DELEON SPRINGS, FL — On an opening night that featured a whopping 91 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds from 21 different states and three Canadian provinces on the property at Volusia Speedway Park, 37-year-old driver, Fowler, IL driver Michael Long overtook three-time defending DIRTcar Nationals Champion Nick Hoffman with eight laps to go, pulling away from Hoffman and the rest of the field to score his first career Feature victory at Volusia.
“When you’re racing with these guys, you better be on top of your game. That’s for sure,” stated the driver of the #18l Discount Tire & Service / Rage Chassis machine in Victory Lane. “When we came down here before, we didn’t have enough motor to compete with these guys. Now, we do with Xtreme Pro Racing Engines, and it showed tonight. This gives us a good start towards the Gator Championship. We’ve just got to keep this momentum going,” he added.
Lucas Lee and former NASCAR competitor David Reutimann led a stacked 28-car field to Chief Starter David Farney’s green flag to start the first feature of the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals. Reutimann led the first six laps before Hoffman overpowered him on the seventh lap. Along with him came Long, who started sixth, and the battle was on for the race lead. As Hoffman and Long continued to battle, Long searched for a way around the all-time career wins leader in the division at Volusia during the DIRTcar Nationals.
Finally, with eight laps to go, Long, a former track champion at Tri-City Speedway (IL), made the winning move around Hoffman for the lead and pulled away from him to garner his first career feature win in the DIRTcar Nationals. With the victory, Long becomes the 47th different feature winner all-time in DIRTcar Nationals history within the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds division out of 112 all-time features conducted.
Hoffman settled for second over NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie contender Justin Haley, who completed the podium finishers. Tyler Nicely was fourth as Reutimann completed the top five. Tyler Evans finished sixth after starting 13th, while Trey Harris was seventh after starting in 12th. Allen Weisser came from 19th to finish eighth, while Last Chance Showdown winner Curt Spalding, in his Volusia & DIRTcar Nationals debut, finished ninth after starting deep in the field in 25th. Michael Altobelli Jr. finished off the top 10.
David Stremme out-timed the massive 91-car field with a 17.773 in Qualifying. Reutimann, Zeke McKenzie, Lee, Long, Jason Beaulieu, Haley, Altobelli Jr., and Stremme all won Heat Races. Spading, Ray Bollinger, Will Krup and Austin Holcombe all collected Last Chance Showdown triumphs as well.
Night Two for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will see the teams return for another $1,000 payday on Wednesday, February 6. The Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars will be on hand for their first of two nights of action before the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars race for three nights in a row starting on Friday, February 8.
For more information about the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals and to order tickets, please call: 844-DIRT-TIX or visit dirtcarnationals.com You can also follow the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds portions of the DIRTcar Nationals throughout race week by visiting the DIRTcar Racing Social Media outlets. Just search for “DIRTcar Racing” on both Facebook and Twitter for the very latest updates from Volusia Speedway Park and the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals.