Barberville, FL — Scott Drake kept the spotlight on the Show-Me State during the 37th annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals with a victory in Wednesday night’s 20-lap UMP DIRTcar Modified feature at Volusia Speedway Park .
The Webb City , Mo. , veteran became the second Missouri driver in as many nights to bag a $1,000 triumph at the half-mile oval, following in the tire tracks of his teammate Jesse Stovall of Branson , Mo.
Drake, a 36-year-old who spends the majority of his time racing a dirt Late Model throughout the Midwest, advanced from the fifth starting spot to grab the lead from polesitter Mike Spatola of Manhattan , Ill. , on lap eight. But he was far from home-free, as Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark. , and NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader of Fenton , Mo. , closed in late and made the finish extremely close.
Drake’s final winning margin was barely a car length over Landers, who started sixth. The third-starting Schrader settled for a hard-fought third-place finish, with Spatola slipping to fourth at the checkered flag and 17-year-old Austin Dillon of Welcome, N.C., whose grandfather is NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, completing the top five.
The triumph made Drake eligible for the ‘Alltel All-Star’ program, which rewards $12,000 in cash to the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals feature winner who receives the most votes from fans. Fans can to go to www.AlltelAllStar.com and choose their favorite Alltel All-Star, or text #52191 plus his letter code (available at www.AlltelAllStar.com).
Seventy cars were entered in the evening’s action.
Heat winners were Spatola, Schrader, Dillon, Tim Hancock of Mt. Olive , Ill. , Drake and Landers. The B-Mains were captured by Jason Schill of Dresser, Wis. , Tom Seets Sr. of Alton , Ill. , and Jason Miller of Osceola , Wis.
Stovall’s hopes of duplicating his opening-night victory were dashed after he was involved in a skirmish during the fourth heat. His car was left with a broken rearend and he did not qualify.
Another notable non-qualifier was David McWilliams of Union , Ky. , whose streak of four consecutive heat wins in Florida UMP DIRTcar Modified competition (three at North Florida Speedway in Lake City , one at Volusia) came to an end after his car sustained frame damage in an accident during hot laps.
Missing from the program was defending Alltel DIRTcar Nationals UMP DIRTcar Modified champion Steve Arpin of Fort Frances , Ont., who suffered painful burns on his arms and mid-section when a radiator hose blew hot fluid on him as he worked on his car in the pit area on Tuesday night. Arpin will spend a few more days undergoing treatment in an Orlando hospital, but is expected to make a full recovery.
Though Arpin’s hopes of repeating as Alltel DIRTcar Nationals champ have been dashed, his father told UMP DIRTcar Racing officials that Steve hopes to be a spectator at Volusia later in the UMP DIRTcar Modified meet to visit with fellow competitors before returning home to continue the healing process.
Schrader ended the night as the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals points leader over Spatola.
The UMP DIRTcar Modifieds continue competition as part of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals every night through Feb. 12. Racing begins each evening at 7:30.
UMP DIRTcar Modified Feature Finish (20 laps):
1. Scott Drake
2. Jared Landers
3. Ken Schrader
4. Mike Spatola
5. Austin Dillon
6. Kent Robinson
7. Tommie Seets Jr.
8. Scott Green
9. Bob Gierke
10. Bruce Takach
11. Jake Hawkins
12. George Catanzano
13. Jason Miller
14. Tim Hancock
15. Jason Schill
16. Kenny Wallace
17. Kevin Adams
18. Derek Groomer
19. Dave Hess Jr.
20. Justin Houston
21. Jon Henry
22. Ralph Groomer
23. Tom Seets Sr.
24. Dale Mathison
DNQ: Charlie McNichol, David McWilliams, Dalton Zehr, Kenny Gaddis, Tony Anderson, Tim Thomas, Kurt Allison, Rick Jones, Don Lamb, Alan Mondus, Brandon Carlson, Devin Dixon, Barry Elliott, Corky Thomas, Todd Sherman, Brent Glastetter, Julie McDermid, Chuck Milam, Josh Butler, Mathew Permann, Ben Ledgerwood, Frank Marshall, Scotty Kincaid, Tim Bowen, Jesse Stovall, Andy Gordon, Brian Strand, J.E. Stadler, Charley Philips, Chad Evans, Terry Hull, Brad Waits, Wayne Troseth, Jim Ransom, Jeff Mathews, Tyler Townsend, Jeremy Gross, Gery Brooks, Cory Sekerson, Gary Eicher, Roger Moser, Bill Davis, David Bumgardner, Ty Dillon, Shane Sabraski, Roy York