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UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Night 20: Matt Miller Captures ‘Birthday Race’ At Oakshade Raceway As Erb Clinches Second Straight Tour Title

DIRTcar Summer NationalsWAUSEON, OH – July 12, 2008 – By Kellen Burns/UMP DIRTcar Racing P.R. –

The third time is often the charm.

So it was for Matt Miller on Saturday night at Oakshade Raceway, where the Waterville, Ohio, driver emerged victorious in the 60-lap UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals ‘Birthday Race.’

After running just “O.K.” in two other Summer Nationals appearances this year, Miller hit on all cylinders at the three-eighths-mile Oakshade oval’s biggest event of the season.

“It all worked out,” said Miller, who claimed the $10,000 top prize.

Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., meanwhile, registered a third-place finish in the Summer Nationals points finale to clinch his second straight tour championship. He outdistanced Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., who finished 19th after entering the event trailing Erb by only four points in the standings.

Miller stalked the leaders throughout Saturday’s A-Main before making his move late to reach Victory Lane for the first time on the 2008 trail. He used his previous knowledge of Oakshade Raceway to his advantage.

“Obviously I’m familiar with this track and love racing here,” said Miller, a former Oakshade track champion. “When it (the surface) blacked up, that’s when we started coming. With a 60-lap race, you know its going to change in a hurry. I knew I just needed to take care of my tires.”

Miller grabbed the lead from Jeep VanWormer of Pinconning, Mich., with about 20 laps remaining and never looked back. He beat VanWormer, who won last year’s ‘Birthday Race’ at Oakshade, by a wide margin.

VanWormer had inherited the lead around the halfway point from Wes Steidinger of Fairbury, Ill., whose car slowed with engine problems and brought out a caution flag on lap 31. Steidinger had led from the start after taking the green flag from the pole position.

VanWormer started fourth and spent the early stages challenging Steidinger before settling for second place.

“We did good in our heat race and started the feature and Wes got up on me there,” said VanWormer. “I honestly don’t know if I could (Steidinger) caught him either. When he broke it was kind of like a gift almost.

“We were good for awhile after that, then Matt got going a little better than me there in the middle.”

Completing the top five was Erb, 18th-starter Doug Drown of Wooster, Ohio, and Casey Noonan of Sylvania, Ohio.

Erb started third and held his position throughout the event to claim the $25,000 Summer Nationals championship.

Erb challenged VanWormer for second late but settled for third. He was assured the title earlier, on lap 45, when Shirley dropped out because his car’s fan blade broke his radiator.

“I was able to get third and win a championship,” said Erb. “That was the main goal. Right now we’re going to enjoy this one.”

Shirley, who used a provisional and started the A-Main from 19th, was working his way forward when his mechanical malfunction occurred. Although disappointed, he took positives from the night and a $10,000 second-place finish on the tour.

“What was meant to be was going to be meant to be,” said Shirley. “We put ourselves in the biggest hole you can put yourself in by not qualifying good.”

Shirley, who won three races on the 2008 tour, has an optimistic outlook going forward for the remainder of the year.

“We had a good series, we had fun and won some races,” said Shirley.

As for his plans after the Summer Nationals, one could expect to see the 27-year-old driver in more Victory Lanes soon.

“Hopefully we’ll win some more races,” Shirley said of his goals for the near future.

Forty-nine cars were on hand for the event.

Jason McBride of Carbondale, Ill., was quickest on the clock in the group qualifying session with a fast lap of 15.794 seconds.

Heat winners were VanWormer, Erb, Steidinger and Kris Patterson of St. Johns, Mich. Ky Harper and Dusty Moore won the C-Mains, while Rody Schroyer topped the B-Main.

For more information on the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals, visit

UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature Finish (60 laps):

1. Matt Miller
2. Jeep VanWormer
3. Dennis Erb Jr.
4. Doug Drown
5. Casey Noonan
6. Kris Patterson
7. Jon Henry
8. Ky Harper
9. Jason Feger
10. Zac Davis
11. Rody Schroyer
12. Jason McBride
13. Steve Sheppard Jr.
14. Kevin Reeve
15. Dusty Moore
16. Rusty Seaver
17. Ronnie Perrine Jr.
18. Zack Olger
19. Brian Shirley
20. Wes Steidinger
21. Jerry Bowersock

2008 UMP DIRTcar Racing Summer Nationals 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 – 37)
June 20 – Fri. – Farmer City Raceway/Farmer City, IL – $10,000 (Darren Miller – 50)
June 21 – Sat. – I-55 Raceway/Pevely, MO – $10,000 (CANCELED – flooding)
June 22 – Sun. – Vermilion Co. Speedway/Danville, IL – $6,000 (Jeep VanWormer – 43)
June 23 – Mon. – OFF
June 24 – Tue. – Sedalia State Fair Speedway/Sedalia, MO – $6,000 (Brian Shirley – 27)
June 25 – Wed. – Lake Ozark Speedway/Eldon, MO – $6,000 (Billy Moyer – 31)
June 26 – Thurs. – Paducah Int’l Raceway/Paducah, KY – $6,000 (Kevin Claycomb – 35)
June 27 – Fri. – Lawrenceburg Speedway/Lawrenceburg, IN – $10,000 (Dennis Erb Jr. – 36)
June 28 – Sat. – Clarksville Speedway/Clarksville, TN – $10,000 (Rain – postponed to July 19)
June 29 – Sun. – Lincoln Speedway/Lincoln, IL – $6,000 (Brian Shirley – 46)
June 30 – Mon. – OFF
July 1 – Tue. – Peoria Speedway/Peoria, IL – $6,000 (Jeep VanWormer – 40)
July 2 – Wed. – Morgan Co. Speedway/Jacksonville, IL – $6,000 (Rain – postponed to Aug. 15)
July 3 – Thurs. – Macon Speedway/Macon, IL – $6,000 (Rain – postponed to Aug. 16)
July 4 – Fri. – Tri-City Speedway/Pontoon Beach, IL – $10,000 (Billy Moyer – 51)
July 5 – Sat. – Fairbury American Legion Speedway/Fairbury, IL -$10,000 (Jimmy Mars – 48)
July 6 – Sun. – Quad City Raceway/East Moline, IL – $6,000 (Randy Korte – 21)
July 7 – Mon. – OFF
July 8 – Tue. – Quincy (IL) Speedway – $6,000 (Rained out)
July 9 – Wed. – Spoon River Speedway/Canton, IL – $6,000 (Darren Miller – 47)
July 10 – Thurs. – La Salle Speedway/La Salle, IL – $6,000 (Rain)
July 11 – Fri. – Brownstown (IN) Speedway – $10,000 (Rescheduled date – Brian Shirley – 37)
July 12 – Sat. – Oakshade Raceway/Wauseon, OH – $10,000 (Matt Miller – 49)
July 19 – Sat. – Clarksville Speedway/Clarksville, TN – $10,000 (Rescheduled date – non-points)
Aug. 15 – Fri. – Morgan Co. Speedway/Jacksonville, IL – $6,000 (Rescheduled date – non-points)
Aug. 16 – Sat. – Macon Speedway/Macon, IL – $6,000 (Rescheduled date – non -points)

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