Three-Time Champion Nick Hoffman Leads Stellar Field of Modifieds to Florida

BARBERVILLE, FL – Jan. 25, 2019 – As usual, the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will kick off 12 straight nights of racing at Volusia Speedway Park on Tuesday, Feb. 5. The busiest division in Florida during the month of February, and perhaps the most competitive of all, will take on the legendary half-mile, high-banked dirt oval for seven straight nights from February 5-11. The UMP Modifieds will race in 10 total features in the chase for the 2019 DIRTcar Nationals title while celebrating their 15th year at the event. 

Over the past 14 years, the UMP Modified division has produced 46 different feature winners along with 10 different champions. Car counts have averaged in the 70s with 111 feature races conducted. Only three drivers have captured more than one championship, and it wasn’t done for the first time until 2013, when NASCAR legend Ken Schrader accomplished the feat. 

No driver, though, has been more successful at DIRTcar Nationals than three-time defending Champion Nick Hoffman. The 26-year-old has ascended to the status of “Best Gator” with a record 14 wins. The Mooresville, NC resident scored his first ever DIRTcar Nationals feature on February 20, 2012, the inaugural Gator Championship night, and the first of what would be three Gator Championship night wins for him. 

Single victories in 2013 and 2015 set the stage for the past three seasons of domination by the driver originally from Belleville, Illinois. Four feature wins each in both 2016 and 2017, as well as three more in 2018 have propelled the driver of the popular #2 Elite Chassis entry to the last three DIRTcar Nationals titles.

“Man, this is so awesome. To win a Big Gator is pretty special no matter how many times you do it,” said Hoffman on stage at Volusia in 2018 after winning his third consecutive DIRTcar Nationals title. “These championships are so hard to come by, and to be able to do it three years in a row says a lot about this car and this team. There’s so many people that make this happen, and I truly can’t thank everyone enough.” 

Hoffman stands alone as a three-time DIRTcar Nationals champion in his division. Only Schrader (2008 & 2013) and NASCAR shoe Ty Dillon (2012 & 2014) have more than one DIRTcar Nationals title. Seven other drivers have single championships. 

The 2018 battle for the Big Gator was a good one between Hoffman and Kyle Strickler. On opening night, NASCAR star David Stremme ended a winless streak that stretched back to 2015 with his second career DIRTcar Nationals victory. Hoffman responded by winning the next two nights. A pair of first-time feature winners emerged in Larry Mott and Frank Paladino; Tyler Nicely ended a two-year drought with a feature win; and Strickler closed out the busy schedule ending another three-year winless streak with his first Gator since 2015. 

Big Gator Qualifier nights would see Nicely strike first with his second feature win of the week and third of his career, while Hoffman bagged win #3 and career victory #14 the next night. On the final night of competition, Strickler stopped Hoffman’s bid for a third straight Gator Championship night win by scoring the final night feature payday, his second feature win of the week and fourth overall of his career. However, Hoffman had accumulated enough points over the seven straight nights of racing to secure his third straight overall championship. 

Heading into the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals, Hoffman will once again lead the charge, with plenty of competition from two-time 2018 feature winners Strickler and Nicely. With a single win in 2018, Stremme will look to add to his totals and chase after his first DIRTcar Nationals title, while Clarklake, MI veteran Brian Ruhlman, who went winless in 2018 after collecting single victories in 2017 and 2016, works to end a mini-slump and compete for his first championship at Volusia. 

Two former NASCAR stars who always make life difficult for the UMP Modified contingent are Schrader and Kenny Wallace. Schrader has two career victories at the DIRTcar Nationals, but it’s been a long time — six years to be exact — since the two-time DIRTcar Nationals Champion (2013 & 2008) took the checkered flag. It’s been even longer for Wallace. After his three-win year of 2012, the Arnold, MO veteran has gone winless at Volusia but is still tied for seventh all-time in career DIRTcar Nationals feature wins with four. He shares that mark with Strickler.  

NASCAR Xfinity Series star Justin Allgaier also has a single win at Volusia in 2016, and he would love to snap that skid as his Daytona schedule allows. Two-time NASCAR Gander Mountain Truck Series Champion Matt Crafton has made infrequent appearances at Volusia over the years and is still in search of his first Gator. So is Stanley, NC rising star Taylor Cook, a two-time winner in the Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals, as that elusive first Volusia victory has also, so far, eluded him. 

After DIRTcar Nationals, the UMP Modified teams turn their attention to the remainder of the 2019 racing season and the widely popular Summit Modified Nationals.

Tickets for the 48th Annual DIRTcar Nationals can be purchased here.

By |2019-01-26T17:35:00+00:00January 26th, 2019|Racing News, Upcoming Events, Volusia Speedway Park, World of Outlaws|Comments Off on Three-Time Champion Nick Hoffman Leads Stellar Field of Modifieds to Florida

DIRTcar Late Models Kick Off Week Two of DIRTcar Nationals to Set Stage for World of Outlaws

BARBERVILLE, FL – Jan. 25, 2019 – When those in the motorsports world think about the start of any racing season, their minds automatically revert to palm trees and warm temperatures of Florida in February. Dirt track fans’ minds wander to the famous Gator Pond at the World’s Fastest Half-mile, Volusia Speedway Park.

The first week of DIRTcar Nationals caters to the open-wheel fans, while the second week indulges full-fender fans with two action-packed nights of DIRTcar Late Models followed by four straight nights of the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Models.

In 2018, Jonathan Davenport scored his first career feature win at Volusia in what would be the lone DIRTcar Late Model feature. The next night was won by Mother Nature before the World of Outlaws Late Models took the field.

2006 World of Outlaws Champion Tim McCreadie kicked things off with his first feature win in a Super Late Model at Volusia since 2013 and sixth of his career. It was also his first World of Outlaws triumph since 2015. Later in the week, McCreadie would bag a second Gator with the Super DIRTcar Big Block Modifieds and eventually the 2018 DIRTcar Nationals crown.

The next night, on February 15, 2018, Dale McDowell won his first Volusia feature in 19 years (February 13, 1999), ending the longest drought in DIRTcar Nationals history. His only other triumphs came in 1999 and 1998.

To wrap up the week, 2004 World of Outlaws Champion Scott Bloomquist grabbed career win #12 and first since 2016, while 2017 World of  Outlaws Champion Brandon Sheppard bagged his only Volusia triumph of 2018 and second of his career.

With three second place finishes, one fourth place, and even one 25th place run, Chris Madden walked away with the Big Gator as the 2018 DIRTcar Nationals Champion — for the first time. The Gray Court, SC star later went on to place third in the chase for the 2018 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Championship with eight feature wins, 25 top fives and an astounding 33 top 10s in 40 starts.

The premier cars and stars in the full-bodied world mark the month of February as a time to establish their mark and show what the future could hold for the rest of the season. Since that game-changing day of February 14, 2005, when York, PA veteran Rick Eckert collected the first-ever DIRTcar Late Model feature win at DIRTcar Nationals, there have been 23 different winners in the 41 races conducted.

Since 1972, there have been 215 overall dirt Late Model features conducted at Volusia Speedway Park.

Whatever date you begin from, however, the same name tops the list. Six-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals Champion and National Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer Billy Moyer leads the way with 19 overall career wins at Volusia, including 10 since 2005, with six of those coming in DIRTcar Late Model competition.

His last DIRTcar Late Model checkered flag came in 2012, while his last overall victory at Volusia came in a Word of Outlaws Late Model race a year later in 2013. The Batesville, AR legend scored his first victory at Volusia back in 1985. In 2016, his son, Billy Moyer Jr., joined him on the winners list as the second father/son combination to score feature wins after Jack Boggs (1981) and his son, Jackie Boggs (2004).

Fellow National Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer Scott Bloomquist is second all-time in career wins at Volusia with 12; while four-time World of Outlaws Champion Josh Richards, also a four-time DIRTcar Nationals Champion, has 10 trips to Victory Lane. Four of Richards’ victories came in a DIRTcar Late Model, and the last three DIRTcar Nationals titles for Richards propelled the Shinnston, WV superstar to eventual World of Outlaws crowns (2016, 2013 & 2010).

Between 1972 and 1976, Wayne Shugart recorded nine victories, which has stood the test of time all these years later at fourth all-time in career feature wins. Jack Boggs and Don O’Neal are tied for fifth at eight victories apiece with O’Neal winning the 2017 finale, a World of Outlaws event, on February 25 — his first win at Volusia since February 15, 2011. That win broke a tie with 2011 World of Outlaws Champion Rick Eckert, who last visited the winner’s stage on February 17th, 2006, some 12 years ago. Eckert stands alone in seventh with seven wins.

2015 World of Outlaws Champion Shane Clanton has been the one to beat in recent seasons having captured two DIRTcar Nationals titles in 2015 and again in 2017. Only Richards briefly stopped that string in 2016. The Zebulon, GA standout has scored all six of his DIRTcar Nationals feature wins since 2015 with one of those coming in a DIRTcar Late Model event, while the other five have been in World of Outlaws competition. His first DIRTcar Nationals title in 2015 propelled him to his eventual World of Outlaws championship that same year. Clanton is tied for eighth all-time overall at Volusia with six, sharing that honor with Larry Moore, Freddie Smith and McCreadie who collected win #6 in 2018.

With car counts in the 50s and up, DIRTcar Nationals sets the tone for the remainder of the season.

Moyer leads all drivers with six DIRTcar-only feature wins, while Richards is tied with Bloomquist for second all-time in DIRTcar Late Model-only victories with four. McCreadie stands alone in fourth with three wins, as five drivers are tied for fifth all with two victories apiece.

After DIRTcar Nationals, the DIRTcar Late Model teams shift focus to the remainder of the 2019 season. Many of the teams will look ahead to the 34th annual DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour starting on Wednesday, June 12 at Peoria Speedway (IL). The schedule features 28 races over 32 days covering about 3,800 miles from Illinois to Indiana, down to Tennessee, back to Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan before finally crowning at champion on Saturday, July 13 at Oakshade Speedway (OH).

New in 2019, fans will be able to follow the entire tour LIVE on DIRTVision with a Late Model Fast Pass when the event isn’t at their home track. Know the stories before you get to the track by following along every night!

By |2019-01-26T17:30:06+00:00January 26th, 2019|DIRTcar, Racing News, Upcoming Events|Comments Off on DIRTcar Late Models Kick Off Week Two of DIRTcar Nationals to Set Stage for World of Outlaws