CONCORD, NC – May 5, 2011 – The most lucrative season ever for the DIRTcar West UMP Modified division will get another highlight with the running of the ‘Spring Classic’ weekend on May 14 and 15 at California’s Chowchilla and Merced speedways.
A 2011 campaign that features unprecedented opportunities for DIRTcar West UMP Modified racers will heat up at Chowchilla and Merced, two neighboring central California tracks that are joining forces to provide a big weekend for the open-wheel class. Chowchilla (Sat., May 14) and Merced (Sun., May 15) will each present a $1,000-to-win/$125-to-start UMP Modified event, with a $500 bonus available to any driver able to sweep the pair of features.
The Chowchilla and Merced ovals are separated by barely 20 miles, making the doubleheader extremely attractive for DIRTcar West UMP Modified teams and assuring solid turnouts for fans of both tracks.
“The spirit of cooperation between promoters Kenny Shepherd at Chowchilla and John Soares at Merced is a big reason why we’ve been able to put together a great program this season for DIRTcar West UMP Modified competitors,” said Chris Morgan, Director of Western Operations for World Racing Group/DIRTcar. “Kenny and John are providing a huge boost to DIRTcar’s efforts on the West Coast with their ‘Spring Classic’ co-promotion. These are the types of events that will help the UMP Modified division grow stronger and thrive across the region for years to come.”
The popular class already is reaching new heights along the Pacific Coast this season under the DIRTcar banner, boasting more sanctioned tracks, more special events and more posted awards than ever before. Most notably, with an increase in the number of races, DIRTcar West UMP Modified drivers now have a better shot at earning a share of UMP’s rich national and Northwest States points funds. Drivers’ best 25 finishes/points nights are used to determine the national and States points standings.
Last year DIRTcar’s UMP circuit distributed over $400,000 in points-fund cash to drivers in eight divisions. Over $100,000 of that total was to the UMP Modified division, which stands alongside the DIRTcar Late Model class on the organization’s marquee.
In 2011, DIRTcar West UMP Modified racers will bid for a portion of the $5,860 points fund in the circuit’s Northwest States standings, which encompasses all sanctioned races held in California, Oregon andNevada – weekly events at California’s Chowchilla, Merced and Antioch speedways and Oregon’s Cottage Grove and Coos Bay speedways, plus specials at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway and Reno-Fernley Speedway in Reno, Nev. The Northwest States points-fund breakdown is $2,000 for the champion, then 2-$1,000; 3-$800; 4-$500; 5-$300; 6-$200; 7-$150; 8-$135; 9-$130; 10-$125; 11-$120; 12-$115; 13-$110; 14-$100; and 15-$75.
The national UMP Modified points fund, meanwhile, totals over $65,000 for the top-50 drivers in the final standings. The championship is worth $20,000; second is $10,000; third is $5,000; fourth is $3,000; fifth is $2,000; and 10th is $975, with the breakdown continuing on a gradual decline to $125 for 50th.
Of course, drivers must hold a valid 2011 DIRTcar license to be eligible to collect money from the points funds.
Troy Foulger of Martinez, Calif., is the points leader in the Northwest States standings as of May 1, with 429 points earned in seven starts. Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas, Calif., ranks second (327 points and five starts), followed by Chris Shannon of Merced, Calif. (320 and six), Scott Busby of Martinez, Calif. (273 and four) and Matt Petrell of Oakley, Calif. (193 and four).
The growth of the DIRTcar West UMP Modified division this season has gotten the attention of established California dirt Late Model stars such as Hogge and Shannon, a pair of former DIRTcar Western All-Stars Late Model Series champions. Both drivers have expanded their UMP Modified schedules this year to race for solid purses and chase substantial post-season points-fund awards.
Hogge, who is the alltime winningest driver on the Western All-Stars tour, already has DIRTcar West UMP Modified victories this season at Calistoga on April 2 and Merced on April 10. Shannon also has two triumphs, both coming in his last two starts at his hometown Merced oval – including a May 1 score over Hogge, who is expected to challenge Shannon in the May 14-15 ‘Spring Classic’ events.
Foulger, meanwhile, is winless this season, but he has five top-three finishes and hasn’t placed worse than seventh in his appearances at Merced and Antioch. The rising 20-year-old star ranks 20th in the current UMP Modified national standings.
Additional info on all of the series, sanctioning and member tracks of DIRTcar Racing – including the latest points standings and points computation details for all divisions – is available at www.DIRTcar.com.