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Pennsy’s Hess Captures First-Ever Alltel DIRTcar Nationals UMP DIRTcar Modified Feature On Saturday Night

Barberville, FL — Twenty-four hours after a crash left him a non-qualifier, Dave Hess Jr. of Waterford, Pa., roared back to win Saturday night’s 20-lap UMP DIRTcar Modified feature during the 37th annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

Hess, a young talent who competes in Super Late Model and UMP DIRTcar-type Modified action around his native western Pennsylvania, raced off the pole position to lead the race’s entire distance. He pocketed $1,500 for his first career win at the half-mile clay oval.

There was an anxious moment for Hess, however, in the event’s final moments. He received an outside challenge from Wayne Troseth of Zimmerman, Minn., racing down the homestretch with the white flag flying, but Troseth lost traction and fell to seventh in the official finish.

Hess, whose Craiger-powered Rocket Modified sustained significant damage in a heat-race accident the previous night, crossed the finish line several car lengths ahead of Webb City, Mo.’s Scott Drake. Drake, a winner earlier in the Alltell DIRTcar Nationals, started sixth.

Julie McDermid, 26, of Oconto Falls, Wis., started and finished third – her first top-five placing of the 2008 Alltel DIRTcar Nationals. Opening-night winner Jesse Stovall of Branson, Mo., charged from the 18th starting spot to finish fourth and Jeff Mathews of Tampa, Fla., was fifth.

A week-high total of 83 cars were entered in the program.

Among the new entrants was Denny Schwartz of Ashmore, Ill., and Jeff Leka of Buffalo, Ill., the two drivers who battled for the 2007 UMP DIRTcar Modified national championship. Schwartz, who beat Leka by four points to capture the ’07 UMP crown, won the night’s first B-Main over Leka (gaining the only transfer spot to the A-Main) and went on to finish 11th.

Heat winners were Devin Gilpin of Columbus, Ind., Hess, Brian Ruhlman of Clarklake, Mich., McDermid, Troseth, Drake, Bub Patrick of San Pierre, Ind., and Jason Miller of Osceola, Wis. The B-Mains were topped by Schwartz, Jon Henry of Ada, Ohio, Brian Strand of Bemidji, Minn., and Wayne Hammond of Tampa, Fla.

Jerod Landers of Batesville, Ark., entered the night riding a two-race win streak and leading the division’s Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by a healthy 44 points over NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader of Fenton, Mo., but his failure to qualify for the first time in five events tightened the points race considerably.

Landers remained the points leader at the end of the night, but his edge was reduced to 13 points over Drake. Austin Dillon of Welcome, N.C., the 17-year-old grandson of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, sits third in the standings, followed by Hess and Schrader, who was absent from Saturday’s action due to his NASCAR commitments at Daytona International Speedway.

The UMP DIRTcar Modifieds continue competition as part of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals through Feb. 12. Racing begins each evening at 7:30.

For more information on the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals, visit or

UMP DIRTcar Modified Feature Finish (20 laps):
1. Dave Hess Jr.
2. Scott Drake
3. Julie McDermid
4. Jesse Stovall
5. Jeff Mathews
6. Tommie Seets Jr.
7. Wayne Troseth
8. Austin Dillon
9. Brad Waits
10. Brian Ruhlman
11. Denny Schwartz
12. Randle Sweeney
13. Mike Spatola
14. Wayne Hammond
15. Devin Gilpin
16. Dale Mathison
17. Joey Jensen
18. Lou Krushansky
19. Richard Michael
20. Bill Davis
21. Jason Miller
22. Bub Patrick
23. Brian Strand
24. Scott Green
25. Kenny Gaddis
26. Corky Thomas
27. Shane Sabraski
28. Kent Robinson

DNQ: Ty Dillon, Larry Moreland, Derek Groomer, Tony Anderson, Billy Boggs, Bruce Takach, Chuck Gustafson, Kurt Allison, Jake Hawkins, Matt Caruth, Frank Marshall, Dave Groves, Don Lamb, Todd Sherman, Jason Schill, Tim Hancock, Charlie McNichol, Ron Soultis, Chad Hadlick, Mike Hohlbein, Charlie Phillips, Gary Brooks, David Bumgardner, Ben Ledgerwood, Tyler Townsend, Matt Permann, Jeff Leka, Alan Mondus, Jim Ransom, Scotty Kincaid, Jared Landers, Brandon Carlson, Terry Hull, Chuck Milam, Rich Laethus, Tim Thomas, Larry Burkins, Bob Gierke, Barry Sheffield, Gary Eichler, David McWilliams, Rick Conyer, Tom Seets Sr., Justin Houston, Corey Sekerson, Tom Bowen, George Catanzano, Rick Scott, Rick Jones, Josh Butler, Ralph Groomer, Jon Henry, Mark Noble, J.E. Stadler, Greg Vandergrift

Alltel DIRTcar Nationals UMP DIRTcar Modified Points Standings (after 5 of 8 events):
1. Jared Landers 354
2. Scott Drake 341
3. Austin Dillon 316
4. Dave Hess Jr. 315
5. Ken Schrader 300
6. Tim Hancock 291
7. Mike Spatola 280
7. Jesse Stovall 280
9. Jason Miller 269
10. Kenny Gaddis 246
11. Tommie Seets Jr. 228
12. Kenny Wallace 214
13. Julie McDermid 209
14. Bob Gierke 206
15. Bruce Takach 195
16. Scott Green 192
17. Kevin Adams 190
18. George Catanzano 186
19. Jake Hawkins 182
20. Brad Waits 179

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