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UMP DIRTcar Racing Update

Evansville, IN — END OF THE BATTLES: Chalk up another UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model national championship for Dennis Erb Jr.

And put a first career UMP DIRTcar Open-Wheel Modified national crown in the record book for Jeff Leka.

With UMP DIRTcar Racing’s weekly points season closing this weekend, the two veteran drivers from the ‘ Land of Lincoln ’ can relax knowing that they’ve already clinched their respective division titles. Both drivers will receive their public coronations as 2008 national champions during the Moser Engineering UMP DIRTcar Racing Nationals on Oct. 3-4 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg , Ohio – an event that serves as the final points race for the Super Late Models and Modifieds.

Erb, 35, of Carpentersville , Ill. , rolled to his second consecutive Super Late Model national title. Unlike the late-season surge that saw him chase down Wes Steidinger of Fairbury , Ill. , to win last year’s points battle, he seized command of the national points standings in July after capturing his second straight UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals crown and just pulled away over the remaining months.

Entering this weekend’s action, Erb holds an insurmountable 266-point lead (3,232-2,966) over Steidinger in the national standings, which are determined using a driver’s best 40 finishes/points nights of the season.

Erb stands to collect over $50,000 in points-fund cash at January’s UMP DIRTcar Racing Awards Banquet in Springfield , Ill. , including his sweep of the national and Summer Nationals titles and a potential Northern All-Stars Late Model Series championship.

Leka, meanwhile, has already secured his long-awaited first-ever UMP DIRTcar Modified national championship. The 42-year-old from Buffalo , Ill. , enters this weekend’s action with a 159-point lead (2,979-2,820) over Randle Sweeney of Clifty , Ky. , in the national standings, which are determined using a driver’s best 35 finishes/points of the season.

The title comes one year after Leka led the UMP DIRTcar Modified circuit in feature wins but finished second in the national points race, a mere four points behind Denny Schwartz of Ashmore, Ill. Ironically, this season it’s Sweeney who is the organization’s winningest Modified driver – Sweeney has 34 victories to Leka’s 25 – but Leka has accumulated more points thanks to the bonus points he earned at events with strong car counts.

While the Super Late Model and Modified national championships have been decided, both divisions still have several top-10 positions under contest.

On the Super Late Model side, the closest battle is the two points separating fourth-place Brian Shirley of Chatham , Ill. , from fifth-place Steve Sheppard Jr. of New Berlin , Ill. Kevin Weaver of Gibson City , Ill. , is 55 points behind Shirley in sixth place.

Sweeney appears to have a solid grasp of second place in the Modified standings, but third-place Gary Cook Jr. of Deer Creek , Ill. , fourth-place Tim Hancock of Mt. Olive, Ill., and fifth-place Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., are separated by just 29 points, and there’s a mere 64-point difference between sixth-place Mike Spatola of Manhattan, Ill., and 12th-place John DeMoss of Bloomington, Ind.

The biggest UMP DIRTcar Modified show on this weekend’s agenda is the $5,000-to-win ‘Midwest Modified Nationals’ on Saturday night (Sept. 27) at Brownstown ( Ind. ) Speedway .

The national points pictures for the other UMP DIRTcar divisions shape up this way entering the final points weekend of the season:

* Tait Davenport of Paducah , Ky. , will be the first-ever UMP DIRTcar Pro Late Model national champion. He holds a commanding 253-point lead over Matt Liner of Calvert City , Ky. , entering the final weekend of points racing for the new crate-engine Late Model class.

* With a 136-point advantage in the standings, Jeremy Hines of Seymour , Ind. , is headed toward the UMP DIRTcar national crown in the Sportsman class.

* Jonathan Clayton of Denham Springs , La. , is in the driver’s seat for his second consecutive UMP DIRTcar Limited Modified national title, holding an 83-point edge over Zach Dennis.

* Jerrad Krick of Earl Park, Ind. , is on the verge of repeating as the UMP DIRTcar Street Stock national champion – but this time by himself. Krick, who is ahead by 67 points entering the weekend’s action, finished tied for the 2007 title with Jim Ransom of Williamsport , Ind.

* Ohio ’s Bill DeLong (Factory Stocks) and Illinois racer Joe Reed (4-Cylinders) are headed toward national titles in the entry-level divisions.

ACROSS THE BORDER: Sunny skies and warm fall temperatures are in the forecast for this Saturday (Sept. 27) at South Buxton (Ont.) Raceway, which is set to host its huge fourth annual Castrol Canadian UMP DIRTcar Late Model Showdown and Advantage Warehouse UMP DIRTcar Modified Canadian Fall Blowout.

The largest purse in the track’s 37-year history will be on the line on Saturday. Track owner Scott Mihalco has posted a total payoff of over $34,000 ( U.S. funds) for the doubleheader, with a $6,000 winner’s share for the Super Late Models and a $2,500 check earmarked for the Modified victor.

All three former winners of Super Late Model Showdown are planning to be in the field, including Rusty Schlenk of Jackson , Mich. (2007), Curtis Roberts of Coleman , Mich. (2006) and Jayme Zidar of Greenfield , Wis. (2005).

Over 70 race teams from across Ontario and the Midwestern United States are expected to enter the event.

South Buxton Raceway is located near Chatham, Ont., 45 miles southeast of the Windsor-Detroit border.

Go to www.southbuxtonraceway.com for more information on the track and event, including a pre-registration form and a downloadable tariff form for crossing the border.

MORE CASH: More money will be on the line for the both the Super Late Model and Modified competitors during the Moser Engineering UMP DIRTcar Racing Nationals on Oct. 3-4 at Eldora Speedway.

The prize money for the Modifieds has been increased 46 percent over 2007. While the winner’s share of the 25-lap A-Main will remain at $3,000 to win, the feature start money has been doubled from $150 to $300.

The purse for the 40-lap Super Late Model A-Main has been pumped up and redistributed for 2008. The race winner will receive $5,000, with second place increased to $3,500 and the spread between all other positions much more equitable than in the past.

The two-day program will include time trials for the Super Late Models and Modifieds, qualifying heat races for the Modifieds and Race of Champions events for both classes on Friday night (Oct. 3), and then heats for the Late Models, B-Mains for both divisions and the headlining main events for both classes on Saturday night (Oct. 4).

For more information, visit www.eldoraspeedway.com or call 937-338-3815.

UMP DIRTcar EXTRAVAGANZA: Preparations are continuing for the inaugural UMP DIRTcar Roundup By MyRaceLife.com on Oct. 15-18 at NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader’s I-55 Raceway in Pevely , Mo.

All eight divisions sanctioned by UMP DIRTcar Racing – Super Late Models, Modifieds, Pro Late Models, Sportsman, Limited Modifieds, Street Stocks, 4-Cylinders and Factory Stocks – will compete in the four-day extravaganza that’s been dubbed the “Party in Pevely.”

Complete details of the blockbuster program are available by logging on to www.UMPDIRTcarRoundup.com or calling the I-55 Raceway office at 636-479-3219.

UMP DIRTcar RACING INFO: Log on to www.dirtcar.com for more information on UMP DIRTcar Racing and to view complete points standings for all divisions.

ATTENTION: Any UMP DIRTcar track or race team with news that could be used in the ‘UMP DIRTcar Racing Update’ release can e-mail the info to Kevin Kovac at kkovac@dirtcar.com.

UMP DIRTcar Racing National Points Standings (as of Sept. 22):

Super Late Models (driver/points/races counted):
1. Dennis Erb Jr. 3232 40
2. Wes Steidinger 2966 40
3. Jason Feger 2851 40
4. Brian Shirley 2695 40
5. Steve Sheppard Jr. 2693 40
6. Kevin Weaver 2640 40
7. Michael Kloos 2496 40
8. Ryan Unzicker 2391 40
9. Mike Hammerle 2305 40
10. Eric Smith 2276 36
11. Rusty Schlenk 2252 40
12. Brian Ruhlman 2181 37
13. Daren Friedman 2147 40
14. Mike Schulte 2103 40
15. Scott Bull 2087 40
16. Jayme Zidar 2070 40
17. Randy Korte 2013 33
18. Will Vaught 2008 35
19. Kerry Mathew 2007 40
20. Jeep VanWormer 1949 32

Open-Wheel Modifieds (driver/points/races counted):
1. Jeff Leka 2979 35
2. Randle Sweeney 2820 35
3. Gary Cook Jr. 2772 35
4. Tim Hancock 2749 35
5. Kent Robinson 2743 35
6. Mike Spatola 2564 35
7. Doug Adkins 2549 35
8. Anthony Madrid 2547 35
9. McKay Wenger 2530 35
10. Todd Sherman 2520 35
11. Denny Schwartz 2519 35
12. John DeMoss 2500 35
13. Bobby Martintoni 2491 35
14. Matt Bex 2465 35
15. Jon Henry 2448 35
16. Nick Allen 2398 35
17. Bobby Bittle 2396 35
18. Bub Patrick 2374 35
19. Clayton Miller 2360 35
20. Chad Evans 2347 35

Pro Late Models (driver/points/races counted):
1. Tait Davenport 2259 30
2. Matt Liner 2006 30
3. Brad Denney 1986 28
4. Bobby Dauderman 1977 30
5. Josh Harris 1930 30
6. Caleb Ashby 1894 30
7. Aaron Heck 1833 30
8. Carnell Parker 1807 26
9. Daniel Heck 1769 30
10. Levi Ashby 1650 30

Sportsman (driver/points/races counted):
1. Jeremy Hines 2008 25
2. Jeff Herzog 1876 25
3. Joel Funk 1873 25
4. Troy Medley 1800 25
5. Brad Cummings 1799 25
6. Pete Stefanski 1698 25
7. Jimmy Cummins 1697 25
8. Mike Hodges 1687 24
9. Chad Weinrick 1683 25
10. Troy Clark 1678 25

Limited Modifieds (driver/points/races counted):
1. Jonathan Clayton 1596 25
2. Zach Dennis 1513 24
3. Eric Adkins 1470 24
4. Alex Ashley 1291 20
5. Dan Bimson 1231 19
6. Rob Madrid 1200 19
7. Jacob Sewell 1080 19
8. Shelli O’Bryan 1068 19
9. John Paul Talkington 1065 18
10. Paddy Rush 1052 17

Street Stocks (driver/points/races counted):
1. Jarred Krick 1916 25
2. David Hurst 1849 25
3. Steve Maisel 1845 25
4. Travis Myers 1820 25
5. Dave Mannise 1789 25
6. Terry Miller 1785 25
7. Steve Ewing 1767 25
8. Josh Griffith 1756 25
9. Mike Welch 1672 25
10. Lee Hall 1659 25

Factory Stocks (driver/points):
1. Bill DeLong 1825
2. William Burton 1737
3. Mickey Hines 1510
4. Jim Scout 1481
5. Chris Henry 1434
6. Clay Ellison 1389
7. Brett Miller 1370
8. Casey Crane 1298
9. Danny Hogrefe 1230
10. Skid Moudy 1224

4-Cylinders (driver/points/races counted):
1. Joe Reed 1909
2. Bob Zbinden 1837
3. Jeffrey Bailey 1816
4. Keaton Downing 1813
5. David Reed 1743
6. Michael Rittenberry 1740
7. Jason Broughton 1703
8. Tyler Griffin 1640
9. Mike Martin 1591
10. Michael Perrigo 1566