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TUESDAY WINNERS: Strickler, Berry, Mefford, Nicely, Schrader, Lee Claim Tuesday Gators at Volusia

Tyler Carr Photo

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DIRTcar UMP Modified competition continued Tuesday night at the 53rd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, putting six more drivers in Volusia Speedway Park Victory Lane – five who added to their growing gator trophy collection and one first-timer.

The lone first-time gator winner was Tom Berry Jr, who made the trip out from his home in Des Moines, IA, for his DIRTcar Nationals debut in a car from out of the Lethal Chassis stable, built by UMP Modified veteran David Stremme. He joined Kyle Strickler, Charlie Mefford, Tyler Nicely, Ken Schrader and Lucas Lee as victors of their 20-lap main events and gained the most valuable 80 points toward the event points standings.

Feature #1 – Kyle Strickler

He was bested Monday night, but Tuesday night was Kyle Strickler’s turn to visit Victory Lane as winner of the opening Feature.

Though he led the final 14 laps of the race, the 39-year-old Modified veteran from Mooresville, NC, did not have the greatest start. Polesitter Dustin Sorensen pushed way up the track through Turns 1-2 on the opening lap, sending Strickler over the cushion and back to third.

“I got such a good run down the front-stretch and through (Turns) 1 and 2, and he kinda hung in the slick a little bit,” Strickler said. “I was up alongside of him and he didn’t know I was out there and he was trying to the grip. It was nothing dirty on his part, but it about was… really big.”

However, Strickler was able to rebound to second before the race’s first caution on Lap 6. On the ensuing restart, Sorensen faulted on the top once again, jumping over the Turns 1-2 cushion and allowing Strickler to go by for the lead to his inside.

“I don’t know if he was trying to protect, or he didn’t know where I was at, but he drove in and kinda got tight and it opened up the door for me to be able to drive down in there and be able to slide him back,” Strickler said. “Once I got out in clean air, I thought we were alright.”

From there, Strickler was able to keep Sorensen and the field in the rearview, leading the remaining 15 laps en route to his 13th career gator trophy.

Feature 1 (20 Laps): 1. 8S-Kyle Strickler[2]; 2. 19-Dustin Sorensen[1]; 3. 7-Justin Allgaier[8]; 4. 95-Michael Altobelli[6]; 5. 7T-Evan Taylor[13]; 6. 5-Jonathan Taylor[3]; 7. 7D-TJ DeHaven[7]; 8. 72-Todd Neiheiser[15]; 9. 07-Eric Moon[9]; 10. 21C-Drew Charlson[10]; 11. 4-Mike Learman[11]; 12. 28B-Jason Brookover[12]; 13. 25B-Greg Belyea[14]; 14. 00B-Buzzie Reutimann[16]; 15. 32-Chad Roush[17]; 16. 12-Robert Gast[4]; 17. 99W-Wade Olmsted[19]; 18. 77C-Jason Cox[18]; 19. 8W-Gregory Moore[5]

Hot Lap / Qualifying Group 1 (3 Laps): 1. 19-Dustin Sorensen, 00:17.688[6]; 2. 8S-Kyle Strickler, 00:17.803[1]; 3. 5-Jonathan Taylor, 00:18.108[14]; 4. 12-Robert Gast, 00:18.225[12]; 5. 8W-Gregory Moore, 00:18.338[9]; 6. 95-Michael Altobelli, 00:18.338[16]; 7. 7D-TJ DeHaven, 00:18.339[3]; 8. 7-Justin Allgaier, 00:18.353[18]; 9. 07-Eric Moon, 00:18.412[19]; 10. 21C-Drew Charlson, 00:18.528[11]; 11. 4-Mike Learman, 00:18.547[8]; 12. 28B-Jason Brookover, 00:18.598[2]; 13. 7T-Evan Taylor, 00:18.607[13]; 14. 25B-Greg Belyea, 00:18.857[5]; 15. 72-Todd Neiheiser, 00:18.877[4]; 16. 00B-Buzzie Reutimann, 00:18.908[10]; 17. 32-Chad Roush, 00:19.055[7]; 18. 77C-Jason Cox, 00:20.877[17]; 19. 99W-Wade Olmsted, 00:22.281[15]

Feature #2 – Tom Berry Jr.

His Lethal Chassis teammate David Stremme won the battle on track Monday night, but Tuesday night was Tom Berry Jr’s turn to win a gator.

Berry, of Des Moines, IA, linked up with the Lethal Chassis owner/builder to take on his first DIRTcar Nationals this week and has already secured a piece of hardware. The two raced closely for several laps Monday and did it again Tuesday, swapping the lead back-and-forth multiple times before Berry was able to pull away in the end.

“I told him after last night, I had to give it to him,” Berry Jr. said. “I’m glad he got the win, I’ve got the win now, and I guess the pressure’s off both of our backs.”

After race-long leader Mitch Thomas spun out 12 laps in, Stremme inherited the lead and some pressure from Berry on the restart. Berry soon saw an opportunity to make a move and took it, throwing a slide-job in Turn 1 and making it stick out of Turn 2.

“The top was so fast; you could get to a guy but it was hard to get by him,” Berry said. “That restart – I knew if I got a good restart, I’d dive bomb him. I thought I was gonna keep it in front of him, but he crossed me over again and we raced it out, nobody touched, it was just an awesome night.”

While Stremme battled back with tenacity, he was unable to make up the ground in the end as Berry cruised to a first DIRTcar Nationals win.

Feature 2 (20 Laps): 1. 11X-Tom Berry Jr[3]; 2. 35-David Stremme[2]; 3. 21CZ-Cole Czarneski[5]; 4. 27G-Jason Garver[12]; 5. 463-Daniel Sanchez[13]; 6. 90-Jason Beaulieu[4]; 7. 10Y-Trent Young[7]; 8. 3-Josh Sanford[8]; 9. 2J-Troy Johnson[9]; 10. 0S-Glenn Styres[14]; 11. 114-Jordan Koehler[11]; 12. 40-Ronald Wadforth[10]; 13. 97-Mitch Thomas[1]; 14. 55-Alyssa Rowe[15]; 15. 8-Dave Pinkerton[16]; 16. 4S-Craig Shaw[6]; 17. 2G-Troy Girolamo[17]; 18. 77S-Jim Shipman[18]

Hot Lap / Qualifying Group 2 (3 Laps): 1. 97-Mitch Thomas, 00:17.519[3]; 2. 35-David Stremme, 00:17.809[11]; 3. 11X-Tom Berry Jr, 00:17.904[12]; 4. 90-Jason Beaulieu, 00:18.102[6]; 5. 21CZ-Cole Czarneski, 00:18.220[8]; 6. 4S-Craig Shaw, 00:18.229[13]; 7. 10Y-Trent Young, 00:18.347[16]; 8. 3-Josh Sanford, 00:18.348[10]; 9. 2J-Troy Johnson, 00:18.394[14]; 10. 40-Ronald Wadforth, 00:18.442[2]; 11. 114-Jordan Koehler, 00:18.498[7]; 12. 27G-Jason Garver, 00:18.512[17]; 13. 463-Daniel Sanchez, 00:18.527[4]; 14. 0S-Glenn Styres, 00:18.657[5]; 15. 55-Alyssa Rowe, 00:18.752[15]; 16. 8-Dave Pinkerton, 00:18.896[18]; 17. 2G-Troy Girolamo, 00:18.928[1]; 18. 77S-Jim Shipman, 00:19.260[9]

Feature #3 – Charlie Mefford

One year ago at DIRTcar Nationals, Charlie Mefford scored one of the biggest wins of his career and has come back to Volusia again this year for more gator gold.

The 17-year-old Kentuckian scored that second golden gator from the pole of Feature #3 after setting quick time in his Qualifying group. He took off at the drop of the green and never looked back, leading all 20 laps on the path to his second career gator trophy.

“It feels awesome, especially coming down here and going back-to-back,” Mefford said. “Everybody thought it was a fluke; heck I thought it was a fluke last year.”

Mefford’s got some close crew members helping him throughout the week who he always takes time to thank.

“It’s pretty special – every win is,” Mefford said. “Just me, mom and dad, that’s pretty much all we got. To come out here and be as competitive as this, it really means a lot to us.”

Feature 3 (20 Laps): 1. 13-Charlie Mefford[1]; 2. 36-Kenny Wallace[7]; 3. 4TW-Tim Ward[4]; 4. 18L-Michael Long[5]; 5. 88C-Matt Crafton[3]; 6. 7B-Brad Deyoung[11]; 7. 114B-Clayton Bryant[9]; 8. 2T-Ty Norder[12]; 9. 60-Shannon Fisk[6]; 10. 18K-Brandon Kinzer[10]; 11. 99G-Mark Grosvenor[8]; 12. 59-Doug Stine[17]; 13. 54-Zachary Hawk[13]; 14. 33-Kenny Mihalik[16]; 15. 4UW-Bobby Regot[15]; 16. 1S-Brian Shaw[2]; 17. 11W-James Whittredge[14]; 18. 6-Ryan Ayers[18]

Hot Lap / Qualifying Group 3 (3 Laps): 1. 13-Charlie Mefford, 00:17.762[12]; 2. 1S-Brian Shaw, 00:17.993[3]; 3. 88C-Matt Crafton, 00:18.006[1]; 4. 4TW-Tim Ward, 00:18.096[13]; 5. 18L-Michael Long, 00:18.110[16]; 6. 60-Shannon Fisk, 00:18.118[2]; 7. 36-Kenny Wallace, 00:18.238[8]; 8. 99G-Mark Grosvenor, 00:18.297[5]; 9. 114B-Clayton Bryant, 00:18.303[10]; 10. 18K-Brandon Kinzer, 00:18.323[11]; 11. 7B-Brad Deyoung, 00:18.369[18]; 12. 2T-Ty Norder, 00:18.374[15]; 13. 54-Zachary Hawk, 00:18.402[4]; 14. 11W-James Whittredge, 00:18.861[14]; 15. 4UW-Bobby Regot, 00:18.975[6]; 16. 33-Kenny Mihalik, 00:19.355[17]; 17. 59-Doug Stine, 00:19.950[9]; 18. 6-Ryan Ayers, 00:19.950[7]

Feature #4 – Tyler Nicely

In what was the most dominant display seen all night with the UMP Modifieds, Tyler Nicely put on a clinic in Feature #4 and showed all 108 other drivers exactly how fast his new Elite Chassis is, crossing the stripe over six seconds ahead of the field.

The 28-year-old Kentuckian led all 20 laps after setting quick time in his Qualifying group and claiming the pole position. He took off at the drop of the green and never looked back en route to collecting his eighth career gator trophy.

“It felt really good; last night I felt like our balance was a little bit off,” Nicely said. “Me and Nick [Hoffman] and Ryan at Jerovitz Shocks, we just kinda put our heads together just trying to get me more comfortable.”

As fast as his car is, Nicely knows he’ll be one to contend for this week as he shoots for his first-ever Big Gator trophy.

“That was our main goal this year,” Nicely said. “I want to be able to try and win the Big Gator on Saturday and the points. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. We’ve always been close, just haven’t been able to get it done.”

Feature 4 (20 Laps): 1. 25-Tyler Nicely[1]; 2. 27-Michael Turner[3]; 3. 77D-George Dixon[5]; 4. 09-Michael Leach[4]; 5. 17N-Dillon Nusbaum[9]; 6. 5CS-Curt Spalding[15]; 7. 16C-John Clippinger[7]; 8. 1-Randy Giroux[13]; 9. 49-Brian Ruhlman[2]; 10. 57-Charlie Sandercock[8]; 11. 58F-Donnie Farlling[10]; 12. 95J-Justin Cullum[16]; 13. 82-Gary Dillon[11]; 14. 99-Cole Hilton[6]; 15. 89W-Rick Weitekamp[17]; 16. 07K-Curtis King[14]; 17. 97G-Jason Crose[18]; 18. 17-Rob Pitcher[12]

Hot Lap / Qualifying Group 4 (3 Laps): 1. 25-Tyler Nicely, 00:17.736[5]; 2. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 00:17.865[2]; 3. 27-Michael Turner, 00:18.038[3]; 4. 09-Michael Leach, 00:18.137[1]; 5. 77D-George Dixon, 00:18.147[6]; 6. 99-Cole Hilton, 00:18.196[11]; 7. 16C-John Clippinger, 00:18.211[12]; 8. 57-Charlie Sandercock, 00:18.377[17]; 9. 17N-Dillon Nusbaum, 00:18.429[18]; 10. 58F-Donnie Farlling, 00:18.578[16]; 11. 82-Gary Dillon, 00:18.652[4]; 12. 17-Rob Pitcher, 00:18.682[13]; 13. 1-Randy Giroux, 00:18.686[14]; 14. 07K-Curtis King, 00:18.771[15]; 15. 5CS-Curt Spalding, 00:18.779[10]; 16. 95J-Justin Cullum, 00:18.868[8]; 17. 89W-Rick Weitekamp, 00:20.117[9]; 18. 97G-Jason Crose, 00:21.140[7]

Feature #5 – Ken Schrader

For the first time in over 10 years, Ken Schrader is back in Volusia Speedway Park Victory Lane.

The two-time DIRTcar Nationals champion of the UMP Modified division – whose last event win came in 2013 – led Feature #5 flag-to-flag from the pole, running an unwavering line around the bottom of the half-mile and holding off his competition to bank his third career DIRTcar Nationals Feature win.

“We’ve struggled here, especially the last three or four years,” Schrader said. “It’s been ugly, but we got this thing going a little better in the middle of last season and we’re happy with it tonight.

“We know why we were struggling, because we just weren’t getting our job done. Yeah, [winning] made it a lot better.”

Though he was never seriously challenged for the lead, Schrader did have a few big Modified veterans behind him in Will Krup, Ray Bollinger and Zeke McKenzie, who would have pounced on the opportunity to steal the lead had Schrader gave them the chance.

“I felt pressure, but the pressure was just to not screw myself up,” Schrader said. “It was gonna be hard for somebody to get around if I didn’t screw up. But it’s easy for me to screw up, so that’s all we had to worry about.”

Feature 5 (20 Laps): 1. 9-Ken Schrader[1]; 2. 24-Zeke McKenzie[5]; 3. K9-Will Krup[4]; 4. 77-Ray Bollinger[3]; 5. 21-Scott Ladner[6]; 6. 17T-Tyler Evans[2]; 7. 43A-Mark Anderson[11]; 8. 4K-Jason Kinney[13]; 9. 11M-Michael McGee[12]; 10. 21B-Hunter Breland[8]; 11. 6B-Dave Baldwin[7]; 12. 5B-Bobby Bagley[15]; 13. 51-Dalton Lanich[10]; 14. 0-Dylan Murray[16]; 15. 26-Ryan Gierke[9]; 16. N8-Nathan Huffingham[17]; 17. E85-Jesse Strange[14]; 18. 23-Jerol Stepp[18]

Hot Lap / Qualifying Group 5 (3 Laps): 1. 9-Ken Schrader, 00:18.241[8]; 2. 17T-Tyler Evans, 00:18.287[2]; 3. 77-Ray Bollinger, 00:18.338[18]; 4. K9-Will Krup, 00:18.360[5]; 5. 24-Zeke McKenzie, 00:18.401[16]; 6. 21-Scott Ladner, 00:18.650[12]; 7. 6B-Dave Baldwin, 00:18.709[13]; 8. 21B-Hunter Breland, 00:18.743[6]; 9. 26-Ryan Gierke, 00:18.786[11]; 10. 51-Dalton Lanich, 00:18.883[3]; 11. 43A-Mark Anderson, 00:18.952[10]; 12. 11M-Michael McGee, 00:19.051[17]; 13. 4K-Jason Kinney, 00:19.066[7]; 14. E85-Jesse Strange, 00:19.092[1]; 15. 5B-Bobby Bagley, 00:19.490[14]; 16. 0-Dylan Murray, 00:19.747[4]; 17. N8-Nathan Huffingham, 00:20.045[9]; 18. 23-Jerol Stepp, 00:20.045[15]

Feature #6 – Lucas Lee

The UMP Modified Florida Speedweeks points leader is back in Victory Lane at Volusia.

Lucas Lee bagged his second career gator trophy last year and got his third Tuesday night after inheriting the lead from Mike McKinney just past the halfway point.

McKinney, who had led since the drop of the green, had an untimely water pump expiration on Lap 11 and came to a slow stop to bring out the yellow and be pushed back to the pits. That handed the lead over to Lee, who took it and ran with it all the way back to the checkered.

“Nick’s (Hoffman) really fine-tuned these cars to where they’re so good here,” Lee said of his Elite Chassis. “They’re so good here; he’s made it pretty simple for us.”

Feature 6 (20 Laps): 1. 12L-Lucas Lee[4]; 2. 23Z-Austin Self[5]; 3. 777-Trevor Neville[2]; 4. 90H-Raymond Kable[6]; 5. 6ST-Joseph Thomas[9]; 6. 11N-Gene Nicholas[11]; 7. 17C-Coleman Evans[7]; 8. 91-Chris Beaulieu[8]; 9. 01-Brayden Weller[14]; 10. 57M-Fletcher Mason[12]; 11. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt[15]; 12. 18-Miles Beaulieu[19]; 13. 3D-Makayla Tyrrell[17]; 14. 78-Raymond Rogers[16]; 15. 12M-John McClure[13]; 16. 96M-Mike McKinney[1]; 17. 3F-Rob Fuqua[18]; 18. 05-Dave Wietholder[3]; 19. 11-Jesse Rupe[10]

Hot Lap / Qualifying Group 6 (3 Laps): 1. 96M-Mike McKinney, 00:18.137[18]; 2. 777-Trevor Neville, 00:18.296[9]; 3. 05-Dave Wietholder, 00:18.496[17]; 4. 12L-Lucas Lee, 00:18.526[12]; 5. 23Z-Austin Self, 00:18.566[1]; 6. 90H-Raymond Kable, 00:18.588[11]; 7. 17C-Coleman Evans, 00:18.760[5]; 8. 91-Chris Beaulieu, 00:18.890[6]; 9. 6ST-Joseph Thomas, 00:18.894[3]; 10. 11-Jesse Rupe, 00:19.047[14]; 11. 11N-Gene Nicholas, 00:19.227[4]; 12. 57M-Fletcher Mason, 00:19.242[2]; 13. 12M-John McClure, 00:19.441[16]; 14. 01-Brayden Weller, 00:19.446[8]; 15. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt, 00:19.509[10]; 16. 78-Raymond Rogers, 00:19.574[19]; 17. 3D-Makayla Tyrrell, 00:19.580[13]; 18. 3F-Rob Fuqua, 00:19.580[15]; 19. 18-Miles Beaulieu, 00:19.580[7]


DIRTcar UMP Modified racing at Volusia Speedway Park continues Wednesday night, Feb. 7, with another six-pack of Features, also on the card with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.

Tickets and information are available at If you can’t be at the track, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.

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