Story By: COLBY GORNIEWICZ / DIRTCAR – BARBERVILLE, FL – The premier drivers and teams within the DIRTcar UMP Modified ranks from across North America converged to Volusia Speedway Park (FL) for night number one of the 47th Annual DIRTcar Nationals.
A stellar field of 65 teams made their way to the Sunshine State to compete in the first of seven straight nights of competition for the open-wheeled weekly warriors. David Stremme, originally from South Bend, IN and now calls Mooresville, NC home, shot out to the lead on the opening lap from his third starting spot and held off two-time defending DIRTcar Nationals Champion, Nick Hoffman to score his second career Gator.
“We were pretty good tonight, but I feel like we still have a lot of work to do. We’re just ok and we know that. Its only night one,” Offered the 40-year-old owner of Lethal Chassis after his victory. “Things will change quite a bit the rest of the week and the competition here is pretty strong. Real happy though, have to thank all the sponsors. Definitely Penske Racing Shocks. This is the first race with them on the car, so we’re pretty proud of that.” He added.
The first Feature of the DIRTcar Nationals would see NASCAR Xfinity Series star, Justin Allgaier and Hoffman lead the mammoth 28-car field to chief starter, Dave Farney’s green flag to begin their 20-lap Feature. Stremme, who started on the inside of the third row, quickly shot around the front row and grabbed the early advantage while the rest of the field jockeyed for position. Hoffman fell back to as far as fifth, before regrouping and picking off cars one by one until he got back up to second.
As the laps clicked off, Hoffman closed the gap on Stremme and caught a break when the caution flag flew with just a single lap to go. That set up a one-lap shootout between Stremme and Hoffman and on the restart, Stremme got the jump on both Hoffman and Allgaier, who was running in the third spot. Stremme would get away from both and cross the stripe first en route to his first DIRTcar Nationals Feature win since the 2015 season and second of his career.
Hoffman settled for second as Kyle Strickler, who won one of the three Last Chance Showdowns to get into the show, started 19th and completed the podium finishers. Chase Collins, who started 13th, finished fourth as Zeke McKenzie, who started 11th, finished off the top five. NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series regular, Justin Haley was sixth after starting 25th while Kenny Wallace, Michael Long, K.C. Burdette and Allgaier, who faded on the last restart, were the top 10.
Night two for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will see the teams return for the next $1,000 payday. The Arctic Car All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars will race for their first of two nights of action before the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars race for three nights in a row starting on Friday, February 9th.
FEATURE (20 Laps ) – 1. David Stremme; 2. Nick Hoffman; 3. Kyle Strickler; 4. Chase Collins; 5. Zeke McKenzie; 6. Justin Haley; 7. Kenny Wallace; 8. Michael Long; 9. Kc Burdette; 10. Justin Allgaier; 11. Ray Bollinger;12. Tyler Evans; 13. Ryan Cripe; 14. Jason Brookover; 15. Larry Burkins; 16. Paul Niznik; 17. Tony Anderson; 18. Josh Rice; 19. Mike McKinney; 20. Jason Beaulieu; 21. Shon Flanary; 22. Todd Neiheiser; 23. Troy Johnson; 24. Jason Garver; 25. Jamie Carter; 26. Brian Ruhlman; 27. Rick Conoyer; 28. Ken Schrader.