Barberville, FL — Jesse Stovall of Branson , Mo. , opened the UMP DIRTcar open-wheel Modified portion of the 37th annual Alltel DIRTcar Nationals with a convincing victory Tuesday night at Volusia Speedway Park.
The Show Me State standout blasted from the fifth starting spot to the lead in a single lap and never looked back in the 20-lap feature. He wasn’t seriously challenged en route to earning $1,000 for his first-ever triumph at the half-mile oval.
“There’s two sponsors I have to make sure I thank for this win: Tom Riech and Paul McKenna,” said Stovall, who drove a Hoffman Chassis/Yeoman Engines combination. “They foot the bill for this whole deal. They’re the most important people I have.”
Outside polesitter Tim Hancock of Mt. Olive , Ill. , finished a half-straightaway behind the winner in second after holding off a late charge by Jason Miller of Osceola , Wis. , and NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader of Fenton, Mo., advanced from the eighth starting spot to nip Mike Spatola of Manhattan, Ill., for the fourth spot in the final rundown.
Another NASCAR veteran, Kenny Wallace, joined Schrader in the night’s action. Driving his own JEG’s-sponsored Modified, Wallace was battling for a position in the top 10 when he spun on lap nine and was clipped by other cars, ending his bid.
Kent Robinson of Bloomington , Ind. , started from the pole position and led the race’s opening lap, but he dropped out on the second circuit when smoke billowed from his UMP DIRTcar Modified.
A huge field of 75 UMP DIRTcar Modifieds made up the opening-night action of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals. The drivers hailed from 17 different states and Canada .
Heat winners were Robinson, Hancock, David McWilliams of Union , Ky. , Bob Gierke of Westport , Minn. , Stovall and Spatola. The B-Mains were captured by 17-year-old Austin Dillon of Welcome, N.C., whose grandfather is NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, Jon Henry of Ada , Ohio , and Wayne Troseth of Zimmerman, Minn.
Defending Alltel DIRTcar Nationals UMP DIRTcar Modified champion Steve Arpin of Fort Frances , Ont., finished third in the first heat to transfer to the feature, but he didn’t start the headliner. He suffered burns on the front of his body when a radiator hose blew hot fluid on him as he worked on his car following the prelim, prompting safety crews to rush him to a hospital for treatment.
Further details on Arpin’s condition will be released when available.
Arpin’s scratch elevated Wallace to a heat-race transfer position.
The UMP DIRTcar Modifieds continue competition as part of the Alltel DIRTcar Nationals every night through Feb. 12.
UMP DIRTcar Modified Feature Finish (20 laps):
1. Jesse Stovall
2. Tim Hancock
3. Jason Miller
4. Ken Schrader
5. Mike Spatola
6. Tommie Seets Jr.
7. Dave Hess Jr.
8. Bob Gierke
9. Jared Landers
10. David McWilliams
11. Kenny Gaddis
12. Jeff Mathews
13. Wayne Troseth
14. Charlie McNichol
15. Brian Strand
16. Bruce Takach
17. Austin Dillon
18. Julie McDermid
19. Ralph Groomer
20. George Catanzano
21. Kenny Wallace
22. Kurt Allison
23. Jon Henry
24. Kent Robinson
DNQ: Jeremy Gross, Corey Seckerson, Derek Groomer, Jason Schill, Scotty Kincaid, Mike Phillips, Scott Drake, Ron Soultis, Don Lamb, Gary Brooks, Roger Moser, Jim Ransom, Kevin Adams, Tim Thomas, Dale Mathison, Dalton Zehr, Barry Elliott, Rick Scott, Andy Gordon, Brandon Carlson, Alan Mondus, Ty Dillon, Steve Arpin, Frank Marshall, Josh Butler, David Bumgardner, Charles Phillips, Mathew Permann, Gary Eicher, Chad Evans, Ben Ledgerwood, Tom Seets Sr., Tim Brown, Justin Houston, Brent Glastetter, Joe Hunley, Jamie Carter, Tyler Townsend, Corky Davis, Bill Davis, Jake Hawkins, Shane Saraski, Brad Waits, Tony Anderson, Ray York, Terry Hull, Scott Green, Todd Sherman, J.E. Stadler, Henry Huff, Jim Smith