Super DIRTcar Series Key to 50-Year DIRTcar Nationals History

BARBERVILLE, FL – For 50 years, Volusia Speedway Park has been an annual destination for some of the greatest dirt track racers to ever strap in behind the wheel. Standing out among them are Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified legends like Jack Johnson, Bob McCreadie, and Kenny Brightbill. Meanwhile, Brett Hearn, Matt Sheppard, and Larry Wight continue to add to their win totals on “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”

D.I.R.T. founder Glenn Donnelley first promoted Big Block Modified racing at Volusia in 1978. The inaugural Big Block visit featured nine straight nights of racing for the “Beasts of the Northeast.”

Three-time Super DIRTcar Series Feature winner Lou Lazzaro captured the very first checkered flag awarded for a Big Block Modified race at Volusia Speedway Park. Lazzaro was followed by winners Walt Breeding and Gary Lulg the next two nights. All three of those wins turned out to be the only DIRTcar Nationals Feature wins of their careers.

Drivers Ray Dalmata, Tom Hager, C.D. Coville, Richie Tobias Jr., Craig VonDohren, J.R. Heffner, Andy Bachetti, Dale Planck, Rob Bellinger, Neal Williams, Justin Haers, and Tyler Siri make up the rest of the one-win DIRTcar Nationals Feature winners.

Also in that inaugural 1978 visit, Kenny Brightbill put together a winning streak of three. Only two other drivers have accomplished that since: Hearn won four in a row spanning 2000 and 2001, and “Lighting” Larry Wight did it in 2020 to take the Big Gator back to New York.


The Big Blocks did not return to Volusia until 1982, which included a 100-lap Feature won by “Marvelous” Merv Treichler. The rest of the 1980s were contested by the likes of Billy Pauch, Jack Johnson, Jimmy Horton, Doug Hoffman, and Danny Jonson. These heavyweights thrilled the excited crowds of local fans and visiting Daytona International Speedway goers for the decade.

In 1990, Volusia Speedway Park opened the season as an asphalt track. Doug Hoffman’s back-to-back wins in 1989 held as the final Big Block Modified DIRTcar Nationals wins until 1993. In ‘93, the Big Blocks returned but instead of “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” they raced on a 3/8-mile dirt track on the same grounds.

Hearn’s first DIRTcar Nationals victory was on the small track on Feb. 11, 1993. Only 10 Big Block races are on record at the 3/8-mile and Hearn won four of them. Prior to his great run at the dirt track in the ’90s, Hearn was both a fan and a participant at Daytona International Speedway.

“I finished up my NASCAR stuff in ’89 and my first opportunity to run the dirt track wasn’t until 1993. In ’93 we ran on the second track. It was small and flat,” Hearn noted. “We’d always gone there really well prepared and both tracks have been good to me. We’ve enjoyed some great success there and I haven’t missed a year since 1993.”

“The Jet” has gone on to win nine DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator championships.
“In 1996 I got my 500th career win there. We went on a string of some really great success there. We had a lot of good preparation before we went and just always came out of the box strong,” Hearn said of his Volusia success.

“It always breaks the winter up. As a team it always pushed us to get ready earlier rather than stretching the winter out and barely being ready by April,” the eight-time Super DIRTcar Series champion said. “It gave us a huge head start. A lot of times we would stop at other tracks to test during the trip down there. We used that information to see where we were going into the year.”

In 2000, the dirt came back to Volusia Speedway Park’s half-mile oval. Jamie Mills opened up the new dirt track era for Big Block Modifieds with the win on Feb. 15, 2000. Then Brett Hearn went on a four-race streak winning the last three in 2000 plus the 2001 opener.
2005 brought the Super DIRTcar Series non-points status to DIRTcar Nationals Features at Volusia Speedway Park, and wins counted toward Series career statistics for the first time.

This modern era has ushered in the stars we know and love today like Matt Sheppard, Stewart Friesen, Larry Wight, and Mat Williamson. However, that is not to say Billy Decker and Brett Hearn are ready to let them have all the fun in the sun just yet.

The Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds return to Volusia Speedway Park Feb. 9-13 to celebrate 50 years of the DIRTcar Nationals. Tickets are available online to see the Big Blocks in person, or fans can watch live on DIRTVision with their Fast Pass subscriptions.

Super DIRTcar Series DIRTcar Nationals Championships
2020 – Larry Wight
2019 – Larry Wight
2018 – Tim McCreadie
2017 – Brett Hearn
2016 – Matt Sheppard
2015 – Larry Wight
2014 – Stewart Friesen
2013 – Danny Johnson
2012 – Matt Sheppard
2011 – Stewart Friesen
2010 – Matt Sheppard
2009 – Pat Ward
2008 – Brett Hearn/Billy Pauch
2007 – Danny Johnson
2006 – Brett Hearn
2005 – Brett Hearn/Andy Bachetti
2004 – Pat Ward
2003 – Tim Fuller
2002 – Brett Hearn
2001 – Brett Hearn
2000 – Brett Hearn
1999 – Jimmy Horton
1998 – Brett Hearn
1997 – Jimmy Horton
1996 – Brett Hearn
1995 – Doug Hoffman
1990-1994 – No champion
1989 – Alan Johnson
1988 – Danny Johnson
1987 – Danny Johnson
1986 – Jimmy Horton
1985 – Billy Pauch
1984 – Kenny Brightbill/Jack Johnson
1983 – Alan Johnson
1982 – Jeff Kappesser/Billy Pauch
1981 – Jack Johnson
1980 – Kenny Brightbill
1979 – No champion
1978 – Walt Breeding

Super DIRTcar Series DIRTcar Nationals winners
February 15, 2020 – Mat Williamson
February 14, 2020 – Larry Wight
February 13, 2020 – Larry Wight
February 12, 2020 – Larry Wight
February 11, 2020 – Mat Williamson
February 16, 2019 – Stewart Friesen
February 15, 2019 – Larry Wight
February 14, 2019 – Matt Sheppard
February 13, 2019 – Billy Decker
February 17, 2018 – Tim McCreadie
February 16, 2018 – Matt Sheppard
February 15, 2018 – Tim McCreadie
February 14, 2018 – Tyler Siri
February 25, 2017 – Brett Hearn
February 24, 2017 – Justin Haers
February 20, 2016 – Brett Hearn
February 19, 2016 – Rick Laubach
February 18, 2016 – Matt Sheppard
February 17, 2016 – Tim Fuller
February 21, 2015 – Neal Williams
February 20, 2015 – Rick Laubach
February 19, 2015 – Stewart Friesen
February 18, 2015 – Brett Hearn
February 22, 2014 – Matt Sheppard
February 20, 2014 – Stewart Friesen
February 19, 2014 – Justin Haers
February 23, 2013 – Brett Hearn
February 22, 2013 – Rick Laubach
February 21, 2013 – Stewart Friesen
February 20, 2013 – Danny Johnson
February 25, 2012 – Rob Bellinger
February 24, 2012 – Matt Sheppard
February 24, 2012 – Alan Johnson
February 23, 2012 – Danny Johnson
February 19, 2011 – Stewart Friesen
February 18, 2011 – Brett Hearn
February 17, 2011 – Matt Sheppard
February 16, 2011 – Stewart Friesen
February 13, 2010 – Matt Sheppard
February 11, 2010 – Matt Sheppard
February 10, 2010 – Stewart Friesen
February 14, 2009 – Brett Hearn
February 13, 2009 – Jamie Mills
February 12, 2009 – Pat Ward
February 11, 2009 – Pat Ward
February 16, 2008 – Jimmy Horton
February 15, 2008 – Dale Planck
February 14, 2008 – Brett Hearn
February 13, 2008 – Billy Pauch
February 17, 2007 – Danny Johnosn
February 16, 2007 – Tim Fuller
February 14, 2007 – Danny Johnson
February 18, 2006 – Brett Hearn
February 17, 2006 – Brett Hearn
February 16, 2006 – Tim Fuller
February 15, 2006 – Jimmy Horton
February 18, 2005 – Jamie Mills
February 16, 2005 – Billy Decker
February 15, 2005 – Andy Bachetti
February 14, 2005 – Brett Hearn
February 13, 2004 – J.R. Heffner
February 12, 2004 – Billy Decker
February 10, 2004 – Brett Hearn
February 15, 2003 – Tim Fuller
February 14, 2003 – Brett Hearn
February 13, 2003 – Danny Johnson
February 11, 2003 – Craig VonDohren
February 16, 2002 – Tim McCreadie
February 15, 2002 – Danny Johnson
February 14, 2002 – Brett Hearn
February 12, 2002 – Tim Fuller
February 17, 2001 – Danny Johnson
February 16, 2001 – Bob McCreadie
February 15, 2001 – Tim Fuller
February 15, 2001 – Brett Hearn
February 19, 2000 – Brett Hearn
February 18, 2000 – Brett Hearn
February 17, 2000 – Brett Hearn
February 15, 2000 – Jamie Mills
February 12, 1999 – Kenny Tremont
February 11, 1999 – Brett Hearn
February 10, 1999 – Bob McCreadie
February 9, 1999 – Jimmy Horton
February 13, 1998 – Doug Hoffman
February 12, 1998 – Brett Hearn
February 13, 1993 – Kenny Tremont Jr.
February 12, 1993 – Doug Hoffman
February 11, 1993 – Brett Hearn
February 18, 1989 – Doug Hoffman
February 17, 1989 – Doug Hoffman
February 15, 1989 – Danny Johnson
February 14, 1989 – Jack Johnson
February 13, 1989 – Rich Tobias Jr.
February 13, 1988 – Danny Johnson
February 12, 1988 – Doug Hoffman
February 10, 1988 – Doug Hoffman
February 9, 1988 – Jack Johnson
February 8, 1988 – Billy Pauch
February 14, 1987 – Danny Johnson
February 13, 1987 – Kenny Brightbill
February 11, 1987 – Danny Johnson
February 10, 1987 – Jimmy Horton
February 9, 1987 – Danny Johnson
February 15, 1986 – Jimmy Horton
February 14, 1986 – Jack Johnson
February 12, 1986 – Jimmy Horton
February 11, 1986 – Alan Johnson
February 9, 1986 – Jack Johnson
February 16, 1985 – C.D. Coville
February 15, 1985 – Billy Pauch
February 14, 1985 – Jack Johnson
February 13, 1985 – Billy Pauch
February 11, 1985 – Billy Pauch
February 18, 1984 – Doug Hoffman
February 17, 1984 – Kenny Brightbill
February 16, 1984 – Doug Ingalls
February 15, 1984 – Ray Dalmata
February 14, 1984 – Kenny Brightbill
February 17, 1983 – Doug Ingalls
February 16, 1983 – Merv Treichler
February 13, 1982 – Merv Treichler
February 12, 1982 – Jeff Kappesser
February 18, 1978 – Will Cagle
February 17, 1978 – Will Cagle
February 16, 1978 – Tom Hager
February 15, 1978 – Kenny Brightbill
February 14, 1978 – Kenny Brightbill
February 13, 1978 – Kenny Brightbill
February 12, 1978 – Gary Lulg
February 11, 1978 – Walt Breeding
February 10, 1978 – Lou Lazzaro