DIRTcar Summer Nationals Season Openers at Kankakee Go to Unzicker, Hoffman

Ryan Unzicker – Jim DenHamer photo

EXPRESS LANE: Unzicker Holds off Pierce, Erb to Win 37th Hell Tour Opener at Kankakee
Twelfth career Hell Tour win for Unzicker, Rookie Payton Freeman sixth in series debut

KANKAKEE, IL – June 14, 2022 – With lapped traffic in front and two multi-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champions on his tail, Ryan Unzicker had a choice to make. Go now, or risk losing the lead.

“That 14 car – I just caught him at the wrong time,” Unzicker, of El Paso, IL, said. “He left the door open and I had to take it. I felt like if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been giving it my all.”

Having led the season-opening Feature for the 37th annual Hell Tour Tuesday night at Kankakee County Speedway since the drop of the green, Unzicker managed to fend-off the pressure from behind him for over half of the race when he came up on a lapped car in front of him, right in his lane.

Knowing Bobby Pierce and Dennis Erb Jr. were right on his tail, The El Paso Express decided to make a quick decision and shoot a narrow gap that opened as they went through Turns 3-4.

“We gambled, took the shot, made some contact with him, so I’m glad my right-rear held,” he said.

Unzicker didn’t get by without contact, and neither did the next guy coming through. Several laps later, the leaders approached more traffic and more tough decisions to make in getting by. Pierce got into Jeff Roth when making a pass on him just after halfway, enough to allow Erb Jr. to get by for second.

Once Unzicker freed himself from the traffic tangle, it was time to play heavy defense again. Hugging the bottom lane for the entirety of the race, Unzicker held strong on the low side and denied both Erb and Pierce’s passing attempts over 40 laps to collect $5,000 and his first win on the Summer Nationals trail since June 2018.

“My stick guy was pounding me to the bottom, telling me they were right there,” Unzicker said of feeling Pierce and Erb so close behind him.

To his early-season success, Unzicker attributes much of it to his work earlier in the night, laying down the fastest lap in Group 3 Qualifying and winning his Heat Race. That set him up for a pole redraw, which allowed him to get out front early and eventually lead all 40 laps.

“I’m fortunate to start up front, that’s the biggest thing,” Unzicker said. “Fortunate to have a good car for the first six or seven laps to sustain the lead.”

Defending Summer Nationals champion Bobby Pierce was able to get back to second after Erb slipped up in a pass attempt for the lead later on and finished runner-up. Erb, the current World of Outlaws CASE Late Model Series points leader, crossed in third, while young Drake Troutman made it to fourth pulling double-duty. Jason Feger, celebrating 20 years of racing this year, rounded out the top-five.

Summer Nationals rookie Payton Freeman, of Commerce, GA, made a sound debut on the tour with a victory in his Heat Race and a sixth-place run in the Feature. The 19-year-old had limited experience on Midwest ovals prior to Tuesday but his determination and raw talent shined through on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

The DIRTcar Summer Nationals continues Illinois-Iowa Week action Wednesday evening at Peoria Speedway in Peoria, IL. If you can’t be at the track, stream all the action live on DIRTVision.

RESULTS

Feature (40 Laps): 1. 24-Ryan Unzicker[1]; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce[3]; 3. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[5]; 4. 7-Drake Troutman[4]; 5. 25-Jason Feger[7]; 6. F1-Payton Freeman[2]; 7. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr[8]; 8. 3S-Brian Shirley[6]; 9. 9R-Curtis Roberts[11]; 10. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr[9]; 11. 36-Logan Martin[13]; 12. 89-Mike Spatola[12]; 13. 14G-Joe Godsey[19]; 14. 99-Hunt Gossum[14]; 15. M27-Mike Provenzano[15]; 16. 77-Preston Luckman[18]; 17. 30-Mark Voigt[20]; 18. 14R-Jeff Roth[22]; 19. 14-Glen Thompson[21]; 20. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[10]; 21. B12-Kevin Weaver[16]; 22. 10-Paul Parker[17]

Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps): 1. 10-Paul Parker[2]; 2. 77-Preston Luckman[3]; 3. 14G-Joe Godsey[6]; 4. 15-Justin Duty[5]; 5. 14-Glen Thompson[7]; 6. 14R-Jeff Roth[4]; 7. 21A-Nick Allen[10]; 8. 28M-Jake Miller[1]; 9. 4G-Bob Gardner[14]; 10. 26M-Brent McKinnon[11]; 11. 80-Rich Dawson[13]; 12. 31-Paul Stubber[9]; 13. 248-Brandon Lance[8]; 14. 0-Deshawn Gingerich[12]; 15. 30-Mark Voigt[16]; 16. 34-Herb Reich[15]

Consolation Race (10 Laps): 1. 80-Rich Dawson[2]; 2. 4G-Bob Gardner[6]; 3. 34-Herb Reich[1]; 4. 30-Mark Voigt[8]; 5. 4D-Doug Tye[5]; 6. T8-Tim Gauntt[3]; 7. 8-Dan Richardson[4]; 8. 23NZ-Mick Quin[7]

Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[1]; 2. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[2]; 3. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr[4]; 4. 36-Logan Martin[3]; 5. 28M-Jake Miller[5]; 6. 15-Justin Duty[7]; 7. 31-Paul Stubber[6]; 8. 34-Herb Reich[9]; 9. 4D-Doug Tye[8]

Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. F1-Payton Freeman[2]; 2. 3S-Brian Shirley[7]; 3. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[1]; 4. 99-Hunt Gossum[6]; 5. 10-Paul Parker[8]; 6. 14G-Joe Godsey[3]; 7. 21A-Nick Allen[4]; 8. 80-Rich Dawson[9]; 9. 4G-Bob Gardner[5]

Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1. 24-Ryan Unzicker[1]; 2. 25-Jason Feger[3]; 3. 9R-Curtis Roberts[2]; 4. M27-Mike Provenzano[5]; 5. 77-Preston Luckman[4]; 6. 14-Glen Thompson[7]; 7. 26M-Brent McKinnon[6]; 8. T8-Tim Gauntt[8]; 9. 23NZ-Mick Quin[9]

Heat 4 (10 Laps): 1. 7-Drake Troutman[2]; 2. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr[4]; 3. 89-Mike Spatola[1]; 4. B12-Kevin Weaver[3]; 5. 14R-Jeff Roth[5]; 6. 248-Brandon Lance[8]; 7. 0-Deshawn Gingerich[7]; 8. 8-Dan Richardson[9]; 9. 30-Mark Voigt[6]

Qualifying 1 (2 Laps): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[7]; 2. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[3]; 3. 36-Logan Martin[2]; 4. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr[6]; 5. 28M-Jake Miller[9]; 6. 31-Paul Stubber[1]; 7. 15-Justin Duty[5]; 8. 4D-Doug Tye[4]; 9. 34-Herb Reich[8]

Qualifying 2 (2 Laps): 1. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr, 00:15.638[5]; 2. F1-Payton Freeman, 00:15.856[3]; 3. 14G-Joe Godsey, 00:15.987[9]; 4. 21A-Nick Allen, 00:16.183[4]; 5. 4G-Bob Gardner, 00:16.190[1]; 6. 99-Hunt Gossum, 00:16.192[7]; 7. 3S-Brian Shirley, 00:16.226[2]; 8. 10-Paul Parker, 00:16.291[6]; 9. 80-Rich Dawson, 00:16.463[8]

Qualifying 3 (2 Laps): 1. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 00:15.858[6]; 2. 9R-Curtis Roberts, 00:16.217[8]; 3. 25-Jason Feger, 00:16.250[4]; 4. 77-Preston Luckman, 00:16.367[2]; 5. M27-Mike Provenzano, 00:16.444[5]; 6. 26M-Brent McKinnon, 00:16.649[9]; 7. 14-Glen Thompson, 00:16.980[1]; 8. T8-Tim Gauntt, 00:17.722[3]; 9. 23NZ-Mick Quin, 00:17.722[7]

Qualifying 4 (2 Laps): 1. 89-Mike Spatola, 00:15.934[1]; 2. 7-Drake Troutman, 00:16.121[7]; 3. B12-Kevin Weaver, 00:16.347[6]; 4. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr, 00:16.435[4]; 5. 14R-Jeff Roth, 00:16.648[2]; 6. 30-Mark Voigt, 00:16.761[8]; 7. 0-Deshawn Gingerich, 00:17.462[3]; 8. 248-Brandon Lance, 00:17.706[9]; 9. 8-Dan Richardson, 00:18.464[5]

Hot Laps 1: 1. 28-Dennis Erb Jr, 00:17.109[3]; 2. 31-Paul Stubber, 00:17.157[1]; 3. 32-Bobby Pierce, 00:17.488[7]; 4. 36-Logan Martin, 00:17.521[2]; 5. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr, 00:17.778[6]; 6. 28M-Jake Miller, 00:17.910[9]; 7. 4D-Doug Tye, 00:18.339[4]; 8. 15-Justin Duty, 00:18.403[5]; 9. 34-Herb Reich, 00:18.556[8]

Hot Laps 2: 1. F1-Payton Freeman, 00:15.634[3]; 2. 21A-Nick Allen, 00:15.706[4]; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley, 00:15.722[2]; 4. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr, 00:15.762[5]; 5. 80-Rich Dawson, 00:15.806[8]; 6. 14G-Joe Godsey, 00:15.883[9]; 7. 4G-Bob Gardner, 00:16.141[1]; 8. 99-Hunt Gossum, 00:16.391[7]; 9. 10-Paul Parker, 00:16.795[6]

Hot Laps 3: 1. 9R-Curtis Roberts, 00:15.010[8]; 2. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 00:15.552[6]; 3. 26M-Brent McKinnon, 00:15.673[9]; 4. 25-Jason Feger, 00:16.019[4]; 5. M27-Mike Provenzano, 00:16.305[5]; 6. 14-Glen Thompson, 00:16.490[1]; 7. 23NZ-Mick Quin, 00:16.775[7]; 8. T8-Tim Gauntt, 00:20.049[3]; 9. 77-Preston Luckman, 00:20.049[2]

Hot Laps 4: 1. 89-Mike Spatola, 00:14.922[1]; 2. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr, 00:15.488[4]; 3. 0-Deshawn Gingerich, 00:15.568[3]; 4. 30-Mark Voigt, 00:15.808[8]; 5. B12-Kevin Weaver, 00:15.840[6]; 6. 14R-Jeff Roth, 00:16.346[2]; 7. 8-Dan Richardson, 00:17.339[5]; 8. 7-Drake Troutman, 00:17.339[7]; 9. 248-Brandon Lance, 00:17.339[9]

 

Nick Hoffman – Jim DenHamer photo

STILL WINNING: Hoffman Wins 12th Summit Modified Tour Opener at Kankakee

North Carolinian collects 58th career tour victory

He’s back, boys and girls.

Nick Hoffman picked up right where he left off in his history-making 2021 season with a win in the 2022 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals season opener at Kankakee County Speedway Tuesday night.

The four-time and defending champion started third on the grid, got to the lead on Lap 3 and never looked back, leading the rest of the way unchallenged for his 58th career tour victory – most by any driver all-time.

“I knew I had to get to the lead as soon as I could possibly do it and just try to control the race from there,” Hoffman, of Mooresville, NC, said.

Forced to go to the outside of polesitter Trevor Neville for the lead, Hoffman saw the big vision from within the cockpit of his NOS Energy Drink/Elite Chassis #2.

“I knew the outside lane in Turns 1-2 was there to be able to roll speed as fast as I could,” Hoffman said. “Then, I knew I had to get back down in 3-4. I had to charge 1-2 as hard as I could to be able to beat [Neville] down the back-straightway and get back into his lane in 3-4.”

Even the internal issues he found early in the program could not stop him from getting to Victory Lane.

“We were smoking earlier… Dad had just change the valve cover gaskets on both sides, so we had a mess back there with oil and stuff,” Hoffman said. “Had some issues with my transmission too. It’s just wear-and-tear on parts.”

“This deal’s grueling; we’re only one night in.”

UP NEXT

The DIRTcar Summit Modifieds continue Illinois-Iowa Week action Wednesday evening at Peoria Speedway in Peoria, IL. If you can’t be at the track, stream all the action live on DIRTVision.

RESULTS

Feature (25 Laps): 1. 2-Nick Hoffman[3]; 2. 36L-Jamie Lomax[2]; 3. 777-Trevor Neville[1]; 4. 8-Kyle Steffens[5]; 5. 36-Kenny Wallace[4]; 6. 25-Tyler Nicely[12]; 7. 79D-John Demoss[7]; 8. 37L-Michael Ledford[14]; 9. 21L-Derek Losh[9]; 10. 65-Todd Sherman[17]; 11. 8A-Austin Holcombe[11]; 12. 130-Chase Allen[8]; 13. 6M-Carl McKinney[13]; 14. 6B-Dave Baldwin[20]; 15. 0-Travis Kohler[19]; 16. 82-Darren Wireman[10]; 17. 4-Mike Learman[16]; 18. 7-Drake Troutman[6]; 19. 35-Jason Hastings[21]; 20. 19C-Carter Sinkhorn[22]; 21. 8K-Levi Kissinger[15]; 22. 5CS-Curt Spalding[18]

Last Chance Showdown (10 Laps): 1. 4-Mike Learman[4]; 2. 65-Todd Sherman[1]; 3. 5CS-Curt Spalding[2]; 4. 6B-Dave Baldwin[3]; 5. 0-Travis Kohler[7]; 6. 25S-Jake Straka[5]; 7. 17-Mike Mosier[10]; 8. 15-TJ Larson[16]; 9. 42-Justin Gregory[13]; 10. 35-Jason Hastings[9]; 11. 73-Mark Rhoades[6]; 12. 19C-Carter Sinkhorn[12]; 13. 1-Nash Hilmes[11]; 14. (DNS) 5-Steven Brooks; 15. (DNS) 28M-Frank Marshall; 16. (DNS) 10-Shawn Scripter

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 36L-Jamie Lomax[2]; 2. 36-Kenny Wallace[1]; 3. 79D-John Demoss[4]; 4. 82-Darren Wireman[6]; 5. 6M-Carl McKinney[3]; 6. 65-Todd Sherman[8]; 7. 4-Mike Learman[10]; 8. 0-Travis Kohler[7]; 9. 17-Mike Mosier[5]; 10. 42-Justin Gregory[11]; 11. 15-TJ Larson[9]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 777-Trevor Neville[4]; 2. 8-Kyle Steffens[3]; 3. 130-Chase Allen[7]; 4. 8A-Austin Holcombe[5]; 5. 37L-Michael Ledford[6]; 6. 5CS-Curt Spalding[8]; 7. 25S-Jake Straka[10]; 8. 5-Steven Brooks[2]; 9. 1-Nash Hilmes[9]; 10. 28M-Frank Marshall[1]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 2-Nick Hoffman[1]; 2. 7-Drake Troutman[2]; 3. 21L-Derek Losh[3]; 4. 25-Tyler Nicely[4]; 5. 8K-Levi Kissinger[6]; 6. 6B-Dave Baldwin[8]; 7. 73-Mark Rhoades[9]; 8. 35-Jason Hastings[5]; 9. 19C-Carter Sinkhorn[10]; 10. 10-Shawn Scripter[7]

Qualifying 1 (3 Laps): 1. 36-Kenny Wallace, 00:15.927[11]; 2. 36L-Jamie Lomax, 00:16.397[1]; 3. 6M-Carl McKinney, 00:16.436[5]; 4. 79D-John Demoss, 00:16.445[7]; 5. 17-Mike Mosier, 00:16.582[9]; 6. 82-Darren Wireman, 00:16.635[8]; 7. 65-Todd Sherman, 00:16.638[2]; 8. 0-Travis Kohler, 00:16.638[10]; 9. 15-TJ Larson, 00:16.811[4]; 10. 4-Mike Learman, 00:16.944[3]; 11. 42-Justin Gregory, 00:17.034[6]

Qualifying 2 (3 Laps): 1. 28M-Frank Marshall, 00:16.094[6]; 2. 5-Steven Brooks, 00:16.235[5]; 3. 8-Kyle Steffens, 00:16.293[9]; 4. 777-Trevor Neville, 00:16.298[1]; 5. 8A-Austin Holcombe, 00:16.357[2]; 6. 37L-Michael Ledford, 00:16.443[3]; 7. 130-Chase Allen, 00:16.476[10]; 8. 5CS-Curt Spalding, 00:16.478[7]; 9. 1-Nash Hilmes, 00:16.698[4]; 10. 25S-Jake Straka, 00:17.023[8]

Qualifying 3 (3 Laps): 1. 2-Nick Hoffman, 00:15.718[4]; 2. 7-Drake Troutman, 00:15.823[8]; 3. 21L-Derek Losh, 00:15.911[3]; 4. 25-Tyler Nicely, 00:16.297[2]; 5. 35-Jason Hastings, 00:16.628[9]; 6. 8K-Levi Kissinger, 00:16.789[7]; 7. 10-Shawn Scripter, 00:16.967[5]; 8. 6B-Dave Baldwin, 00:17.194[10]; 9. 73-Mark Rhoades, 00:17.506[6]; 10. 19C-Carter Sinkhorn, 00:17.526[1]

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Other divisions ran with Summer Nationals Results

16 entries

DIRTCAR PRO LATE MODELS


A Feature 1 (20 Laps): 1. 818-Matt Hammond[4]; 2. 97-Michael Marden[12]; 3. 130-Chase Osterhoff[5]; 4. 19-Chad Osterhoff[6]; 5. 116-Torin Mettille[16]; 6. X3-Ben Kirchner[3]; 7. 47-Dan Kuhn[10]; 8. 51A-Amber Crouch[7]; 9. 21-Bobby Gash[9]; 10. 41-Logan Nesselrodt[14]; 11. 33-Chuck Steele[11]; 12. 10M-Austin Mccarty[8]; 13. 61-Jammie Wilson[1]; 14. 21K-Jacob Kolwyck[2]

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 19-Chad Osterhoff[1]; 2. 818-Matt Hammond[3]; 3. 21K-Jacob Kolwyck[2]; 4. 51A-Amber Crouch[5]; 5. 21-Bobby Gash[7]; 6. 33-Chuck Steele[6]; 7. 8X-Max Tison[8]; 8. 122-Timmy Dick[4]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 130-Chase Osterhoff[1]; 2. X3-Ben Kirchner[4]; 3. 61-Jammie Wilson[5]; 4. 10M-Austin Mccarty[3]; 5. 47-Dan Kuhn[8]; 6. 97-Michael Marden[7]; 7. 41-Logan Nesselrodt[6]; 8. 116-Torin Mettille[2]

Qualifying 1: 1. 19-Chad Osterhoff, 00:16.833[5]; 2. 130-Chase Osterhoff, 00:17.157[2]; 3. 21K-Jacob Kolwyck, 00:17.323[1]; 4. 116-Torin Mettille, 00:17.342[3]; 5. 818-Matt Hammond, 00:17.430[10]; 6. 10M-Austin Mccarty, 00:17.527[4]; 7. 122-Timmy Dick, 00:17.528[14]; 8. X3-Ben Kirchner, 00:17.530[8]; 9. 51A-Amber Crouch, 00:17.569[6]; 10. 61-Jammie Wilson, 00:17.807[7]; 11. 33-Chuck Steele, 00:18.113[15]; 12. 41-Logan Nesselrodt, 00:18.171[11]; 13. 21-Bobby Gash, 00:18.181[16]; 14. 97-Michael Marden, 00:18.353[13]; 15. 8X-Max Tison, 00:19.131[12]; 16. 47-Dan Kuhn, 02:05.425[9]

17 entries

DIRTCAR STOCK CAR


A Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 9-Joe Brown[5]; 2. 83A-Adam Williams[8]; 3. K67JR-Braiden Keller[3]; 4. X-Zane Reitz[2]; 5. 10H-Don Hilleray[1]; 6. 42-Jesse Simmons[4]; 7. H23-Tony Hemp[10]; 8. 52P-Steve Perkins[13]; 9. K67-Ian Kellar[6]; 10. 14-Megan Erwin[15]; 11. 13D-Brixton Downey[16]; 12. 1-Shaun WiltjerHunt[7]

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. K67-Ian Kellar[2]; 2. 42-Jesse Simmons[6]; 3. X-Zane Reitz[1]; 4. 1-Shaun WiltjerHunt[5]; 5. 23-Cody Clubb[3]; 6. 1A-Kyle Anderson[4]; 7. 52P-Steve Perkins[8]; 8. 14-Megan Erwin[9]; 9. 111-Kirby Trent[7]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 9-Joe Brown[1]; 2. K67JR-Braiden Keller[2]; 3. 10H-Don Hilleray[4]; 4. 83A-Adam Williams[3]; 5. H23-Tony Hemp[5]; 6. 70B-Ken Bushey[7]; 7. 02-Kyle Miner[6]; 8. 13D-Brixton Downey[8]

Qualifying 1: 1. X-Zane Reitz, 00:17.989[1]; 2. 9-Joe Brown, 00:18.129[16]; 3. K67-Ian Kellar, 00:18.139[13]; 4. K67JR-Braiden Keller, 00:18.205[14]; 5. 23-Cody Clubb, 00:18.257[11]; 6. 83A-Adam Williams, 00:18.270[10]; 7. 1A-Kyle Anderson, 00:18.401[15]; 8. 10H-Don Hilleray, 00:18.460[17]; 9. 1-Shaun WiltjerHunt, 00:18.748[3]; 10. H23-Tony Hemp, 00:18.894[12]; 11. 42-Jesse Simmons, 00:18.949[7]; 12. 02-Kyle Miner, 00:19.391[9]; 13. 111-Kirby Trent, 00:19.533[8]; 14. 70B-Ken Bushey, 00:19.806[2]; 15. 52P-Steve Perkins, 00:19.820[4]; 16. 13D-Brixton Downey, 00:22.097[5]; 17. (DNS) 14-Megan Erwin, 00:22.097