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Dan Schlieper worked hard for his long-awaited first career victory at Volusia Speedway Park .
The 37-year-old driver from Sullivan , Wis. , came out on top of a frantic late-race duel with Darrell Lanigan of Union , Ky. , on Wednesday night, holding on to capture the 30-lap UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model A-Main during the 38th annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH.
Schlieper lost the lead to Lanigan on lap 25, but he regained command moments later and repelled the challenges of the defending World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion over the remaining distance. The standout racer known as the ‘Wisconsin Wildman’ pocketed $7,000 after beating Lanigan to the finish line by 0.434 of a second.
“It was definitely a nail-biter,” Schlieper said of the intense event, which was slowed by just a single caution flag on lap 15. “Darrell got inside of me (to take the lead by inches on lap 25) when I started losing big grip off the high side, but then I cut back underneath him (off turn two) and decided to commit to the bottom for the rest of the race.
“Basically, I guess I took his line away.”
Schlieper, who started fourth, grabbed the top spot for the first time on lap 15 when he overtook race-long pacesetter Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va. The harder UMP DIRTcar Hoosier tires that he bolted on his Wild Chassis mount helped him stay in front for all but one of the remaining circuits.
“I’m definitely excited to finally get a win here,” said Schlieper, who became the third Super Late Model driver eligible for the $10,000 prize that goes to the winner of the Alltel All-Star contest at www.alltelallstar.com. “I’ve finished second here. I’ve had a fast time here. We’ve been coming here a long time and it finally paid off with a win.”
Lanigan, 38, settled for his second runner-up finish in three UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model events during the 2009 Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH.
I got ahead of him, but then I pushed out and he got back under me,” said Lanigan, who started ninth in his Fusion Energy Rocket car. “Then he got down and took my groove away. He did what he had to do.”
Rick Eckert of York , Pa. , finished third after starting in the same position. After his apparent pass of Carrier for second on lap 15 was negated by a caution flag for the stopped car driven by Tommy Kerr of Maryville , Tenn. , Eckert snared the spot from Carrier again two laps later but proceeded to lose it to Lanigan on lap 20.
“I didn’t need that caution,” said Eckert, who improved from his previous Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH finishes of seventh (Monday) and fifth (Tuesday) behind the wheel of the Raye Vest Racing Bloomquist Chassis mount. “I was a little softer on tire (choice) and I just didn’t seem to be as good after the caution.”
Tuesday-night A-Main winner Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville , Fla. , advanced from the eighth starting spot to place fourth and Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., started and finished fifth.
Carrier slipped to sixth at the finish after leading laps 1-14 from the outside pole position. He was hampered during the race’s second half by handling problems resulting from minor front-end damage his car sustained while he battled for position with Eckert.
Finishing in positions 7-10 was 11th-starter Tim Fuller of Watertown , N.Y. , polesitter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., 19th-starter Jimmy Owens of Newport , Tenn. , and Scott James of Greendale , Ind.
Josh Richards of Shinnston , W.Va. , registered the overall fastest lap of the 69-car group time-trial session for the second consecutive night, rounding the track in 16.141 seconds.
Other group fast-timers included Owens (16.865), Pearson (16.798), Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg , Tenn. (16.548), Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville , Ill. (16.359) and Fuller (16.320).
Heat winners were Frank, Eckert, Schlieper, Moyer, Mark Pettyjohn of Millsboro , Del. , and Carrier. The B-Mains were captured by Owens, Darren Miller of Milledgeville , Ill. , and Vic Coffey of Caledonia , N.Y.
WoO LMS Rookie of the Year applicant Brady Smith of Solon Springs , Wis. , who finished fourth in Tuesday night’s UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model A-Main, scratched from Wednesday night’s action after his car’s engine exploded in a cloud of smoke during the group time-trial session. He had turned the group’s second-fastest lap before being struck by the mechanical malfunction.
The 38th annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH continue on Thursday (Feb. 12) with a 50-lap, $10,000-to-win event that opens the 2009 season for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. The Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series for big-block Modifieds is also part of the program, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
For more information visit www.dirtcar.com, www.volusiaspeedwaypark.com or www.dirtcarnationals.com.
UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model A-Main Finish (30 laps):
1. Dan Schlieper
2. Darrell Lanigan
3. Rick Eckert
4. Earl Pearson Jr.
5. Billy Moyer
6. Eddie Carrier Jr.
7. Tim Fuller
8. Chub Frank
9. Jimmy Owens
10. Scott James
11. Steve Francis
12. Darren Miller
13. Dennis Erb Jr.
14. John Anderson
15. Josh Richards
16. Billy Decker
17. Mark Pettyjohn
18. Vic Coffey
19. John Blankenship
20. Frank Heckenast Jr.
21. Justin Rattliff
22. Austin Hubbard
23. Tommy Kerr
24. Scott Bloomquist
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Chub Frank, 2. Justin Rattliff, 3. Steve Francis, 4. Jimmy Owens, 5. Wendell Wallace, 6. Russell King, 7. Jayme Zidar, 8. Jeff Beyers, 9. Michael Walker, 10. Tyler Reddick, 11. Gregg Hill (DNS) Jon Henry
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Rick Eckert, 2. Earl Pearson Jr., 3. Scott James, 4. Austin Hubbard, 5. Chad Mahder, 6. Tyler Ivey, 7. Stacy Boles, 8. Jason McBride, 9. Dustin Hapka, 10. Brad Eitiniear, 11. Chuck Hummer, 12. Russ Adams
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Dan Schlieper, 2. Darrell Lanigan, 3. Scott Bloomquist, 4. Tommy Kerr, 5. Darren Miller, 6. Shane Clanton, 7. Rick Briggs, 8. Adam Ferri, 9. Chas Shellenberger, 10. Jill George (DNS) Brady Smith, Chris Shannon
Heat No. 4 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Billy Moyer, 2. John Anderson, 3. Dennis Erb Jr., 4. Jordan Bland, 5. Jason Fitzgerald, 6. Dan Stone, 7. Dale McDowell, 8. Brandon Kinzer, 9. Greg Johnson, 10. Tim Isenberg (DNS) Eric Jacobsen
Heat No. 5 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Mark Pettyjohn, 2. Tim Fuller, 3. Billy Decker, 4. Vic Coffey, 5. Ivedent Lloyd, 6. Shannon Babb, 7. Peter Mantha, 8. Ronnie Rihn, 9. Tommy Weder, 10. David Breazeale, 11. Kelly Boen
Heat No. 6 (10 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Eddie Carrier Jr., 2. Frank Heckenast Jr., 3. John Blankenship, 4. Josh Richards, 5. Brent Robinson, 6. Mike Collins, 7. A.J. Kirkpatrick, 8. Tim Lance, 9. Mike Hammerle, 10. Clint Smith, 11. Davey Johnson
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Owens, Hubbard, Mahder, Zidar, King, Ivey, Reddick, Beyers, McBride, Boles, Hummer, Walker , G. Hill, Eitiniear, Wallace, Adams, Hapka (DNS) Henry
B-Main No. 2 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): D. Miller, Kerr, Clanton, Bland, McDowell, Stone, Briggs, Kinzer, Ferri, Fitzgerald, Isenberg (DNS) Shellenberger, G. Johnson, George, Shannon, Jacobsen, B. Smith
B-Main No. 3 (12 laps – Top 2 Transfer): Coffey, Richards, Lloyd, Babb, Robinson, Collins, Weder, C. Smith, Kirkpatrick, Rihn, Lance, Mantha, Hammerle (DNS) Breazeale, Boen, D. Johnson