Home | Series | DIRTcar Summer Nationals | UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Night 1: Jeep Van Wormer Blisters Brownstown

UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Night 1: Jeep Van Wormer Blisters Brownstown

DIRTcar Summer NationalsBrownstown, IN — To say Jeep Van Wormer was happy with his win during the opening night of the 22nd UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals on Thursday night is an understatement.

The popular Michigan native kicked off The Hell Tour at quarter-mile Brownstown Speedway by holding off several of Dirt Late Model racing’s toughest racers to pick up the checkered flag.

“It just feels good to go out there and get a win back under our belt after starting out really well at the beginning of the year,” said Van Wormer, who topped a 44-car field. “I can’t say enough about my crew chief, Joe, and how the crew did tonight. We’re just totally pumped.”

Van Wormer withstood spirited charges from a stout field of UMP DIRTcar Late Model competitors throughout the 40-lap contest. However, runner-up Brian Birkhofer, who has been strong all season, was light at the scales in the post-race inspection, dropping him off the podium. That moved defending Hell Tour champion Dennis Erb Jr. to second with 2008 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Champion Darrell Lanigan rounding out the Top 3.

“Birkhofer has been untouchable lately, so to go and beat him really jumpstarts our confidence,” an enthusiastic Van Wormer said before Birkhofer was disqualified. “It feels pretty good.”

A familiar face to UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals competition positioned himself well for a title defense. Two-time and defending Summer Nationals champion Erb climbed from a ninth-place starting spot to third within the first four laps of competition, eventually being credited with the runner-up position.

“If there would have been a little more traction down there — on the low side of the track — I think we would have been good but, a lot of people were running the bottom and burned it up,” Erb said.

Erb knows as well that UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals championships are not earned in one night. “We’re pretty prepared,” Erb said. “We’ve been trying things out earlier in the year so hopefully things will go smooth for us and we’ll be there at the end.”

Forty-four UMP DIRTcar Late Models invaded the Jackson County Fair Grounds to kick off the 22nd UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Tour.

Group qualifying saw home state driver Chad Stapleton, former UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Champion Kevin Weaver, Muscatine, Iowa, driver Brian Birkhofer, and Illinois standout Rodney Melvin earn quick time honors for their respective groups.

Heat Races were captured by Billy Moyer, eventual winner Jeep VanWormer, Brian Birkhofer and Rodney Melvin.

Qualifying:
Group 1
Chad Stapleton – 32s – Edinburgh Ind. 14.039
Terry Casey – 42 – New London Wis. 14.137
Dennis Erb Jr. – 28 – Carpentersville Ill. 14.138
Billy Moyer – 21 – Batesville Ark. 14.194
Greg Johnson – 73 – Mitchell Ind. 14.364
Jason Feger – 25 – Bloomington Ill. 14.378
Justin Rattliff – 16c – Campbellsville Ky. 14.451
Shannon Babb – 18 – Moweaqua Ill. 14.606
Jason McBride – 77 – Carbondale Ill. 14.815
Steven Godsey – 14 – Bedford Ind. 15.608
Dustin Linville – D8 – Lancaster Ky. 29.057

Group 2:
Kevin Weaver – B12 – Gibson City Ill. 14.324
Scott James – 83 – Lawrenceburg Ind. 14.390
Darrell Lanigan – 29 – Union Ky. 14.543
Jeep Van Wormer – 55 – Pinconning Mich. 14.573
Steve Sheppard Jr. – 5s – New Berlin Ill. 14.588
Derek Chandler – 35 – Pontiac Ill. 14.673
Brent Kreke – 13 – Lebanon Ill. 14.995
Wes Leigh – 5 – hometown unavailable 15.100
Jordan Bland – 12 – Campbellsville Ky. 15.302
Bobby Pierce – 32 – Danville Ill. 15.700
Ryan Unzicker – 24 – El Paso Ill. no time

Group 3:
Brian Birkhofer – 15B – Muscatine Iowa 14.233
Brian Shirley – 3s – Chatham Ill. 14.292
Wes Steidinger – J1 – Fairbury Ill. 14.563
Mark Voigt – 30 – Marine Ill. 14.591
Tim Prince – P1 – Heltonville Ind. 14.763
Donny Walden – 1w – Towanda Ill. 14.768
Steve Barnett – 89 – Franklin Ind. 14.774
Russ Adams – 74 – Princeville Ill. 15.125
Shannon Reed – 21r – Bloomington Ind. 15.337
Joe Janowski – 6 – Columbus Ind. 15.37
Frank Heckenast Jr. – 99 – Orland Park Ill. no time

Group 4:
Rodney Melvin – 27 – Logan Ill. 14.542
Duane Chamberlain – 1c – Richmond Ind. 14.551
Kevin Cole – 81 – Christopher Ill. 14.573
Randy Korte – 00 – Highland Ill. 14.582
Dillan White – 54 – Crofton Ky. 14.591
Scott Schmitt – 10 – Tonica Ill. 14.654
Jason Jameson – 112 – Lawrenceburg Ind. 14.668
Jason Riggs – 81jr – Harrisburg Ill. 15.011
Brandon Sheppard – B5 – New Berlin Ill. 16.005
Joey Jones – 33 – Borden Ind. 16.017

Heat 1:
1. Billy Moyer
2. Terry Casey
3. Dennis Erb Jr.
4. Shannon Babb
5. Jason Feger
6. Chad Stapleton
7. Greg Johsnon
8. Justin Rattliff
9. Jason McBride
10. Dustin Linville
11. Steven Godsey

Heat 2:
1. Jeep Van Wormer
2. Scott James
3. Darrell Lanigan
4. Kevin Weaver
5. Steve Sheppard Jr.
6. Ryan Unzicker
7. Derek Chandler
8. Jordan Bland
9. Brent Kreke
10. Wes Leigh
11. Bobby Pierce

Heat 3:
1. Brian Birkhofer
2. Brian Shirley
3. Steve Barnett
4. Donny Walden
5. Shannon Reed
6. Mark Voigt
7. Frank Heckenast Jr.
8. Joe Janowski
9. Russ Adams
10. Tim Prince

Heat 4:
1. Rodney Melvin
2. Kevin Cole
3. Randy Korte
4. Duane Chamberlain
5. Brandon Sheppard
6. Scott Schmitt
7. Jason Jameson
8. Dillan White
9. Jason Riggs
10. Joey Jones

C Main:
1. Justin Ratliff
2. Joe Janowski
3. Jordan Bland
4. Jason McBride
5. Jason Riggs
6. Dillan White
7. Wes Leigh
8. Steven Godsey
9. Tim Prince
10. Joey Jones
11. Brent Kreke
12. Bobby Pierce

B-Main:
1. Jason Feger
2. Greg Johnson
3. Justin Ratliff
4. Steve Sheppard, Jr.
5. Shannon Reed
6. Brandon Sheppard
7. Derek Chandler
8. Ryan Unzicker
9. Chad Stapleton
10. Jason Jameson
11. Scott Schmitt
12. Jordan Bland
13. Jason McBride
14. Frank Heckenast Jr.

Feature:
1. Jeep Van Wormer
2. Dennis Erb Jr.
3. Darrell Lanigan
4. Kevin Weaver
5. Randy Korte
6. Billy Moyer
7. Shannon Babb
8. Rodney Melvin
9. Justin Rattliff
10. Steve Barnett
11. Jason Feger
12. Greg Johnson
13. Brian Shirley
14. Donny Walden
15. Steve Sheppard Jr.
16. Duane Chamberlain
17. Kevin Cole
18. Scott James
19. Terry Casey
20. Wes Steidinger
DQ’d: Brian Birkhofer – Too Light