; 10. 4-Mike Learman [5]; 11. 71-Jessie Hoskins [12]; 12. 28B-Jason Brookover [14]; 13. 6-Dylan Browning [15]; 14. 6B-Dave Baldwin [13]; 15. 1-Blake Spalding [9]; 16. 96J-Matt Johnson [14].
 
 
 
 

Ruhlman Rallies for Second Career Gator Win By Clayton Johns

BARBERVILLE, FL - February 17, 2017 - Brian Ruhlman devised a perfect plot and forced Ken Schrader from his preferred line as he engineered a pass in the outside groove with two laps to go for his first win of the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park on Thursday night.

After passing Schrader, the Clarklake, Mich. driver took the checkered flag by over two seconds for his second career Volusia win, extending his point lead in the week long chase for a Big Gator trophy.

Ruhlman started fourth in the 20-lap main event and ran second to the polesitter Schrader until he took advantage of a lap 17 restart. Ruhlman showed the nose of his No.49 to the inside of Schrader’s No.9 several times before the final restart on lap 17, which he revealed was a setup move to make the winning pass.

“Kenny’s a smart racer and he’s one of my heroes,” Ruhlman said in Victory Lane. “He was in the rubber and I had to get him out of the rubber to where I could pass him. I kept showing him the nose on the bottom so he would move down to the bottom, then I could roll the top [lane]. To say I shnookered Kenny Schrader is pretty cool.”

Schrader, a Fenton, Mo. native, earned his first top-five finish of the week, outdueling Tuesday night winner and second-place starter Jacob Hawkins of Fairmont, WV in the process. Schrader shook off Ruhlman’s initial challenge, but knew he couldn’t hold him off until the checkered flag.

“I knew he was coming,” Schrader said. “We started getting slow off of [turn] two. I got to the bottom to block him, but it didn’t make any difference. He was faster. He was going around.”

Hawkins’ third-place finish was his second of the week on the podium and third straight top-10 result. He held off a trio of late-race challenges from Taylor Cook of Stanley, NC to earn the third spot.

“Once Brian got by me I knew he was going to be tough to beat,” Hawkins said. “We had a good car, but Schrader got the jump on me on the start. I could maintain with him, but the closer I got, the more it seemed the [dirty] air affected by car.”

Ruhlman’s quick time on Tuesday night and trio of heat race wins have put him at the front of the starting grid all week and have helped produce consistent results. He enters the weekend as the UMP Modified point leader after finishes of first, second and third so far this week, but the driver of the No.49 isn’t looking at the standings.

“We’re just taking it night by night. We’re so proud to have our luck go the way it has,” Ruhlman said. “It’s just me and my girlfriend, Veronica. It’s just a small team here. To hang around with Kenny Wallace, Kenny Schrader and all the people here is just really cool.”

Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, NC set quick time in group time trials for the second straight race with a lap of 18.498 seconds. Ruhlman, Schrader and Hawkins were all heat race winners along with Tony Anderson of Lima, Oh., Justin Allgaier of Riverton, Ill. and Josh Rice of Verona, Ky. Ray Bollinger of Kewanee, Ill., Chase Collins of Jacksonville, Fla. and Hoffman earned wins in the B-Mains.

The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds return to action alongside the season opener for the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series at Volusia Speedway Park for night four of the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals on Friday.

 

46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park

 

DIRTcar UMP Modified Notebook

 

A-Main - (20 Laps) - 1. 49 - Brian Ruhlman [4]; 2. 9 - Ken Schrader [1]; 3. 13 -Jacob Hawkins [2]; 4. 21C - Taylor Cook [8]; 5. 36 - Kenny Wallace [9]; 6. 2 - Nick Hoffman [21]; 7. 7 - Justin Allgaier [5]; 8. 3E - Robbie Eilers [7]; 9. 65 - Josh Rice [6]; 10. 45J - Johnny Broking [14]; 11. K9 - Will Krup [13]; 12. 64JR -Billy Workman Jr [10]; 13. 22T - Tony Anderson [3]; 14. 77 - Ray Bollinger [19]; 15. 25 -Tyler Nicely [23]; 16. 58 -Devin Dixon [18]; 17. 14T - Tyler Clem [11]; 18. 98 - Shon Flanary [26]; 19. 10Y - Trent Young [28]; 20. 3L - Jeff Leka [25]; 21. 72 -Todd Neiheiser [24]; 22. 54 - Larry Burkins [12]; 23. 2X4 - Chase Collins [20]; 24. 35 - David Stremme [15]; 25. 88 - Matt Crafton [22]; 26. 11N - Gene Nicholas [27]; 27. 1 - Blake Spalding [17]; 28. 33 - Jeff Matthews [16].

 

Qualifying Group 1 - 1. K9-Will Krup, 18.692; 2. 3E-Robbie Eilers, 18.811; 3. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 18.819; 4. 5-Jonathan Taylor, 19.127; 5. 88-Matt Crafton, 19.411; 6. 17JE-J.E. Stalder, 19.421;7. 83-Ray Ciccarelli, 19.639; 8. 2J-Troy Johnson, 19.667; 9. 6-Dylan Browning, 20.097; 10. 23G-Robbie Gates, 20.307.

 

Qualifying Group 2 - 1. 45J-Johnny Broking, 18.858; 2. 21C-Taylor Cook, 18.958; 3. 4-Mike Learman, 19.085; 4. 22T-Tony Anderson, 19.166; 5. 77-Ray Bollinger, 19.193; 6. 3L-Jeff Leka, 19.196; 7. 10Y-Trent Young, 19.352; 8. 8A-Austin Holcombe, 19.855; 9. 9G-Ernie Gingerich, 20.042; 10. 2M-David Mitchell, 20.251.

 

Qualifying Group 3 - 1. 36-Kenny Wallace, 18.813; 2. 2x4-Chase Collins, 19.161; 3. 7-Justin Allgaier, 19.163; 4. 35-David Stremme, 19.191; 5. 25-Tyler Nicely, 19.255; 6. 90-Jason Beaulieu, 19.306; 7. 9S-Slater McCray, 19.456; 8. 67-Garrett Stewart, 19.501; 9. 8-Kyle Strickler, 20.147; 10. 00-Will Norris, 21.697.

 

Qualifying Group 4 - 1. 24Z-Zeke McKenzie, 19.285; 2. 98-Shon Flanary, 19.383; 3. 33-Jeff Mathews, 19.390; 4. 64JR-Billy Workman Jr., 19.409; 5. 17T-Tyler Evans, 19.492; 6. 01-Jared Spalding, 19.606; 7. 07-Jeff Thomas, 19.615; 8. 13-Jacob Hawkins, 19.758; 9. 89W-Rick Weitekamp, 19.866; 10. 71T-Brent Thompson, 19.883.

 

Qualifying Group 5 - 1. 2-Nick Hoffman, 18.498; 2. 14T-Tyler Clem, 19.080; 3. 28B-Jason Brookover, 19.326; 4. 1-Blake Spalding, 19.593; 5. 12K-Scott Kincaid, 19.600; 6. 65-Josh Rice, 19.641; 7. 25B-Shawn Beasley, 19.684; 8. 43-Kyle Schmidt, 19.755; 9. 6B-Dave Baldwin, 20.196; 10. 23 Ryan Cripe, 20.209.

 

Qualifying Group 6 - 1. 54-Larry Burkins, 19.011; 2. 72-Todd Neiheiser, 19.034; 3. 9-Ken Schrader, 19.168; 4. 58-Devin Dixon, 19.304; 5. 11N-Gene Nicholas, 19.519; 6. Z06-Larry Mott, 19.596; 7. 71M-Shayne Meadows, 20.123; 8. 71-Jessie Hoskins, 20.430; 9. 96J-Matt Johnson, 21.913; 10. D4-Dave Jamieson, No Time.

 

Heat 1 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) - 1. 49-Brian Ruhlman [2]; 2. 3E-Robbie Eilers [3], 3. K9-Will Krup [4]; 4. 5-Jonathan Taylor [1]; 5. 88-Matt Crafton [5]; 6. 17JE-J.E. Stalder [6], 7. 83-Ray Ciccarelli [7]; 8. 2J-Troy Johnson [8]; 9. 23G-Robbie Gates [10]; 10. 6-Dylan Browning [9].

 

Heat 2 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) - 1. 22T-Tony Anderson [1]; 2. 21C-Taylor Cook [3]; 3. 45J-Johnny Broking [4]; 4. 77-Ray Bollinger [5]; 5. 10Y-Trent Young [7]; 6. 3L-Jeff Leka [6]; 7. 4-Mike Learman [2]; 8. 8A-Austin Holcombe [8]; 9. 2M-David Mitchell [10]; 10. 9G-Ernie Gingerich [9].

 

Heat 3 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) - 1. 7-Justin Allgaier [2]; 2. 36-Kenny Wallace [4]; 3. 35-David Stremme [1]; 4. 2x4-Chase Collins [3]; 5. 90-Jason Beaulieu [6]; 6. 25-Tyler Nicely [5]; 7. 67-Garrett Stewart [8]; 8. 8-Kyle Strickler [9]; 9. 9S-Slater McCray [7]; 10. 00-Will Norris [10].

 

Heat 4 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) - 1. 13-Jacob Hawkins [8]; 2. 64JR-Billy Workman Jr. [1]; 3. 33-Jeff Mathews [2]; 4. 24Z-Zeke McKenzie [4]; 5. 98-Shon Flanary [3]; 6. 17T-Tyler Evans [5]; 7. 01-Jared Spalding [6]; 8. 71T-Brent Thompson [10]; 9. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [9]; 10. 07-Jeff Thomas [7].

 

Heat 5 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) - 1. 65-Josh Rice [6]; 2. 14T-Tyler Clem [3]; 3. 1-Blake Spalding [1]; 4. 28B-Jason Brookover [2]; 5. 12K-Scotty Kincaid [5]; 6. 25B-Shawn Beasley [7]; 7. 6B-Dave Baldwin [9]; 8. 23-Ryan Cripe [10]; 9. 43-Kyle Schmidt [8]; 10. 2-Nick Hoffman [4].

 

Heat 6 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) - 1. 9-Ken Schrader [2]; 2. 54-Larry Burkins [4]; 3. 58-Devin Dixon [1]; 4. 72-Todd Neiheiser [3]; 5. 11N-Gene Nicholas [5]; 6. 71-Jessie Hoskins [8]; 7. D4-Dave Jamieson [10]; 8. 71M-Shayne Meadows [7]; 9. Z06-Larry Mott [6]; 10. 96J-Matt Johnson [9].

 

B-Main 1 - (10 Laps, Top 3 finishers transfer to Feature) – 1.77- Ray Bollinger [2]; 2. 88 – Matt Crafton [3]; 3. 3L – Jeff Leka [6]; 4. 10Y – Trent Young [4]; 5. Mike Learman [8]; 6. 8A – Austin Holcombe [10]; 7. Troy Johnson [9]; 8. Jonathan Taylor [1]; 9. 23G – Robbie Gates [11]; 10. Dylan Browning [13]; 11. 2M – David Mitchell [12]; 12. 17JE – J.E. Stalder [5]; 13. 9G – Ernie Gingerich [14]; 14. 83 – Ray Ciccrelli [7].

 

B-Main 2 - (10 Laps, Top 3 finishers transfer to Feature) – 1. 2X4 – Chase Collins [1]; 2. 25 – Tyler Nicely [5] 3. 98 – Shon Flanary [4]; 4. 90 – Jason Beaulieu [3]; 5. 24Z – Zeke McKenzie [2]; 6. 67 – Garrett Stewart [7]; 7. 8 – Kyle Strickler [9]; 8. 17T – Tyler Evans [6]; 9. 9S Slater McCray [13]; 10. 01- Jared Spalding [8]; 11. 71T – Brent Thompson [10]; 12. 00 - Will Norris [13]; 13. 89W – Rick Weitekamp [12]; 14. 07 – Jeff Thomas [14];

B-Main 3 - (10 Laps, Top 3 finishers transfer to Feature) – 1. 2 - Nick Hoffman [13]; 2. 72 – Todd Neiheiser [2]; 3. 11N – Gene Nicholas [4]; 4. 28B – Jason Brookover [1]; 5. 25B – Shawn Beasley [5]; 6. 71 – Jesse Hoskins [6]; 7. 6B – Dave Baldwin [7]; 8. D4 – Dave Jamison [8]; 9. 12K Scotty Kincaid [3]; 10. 71M – Shayne Meadows [10]; 11. 96J – Matt Johnson [14]; 12. 23 – Ryan Cripe [9]; 13. 06Z – Larry Mott [12]; 14. 43 – Kyle Schmidt [13].

 

 

 

Gravel Completes the Outlaw Sweep Wins his first ever Gator at DIRTcar Nationals
 
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – February 16, 2017 – David Gravel shuts down a Donny Schatz sweep Thursday night, taking the checkers for the Arctic Cat All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series finale at the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals. Schatz, who threatened to win his fourth All-Star show in the last five he entered, was denied the lead late despite a caution in the final laps.
 
“[Schatz] is the best, so you always want to beat him,” said Gravel, cradling his first Gator in the crook of him arm. “The track took rubber so I had a little bit of an advantage there early in the race. I just tried not to miss my marks, and there in lap traffic I tried to go slow to not slip a tire. I knew tire wear was going to be a problem late.”
 
Both Schatz and Gravel earned a Gator in the All-Star’s multi-day showing; the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series drivers not only swept the event, but also took all three podium spots in the finale. Schatz has now won an All-Star feature event at DIRTcar Nationals the past two seasons.

Volusia Speedway Park Notebook

A-Main 1 - (30 Laps) - 1. 5-David Gravel [2]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [3]; 3. 49-Brad Sweet [4]; 4. 10H-Chad Kemenah [7]; 5. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [1]; 6. 2M-Kerry Madsen [5 ]; 7. 14-Christopher Bell [10]; 8. 9-Daryn Pittman [17]; 9. 4-Paul McMahan [12]; 10. 87-Aaron Reutzel [9]; 11. 24-Rico Abreu [13]; 12. 27-Greg Hodnett [14]; 13. 19-Brent Marks [20]; 14. 21-Brian Brown [11]; 15. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier [15]; 16. 17s-Joey Saldana [19]; 17. 59H-Justin Henderson [8]; 18. 18-Ian Madsen [23]; 19. 17-Caleb Helms [21]; 20. 11K-Kraig Kinser [22]; 21. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [6]; 22. 13D-Danny Dietrich [16]; 23. 2-Shane Stewart [18]; 24. 17B-Steve Buckwalter [24]

Qualifying - 1.15-Donny Schatz, 13.271; 2.5-David Gravel, 13.311; 3.49-Brad Sweet, 13.317; 4.21-Brian Brown, 13.357; 5.9-Daryn Pittman, 13.415; 6.14-Christopher Bell, 13.420; 7.27-Greg Hodnett, 13.475; 8.10H-Chad Kemenah, 13.479; 9.13JT-Mark Dobmeier, 13.497; 10.5W-Lucas Wolfe, 13.513; 11.17s-Joey Saldana, 13.528; 12.2-Shane Stewart, 13.554; 13.2M-Kerry Madsen, 13.558; 14.4-Paul McMahan, 13.599; 15.11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.607; 16.17-Caleb Helms, 13.612; 17.24-Rico Abreu, 13.617; 18.7C-Caleb Armstrong, 13.622; 19.87-Aaron Reutzel, 13.703; 20.59H-Justin Henderson, 13.741; 21.59-Ryan Smith, 13.770; 22.13D-Danny Dietrich, 13.783; 23.93-Sheldon Haudenschild, 13.790; 24.17B-Steve Buckwalter, 13.800; 25.18-Ian Madsen, 13.818; 26.19-Brent Marks, 13.846; 27.7W-Tasker Phillips, 13.907; 28.O7-Jacob Wilson, 14.129; 29.13-Brandon Matus, 14.298; 30.51-John Garvin, 14.354; 31.33-Brent Matus, 14.651; 32.1Z-Dale Blaney, 99.260; 33.8M-TJ Michael, 99.990;

Heat 1, Group A - (8 Laps) - 1. 10H-Chad Kemenah [1]; 2. 14-Christopher Bell [2]; 3. 49-Brad Sweet [3];  4. 5-David Gravel [4]; 5. 2-Shane Stewart [6]; 6. 17s-Joey Saldana [5]; 7. 7W-Tasker Phillips [7]; 8. 13-Brandon Matus [8]

Heat 2, Group B - (8 Laps) - 1. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [1];  2. 15-Donny Schatz [4]; 3. 4-Paul McMahan [2]; 4. 27-Greg Hodnett [3]; 5. 17B-Steve Buckwalter [5];  6. 51-John Garvin [7]; 7. O7-Jacob Wilson [6]

Heat 3, Group C - (8 Laps) - 1. 2M-Kerry Madsen [1];  2. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [2];  3. 21-Brian Brown [4];  4. 13JT-Mark Dobmeier [3];  5. 19-Brent Marks [8];  6. 18-Ian Madsen [7]; 7. 17-Caleb Helms [6]; 8. 11K-Kraig Kinser [5]

Heat 4, Group D - (8 Laps) - 1. 59H-Justin Henderson [1]; 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel [2];  3. 24-Rico Abreu [3];  4. 13D-Danny Dietrich [6];  5. 9-Daryn Pittman [4]; 6. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild [7]; 7. 59-Ryan Smith [5]; 8. 33-Brent Matus [8]

Dash 1 - (4 Laps) - 1. 7C-Caleb Armstrong [1]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [5]; 3. 2M-Kerry Madsen [2]; 4. 10H-Chad Kemenah [4]; 5. 87-Aaron Reutzel [3]

Dash 2 - (4 Laps) - 1. 5-David Gravel [1] ; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [2] ; 3. 5W-Lucas Wolfe [4] ; 4. 59H-Justin Henderson [3]; 5. 14-Christopher Bell [5]

B-Main 1 - (12 Laps) - 1. 17s-Joey Saldana[1] ; 2. 11K-Kraig Kinser[2] ; 3. 17-Caleb Helms[3] ; 4. 18-Ian Madsen[6] ; 5. 7W-Tasker Phillips[7] ; 6. 93-Sheldon Haudenschild[5] ; 7. 51-John Garvin[10] ; 8. 13-Brandon Matus[9] ; 9. 33-Brent Matus[11] ; 10. 59-Ryan Smith[4] ; 11. O7-Jacob Wilson[8] ; 12. 1Z-Dale Blaney[12] ; 13. 8M-TJ Michael[13]

 

By Clayton Johns

The 2017 DIRTcar UMP Modified season gets underway for drivers from across the United States and Canada this month in the Sunshine State. The annual Florida Tour takes drivers to three different Florida tracks this month, culminating in eight straight nights of competition at the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

Following four nights at North Florida Raceway and another four at East Bay Raceway Park, UMP Modified drivers have converged on Volusia for a shot at the Big Gator trophy as DIRTcar Nationals champion, and there’s no shortage of heavy-hitters seeking one of racing’s most unique prizes.

Over the past five editions of the DIRTcar Nationals, two drivers have dominated the highly competitive division at Volusia. Since 2012, Nick Hoffman and Ty Dillon have each found victory lane seven times. Both drivers have claimed the Big Gator trophy twice during the same time period, with Hoffman earning the title in each of the past two seasons.

Austin Dillon is third on the wins list at Volusia over the past five seasons with five, while former NASCAR regular Kenny Wallace has made the DIRTcar UMP Modified division his home over the last decade. He is the only other driver with multiple wins at Volusia since 2012, with three. A total 19 other drivers have a single victory.

Big Gator Hopefuls

Crofton, KY native Trent Young is among the top contenders to steal the Big Gator from Hoffman’s grasp. Young finished third in the UMP Modified national standings and won the Deep South and South Regions in 2016. Young claimed a victory while finishing sixth in the overall points chase at last year’s DIRTcar Nationals.

Ray Bollinger of Kewanee, Ill. also earned his first Gator trophy with a win at last year’s DIRTcar Nationals. Bollinger was one of the busiest UMP Modified drivers in the country last season with over 80 starts to his name and will begin a new campaign in Florida once again. Bollinger finished the 2016 season sixth in national points and third in the Summit Modified Nationals last summer.

Clarklake, MI driver Brian Ruhlman hopes to find Victory Lane for the second-straight season at Volusia. Ruhlman scored his first career Volusia win last February when he held off perennial contender Jacob Hawkins of Fairmont, WV and Austin Dillon.

Hawkins, should he make his third straight trip to Volusia, will also be a tough customer. He’ll benefit from some leftover momentum from his DIRTcar Fall Nationals win last October at Eldora Speedway against over 100 of the division’s best.

NASCAR Talent Returns to Roots

A number of current and former NASCAR national series drivers return to their short track roots in the DIRTcar UMP Modified division during February when the racing world has its focus on Florida. In addition to Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader is a tough challenger in a Modified who earned a Big Gator trophy most recently in 2013 and claimed four DIRTcar UMP Modified victories last year.

David Stremme is also on the list of confirmed entrants for the DIRTcar Nationals. Stremme scored a Volusia win in 2015 and has jumped into the Modified world with both feet as the builder of Lethal Chassis. NASCAR XFINITY Series wheelman Justin Allgaier will compete as well and looks to pick up a checkered flag for the second season in a row. Allgaier earned a win in one of three Triple 20s on the final night of action at last year’s event.

With an all-star roster set to tackle the DIRTcar Nationals again this year, fans can expect the same level of competition that has brought them 23 different winners over the last five seasons.

Visit www.DIRTcar.com for the latest news and information surrounding the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds.