Anchored by the 40th annual DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH that runs from Feb. 8-19 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., the season-opening southern swing for the World Racing Group’s Midwest-based UMP circuit boasts seven Late Model and 16 Modified events spread across four tracks over a 23-day span.
In excess of $375,000 in purses will on the line in DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned races held in the state of Florida from Jan. 28-Feb. 19, divided between the over quarter-million dollars earmarked for the Late Model events and $125,000-plus in Modified cash. North Florida Speedway in Lake City, East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton and Ocala Speedway will join the half-mile Volusia oval in hosting DIRTcar UMP competition.
From a week of big-money Late Model shows at Volusia that this year include a nightly ‘Bulrush Dash’ for non-qualifiers to a brand-new Late Model event at Ocala to high-dollar Modified specials at East Bay and Volusia, UMP’s 2011 Florida schedule is sure to provide fans plenty of memorable action.
“This is shaping up as one of the most exciting starts to a season in DIRTcar UMP’s history,” said Sam Driggers, the director of DIRTcar Racing’s UMP organization. “We’ve added some new wrinkles for the Late Model racers with the addition of the ‘Bulrush Dash’ to each night’s program at Volusia as well as a race at Ocala (on Sun., Feb. 13) that will serve as a lead-in to the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, and the number of Modified events we’re sanctioning shows just how strong and popular the division has become.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to showcase DIRTcar UMP racing to all the fans traveling to the state of Florida for their winter racing fix.”
The epicenter of the racing will once again be the WRG-owned Volusia Speedway Park, a sweeping, high-speed track located about 20 minutes outside Daytona Beach. A DIRTcar UMP-sanctioned event will be contested each evening of the 12-night DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, which also includes the World of Outlaws Late Model Series (Feb. 17-19); the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series (Feb. 11-13); the O’Reilly All-Star Sprint Car Series (Feb. 9-10); and the Super DIRTcar Series for big-block Modifieds (Feb. 16-19).
Six DIRTcar UMP Late Model programs are set for the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, including 30-lap A-Mains paying $7,000 to win on Feb. 14, 15 and 16, a $10,000-to-win 40-lapper on Feb. 18 and co-sanctioned WoO LMS events offering $10,000 top prizes for 50 laps of A-Main work on Feb. 17 and 19. Each night of racing will be capped by the $300-to-win ‘Bulrush Dash,’ a 12-lap, 15-car sprint reserved for the top-five non-transfers from each evening’s B-Mains who have not yet qualified for an A-Main during the week.
The UMP Modifieds, meanwhile, will be part of the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH for the longest stint – eight consecutive nights from Feb. 8-15. After the open-wheel division’s meet begins with $1,000-to-win features on Feb. 8, 9, 10 and 11, the field will be split by the week’s current points standings – drivers sitting in odd-number positions run on Feb. 12 and those in even-number spots compete on Feb. 13 – for a pair of $700-to-win qualifying programs leading up to the marquee ‘Gator Championship’ event on Mon., Feb. 14, that carries a whopping $5,000 first-place prize. The UMP Modified series concludes on Feb. 15 with the week’s competitors divided into twin or triple 25-lap features (depending on car count) that each pay $700 to win.
Well-known DIRTcar UMP Late Model stars expected to compete in the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH include former national champions Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., and Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., two-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals titlist Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., and rising star Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., who finished third in the 2010 national points standings. The UMP Modified field will be headlined by 20-year-old Devin Gilpin of Columbus, Ind., the runner-up in the division’s 2010 national points standings.
DIRTcar UMP’s satellite events in Florida will be headlined by the inaugural ‘Battle Between The Coasts’ Late Model spectacular on Sun., Feb. 13, at Ocala Speedway, an egg-shaped three-eighths-mile oval that sits about 50 miles west of Volusia. The oldest track in Florida, Ocala will begin its fourth straight year of dirt racing following more than a decade as an asphalt track with a special 50-lap, $8,000-to-win event that promises to draw many of the country’s top full-fender pilots as they make their way to the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH.
Ocala will also host the UMP Modifieds for three consecutive evenings of action from Feb. 17-19. The UMP Modified ‘Winternationals’ will be run in conjunction with Ocala’s ‘Bubba Army USAC Sprint Car Nationals.’
DIRTcar UMP’s mid-winter competition in Florida will commence with the two-day UMP Modified Nationals on Jan. 28-29 at North Florida Speedway, a three-eighths-mile oval about 60 miles west of Jacksonville. Both programs will be topped by features paying $1,500 to win.
Three nights of UMP Modified racing will take place from Feb. 3-5 as part of the 35th annual Winternationals at the one-third-mile East Bay Raceway Park, which is located on the Gulf Coast outside Tampa. Preliminary programs on Feb. 3-4 – headlined by features paying $1,500 to win – lead into a 75-lap grand finale on Feb. 5 that boasts a $5,000 winner’s check.
For more information on the DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH, including special pricing on advance-sale tickets and details of the ‘Free Pit Pass With Every Ticket’ offer that allows fans to get up-close-and-personal with the race teams every night of the DCN – visit www.DIRTcarNationals.com or call 704-795-7223 or 386-985-4402.
More information on DIRTcar’s UMP circuit can be obtained by logging on to www.DIRTcar.com.