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DIRTcar UMP Weekly Points Update: Unzicker (Late Models), Harrison (Modifieds) Take Points Leads Into Final Weekend Of Weekly Action

DIRTcarCONCORD, NC – Sept. 30, 2011 – Ryan Unzicker’s sizzling September has put him on the brink of clinching his first-ever DIRTcar UMP Late Model national championship.

The rising 28-year-old star from El Paso, Ill., caught fire after his long stint at the top of the points standings ended in late August. Since Sept. 9 he has authored a spectacular nine-race run highlighted by four wins and three runner-up finishes, allowing him to head into this weekend’s final weekend of weekly DIRTcar UMP points racing leading the national battle by a solid 54-point margin (2,531-2,477) over defending national champ Rusty Schlenk of Jackson, Mich.

With the DIRTcar Late Model points standings determined by drivers’ best 35 finishes/points nights and Unzicker passing that threshold weeks ago, he could only add points to his total this month by finishing well inside the top five. He responded with a surge of first- and second-place finishes that gave him points in seven of his nine starts since Sept. 9, including a pair of bridesmaid outings last week, on Sept. 24 at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Ill., and Sept. 25 at Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway.

Unzicker’s closest challengers in the national standings simply haven’t been able to match his performance in recent weeks. Schlenk, who led the points race for two weeks before ceding it back to Unzicker, has gained points in just three of his seven starts since Sept. 9, while Jon Henry of Ada, Ohio, who briefly reached second in the standings, registered points-padding finishes in just two of his six starts over the same span and has fallen 94 points behind Unzicker.

But Unzicker hasn’t locked up the national title. Schlenk remains alive for a second consecutive crown, but only if he can win at least two features and finish among the top four in another race – all with full car-count bonus points – while Unzicker fails to finish well enough to earn a single point.

Both Unzicker and Schlenk plan to compete in this weekend’s two-day ‘ROCKtoberfest’ at Kankakee (Ill.) County Speedway, which features a $1,000-to-win event on Friday (Sept. 30) and a $2,000-to-win race on Saturday (Oct. 1). They will also enter the Late Model division’s points-season finale, the DIRTcar UMP Nationals on Oct. 7-8 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

Mike Harrison of Highland, Ill., meanwhile, enters this weekend’s action leading the DIRTcar UMP Modified national standings by 15 points (1,922-1,907) over Michael Long of Quincy, Ill. Nick Allen of Wheatfield, Ind., sits third in the standings, 36 points behind Harrison.

All three drivers are still in contention for the title, but Long and Allen have no margin for error. With the drivers long past the 25-race mark upon which the UMP Modified standings are determined, finishing high enough to replace their worst nights is a tough chore.

Long’s hopes rest on his winning three features at full points over the next two weekends – the UMP Modified are also part of the Oct. 7-8 DIRTcar UMP Nationals at Eldora – while Harrison fails to earn a point, creating a tie for the points lead. Long would then win the title on a tie-breaker because he would have more feature wins than Harrison.

Unofficial calculations by DIRTcar UMP officials indicate that Allen can claim the championship by recording three full-points feature wins and finishing in the top three at Eldora – provided, of course, that Harrison or Long do not add to their points totals.

As determined unofficially by DIRTcar UMP officials, current national points situations for DIRTcar UMP’s six other divisions are as follows:

* Pro Late Models: Dustin Griffin of Camp Point, Ill., holds a commanding 35-point lead over Nick Bauman. The points season for DIRTcar UMP’s crate Late Model class officially ends with the running of the DIRTcar UMP Pro Late Model Championship on Oct. 15 at Tri-City Speedway.

* Sportsman: Jeremy Hines of Seymour, Ind., appears headed to the title.

* Limited Modifieds: Mark Anderson of Canton, Ill., has unofficially clinched the championship because there are not enough races left for anyone to overcome his lead.

* Stock Cars: Nate Zimmer of Mattoon, Ill., appears to have the division’s national crown sewn up.

* Factory Stocks: Dennis Bringedahl of Twin Lake, Mich., has effectively locked up the title, but second place remains up for grabs between Rob Sternberg and Jake Hewitt.

* Sport Compacts: Jeremy Callahan of Mt. Vernon, Ill., leads the standings, but with only 26 points separating the top four drivers there are various scenarios still in play.

Log on to www.DirtCar.com for more information on DIRTcar Racing’s UMP circuit and to view complete points standings for all divisions, including the current State points rankings.

New for 2011, the weekly DIRTcar UMP points update is powered by www.MotorStats.com. DIRTcar’s affiliation with the Durham, N.C.-based Web site is providing fans and competitors a more timely and detailed look at the points standings. National and State points standings for all divisions are typically updated by Thursday each week, and new features allow visitors to click on each driver’s name to see a complete race-by-race review of their finishes to date.

DIRTcar Racing UMP National Points Standings (as of Sept. 25, 2011):

Late Models (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Ryan Unzicker 35 2531

2. Rusty Schlenk 35 2477

3. Jon Henry 35 2437

4. Shannon Babb 35 2415

5. Jason Feger 35 2374

6. Brandon Thirlby 35 2341

7. Brandon Sheppard 35 2294

8. Randy Korte 35 2241

9. Eric Spangler 35 2218

10. Mike Provenzano 35 2186

11. Bobby Pierce 35 2156

12. Mike Spatola III 35 2149

13. Eric Smith 35 2080

14. Brian Ruhlman 35 2019

15. Mark Voigt 35 2005

16. Steve Lance Jr. 35 1986

17. Scott Schmitt 35 1976

18. Dennis Erb Jr. 35 1970

19. Brian Shirley 35 1961

20. Michael Kloos 35 1931

UMP Modifieds (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Mike Harrison 25 1922

2. Michael Long 25 1907

3. Nick Allen 25 1886

4. Todd Sherman 25 1862

5. Jacob Poel 25 1860

6. Ray Bollinger 25 1854

7. Doug Adkins 25 1831

8. Jamie Lomax 25 1825

9. Clayton Miller 25 1824

10. Danny Crane 25 1820

11. Ken Schrader 25 1817

12. Scott Weber 25 1807

13. Tim Hancock 25 1791

14. John DeMoss 25 1764

15. Mark Anderson 25 1759

16. Joe Rokos 25 1758

17. Brian Lynn 25 1749

18. Randle Sweeney 25 1747

19. Jeff Leka 25 1746

20. Jim Farris Sr. 25 1740

Pro Late Models (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Dustin Griffin 20 1505

2. Nick Bauman 20 1470

3. Credence Mott 20 1411

4. Mark Oller 20 1405

5. Clayton Miller 20 1398

6. Jerry Lierly 20 1397

7. Bobby Martintoni 20 1325

8. Evan Fink 20 1310

9. Brad Denney 20 1300

10. Randy Myers 20 1280

Sportsman (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Jeremy Hines 20 1496

2. Troy Clark 20 1459

3. Dan Flessner 20 1434

4. Jeff Herzog 20 1412

5. Joey Ladouceur 20 1387

6. Dave Crawley Jr. 20 1358

7. Nick Macklin 20 1325

8. Jocelyn Roy 20 1317

9. Jake Simmons 19 1311

10. Kenny Carmichael Sr. 20 1285

Limited Modifieds (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Mark Anderson 20 1420

2. Todd Bates 20 1388

3. Haley Westerfield 20 1188

4. Jeff Lawson 20 1177

5. John Wyble 20 1096

6. Christopher Geary 20 1065

7. Johnny Holden 20 1038

7. Josh Smith 20 1038

9. Clay Settles 20 1036

10. Billy Hawes 20 1010

Stock Cars (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Nate Zimmer 20 1512

2. Mike Hodges 20 1480

3. John Farris 20 1470

4. Chuck Barnes Jr. 20 1450

5. Dan Dykman 20 1421

6. Derek Poland 20 1413

7. Andrew Funk 20 1395

8. Joeseph Hamm 20 1378

9. Joel Funk 20 1374

10. Darrel Dick 20 1356

Factory Stocks (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Dennis Bringedahl 20 1396

2. Rob Sternberg 20 1371

3. Jake Hewitt 20 1370

4. Dan Wilson 20 1313

5. Mark Farber 20 1309

6. Jeff Buss 20 1194

6. Tom Hughes 19 1194

8. Spike Grega 20 1181

9. Ben Welch 20 1128

10. TJ Eilers 20 1119

Sport Compacts (rank/driver/races/points):

1. Jeremy Callahan 20 1512

2. Kenny Butterfield 20 1506

3. Rob Shaw 20 1494

4. Matt Maier 20 1486

5. Paul Namey 20 1460

6. Earl Pryor 20 1451

7. Trevor Isaak 20 1436

8. Jacob Rexing 20 1425

9. Bradley McGhee 20 1400

10. Vince Shehorn 20 1394

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