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Vaught Claims first UMP Summer Nationals win at innagural event at Belle Clair Speedway

Will Vaught

Will Vaught - Jimmy Dearing Photo

Belleville,IL — UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Night 5: Tour Rookie Will Vaught Scores First Career Win At Belle-Clair Speedway

BELLEVILLE, IL – June 18, 2008 – By Kellen Burns/DIRTcar Racing PR

They call him ‘The Thrill’ – and Will Vaught certainly lived up to his nickname on Wednesday night as the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals made its inaugural visit to Belle-Clair Speedway.

Vaught used his second starting position to his advantage in the 40-lap A-Main, jumping out ahead of polesitter Brent Kreke on the opening circuit and then quickly moving down low to protect his line en route to a flag-to-flag victory.

“It feels good,” Vaught said of visiting Victory Lane for the first time in Summer Nationals competition. “We’ve worked our butts off the last few nights on this car. I think we’re applying what we’re learning every night.”

After scoring a career-high payday of $6,000 and having momentum swing his way, the 21-year-old driver from Crane, Mo., is definitely anxious to continue his first attempt at the grueling UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals tour.

“Oh yeah, we’re going to do the whole thing – unless something freaky happens,” said Vaught, whose career-first tour triumph came in the fifth race of this year’s scheduled 26-event series. He has been a standout on the O’Reilly MARS DIRTcar Series in recent years.

O’Fallon, Ill.’s Kreke, who runs locally at Belle-Clair from time-to-time, used his knowledge of the tight, one-fifth-mile mile oval to record a Summer Nationals career-best finish of second. He also timed fourth-quick overall in time trials and stole a heat win from Summer Nationals regular Wes Steidinger of Fairbury, Ill., who settled for third in the feature.

“It’s like second nature after you race here all the time,” said Kreke, who was the middle car of the lead trio that finished the race nose-to-tail.

Steidinger looked strong throughout the night, but found it hard to pass as the racing progressed and the track started to take rubber.

“That’s just the way it goes,” said Stedinger, who continues to make a strong run at the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals points crown. “Summer Nationals bullrings – got to love them.”

Michael Kloos of Trenton, Ill., and Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., completed the top five.

Shirley remained as the Summer Nationals points leader with his fifth-place run. He unofficially leads the standings over Vaught (385-377), followed by defending champion Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill. (372), Steidinger (352) and Jeep Van Wormer of Pinconning, Mich. (341).

The A-Main was slowed by only two caution flags.

Among the night’s qualifiers was current UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model national points leader Mike Hammerle of St. Charles, Mo. The Belle-Clair points leader finished 17th.

Notable non-qualifiers included Terry English of Benton, Ky., who was coming off a win the previous night at Highland (Ill.) Speedway, and Summer Nationals veteran Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Ill.

With 41 cars on hand, Brian Diveley of Springfield, Ill., recorded the overall fastest lap of the group time-trial session, rounding the tight track in 12.781 seconds.

Heat winners were Kreke, Vaught, Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., and Rodney Melvin of Benton, Ill. The C-Main was captured by Patrick Sheltra of Indiantown, Fla., and the B-Main went to Darren Miller of Chadwick, Ill.

The UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals continues on Thursday night (June 19) at I-57/I-64 Raceway in Mt. Vernon, Ill.

UMP DIRTcar officials announced on Wednesday night that the Summer Nationals event scheduled for this Saturday night (June 21) at I-55 Raceway in Pevelly, Mo., has been canceled because the access road leading to the track is flooded as a result of the heavy Midwestern rains north of the track.

Be sure and stay tuned to for all the latest news and results from the 20th edition of the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals.

UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature Finish (40 laps):

1. Will Vaught
2. Brent Kreke
3. Wes Steidinger
4. Michael Kloos
5. Brian Shirley
6. Jason Feger
7. Randy Korte
8. Dennis Erb Jr.
9. Ed Dixon
10. Jeep Van Wormer
11. Mark Faust
12. Rick Standridge
13. Steve Sheppard Jr.
14. Brian Diveley
15. Dave Thornton
16. Dewayne Kiefer
17. Mike Hammerle
18. Mike Schulte
19. Darren Miller
20. Rodney Melvin
21. Tim Lance

C-Main Finish: Patrick Sheltra, Brian Heizer, Mark Voigt, Mike Schulte, Kevin Cole, Clay Baumann, Dewayne Kiefer, Matt Santel, Dave Thornton, George Scheffler, Casey Schaefer, Jason Bohnenstehl

B-Main Finish: Darren Miller, Dennis Erb Jr., Rick Standridge, Mike Hammerle, Tim Lance, Dave Thornton, Kevin Weaver, Jim Gibson, Rusty Schlenk, Mark Voigt, Terry English, Brian Heizer, Mike Schulte, Patrick Sheltra, Ryan Unzicker, Jordan Bland

2008 UMP DIRTcar Racing Summernationals 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
June 20 – Fri. – Farmer City Raceway/Farmer City, IL – $10,000
June 21 – Sat. – I-55 Raceway/Pevely, MO – $10,000 (CANCELED – flooding)
June 22 – Sun. – Vermilion Co. Speedway/Danville, IL – $6,000
June 23 – Mon. – OFF
June 24 – Tue. – Sedalia State Fair Speedway/Sedalia, MO – $6,000
June 25 – Wed. – Lake Ozark Speedway/Eldon, MO – $6,000
June 26 – Thurs. – Paducah Int’l Raceway/Paducah, KY – $6,000
June 27 – Fri. – Lawrenceburg Speedway/Lawrenceburg, IN – $10,000
June 28 – Sat. – Clarksville Speedway/Clarksville, TN – $10,000
June 29 – Sun. – Lincoln Speedway/Lincoln, IL – $6,000
June 30 – Mon. – OFF
July 1 – Tue. – Peoria Speedway/Peoria, IL – $6,000
July 2 – Wed. – Morgan Co. Speedway/Jacksonville, IL – $6,000
July 3 – Thurs. – Macon Speedway/Macon, IL – $6,000
July 4 – Fri. – Tri-City Speedway/Pontoon Beach, IL – $10,000
July 5 – Sat. – Fairbury American Legion Speedway/Fairbury, IL -$10,000
July 6 – Sun. – Quad City Raceway/East Moline, IL – $6,000
July 7 – Mon. – OFF
July 8 – Tue. – Quincy (IL) Speedway – $6,000
July 9 – Wed. – Spoon River Speedway/Canton, IL – $6,000
July 10 – Thurs. – La Salle Speedway/La Salle, IL – $6,000
July 11 – Fri. – Brownstown (IN) Speedway – $10,000 (Rescheduled date)
July 12 – Sat. – Oakshade Raceway/Wauseon, OH – $10,000

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