Concord, NC — Fierce voting down the stretch turned the inaugural Alltel All-Star contest into a virtual photo finish between UMP DIRTcar Open-Wheel Modified competitor Dave Hess Jr. and Sprint Car driver Wayne Johnson vying for the $12,000 top prize.
The online poll closed at 11:59 p.m. on March 16 with Hess, of Waterford, Pa., edging Johnson, of Mustang, Okla., by less than 1 percent of the overall votes. Of the thousands of votes cast for the 18 different drivers who earned victories in the 37th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals in February at Volusia Speedway Park, Hess earned 25.5 percent of the total votes, a shade more than the 24.6 Johnson received.
Hess, 23, was on his way home from watching Alltel Racing driver Ryan Newman compete at Bristol Motor Speedway when he got the news Monday morning.
“That’s cool,” said Hess, who caught and passed Johnson for the Alltel All-Star lead in late February. “I just want to thank everybody. Every morning we were checking the AlltelAllStar.com Web site. That $12,000 is going to help. I’m going to put it back in the car to help our program and put on a show for all of the fans that supported me. I want to thank Alltel for putting this together. I’ll show them as much support as I can for them supporting this program. I can’t thank them enough.
“I’m not even sure what we’ll do with the money first. We’re going to be ordering parts real soon, and I’m sure it’ll cover some of the money we spent down in Florida. I just want to thank everybody, even those I don’t know personally, for being dirt track fans.”
The contest featured a strong showing the for UMP DIRTcar Racing Modified drivers, as Jared Landers, of Batesville, Ark., was third with a big push following Mark Martin’s pledge of support on national television. Dave Groves, of Morgantown, W.Va.; Jesse Stovall, of Branson, Mo.; and Scott Drake, of Webb City, Mo., rounded out the top six positions.
Three-time Volusia Dirt Late Model winner Billy Moyer, of Batesville, Ark., was seventh followed by Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car driver Jason Meyers, of Clovis, Calif., Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series competitor Jimmy Horton, of Neshanic Station, N.J.; and two-time defending Advance Auto Parts World of outlaws Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz, of Fargo, N.D.
The Alltel DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park featured the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, the Advance Auto Parts Super DIRTcar Series, the UMP DIRTcar Modifieds, UMP DIRTcar Late Models and All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car tour.
Drivers who celebrated in the Alltel Wireless Victory Lane at Volusia represented 13 different states, from both coasts as well as the heart of the Midwest. Only those drivers who captured a feature win were eligible, including:
Sprint Cars — Wayne Johnson, Mustang, Okla.; Craig Dollansky, Elk River, Minn.; Jason Meyers, Clovis, Calif.; Danny Lasoski, Dover, Mo.; and Donny Schatz, Fargo, N.D., a two-time winner during the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals.
UMP DIRTcar Modifieds — Jesse Stovall, Branson, Mo.; Scott Drake, Webb City, Mo.; Dave Hess Jr., Waterford, Pa.; Tim Hancock, Mount Olive, Ill.; Dave Groves, Morgantown, W.Va.; and two-time Alltel DIRTcar Nationals winner Jared Landers, Batesville, Ark.
Dirt Late Models — Two-time winner Billy Moyer, Batesville, Ark.; Josh Richards, Shinnston, W.Va.; and Clint Smith, Senoia, Ga.
Advance Auto Parts Big Block Modifieds — Billy Pauch, Frenchtown, N.J.; Brett Hearn, Sussex, N.J.; Dale Planck, Cortland, N.Y.; and Jimmy Horton, Neshanic Station, N.J.
Alltel is owner and operator of the nation’s largest wireless network and has more than 12 million customers. For more information about Alltel, please visit www.alltel.com.