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Lucky Sevens: Landers rallies to take Night 1 of UMP Modified Action

2009 DIRTcar NationalsBarberville, FL — Feb. 3, 2009 — Three 7’s showing up in sequence usually means jackpot for someone. It did for Jared Landers during the opening of UMP DIRTcar Modified action at the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park.

The young driver from Batesville, Ark., has experience on tracks similar to the sweeping half mile oval and worked masterfully through the traffic from his 5th starting spot. “I grew up at Batesville and it’s a really big momentum track. Any time I can carry speed I do well” smiled Landers. “Middle of the corner speed is where you win at these places.”

Landers, 26, was a two‐time winner in 2008 at the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH and had to be patient during the 20‐lap feature event Tuesday night. “I was waiting on my tires to come in,” he said. “I was nervous on making a change but next time I’ll start with a softer tire.”

The victory gives Landers a second chance to become the next Alltel All Star. The modest driver pleaded his case to the fans in victory lane seeking to gain their votes. “It’s kind of hard to explain, I don’t know what to say about it really, it helps me to raise my baby.”

Landers, who became a father in August, has not only gained a new child in his life, but also a good luck charm. “He’s been to 5 races so far and I’ve won all of them and he was here tonight.” which has definitely put pressure on the new father. “I don’t know if I can keep it up.”

Landers battled early side by side with NASCAR star Kenny Wallace for the top spot as Wallace eventually settled for the second spot. Wallace was enthusiastic about his performance in Tuesday night’s opener. “I showed up here for the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH and there were 82 race cars here,” Wallace said. “I feel very grateful to have won my heat and run second in the A‐Main. I got outrun by a great racecar driver.”

Wallace, who boasts over 300 career starts in NASCAR’s top level of competition as well as the 1989 Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, was impressed by the strong field of cars that packed the Volusia Speedway Park pits. “I think this shows just how strong DIRTcar Racing is. In a bad time (economically) we have 82 modifieds show up and 50 of them went home. It was a good run for my JEGS modified tonight and it’s really good to see DIRTcar Racing as strong as it is.”

Ada, Ohio’s John Henry rounded out the podium with a charge from eighth place to finish third in the main event. Henry, who has taken a unique opportunity from presenting sponsor, The University of Northwestern Ohio, gave the students something very exciting going forward. “It just shows what this team is capable of doing,” he said. “I think it’s really great for the program for me to be able to step up and at least run in the top 5. If I can get a win this week it would be phenomenal for the whole school and for everyone back home.”

The young hot shoe looks to keep his new found success building into the rest of the weeks competition. Henry certainly takes none of the high notes for granted though. ” I feel so fortunate to be down here and running top 3 makes it even better.”

The night’s program also featured a strong run from Ryan Gifford, of Welcome, N.C. Gifford claimed a consolation race win to earn a spot in the night’s A‐Main event climbed his way from the 25th starting position to finish fifth.

The 82 UMP DIRTcar Open Wheel Modifieds that signed in Tuesday night was the largest opening night modified crowd in Alltel DIRTcar Nationals history.

Austin Dillon set quick time with a lap of 18.289 in the final group of qualifying.

Heat wins were captured by Brad Waits of Zumbrota, Minn.; St. Louis, Mo., driver Kenny Wallace; Ripley, N.Y. driver and former Alltel All Star Mike Knight; Tommie Seets Jr. of Alton, Ill.; eventual winner Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark. ; Darrell Nelson of Duluth, MN.; 2008 UMP DIRTcar Modified National Champion Jeff Leka of Buffalo, Ill.; and Ada, Ohio, driver John Henry.

Heat 1:
1. Brad Waits
2. Tim Hancock
3. Andy Gordon
4. Jeremy Newberry
5. Gary Eicher

Heat 2:
1. Kenny Wallace
2. Rodney Wing
3. Jason Hughes
4. Ryan Gifford

Heat 3:
1. Michael Knight
2. Steve Arpin
3. Richie Ginn
4. Julie McDermid
5. Ryan Aho

Heat 4:
1. Tommie Seets, Jr.
2. Ken Schrader
3. Randy Hall
4. Corky Thomas
5. Blake Jegtvig

Heat 5:
1. Jared Landers
2. Mark Noble
3. Chris Smith
4. Jeff Babcock
5. Mike Hess

Heat 6:
1. Darrell Nelson
2. Dave Groves
3. Chad Evans
4. Brandon Dorch
5. Jacob Hawkins

Heat 7:
1. Jeff Leka
2. Scott Drake
3. Mike Hansen
4. Dean Wilkerson
5. Rich Michael

Heat 8:
1. Jon Henry
2. Mike Hansen
3. Austin Dillon
4. Scott Green
5. Michael Long

Consi 1:
1. Ryan Gifford
2. Alan Mondus
3. Gary Eichler
4. Bob Gierke
5. Matthew McDermid

Consi 2:
1. Brian Aho
2. Julie McDermid
3. Devin Gilpin

Consi 3:
1. Mike Hess
2. Jeff Babcock
3. Kent Robinson
4. Todd Sherman
5. Matt Aber

Consi 4:
1. Michael Long
2. Cody Agler
3. Scott Green
4. J.E. Stadler
5. Dean Wilkerson

Modified Feature – 20 Laps
1. Jared Landers
2. Kenny Wallace
3. John Henry
4. Brad Waits
5. Ryan Gifford
6. Darrell Nelson
7. Jeff Leka
8. Jason Hughes
9. Mark Noble
10. Rodney Wing
11. Chad Evans
12. Dave Hess
13. Tim Hancock
14. Mike Knight
15. Austin Dillon
16. Tommie Seets, Jr.
17. Scott Drake
18. Steve Arpin
19. Chris Smith
20. Randy Hall
21. Scott Hansen
22. Richie Ginn
23. Andy Gordon
24. Dave Groves
25. Mike Hansen
26. Michael Long
27. Ken Schrader
28. Brian Aho

For more information on the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals visit To vote for your favorite driver to become the next Alltel DIRTcar All Star log onto or text your driver code to 247253.

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