Dennis Erb, Jr.
Belleville, IL — June 17, 2009 — If you were wondering how many races it would take defending UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Champion Dennis Erb to hit his stride on the 2009 version of the “Hell Tour” you can stop counting.
“Everything is working real well for us,” Erb said after his second victory in as many nights. “I was just trying to bide my time out there and wait for the racetrack to come to me.”
Things started to look good for Erb early on as he claimed a heat three win in what was the most highly contested heat race of the night. Erb once again displayed his patience on the racetrack, a virtue that’s been a central theme in his past two championships in the “Hell Tour” during the 40 lap main event.
“I didn’t really like running the bottom out there I was trying to find a line where my car would work well,” remarked Erb. “It finally started to come in when the track got black.”
Erb used a pass to the outside of race long leader Duane Chamberlain to claim the lead with under 10 laps to go and then held off a late charge by Rodney Melvin to capture his second straight victory.
Melvin, who was strong in heat races no matter where he put his car kept his momentum rolling in the Summer Nationals main event climbing from his 5th place starting spot to finish second behind Erb.
“We had a good car,” remarked Melvin. “It just took awhile for the car to get going.”
Melvin challenged Erb for second and looked to grab the lead from Chamberlain near the mid-point of the main event but slid back in his attempt to make the pass on the top of the small bullring.
“I just got impatient,” said Melvin. “We’ll just keep plugging away at it.”
Gibson City, IL driver Kevin Weaver was also another driver trying different lines in order to make a pass on the tiny 1/5 mile oval.
“I thought I had a good car on the top,” analyzed Weaver. “I got shuffled back when we hit lapped traffic and then went back to the bottom.”
Weaver took advantage of early leader Duane Chamberlain’s late race woes to grab the 3rd spot in the closing laps.
“The bottom was definitely the place to be late,” reasoned Weaver. “It was kind of wait and see if we got into lapped traffic which the way it played out we didn’t really get in any until the end.”
Forty seven UMP DIRTcar Late Models took qualifying time trials on a hot muggy night at the Belleville, IL fifth mile bullring. Group one qualifying saw Mark Voigt of Marine,IL come the closest to setting a new track record with a lap of 11.467 which was .207 seconds off the single lap record. Highland, IL driver Randy Korte topped the second session with a lap of 11.628, Jeep Van Wormer of Pinnconning, MI was fastest in group three with a lap of 11.977, Terry Casey was quickest in group four with a 12.080, and Steve Sheppard Jr. rounded out quick timers with a 12.235 in group five.
The “Flatland Flash” Kevin Weaver claimed heat race one, while group two quick timer Randy Korte claimed the second heat race. Heat three saw former UMP DIRTcar Late Model National Champion Rodney Melvin charge to the lead and hold off Jeep Van Wormer and Frank Heckenast Jr. to claim the win. Heat race four heated up an already hot night of action as Dennis Erb, Terry Casey, and Kevin Cole battled 3-wide on the tiny 1/5 mile with Erb eventually claiming the win. Duane Chamberlain rounded out heat race action with a heat five win over Steve Sheppard Jr. and Brian Beilong.
Mike Hammerle and Matt Wiedner claimed C-Main wins on the evening earning them a starting spot in the night’s B-Main along with Kevin Cole and Clay Baumann.
Ryan Unzicker held off Shannon Babb and Derek Chandler in the nights B-Main to claim starting spots in the 40 lap main event while, Bloomington, IL driver Jason Feger, Michael Kloos, and Mike Hammerle all used provisionals to start the Summer Nationals feature.
A-Main Finish – 40 Laps
1. 28 – Dennis Erb Jr.
2. 27 – Rodney Melvin
3. B12 – Kevin Weaver
4. 1c – Duane Chamberlain
5. 83 – Scott James
6. 55 – Jeep Van Wormer
7. 50 – Ed Dixon
8. 42 – Terry Casey
9. 13 – Brent Kreke
10. 00 – Randy Korte
11. J1 – Wes Steidinger
12. 6K – Michael Kloos
13. 16H – Mike Hammerle
14. 24 – Ryan Unzicker
15. 99 – Frank Heckenast Jr.
16. 25 – Jason Feger
17. 35 – Derek Chandler
18. 30 – Mark Voigt
19. 5s – Steve Sheppard Jr.
20. 18 – Shannon Babb
21. 70 – Brian Bielong
For more information on the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Tour fans can visit http://www.thehelltour.com
Fans can now receive news, updates and other behind-the-scenes information about the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals by following the tour’s official feed on Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website.
Fans can view the latest text posts and subscribe as “followers” of the Summer Nationals at http://twitter.com/SummerNationals .
2009 UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Schedule
|06/11/09||Brownstown Speedway – Brownstown, IN – $6,000 (Jeep VanWormer – 43)|
|06/12/09||Kankakee Motor Speedway – Kankakee,IL – $10,000 (Billy Moyer – 51)|
|06/13/09||Kamp Motor Speedway – Boswell, IN – $10,000 (Eric Smith – 44)|
|06/14/09||Quad City Raceway – East Moline, IL – $6,000 (Dennis Erb – 31)|
|06/16/09||Highland Speedway – Highland, IL – $6,000 (RAIN)|
|06/17/09||Belle-Clair Speedway – Belleville, IL – $6,000 (Dennis Erb – 47)|
|06/18/09||Charleston Speedway – Charleston, IL – $6,000|
|06/19/09||Farmer City Raceway – Farmer City, IL – $10,000|
|06/20/09||Clarksville Speedway – Clarksville, TN – $10,000|
|06/21/09||Tri-State Speedway – Haubstadt, IN – $6,000|
|06/23/09||I-57/I-64 Speedway – Mt. Vernon, IL $6,000|
|06/24/09||Tri-City Speedway – Pontoon Beach, IL $6,000|
|06/25/09||Clay Hill Motorsports Park – Atwood, TN – $6,000|
|06/26/09||Paducah International Raceway – Paducah, KY – $10,000|
|06/27/09||Fairbury Speedway – Fairbury, IL – $10,000|
|06/28/09||Lincoln Speedway – Lincoln, IL – $6,000|
|06/30/09||Peoria Speedway – Peoria, IL – $6,000|
|07/01/09||Highland Speedway – Highland, IL – $6,000|
|07/02/09||Macon Speedway – Macon, IL – $6,000|
|07/03/09||Quincy Raceway – Quincy, IL – $10,000|
|07/04/09||I-55 Raceway – Pevely, MO – $10,000|
|07/05/09||Vermillion County Speedway – Danville, IL – $6,000|
|07/07/09||Shepp Speedway – Alexandria, IL – $6,000|
|07/08/09||Spoon River Speedway – Canton,IL $6,000|
|07/09/09||LaSalle Speedway – LaSalle, IL – $6,000|
|07/10/09||Waynesfield Motorsports Park – Waynesfield, OH – $10,000|
|07/11/09||Oakshade Raceway – Wauseon, OH – 10,000|
The UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals is brought to race fans by many important sponsors and partners, including: VP Racing Fuels, CJ Rayburn Race Cars, Hoosier Racing Tire, Quarter Master, Just Plugs, Special Olympics, Wrisco Aluminum, Eibach Springs, and Integra Racing Shocks.