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DIRTcar UMP Modifieds

UMP Modified Florida Speedweeks Sets 14 Races in 16 Days at North Florida, East Bay, Volusia

DIRTcar UMP Modifieds racing at Volusia Speedway Park in the 2023 DIRTcar Nationals
UMP Modifieds at Volusia Speedway Park in the 2023 DIRTcar Nationals (Josh James Photo)

North Florida kicks off Jan. 26 with Friday-Saturday show; six days for final East Bay Winternationals

The first test of the year for the nation’s most hardcore DIRTcar UMP Modified racers is less than a month away.

UMP Modified Florida Speedweeks presents one of the most grueling challenges in all of dirt Modified racing – a 16-day stretch of competition (Jan. 26 – Feb. 10) featuring 14 races at three different tracks, culminating with the crowning of an overall points champion and the presentation of the Big Gator trophy at the 53rd annual Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.

The three-week grind will showcase some of the best competition from the Midwest, the Northeast and the Southeast competing at North Florida Speedway in Lake City, East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, and Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville.

A $3,000 championship check will be awarded to the driver with the most points after all events, in addition to cash bonuses for each of the top-10 finishers in Speedweeks points. Past champions include Tyler Nicely, of Owensboro, KY, Oklahoma Modified veteran Jason Hughes and the two-time and defending Speedweeks champion from Paris, TN, Lucas Lee.

North Florida Winternationals – Jan. 26-27

The sandy 3/8-mile oval of North Florida Speedway hosts the kickoff to UMP Modified Florida Speedweeks with a two-day event – Friday-Saturday, Jan. 26-27. The northernmost track on the Speedweeks trail has been a wintertime racing destination for both Super Late Models and Modifieds for several years and in 2024 enters its second season under the direction of owner/promoter Tom Bell – a former UMP Modified racer from Indiana.

Friday’s Feature pays $1,000 to the winner with $2,000 going to Saturday’s winner. Past Winternationals Feature winners include Speedweeks champions Lee and Nicely, Illinois regional champion Allen Weisser and local standout Jason Garver.

DIRTcar UMP Modified drivers Drake Troutman and Lucas Lee racing at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Florida

Lucas Lee (12) racing with Drake Troutman (5) at East Bay in 2023 (Tyler Carr Photo)

East Bay Winternationals – Jan. 29-Feb. 3.

Since 2000, East Bay Raceway Park has been a mainstay of January-February racing for UMP Modifieds. But 2024 will presumably be its final appearance on the Speedweeks schedule as the track begins its final year of operation under longtime owner/promoter Al Varnadore.

2024 is set to mark the final iteration of the track’s famed Winternationals event. A winter-month racing destination for over 40 years, the 1/3-mile oval in Tampa, FL, is projected to close its doors and cease racing activity after its final event in October. The scheduled closure stems from an “Intent to Purchase Agreement” the track signed with Mosaic Co. in 2019 – a Fortune 500 mining company that has the option to purchase the property outright at the completion of its five-year agreement with the track.

Until then, the UMP Modified Winternationals racing moves forward, starting with a day of practice on Sunday, Jan. 28. Traditionally held as a five-day event, a sixth night of racing has been added to kick off the program on Monday, Jan. 29 – marking only the second time in event history the UMP Modifieds have raced on a Monday.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night Features pay $1,000 to the winner, Thursday and Friday offer $1,500-to-win, while the Saturday finale pays $5,000 to the winner of the 75-lap main event. Seventy-five laps makes for one of the longest UMP Modified events run anywhere in the country, adding a unique endurance element to the event, and also includes a planned competition caution for refueling.

DIRTcar UMP Modified driver Allen Weisser racing into Turn 1 at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Florida

Allen Weisser leads the field into Turn 1 at East Bay (Tyler Carr Photo)

53rd Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals – Feb. 5-10

The final leg of the Speedweeks championship awaits the arrival of over 100 drivers at Volusia Speedway Park for the 53rd running of Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals. Six-straight days of competition on the half-mile oval presents the single toughest test in all of DIRTcar UMP Modified racing and awards one of the sport’s most coveted prizes to its top performer – the Big Gator trophy.

Drivers will take to the track for six-straight nights – Feb. 5-10 – and run six separate Features on each of the first five nights, Monday-Friday. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday’s Features will be lined up by Qualifying laps, while Thursday will set the field according to points accumulated by each driver over the previous three nights. Friday’s field will be split in half for the Gator Qualifier night before the $5,000-to-win Gator Championship event on Saturday.

The driver with the most points at week’s end will be crowned DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator champion and hoist the iconic Big Gator trophy. The UMP Modified Florida Speedweeks champion will also be determined after Saturday night – awarded to the driver with the most points over the three-week series.

Late Model and Modified racing veteran Kyle Strickler was crowned division champion of DIRTcar Nationals in 2023, winning two preliminary Features during the week as well as the Gator Championship Feature for the third time in his career.

For tickets to DIRTcar Nationals, visit DIRTcarNationals.com. If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch the entire week of Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals live on DIRTVision.

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