Volusia Speedway Park
Another day, another show (yes, I only made it to one race yesterday), and what an eventful show it was. For this show we would see the UMP Late Models racing for $7,000 to win and the UMP Modified Gator Championship that paid $5,000 to win headlining Night #7 of the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park.
A stout field of 40 late models signed in on the first of 6 consecutive nights of racing for the division. A number of heavy hitters were in the pit area but did not run on night #1 including drivers Steve Francis and Don O'Neal among others.
With the unique UMP format, the cars group qualified within their predetermined heat races. The top 4 times in each heat were inverted to set the starting grid. From that point on every the lineups would be heads up based off of finishing orders.
Four 8-lap heats were run, with the top four finishers in each transferring directly into the feature. Heat races winners were Eric Wells, eventual winner Ivedent Lloyd, Jr., Shane Clanton, and Brady Smith.
Heat race drivers that finished 5th or worse were relegated to run in one of the two B-Mains that would see the top four move on to the main event. In B-Main #1 the cars qualifying for the feature were Rick Eckert, Kenny Pettyjohn, Billy Moyer, and Chase Junghans. B-Main #2 would see Jack Sullivan, Frankie Heckenast, Jr., John Garvin, Jr., and Tim McCreadie earn the final four transfer spots.
At that point in the evening the field was set for the 30-lap $7,000 to win show and the rest was history. Home-state hero Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. jumped to the early lead from his 2nd place starting spot with fourth-starting Brady Smith, Eric Wells, Gregg Satterlee, and Shane Clanton in tow. At the completion of lap 2 Lloyd had opened up a decent-sized lead over Brady Smith while 8th starting Morgan Bagley nudged by Shane Clanton for the 5th position.
The first caution of the race would fly with 7 laps complete when the #157 of Mike Marlar was unable to get off the racing surface in turn 4. UMP DIRTcar rules designate all restarts to be single-file so when they took the green the running order was Ivedent Lloyd, Brady Smith, Eric Wells, Shane Clanton and Gregg Satterlee.
The top three positions would stay unchanged throughout the middle portion of the race. Behind them it was evident that John Blankenship's #23 machine was hooked up. By lap 20 he had moved past Clanton and Satterlee to claim the 4th position.
Two more cautions throughout the remaining ten laps were not enough for Brady Smith to give a serious challenge for the lead. As the leaders worked through lapped traffic, Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. did a masterful job of staying patient and waiting for the holes to open up rather than forcing the issue.
As they came around to complete the 30th and final circuit it was Ocala's Ivedent Lloyd Jr. leading Brady Smith, Eric Wells, John Blankenship, and Shane Clanton. A late race charge by Scott Bloomquist propelled him into the 6th spot in the finishing order placing him directly in front of veteran driver Darrell Lanigan.
|Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. celebrating his $7,000 win at Volusia|
UMP DIRTcar Late Model feature finish (30 laps): 1. Ivedent Lloyd, Jr. ($7,000) 2. Brady Smith 3. Eric Wells 4. John Blankenship 5. Shane Clanton 6. Scott Bloomquist 7. Darrell Lanigan 8. Gregg Satterlee 9. Brandon Sheppard 10. Morgan Bagley 11. Brian Shirley 12. Frank Heckenast, Jr. 13. Rick Eckert 14. Bobby Pierce 15. Kenny Pettyjohn 16. Eric Jacobsen 17. Tim McCreadie 18. Billy Moyer 19. Jack Sullivan 20. Casey Roberts 21. Mike Marlar 22. Chase Junghans 23. Dan Stone 24. John Garvin, Jr.
For the 7th time in February the UMP Modifieds took to the track in what would be their highest paying show of the DIRTcar Nationals in the $5,000 prize.
To seemingly no one's surprise, it was Ty Dillon that topped the field and wound up in victory lane at Volusia Speedway Park for the 3rd time in 4 days. The younger of the Dillon brothers started the race on the outside pole but jumped to the lead by turn one and lead every lap from then on.
The memorable moment of the race came on a lap 27 restart. Then second place runner Nick Hoffman would lose his left rear wheel as the green was displayed. Hoffman's #2 machine came down across the nose of third place Austin Dillon. That would lead to a brutal five-car pileup right in front of the starter's tower that would leave Kenny Wallace's #36 car upside down and laying on top of the #54 of Matt Hoffman. The red flag would be kept out for some time while the accident was cleared away and cleaned up. Involved the mayhem was Nick Hoffman, Austin Dillon, Kenny Wallace, Matt Hoffman and Tyler Nicely - all drivers were reported as being okay.
Eventually the track was cleared and the remaining 13 drivers, less than half of the 28 starters, completed the final three laps with ease. Behind winner Ty Dillon and rounding out the top 5 were Devin Gilpin, Dale Mathison, Jeff Babcock, and Kyle Strickler.
UMP DIRTcar Modified "Gator Championship" top 10 (30 laps): 1. Ty Dillon ($5,000) 2. Devin Gilpin 3. Dale Mathison 4. Jeff Babcock 5. Kyle Strickler 6. Kent Robinson 7. Brian Ruhlman 8. Austin Arneson 9. David Stremme 10. Kenny Schrader
|Team Dillon Racing's Ty Dillon celebrating his Gator Championship win at Volusia Speedway Park|