BARBERVILLE, FL – After his first Hot Lap session in a DIRTcar UMP Modified Monday at Volusia Speedway Park, Travis Pastrana told DIRTVision cameras, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” Three days later, he emerged a winner.
Pastrana claimed his first golden gator trophy in only his third race, during the fourth night of Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals. The rallycross star from Annapolis, MD, joined Billy Green and Brian Shaw as the three Feature winners Thursday night before rain postponed the remainder of the program to Friday.
Feature #1 – Travis Pastrana
For only having raced the car twice before Thursday night, Pastrana sped around the half-mile oval with veteran-like control. He took the green from inside Row #2 and advanced to second on the first lap, only leader Adam Nayler in front of him.
When Nayler bobbled on the cushion out of Turn 2, Pastrana was right on the doorstep to capitalize, racing into the lead down the backstretch on Lap 5. The caution flag flew one lap later, forcing Pastrana into his first defense of the lead via restart, but he and his Longhorn Chassis, Black Rifle Coffee #199 held strong.
After the restart, Pastrana jumped out to a sizeable lead but soon caught the rear of the field in the closing laps. During that time, 11th-starting John Clippinger had been making a surge through the field, advancing nine spots in eight laps and was running second at the halfway point. He reeled-in Pastrana from two whole seconds back in five laps and was hot on the #199’s trail as the laps wound down.
Clippinger came close, within a few car lengths by the checkered, but was unable to get close enough to make a move on the leader as Pastrana crossed the stripe to collect his first-ever gator trophy in his DIRTcar Nationals debut week.
“We just came down here, having a good time,” Pastrana said. “We got all the Black Rifle crew, so many friends and family. We’re getting ready for the [Daytona] 500, trying to qualify for that.
“I came to try and take some of Matt Crafton’s dollars, and he’s taking all of my dollars. We’ve been crashing a lot, but I definitely appreciate all you fans for coming out. We won a gator!”
Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 199-Travis Pastrana; 2. 16C-John Clippinger; 3. 07N-Adam Nayler; 4. 59-Doug Stine; 5. 5-Jonathan Taylor; 6. 27-Jason Garver; 7. 2C-Ronnie Chance; 8. 2J-Joshua Kunstbeck; 9. 7M-Steve Maughan; 10. 40R-Shawn Reiss; 11. 27C-Billy Cevaal; 12. 100-Dylan Murray; 13. 463-Daniel Sanchez; 14. 99W-Wade Olmsted; 15. 54-Zachary Hawk
Feature #2 – Billy Green
After climbing into a UMP Modified for the first time and winning in his DIRTcar Nationals debut last year, Billy Green backed it up and made it two gator trophies in two years Thursday night in one of the most unconventional methods seen this week.
A multi-car incident on the first lap in Turns 1-2 sent several cars off on the hook and reshuffled the field for a second attempt at the initial start. After two restarts, Green was contending for a podium spot when Jesse Rupe made contact with Ken Mihalik directly in front of him in Turns 3-4, sending him around and collecting Green.
Race control sent Rupe to the rear as a result of the incident and gave the additional cars that spun to avoid their spots back. This lined Green up third for the restart, which he capitalized on immediately, taking the lead from Josh Sanford in Turn 1 on the restart and leading the rest of the distance unchallenged to win his second career gator trophy.
“That one definitely wasn’t easy,” Green said. “When we got in that collision down there, it broke something in the left-rear. But these racecars are just somehow quick enough to do without it.”
Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 49G-Billy Green; 2. 3-Josh Sanford; 3. 4S-Craig Shaw; 4. 17T-Tyler Evans; 5. 24D-Jesse Dill; 6. 22J-John Baker; 7. 21S-Kenny Shaw; 8. 6B-Dave Baldwin; 9. 91B-Chris Beaulieu; 10. 22-Doug Carson; 11. 33-Kenny Mihalik; 12. 11-Jesse Rupe; 13. 34X-Shane O’Connor; 14. 00B-Buzzie Reutimann; 15. 17C-Coleman Evans
Feature #3 – Brian Shaw
Illinois regional Modified veteran Brian Shaw came to Volusia this week looking for his first gator and got it in the third Feature of Thursday night.
It was a flag-to-flag performance for the Robinson, IL-racer, who is also fielding a car for fellow Illinois regular Kyle Hammer. Shaw snuck past most of the top-5 on the bottom on the initial start and came out of Turn 4 with the lead, holding it the rest of the way to claim victory.
Feature 3 (15 Laps): 1. 1S-Brian Shaw; 2. 130-Chase Allen; 3. 17-Rob Pitcher; 4. M20-Mike Potosky; 5. 7D-T J DeHaven; 6. 22B-Austen Becerra; 7. 9PG-Percy Gendreau; 8. 3D-Makayla Tyrrell; 9. 1-Randy Giroux; 10. 23B-Ethan Boomsma; 11. 0H-Dylan Henkins; 12. 57-Fletcher Mason; 13. 29-Steve Shellenberger; 14. 32-Chad Roush; 15. 35W-Ethan Weber; 16. 12-Robert Gast
The UMP Modified action at Volusia Speedway Park continues on day #5 of the 52nd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals – Friday, Feb. 10 – racing alongside the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.