Home | Divisions | Factory Stocks | UMP DIRTcar Racing Weekly Update: Super Late Model Division Heats Up With Tri-Track Challenge, Eldora’s $100,000 Dream & Summernationals; Feel-Good Mod Story At Fairbury; Unzicker Assumes Super Late Model Points Lead

UMP DIRTcar Racing Weekly Update: Super Late Model Division Heats Up With Tri-Track Challenge, Eldora’s $100,000 Dream & Summernationals; Feel-Good Mod Story At Fairbury; Unzicker Assumes Super Late Model Points Lead

Evansville, IN — HEATING UP: Memorial Day Weekend has passed and the month of June is upon us.

For UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model racers, that means one thing – it’s time for some of the circuit’s biggest events of the season.

Beginning this weekend with the sixth annual ‘Tri-Track Challenge’ tripleheader, the UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model calendar will be filled with major events for the next seven weeks. The stretch includes the UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned Dirt Late Model Dream on June 6-7 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and the 26-event UMP DIRTcar Summernationals that crosses the Midwest from June 12-July 12.

The ‘Tri-Track Challenge’ – a unique weekend of racing contested at three Midwestern tracks that are owned by some of NASCAR’s most prominent names – kicks off the action this weekend. A late-spring staple since 2002 and part of the UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned Northern Allstars Late Model Series, the ‘Challenge’ hits Paducah (Ky.) International Speedway on Friday night (May 30), I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., on Saturday night (May 31) and Macon (Ill.) Speedway on Sunday night (June 1).

Track Enterprises chief Bob Sargent is a co-owner of the three-eighths-mile Paducah and one-fifth-mile Macon ovals. His PIR partners include NASCAR’s Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ken Schrader, and he’s joined in Macon’s ownership by Stewart, Schrader and Kenny Wallace. Schrader, meanwhile, operates the high-banked, one-third-mile I-55 Raceway with Ray Marler.

All three ‘Tri-Track Challenge’ events will pay $6,000 to win. A $10,000 bonus is also on the line for any driver who can win two of the three features, providing UMP DIRTcar racers a chance to pocket $28,000 for one weekend of work.

Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., is the only driver in the history of the ‘Tri-Track Challenge’ to collect the $10,000 bonus. He swept all three weekend events in 2003.

For more information on the ‘Tri-Track Challenge’ events, visit www.paducahracing.com, www.i55raceway.com and www.maconracing.com.

The intensity of the competition will pick up even more next weekend (June 6-7) when UMP DIRTcar sanctions the 14th annual Dirt Late Model Dream at Stewart’s famed Eldora Speedway. A $100,000 top prize – the richest single first-place event check that a dirt Late Model driver will receive this season – will be on the line in the 100-lap A-Main.

Previous Dream winners include Scott Bloomquist (a record four victories), Freddy Smith (two) and Donnie Moran, Jimmy Mars, Billy Moyer, Rick Eckert, Darrel Lanigan, Matt Miller and defending champion Steve Casebolt (one win each).

Time trials and Non-Qualifiers’ events will be run on Fri., June 6, with heats, B-Mains and the 100-lap Dream set for Sat., June 7.

Eldora Speedway has chosen to align itself with Ohio’s Oakshade Raceway and the UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned Sunoco American Late Model Series (ALMS) to allow the LM-30, LM-40 and LM-50 branded UMP DIRTcar Hoosier Racing tires for the Dream.

More information on the Dream is available at www.eldoraspeedway.com.

Following the Dream, all eyes will focus on the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals, the ‘Hell Tour’ that is known as dirt Late Model racing’s most grueling test of man and machine. The series begins on June 12 at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway in Calvert City, Ky., and ends on July 12 at Oakshade Raceway.

HEARTWARMING WIN: Score one for the underdogs.

Kevin Hastings pulled off a thrilling upset victory in last Saturday night’s 40-lap UMP DIRTcar Modified Memorial event at Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway, charging forward from the 16th starting spot to defeat a talent-laden field.

A 46-year-old from Kankakee, Ill., who makes his living operating Reliable Radiator, Hastings qualified for the A-Main by winning a consolation. He then proceeded to author a stirring drive through the pack without the benefit of many caution flags, finally passing Jared Landers to grab the lead and pocket a $2,000 first-place prize.

With the special event drawing such well-known Modified names as Landers, defending UMP DIRTcar national champion Denny Schwartz, Jeff Leka, Kevin Weaver and Gary Cook Jr., Hastings was understandably elated after completing his storybook run to the checkered flag. He also celebrated with one of the drivers he defeated – his son Jason, who won a heat race earlier in the evening.

CHANGE AT THE TOP: Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., unseated Mike Hammerle of St. Charles, Mo., as the UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model national points leader with a strong holiday week on the track.

Unzicker, a 26-year-old who was the 2007 Northern Allstars Late Model Series Rookie of the Year, was victorious last week in NASCAR Night action at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway and a regular show at Morgan County Speedway in Jacksonville, Ill.

Randle Sweeney of Clifty, Ky., meanwhile, remained atop the UMP DIRTcar Modified national points race with another perfect weekend. His victories at Paducah, Soggy Bottom Raceway in Morgantown, Ky., and Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., pushed his spectacular winning streak to eight races in a row.

NOTABLE UMP DIRTcar RACING THIS WEEKEND:

* The Sunoco American Late Model Series visits Indiana’s Gas City I-69 Speedway on Friday night (May 30) and Kamp Motor Speedway in Boswell, Ind., on Saturday night (May 31).

* Specials for Modifieds are set for Saturday night at Shadyhill Speedway in Medaryville, Ind. ($1,000 to win); Saturday night at Chandler (Ind.) Motor Speedway ($750 to win); and Saturday night at I-57/I-64 Raceway in Mt. Vernon, Ill. ($1,000 to win). The program at at I-57/I-64 will also include a $750-to-win event for the Street Stocks.

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 Weekly Update’ release can e-mail the info to Kevin Kovac at kkovac@dirtcar.com.

UMP DIRTcar Racing National Points Standings (as of May 26):

Super Late Models (driver/points/races):

1. Ryan Unzicker 983 20
2. Mike Hammerle 935 20
3. Wes Steidinger 901 14
4. Jason McBride 891 19
5. Dennis Erb Jr. 881 14
6. Rusty Schlenk 835 15
7. Michael Kloos 827 17
8. Jason Feger 794 13
9. Brad Looney 701 11
10. Chris Shelton 699 16
11. Tyler Boggs 694 13
12. Rusty Griffaw 671 13
13. Steve Francis 635 8
14. Steve Sheppard Jr. 633 12
15. Ed Dixon 622 13
16. Josh Richards 613 8
17. Darrell Lanigan 593 8
18. Kerry Mathew 583 13
19. Tony Albright 579 10
20. Brian Ruhlman 556 10

Open-Wheel Modifieds (driver/points/races):

1. Randle Sweeney 1517 20
2. Tim Hancock 1377 21
3. Kent Robinson 1329 20
4. Gary Cook Jr. 1188 19
5. Jeff Leka 1186 18
6. Anthony Madrid 1147 16
7. Chad Evans 1140 21
8. Denny Schwartz 1112 19
9. R.C. Whitwell 1038 14
10. Mike Spatola 1033 18
11. Jason Noll 976 16
12. Jon Henry 897 16
13. Danny Schwartz 844 14
14. Clayton Miller 837 15
15. Chad Osterhoff 836 14
16. McCay Wenger 810 17
17. Matt Bex 807 13
18. Clint DeMoss 802 13
19. Bumper Jones 794 11
20. Matt Boknecht 793 11

Pro Late Models (driver/points/races):

1. Jason Jones 841 17
2. Tait Davenport 836 11
3. Kevin Hardin 829 14
4. Josh Harris 757 13
5. Phil Gregory 710 14
6. Caleb Ashby 709 13
7. Levi Ashby 696 14
8. Duane Hodges 685 11
9. Carnell Parker 624 9
10. Cary King 520 11

Sportsman (driver/points/races):

1. Chris Hillman 836 13
2. Troy Clark 762 14
3. Brad Cummings 743 13
4. Derrick Hufford 664 10
5. Shawn Daugherty 655 10
6. Jeremy Hines 652 12
7. Joel Funk 634 12
8. Bruce Westerman 615 10
9. Jeff Herzog 612 11
10. Troy Naeger 583 8

Limited Modifieds (driver/points/races):

1. Jonathan Clayton 695 10
2. Matthew Holmes 488 8
3. Brandon Buhler 473 7
4. Alex Ashley 462 8
5. John Paul Talkington 433 7
6. Derek Brooks 415 6
7. Zach Dennis 393 6
8. Will Duncan 373 6
9. Eric Adkins 361 6
10. Bryan Barrett 357 7

Street Stocks (driver/points/races):

1. Travis Myers 821 13
2. Jerrad Krick 745 10
3. Josh Griffith 668 11
4. Chris Fisher 666 11
5. Randy Arnold 662 13
6. Brad Taylor 632 12
7. Jesse Simmons 628 10
8. Dave Mannise 614 10
9. Aaron Penton 595 12
10. Steve Ewing 594 11

4-Cylinders (driver/points/races):

1. Joe Reed 912 13
2. Jeffrey Bailey 745 13
3. Keaton Downing 725 12
4. Bob Zbinden 696 11
5. Jeff Rittenberry 691 10
6. Michael Rittenberry 667 11
7. Michael Perrigo 638 10
8. Daniel Stephens 602 10
9. Travis Staats 575 8
10. James Lovelady 530 10

Factory Stocks (driver/points/races):

1. Mickey Hines 520 8
2. William Burton 518 8
3. Josh Phelps 423 8
4. Bodi Henry 422 7
5. Willie Sallee 416 8
6. Cody Vanosdol 397 6
7. Donnie Wilson 380 8
8. Bill Moore 377 8
9. Jim Scout 360 4
10. Mark Bruce 359 7