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Miller gets first ever UMP Summer Nationals win at Mt. Vernon

Darren Miller
Darren Miller

Mt. Vernon,IL — UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Night 6: Darren Miller Provides Another ‘Thrill’ Show At I-57/I-64 Raceway

MT. VERNON, IL – June 19, 2008 – By Kellen Burns/DIRTcar PR –

The UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals experienced a thrill show for the second night in a row – only this time it was ‘The Thriller’ Darren Miller that claimed the 40-lap A-Main at I-57/I-64 Raceway.

One night after young Will ‘The Thrill’ Vaught registered a career-first Summer Nationals victory, Miller pulled the same trick. Miller’s first-ever triumph on the grueling tour was worth $6,000.

Miller, 31, of Milledgeville, Ill., started the main event from the pole, but that didn’t mean he had it easy. Second-starter Kevin Claycomb of Vincennes, Ind., claimed the lead on the first circuit and Miller was relegated to third a few laps later when a charging Randy Korte of Highland, Ill., used the high lane to reach second after starting eighth.

Korte was in the process of passing Claycomb for the lead on lap eight when a caution flag flew for the slowing Jeep VanWormer of Pinconning, Mich., allowing Claycomb to restart at the front of the field.

Miller, meanwhile, was a model of patience and consistency. He moved to the middle groove to get by Korte after a lap-12 restart and quickly catch Claycomb, commencing a battle for the top spot.

“We had a good race car down in the middle of the racetrack,” said Miller.

Miller took the lead by inches on lap 17, but Claycomb reclaimed it for laps 18-19. Finally, on lap 20, Miller’s perseverance paid off as he drove low around Claycomb to assume command for good.

“I just kept working it and kept getting better and better,” Miller said after his first visit to RacingJunk.com Victory Lane on the Summer Nationals tour. “Finally we got it done.”

Defending Summer Nationals champion Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., had a strong effort yet again, starting fourth and claiming a second-place finish behind Miller. Erb saw Miller making his move on the low side of the track and used the same line to get past Claycomb and Korte in the final laps.

“Darren was really good down there,” said Erb, who moved by 11th-place finisher Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., to grab the Summer Nationals points lead (458-441). “I was following right there with him. The top kind of went away, the bottom and middle came in, and that was it.”

Korte, the 2006 UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model national champion settled for a third-place finish after his early bid for the lead was negated by a caution flag.

“I think I should have got down early,” Korte said of his groove choice, “and I think the caution killed me too.”

Thirty-seven UMP DIRTcar Super Late Models participated in the group time-trial session on the high-banked, quarter-mile oval, with Kevin Cole of Christopher, Ill., turning the overall fastest lap (13.88 seconds).

Heat winners were VanWormer, who brought out the A-Main’s two caution flags with flat tires (he was black-flagged after the second for the event’s two-caution rule), Claycomb, Erb and Miller. The C-Main was captured by Rick Salter of Albers, Ill., and the B-Main went to Wes Steidinger of Fairbury, Ill.

Provisional starting positions for the feature were awarded to previous night’s winner Will Vaught, current UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model national points leader Mike Hammerle of St. Charles, Mo., and Salter.

The UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals continues on Friday night (June 20) with a $10,000-to-win event at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway.

Be sure and stay tuned to www.umpracing.com for all the latest news and results from the 20th edition of the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals.

UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature Finish (40 laps):

1. Darren Miller
2. Dennis Erb Jr.
3. Randy Korte
4. Kevin Claycomb
5. Rodney Melvin
6. Jason Feger
7. Kevin Cole
8. Steve Sheppard Jr.
9. Wes Steidinger
10. Terry English
11. Brian Shirley
12. Patrick Sheltra
13. Frankie Martin
14. Kevin Weaver
15. Will Vaught
16. Ryan Unzicker
17. Jordan Bland
18. Brian Diveley
19. Mike Hammerle
20. Rick Salter
21. Jeep Van Wormer

B-Main Finish: Wes Steidinger, Jason Feger, Jordan Bland, Ryan Unzicker, Patrick Sheltra, Brian Diveley, Danny Jolly, Mark Voigt, George Scheffler, Tim Lance, Dewayne Kiefer, Rick Salter, Brandon Sheppard, Jason McBride, Jason Riggs, Michael Kloos

B-Main Finish: Rick Salter, Dewayne Kiefer, Jason McBride, Jason Riggs, Bobby Dauderman, Mike Hammerle, Jeremy Sneed, Steve Karnes, Ryan Dauber. Scratched: Will Vaught, Steven Unterbrink

UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Points Standings (after 6 events):

1. Dennis Erb Jr. 458
2. Brian Shirley 441
3. Will Vaught 429
4. Wes Steidinger 412
5. Jeep VanWormer 387
6. Jason Feger 360
7. Randy Korte 328
8. Steve Sheppard Jr. 326
9. Kevin Claycomb 304
10. DeWayne Keifer 297
11. Rodney Melvin 259
12. Kevin Cole 258
13. Darren Miller 253
14. Kevin Weaver 238
15. Billy Moyer 235

2008 UMP DIRTcar Racing Summernationals Schedule (Date/Day/Track/Location/To Win/Winner – Car Count):

June 12 – Thurs. – Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway/Calvert City, KY – $7,500 (Brad Neat – 40)
June 13 – Fri. – Brownstown (IN) Speedway – $10,000 (Rain – postponed to July 11)
June 14 – Sat. – Kamp Motor Speedway/Boswell, IN – $10,000 (Wes Steidinger – 36)
June 15 – Sun. – Tri-State Speedway/Haubstadt, IN – $6,000 (Dennis Erb Jr. – 39)
June 16 – Mon – OFF
June 17 – Tues. – Highland Speedway/Highland, IL – $6,000 (Terry English – 47)
June 18 – Wed. – Belle Clair Speedway/Belleville, IL – $6,000 (Will Vaught – 41)
June 19 – Thurs. – I-57/I-64 Raceway/Mt. Vernon, IL – $6,000 (Darren Miller –
June 20 – Fri. – Farmer City Raceway/Farmer City, IL – $10,000
June 21 – Sat. – I-55 Raceway/Pevely, MO – $10,000 (CANCELED – flooding)
June 22 – Sun. – Vermilion Co. Speedway/Danville, IL – $6,000
June 23 – Mon. – OFF
June 24 – Tue. – Sedalia State Fair Speedway/Sedalia, MO – $6,000
June 25 – Wed. – Lake Ozark Speedway/Eldon, MO – $6,000
June 26 – Thurs. – Paducah Int’l Raceway/Paducah, KY – $6,000
June 27 – Fri. – Lawrenceburg Speedway/Lawrenceburg, IN – $10,000
June 28 – Sat. – Clarksville Speedway/Clarksville, TN – $10,000
June 29 – Sun. – Lincoln Speedway/Lincoln, IL – $6,000
June 30 – Mon. – OFF
July 1 – Tue. – Peoria Speedway/Peoria, IL – $6,000
July 2 – Wed. – Morgan Co. Speedway/Jacksonville, IL – $6,000
July 3 – Thurs. – Macon Speedway/Macon, IL – $6,000
July 4 – Fri. – Tri-City Speedway/Pontoon Beach, IL – $10,000
July 5 – Sat. – Fairbury American Legion Speedway/Fairbury, IL -$10,000
July 6 – Sun. – Quad City Raceway/East Moline, IL – $6,000
July 7 – Mon. – OFF
July 8 – Tue. – Quincy (IL) Speedway – $6,000
July 9 – Wed. – Spoon River Speedway/Canton, IL – $6,000
July 10 – Thurs. – La Salle Speedway/La Salle, IL – $6,000
July 11 – Fri. – Brownstown (IN) Speedway – $10,000 (Rescheduled date)
July 12 – Sat. – Oakshade Raceway/Wauseon, OH – $10,000