EVANSVILLE , IN – Jan. 20, 2007 – The 2007 UMP DIRTcar Summernationals is shaping up to be an unprecedented test of dirt Late Model men and machines.
With 29 dates scheduled over a 31-day period from June 14 to July 14, this season’s tour could be the biggest ever.
The ’07 UMP DIRTcar Summernationals is on track to set a record for most events run in the history of the series, which has thrilled Midwestern fans since its launch in 1988. The current single-season high for completed races is 27, established in 2002 and 2005.
“This just demonstrates the continued popularity of the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals,” said UMP director Sam Driggers, who announced the tour’s schedule on Thursday. “I’m as excited about this year’s schedule as I’ve ever been.”
The ’07 UMP DIRTcar Summernationals is currently slated to visit a mix of new and long-standing tour venues across a six-state area, starting on Thurs., June 14, at Twin Cities Raceway Park in North Vernon , Ind. It will mark the second straight year that an event at the Twin Cities oval kicks off the Summernationals.
The cradle of the Summernationals will remain the state of Illinois , which currently has 15 events scheduled at tracks within its borders. There are four races slated for Indiana, three in Missouri , two each in Kentucky and Ohio and one in Tennessee .
Two of the 29 Summernationals dates – Wed., July 4, and Fri., July 13 – are still being negotiated, but Driggers decided to announce the schedule with the ‘TBA’ slots so racers and fans can begin making plans for the busy month of competition.
“We’re very happy to have the schedule out in January,” said Driggers, who expects to soon announce the host venues for the July 4 and July 13 events. “This should be a big help to everyone who needs to arrange vacation days so they can enjoy some time on the road with the Summernationals.”
The only off days for the tour are set for Mon., June 18, and Mon., July 9, which means the heart of the Summernationals will feature a grueling 20 consecutive nights of Late Model action.
First-time additions to the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals schedule this season are Missouri’s Lebanon I-44 Speedway (June 19) and Midway Speedway in Crooksville, Ohio, which will highlight its inaugural year as a UMP-sanctioned track by making its annual Jim Dunn Memorial a part of the tour on July 2.
The standard purse for Summernationals events will offer a $6,000 top prize, but nine races are scheduled to pay more to win. Midway’s Jim Dunn Memorial boasts a $7,500 first-place check, and $10,000 is posted for events at Kankakee (Ill.) Motor Speedway (June 15); Kamp Motor Speedway in Boswell , Ind. (June 16); Farmer City ( Ill. ) Raceway (June 22); I-55 Raceway in Pevely , Mo. (June 23); Clarksville ( Tenn. ) Speedway (June 30); Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach , Ill. (July 6); Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway (July 7); and Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio (July 14).
Unless otherwise specified, all Summernationals A-Mains will be contested over the 40-lap distance.
Lovers of hard-fought, bullring racing should be overjoyed with this year’s UMP DIRTcar Summernationals, which currently has no track larger than three-eighths of a mile listed on the schedule. That includes Tri-City Speedway; formerly an imposing half-mile oval, it has been reconfigured during the off-season by promoter Kevin Gundaker to a three-eighths-mile layout.
“The sizes of the tracks will make this year’s Summernationals a real racer-friendly series,” said Driggers. “There are no big half-miles that teams will need major horsepower to get around.”
Driggers also noted that this year UMP will be selling sponsorships for events to local businesses. For starters, a backer has already been secured for the races at Paducah ( Ky. ) International Raceway (June 28) and Fairbury; both events will be titled the ‘ARC 40.’
Other highlights of the ’07 UMP DIRTcar Summernationals include:
* A visit to Farmer City Raceway for the 19th consecutive year. The only Summernationals that didn’t include the quarter-mile Farmer City oval was the first, in 1988.
* The Herald & Review 100 on July 5 at Macon ( Ill. ) Speedway , which at one-fifth of a mile is the smallest track on the tour. This will be the 19th year that the Summernationals has visited Macon , which has hosted a tour event every season except 1998.
* An event at Fairbury American Legion Speedway for the 18th consecutive year. The quarter-mile track was missing only from the 1988 and ’89 Summernationals.
* A 17th Summernationals event at Kankakee Motor Speedway, which was part of the inaugural six-race tour in 1988.
* Races at Mount Vernon ( Ill. ) Raceway (June 27) and Paducah International Raceway, both on the schedule for the 12th consecutive year.
* The 10th straight year of action at Clarksville Speedway, which has been a Summernationals stalwart since 1998 when NASCAR star Tony Stewart won the quarter-mile track’s first tour event.
* A return to Quad City Speedway in East Moline, Ill., which will host the tour for the first time since 2000 on July 8.
* The 10th annual 60-lap ‘Birthday Race’ at Oakshade Raceway (July 14), where the Summernationals will conclude for the third year in a row.
Shannon Babb of Moweaqua , Ill. , is expected to chase a third consecutive UMP DIRTcar Summernationals points title this season, but he might receive a challenge from some experienced Summernationals hands. It appears that former tour champions Billy Moyer and Don O’Neal will run substantially more Summernationals events than they have in recent years.
For more information on the 2007 UMP DIRTcar Summernationals, visit www.umpracing.com or call the UMP office at 812-426-1200.
2007 UMP DIRTcar Summernationals Schedule
6/14 – Thurs. – Twin Cities Raceway Park/North Vernon , IN
6/15 – Fri. – Kankakee Motor Speedway/Kankakee, IL
6/16 – Sat. – Kamp Motor Speedway/Boswell, IN
6/17 – Sun. – Tri-State Speedway / Haubstadt , IN
6/18 – Mon. – OFF
6/19 – Tues. – Lebanon I-44 Speedway/Lebanon, MO
6/20 – Wed. – Highland Speedway/Highland, IL
6/21 – Thurs. – Morgan County Speedway / Jacksonville , IL
6/22 – Fri. – Farmer City Raceway/Farmer City, IL
6/23 – Sat. – I-55 Raceway/Pevely, MO
6/24 – Sun. – Lincoln Speedway/Lincoln, IL
6/25 – Mon. – Peoria Speedway/Peoria, IL
6/26 – Tues. – Poplar Bluff Speedway/Poplar Bluff, MO
6/27 – Wed. – Mt. Vernon Raceway/Mt. Vernon , IL
6/28 – Thurs. – Paducah International Raceway/Paducah, KY
6/29 – Fri. – Western Kentucky Speedway/Nebo, KY
6/30 – Sat. – Clarksville Speedway/Clarksville, TN
7/1 – Sun. – Vermilion County Speedway / Danville , IL
7/2 – Mon. – Midway Speedway/Crooksville, OH
7/3 – Tues. – Lawrenceburg Speedway/Lawrenceburg, IN
7/4 – Wed. – TBA
7/5 – Thurs. – Macon Speedway/Macon, IL
7/6 – Fri. – Tri-City Speedway / Pontoon Beach , IL
7/7 – Sat. – Fairbury American Legion Speedway/Fairbury, IL
7/8 – Sun. – Quad City Speedway/East Moline , IL
7/9 – Mon. – OFF
7/10 – Tues. – Quincy Raceway/Quincy, IL
7/11 – Wed. – Spoon River Speedway/Canton, IL
7/12 – Thurs. – LaSalle Speedway/LaSalle, IL
7/13 – Fri. – TBA
7/14 – Sat. – Oakshade Raceway/Wauseon, OH