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Unzicker Regains National Late Model Lead, Harrison Steadies Modified Edge

CONCORD, NC – Sept. 15, 2011 – A nearly perfect weekend got Ryan Unzicker back on track – and back on top of the DIRTcar UMP Late Model national points standings.

With a second-place finish on Sept. 9 at Kankakee (Ill.) County Speedway and back-to-back victories on Sept. 10 at LaSalle (Ill.) Speedway and Sept. 11 at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Ill., El Paso, Ill.’s Unzicker vaulted forward from third place to reclaim a points lead he had relinquished two weeks earlier. He ended Week 33 of the circuit’s season with a scant five-point edge (2,458-2,453) over defending national champion Rusty Schlenk of Jackson, Mich.

Unzicker, 28, led the national standings from the spring until late August, when Schlenk’s sure-and-steady climb in the rankings finally reached the top spot. A rough Labor Day weekend for Unzicker – he didn’t score a top-10 finish in three starts, so he failed to gain any points in a battle that’s determined using drivers’ best 35 finishes/points nights – dropped him to third in the standings.

But the young driver roared back last weekend, adding points with all three of his starts. His pair of triumphs pushed his 2011 win total to 14.

The 25-year-old Schlenk, meanwhile, made two UMP-sanctioned starts last weekend but only earned points in one of them – a third-place finish on Sept. 9 at Cherry Raceway in Fife Lake, Mich. He placed 16th on Sept. 10 at Thunderbird Raceway in Muskegon, Mich.

Jon Henry of Ada, Ohio, fell from second to third in the national points standings. But while his deficit to the leader expanded from 29 to 52 points after he was unable to finish well enough in his single start to add points to his total, he nonetheless was happy with his weekend performance – he qualified for the prestigious World 100 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, finishing 28th.

With three weekends of weekly points racing plus the season-ending DIRTcar UMP Nationals on Oct. 7-8 at Eldora remaining, the chase for the $20,000 Late Model national title figures to heat up this weekend. Unzicker plans to compete at Kankakee (Sept. 16), LaSalle (Sept. 17) and Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway (Prairie Dirt Classic on Sept. 18), while Schlenk’s tentative schedule includes visits to Kankakee, Macon (Ill.) Speedway (Sept. 17) and Fairbury. Henry had not yet posted his plans as of Thursday night.

Mike Harrison of Highland, Ill., added three points to his lead in the UMP Modified national standings, ending Week 33 with a 20-point advantage (1,922-1,902) over Michael Long of Quincy, Ill.

Harrison’s weekend included a win (Sept. 9) and a second (Sept. 10) at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind., and a fifth-place finish on Sept. 11 at Tri-City, but only his 23rd victory of 2011 earned him points. The UMP Modified standings are determined using drivers’ 25 best finishes/points nights.

Long was victorious in both of his starts last weekend – Sept. 9 at Callaway Raceway in Fulton, Mo., and Sept. 10 at his hometown’s Quincy Raceways – but only added points to his total with his first triumph.

Other divisional national points leaders through Week 32 are Dustin Griffin of Camp Point, Ill., who scored back-to-back wins last weekend at Spoon River Speedway in Canton, Ill., and Tri-City Speedway to maintain his edge in the Pro Late Model standings; Jeremy Hines of Seymour, Ind., who overtook Troy Clark of North Vernon, Ind., for the top spot in the Sportsman standings; Mark Anderson of Canton, Ill. (Limited Modifieds); Nate Zimmer of Mattoon, Ill. (Stock Cars); Dennis Bringedahl of Twin Lake, Mich. (Factory Stocks); and Kenny Butterfield of Glassford, Ill. (Sport Compacts).

Weekly DIRTcar UMP points end following the weekend of Sept. 30-Oct. 2, but the Late Model and UMP Modified points races culminate with the running of the DIRTcar UMP Nationals on Oct. 8-9 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

Log on to www.DirtCar.com for more information on DIRTcar Racing’s UMP circuit and to view complete points standings for all divisions, including the current State points rankings.

New for 2011, the weekly DIRTcar UMP points update is powered by www.MotorStats.com. DIRTcar’s affiliation with the Durham, N.C.-based Web site is providing fans and competitors a more timely and detailed look at the points standings. National and State points standings for all divisions are typically updated by Thursday each week, and new features allow visitors to click on each driver’s name to see a complete race-by-race review of their finishes to date.

DIRTcar Racing UMP National Points Standings (as of Sept. 11, 2011):

Late Models (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Ryan Unzicker 35 2458

2. Rusty Schlenk 35 2453

3. Jon Henry 35 2406

4. Shannon Babb 35 2313

5. Brandon Thirlby 35 2279

6. Brandon Sheppard 35 2277

7. Jason Feger 35 2245

8. Eric Spangler 35 2190

9. Randy Korte 35 2150

10. Bobby Pierce 35 2131

11. Mike Provenzano 35 2111

12. Mike Spatola III 35 2071

13. Eric Smith 34 2000

14. Mark Voigt 35 1966

15. Brian Ruhlman 35 1956

16. Scott Schmitt 35 1926

17. Dennis Erb Jr. 35 1924

18. Steve Lance Jr. 33 1896

19. Dillan White 35 1858

20. Mike Hammerle 35 1822

UMP Modifieds (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Mike Harrison 25 1922

2. Michael Long 25 1902

3. Todd Sherman 25 1862

4. Nick Allen 25 1849

5. Ray Bollinger 25 1839

6. Jacob Poel 25 1823

7. Jamie Lomax 25 1817

8. Danny Crane 25 1810

9. Clayton Miller 25 1809

10. Scott Weber 25 1807

11. Tim Hancock 25 1786

12. Doug Adkins 25 1776

13. Mark Anderson 25 1751

14. Jeff Leka 25 1746

15. Brian Lynn 25 1739

16. Dean Hoffman 25 1736

17. Ken Schrader 24 1731

18. Randle Sweeney 25 1727

19. John DeMoss 25 1724

20. Clint Demoss 25 1712

Pro Late Models (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Dustin Griffin 20 1505

2. Nick Bauman 20 1465

3. Mark Oller 20 1405

4. Credence Mott 20 1401

5. Jerry Lierly 20 1385

6. Clayton Miller 20 1383

7. Evan Fink 20 1305

8. Brad Denney 20 1300

9. Bobby Martintoni 20 1299

10. Randy Myers 20 1280

Sportsman (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Jeremy Hines 20 1481

2. Troy Clark 20 1450

3. Dan Flessner 20 1424

4. Joey Ladouceur 20 1380

5. Dave Crawley Jr. 20 1358

6. Jocelyn Roy 20 1317

7. Kenny Carmichael Sr. 20 1283

8. Nick Macklin 19 1270

9. Chris Hillman 20 1269

10. Stephane Lemire 20 1266

Limited Modifieds (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Mark Anderson 20 1391

2. Todd Bates 20 1358

3. Haley Westerfield 20 1159

4. Jeff Lawson 20 1131

5. John Wyble 20 1096

6. Christopher Geary 20 1065

7. Johnny Holden 20 1038

8. Clay Settles 20 1012

9. Josh Smith 18 967

10. Billy Hawes 19 916

Stock Cars (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Nate Zimmer 20 1491

2. Mike Hodges 20 1470

2. John Farris 20 1470

4. Chuck Barnes Jr. 20 1450

5. Dan Dykman 20 1406

6. Derek Poland 20 1398

7. Andrew Funk 20 1395

8. Joel Funk 20 1369

9. Joeseph Hamm 20 1363

10. Darrel Dick 20 1356

Factory Stocks (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Dennis Bringedahl 20 1396

2. Rob Sternberg 20 1361

3. Jake Hewitt 20 1360

4. Mark Farber 20 1286

5. Dan Wilson 20 1276

6. Jeff Buss 20 1194

7. Spike Grega 20 1181

8. Ben Welch 20 1128

9. Tom Hughes 18 1119

10. TJ Eilers 20 1110

Sport Compacts (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Kenny Butterfield 20 1506

2. Jeremy Callahan 20 1502

3. Rob Shaw 20 1494

4. Matt Maier 20 1486

5. Paul Namey 20 1449

6. Earl Pryor 20 1436

7. Trevor Isaak 20 1431

8. Jacob Rexing 20 1425

9. Bradley McGhee 20 1371

10. Vince Shehorn 20 1354

10. Blayne Ellis 20 1354