Barberville, FL — UMP DIRTcar Racing Modified competitors will receive a well-deserved big-money turn in the spotlight during next month’s 38th annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH at Volusia Speedway Park .
Eight consecutive nights of action for the popular open-wheel division will be highlighted by ‘The Gator’ Championship, an extra-distance special scheduled for Sun., Feb. 8, that boasts a $5,000 first-place prize.
The largest winner’s purse ever posted for a UMP DIRTcar Modified event during the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH promises to elevate anticipation of this year’s winter meet at the half-mile oval to an alltime high.
“The World Racing Group (the parent company of UMP DIRTcar and Volusia Speedway Park) has been working on doing something more for the UMP DIRTcar Modified teams that make the long haul to Florida,” said UMP DIRTcar Racing director Sam Driggers. “Over the past three years we have slowly increased the Modified purses and the teams have been happy about it, so we decided that this year we should go to the next level for them.
“We feel a big $5,000-to-win show is a great way for us to thank the Modified racers for supporting Volusia and the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals over the years.”
The introduction of ‘The Gator’ comes after a wildly successful 2008 Alltel DIRTcar Nationals for the UMP DIRTcar Modified class. Car counts reached as high as 90 entries and a total of 115 different UMP DIRTcar Modified drivers competed in at least one event.
‘The Gator’ will actually be a three-night program unto itself during the UMP DIRTcar Modified portion of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals. After the class contests $1,000-to-win events on Feb. 3, 4 and 5 alongside the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series, the Modified field will be split for ‘The Gator’ preliminary shows on Feb. 6 and 7 (both paying $700 to win) and then reconstitute in full for the Feb. 8 finale featuring the championship event.
All three nights of ‘The Gator’ will be run as an undercard to the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, which kicks off its 2009 season at Volusia with three complete programs.
The UMP DIRTcar Modified portion of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals will conclude with a $1,500-to-win event on Feb. 9 and a $2,500-to-win A-Main on Feb. 10. Both races will be part of doubleheaders with the UMP DIRTcar Super Late Models.
Among the drivers expected to chase over $75,000 in posted UMP DIRTcar Modified purses during the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals is NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader of Fenton , Mo. , who returns to defend his 2008 Alltel DIRTcar Nationals points title. The owner of the UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned I-55 Raceway in Pevely , Mo. , captured last year’s Alltel DIRTcar Nationals championship without the benefit of a feature win.
Schrader will be joined in Volusia’s UMP DIRTcar Modified field by fellow NASCAR standout Kenny Wallace of St. Louis , Mo. , who won a Modified feature during the 2007 Alltel DIRTcar Nationals.
Open-wheel Modified stars from across the country and Canada are expected to converge on Volusia, including 2008 UMP DIRTcar national Modified champion Jeff Leka of Buffalo, Ill.; teenage brothers Austin and Ty Dillon of Welcome, N.C., who are the grandsons of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress; 2007 Alltel DIRTcar Nationals champion Steve Arpin of Fort Frances, Ont.; Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind.; Tommie Seets Jr. of Alton, Ill.; Scott Drake of Webb City, Mo.; Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark.; Randle Sweeney of Clifty, Ky.; Tim Hancock of Mt. Olive, Ill.; Louie Krushansky of Morgantown, W.Va.; and California drivers Joe Carr and Jeff Thomas.
Tickets are currently on sale for the 38th Annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH. Fans can purchase tickets for each individual night or take advantage of the ‘Super Ticket’ deals that offer seats for all the events contested by each headline division, including the six-day dirt Late Model meet (UMP DIRTcar on Feb. 9, 10, 11 and 13, World of Outlaws Late Model Series on Feb. 12 and 14); the six-day Sprint Car portion (Feb. 3-8); eight nights of UMP DIRTcar Modified action (Feb. 3-10); and four Advance Auto Parts DIRTcar big-block Modified dates (Feb. 11-14).
More information on UMP DIRTcar Racing is available by logging on to www.dirtcar.com.