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DIRTcar UMP Weekly Points Update: Unzicker’s Late Model Edge Shrinks, Harrison Grabs Top Spot In UMP Modified National Standings

CONCORD, NC – July 15, 2011 – Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill. saw his lead shrink in the Late Model standings while Mike Harrison of Highland, Ill., grabbed the top spot in the UMP Modified rankings following Week 24 of the battle for the 2011 DIRTcar UMP national points championships.

Unzicker, 28, had his advantage in the Late Model standings nearly cut in half during Week 24 action, which includes all UMP-sanctioned events run from July 4-10. He entered the stretch with a 352-point lead over Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., but ended it with a 171-point edge over the circuit’s 2009 national champion.

Week 24 wasn’t memorable for Unzicker, who made five starts on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals ‘Hell Tour.’ He managed just a pair of top-10 finishes – sixth on July 10 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., and ninth on July 9 at Clarksville (Tenn.) Speedway.

Feger didn’t fare much better in his five Summer Nationals appearances – he had one top five (fifth on July 4 at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa) and three top 10s to go along with finishes of 20th at Clarksville and 21st at Tri-State – but he did join Unzicker in reaching the 35-race plateau for the season. The Late Model standings are determined using drivers’ best 35 finishes/points nights.

Eighteen-year-old sensation Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., meanwhile, pulled to within 215 points of Unzicker in third place during a week in which he reached the 35-start mark and also earned the biggest win of his career. He pocketed $10,000 for capturing the Summer Nationals event on July 8 at Farmer City.

Defending Late Model national champion Rusty Schlenk of Jackson, Mich., who sits fourth in the points standings, also narrowed his deficit to Unzicker, closing to within 288 points. His three-start week included fifth-place finishes on July 8 at Kankakee (Ill.) County Speedway and July 9 at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio.

Harrison vaulted into the UMP Modified national points lead with a nearly perfect performance in Week 24. He won two DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals events (July 6 at Illinois’s Peoria Speedway and July 10 at Tri-State), finished second in the tour event on July 8 at Farmer City and won a weekly feature on July 9 at Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway.

Harrison, the defending UMP Modified national champion, went from 26 points behind Nick Allen of Wheatfield, Ind., to 89 points ahead (1,795-1,706) following his spectacular week. Allen made three starts over the span, topping out with a second on July 8 at Kankakee.

Other national points leaders after Week 24 in UMP-sanctioned divisions included Nick Bauman of New Berlin, Ill. (Pro Late Models), Troy Clark of North Vernon, Ind. (Sportsman); Kentucky’s Jeff Lawson (Limited Modifieds); Nate Zimmer of Mattoon, Ill. (Stock Cars); Jake Hewitt of Troy, Ill. (Factory Stocks); and Kenny Butterfield of Glassford, Ill. (Sport Compacts).

Log on to www.DirtCar.com for more information on DIRTcar Racing’s UMP circuit and to view complete points standings for all divisions, including the current State points rankings.

New for 2011, the weekly DIRTcar UMP points update is powered by www.MotorStats.com. DIRTcar’s affiliation with the Durham, N.C.-based Web site is providing fans and competitors a more timely and detailed look at the points standings. National and State points standings for all divisions are typically updated by Thursday each week, and new features allow visitors to click on each driver’s name to see a complete race-by-race review of their finishes to date.

DIRTcar Racing UMP National Points Standings (as of July 10, 2011):

Late Models (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Ryan Unzicker 35 2101

2. Jason Feger 35 1930

3. Brandon Sheppard 35 1886

4. Rusty Schlenk 30 1813

5. Brandon Thirlby 32 1697

6. Michael Kloos 31 1657

7. Bobby Pierce 33 1606

8. Mike Spatola III 29 1561

9. Dewayne Kiefer 34 1540

10. Jon Henry 24 1493

11. Scott Schmitt 32 1492

12. Mike Hammerle 31 1475

12. Dillan White 34 1475

14. Shannon Babb 22 1400

15. Mark Voigt 24 1358

16. Donny Walden 31 1328

17. Dennis Erb Jr. 26 1307

18. Randy Korte 26 1306

19. Eric Spangler 21 1275

20. Kevin Weaver 31 1269

UMP Modifieds (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Mike Harrison 25 1795

2. Nick Allen 25 1706

3. Tim Hancock 25 1634

4. Brian Lynn 25 1625

5. Jamie Lomax 25 1587

6. Randle Sweeney 25 1579

7. Ray Bollinger 25 1574

8. Clayton Miller 25 1559

9. Clint Demoss 25 1532

10. Jeff Leka 25 1525

11. Todd Sherman 24 1502

12. Steve Lach 25 1499

13. McKay Wenger 25 1491

14. Scott Weber 25 1479

15. Dave Wietholder 25 1467

16. Jay Ledford 25 1454

17. Gabe Menser 25 1452

18. John DeMoss 23 1433

19. Dean Hoffman 24 1424

20. Allen Weisser 25 1416

Pro Late Models (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Nick Bauman 20 1299

2. Dustin Griffin 19 1255

2. Evan Fink 20 1255

4. Clayton Miller 20 1220

5. Randy Myers 20 1200

6. Credence Mott 20 1192

7. Bobby Martintoni 20 1156

8. Jerry Lierly 18 1125

9. Mark Oller 20 1070

10. Daniel Heck 20 962

Sportsman (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Troy Clark 20 1336

2. Jeremy Hines 18 1151

3. Dan Flessner 18 1137

4. Nick Macklin 17 1130

5. Dave Crawley Jr. 16 1045

6. Chris Hillman 17 956

7. Dustin Mounce 18 919

8. Jeff Herzog 14 893

9. Dave Bissonnette 17 855

10. Robbie Eilers 16 807

Limited Modifieds (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Jeff Lawson 20 1027

2. Haley Westerfield 18 859

3. Todd Bates 14 838

4. John Wyble 15 834

5. Johnny Holden 15 809

6. Christopher Geary 17 806

7. Clay Settles 15 746

8. Mark Anderson 12 740

9. Josh Tyler 12 593

10. Billy Hawes 12 575

Stock Cars (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Nate Zimmer 20 1412

2. Chuck Barnes Jr. 20 1395

3. Mike Hodges 20 1338

4. John Farris 20 1280

5. Andrew Funk 20 1192

6. Darrel Dick 20 1180

7. Joeseph Hamm 20 1139

8. Dan Dykman 18 1136

9. Derek Poland 17 1120

10. Joel Funk 20 1090

Factory Stocks (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Jake Hewitt 20 1176

2. Rob Sternberg 17 1084

3. Dennis Bringedahl 17 975

4. Mark Farber 17 916

5. Mike Epplett 17 912

6. Bobby McQueen 16 889

7. Jeff Buss 15 846

8. Tom Hughes 13 825

9. Jarid Bisson 16 783

10. Brian Crawford 17 739

Sport Compacts (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Kenny Butterfield 20 1446

2. Jacob Rexing 20 1376

3. Matt Maier 20 1322

4. Trevor Isaak 20 1321

5. Bradley McGhee 20 1282

6. Jordan Suhre 20 1200

7. Jeremy Reed 20 1172

8. Blayne Ellis 20 1157

9. Michael Rittenberry 20 1126

10. Logan Brown 18 1093