Illinois Racer Charges to Victory in DIRTcar Nationals Opener

Barberville, FL -- Michael Long surged to the lead on the opening lap of the DIRTcar UMP Modified Feature Tuesday night and fought off Kyle Strickler to the checkered flag for the first Gator Trophy of the 12-night DIRTcar Nationals presented by Bozard Ford at Volusia Speedway Park.

Long, of Fowler, Ill., used the high side in Turns 1 and 2 to keep Strickler, who started eighth, pinned to the bottom and unable to maximize his horsepower. After a couple of cautions seven laps into the race, a 12-lap green-flag run forced Long to negotiate heavy lapped traffic on the high-speed half-mile dirt oval.

“Luckily, they went to the bottom,” Long said of the lapped cars. “When you see the #8 of Strickler on the board it makes you nervous on restarts, especially going into Turn 1. I knew once I got rolling I was good. He had to out-motor me and I knew if I hit the restarts right I was going to be alright.”

Ryan Cripe wound up third while defending DIRTcar Nationals champion Nick Hoffman started 21st and powered his way to a fourth-place finish. Zeke McKenzie was fifth after starting 28th to earn Hard Charger honors.

NASCAR CONNECTIONS: Kenny Wallace raced to a ninth-place finish in the Feature while David Stremme went for a spin after contact with Cripe as they were battling for third, collecting last summer’s Daytona winner Justin Haley in the process. … Three-time NASCAR Truck Series champion Matt Crafton missed the Feature by one position in a Last Chance Showdown that also included Xfinity Series standout Justin Allgaier, who finished one spot behind Crafton, and Truck Series racer Sheldon Creed, who finished eighth.

WINGED WARRIORS: World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars — including drivers like recent Chili Bowl winner and NASCAR star Kyle Larson — rolled onto the half-mile dirt oval for a final tune-up session before the high-powered, winged sprint cars compete at Volusia the next five nights.

For more on the DIRTcar Nationals, go to DIRTcarNationals.com.

DIRTcar Nationals Race Report; Volusia Speedway Park; Feb. 4, 2020

DIRTcar UMP Modified Feature (20 laps): 1. 18L-Michael Long [2][$1,000]; 2. 8KS-Kyle Strickler [8][$600]; 3. 23-Ryan Cripe [4][$400]; 4. 2-Nick Hoffman [21][$350]; 5. 24-Zeke McKenzie [28][$300]; 6. 5-Curt Spalding [3][$275]; 7. 2A-Donnie Moran [12][$250]; 8. 49-Brian Ruhlman [25][$225]; 9. 36-Kenny Wallace [9][$200]; 10. 7-Drake Troutman [20][$200]; 11. 99M-Mike Mullen [23][$175]; 12. 90-Jason Beaulieu [17][$140]; 13. 77-Ray Bollinger [11][$130]; 14. 7A-Shane Sabraski [22][$125]; 15. 95-Michael Altobelli [27][$125]; 16. 45J-Johnny Broking [15][$125]; 17. 22-Dale Kelley [19][$125]; 18. 2J-Troy Johnson [10][$125]; 19. O5-Dave Wietholder [16][$125]; 20. 7F-Bryan Foy [24][$125]; 21. 35-David Stremme [5][$125]; 22. 17TE-Tyler Evans [14][$125]; 23. 11JH-Justin Haley [18][$125]; 24. 7CT-Christian Thomas [26][$125]; 25. 8A-Austin Holcombe [13][$125]; 26. K19-Will Krup [1][$100]; 27. 75-Terry Phillips [7][$100]; 28. 65-Todd Sherman [6][$100].

Qualifying Flight-A: 1. 8KS-Kyle Strickler, 17.975; 2. 90-Jason Beaulieu, 18.063; 3. 8-Steve Stevenson, 18.336; 4. 36-Kenny Wallace, 18.445; 5. 7JA-Justin Allgaier, 18.497; 6. 96M-Mike McKinney, 18.742; 7. 1-Brenden Rassel, 19.463; 8. 82-Gary Dillon, 19.72; 9. 15-Rick Potter, 19.963; 10. A1-Gary Bentley, NT

Qualifying Flight-B: 1. 5-Curt Spalding, 18.053; 2. 11JH-Justin Haley, 18.308; 3. 11-Jesse Rupe, 18.479; 4. 2J-Troy Johnson, 18.559; 5. 32-Chad Roush, 18.618; 6. 6A-Ryan Ayers, 18.68; 7. 71L-Dennis Lunger, 18.751; 8. 17T-Michael Tarlton, 18.919; 9. 22T-Tony Anderson, 19.077; 10. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt, 19.284

Qualifying Flight-C: 1. 22-Dale Kelley, 18.128; 2. 23-Ryan Cripe, 18.185; 3. 95-Michael Altobelli, 18.426; 4. 77-Ray Bollinger, 18.656; 5. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt, 19.214; 6. 17-Rob Pitcher, 19.241; 7. 11M-Mike McGee, 19.264; 8. 11N-Gene Nicholas, 19.275; 9. O7-Curtis King, 20.178; 10. 3L-Jeff Leka, NT

Qualifying Flight-D: 1. 2A-Donnie Moran, 18.088; 2. 75-Terry Phillips, 18.123; 3. 67-Garret Stewart, 18.129; 4. 12H-Jason Hughes, 18.129; 5. 24-Zeke McKenzie, 18.184; 6. 7-Drake Troutman, 18.198; 7. 25-Tyler Nicely, 18.437; 8. 20-Tyler Hendrix, 19.113; 9. Z06-Larry Mott, 19.187; 10. 12L-Lucas Lee, NT

Qualifying Flight-E: 1. 35-David Stremme, 17.998; 2. 8A-Austin Holcombe, 18.023; 3. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 18.088; 4. 2-Nick Hoffman, 18.186; 5. 31G-Stephen Pedulla, 18.688; 6. 88-Matt Crafton, 18.822; 7. 9-Sheldon Creed, 19.015; 8. 5F-Jerry Foster, 19.532; 9. 89W-Rick Weitekamp, 20.144

Qualifying Flight-F: 1. 17TE-Tyler Evans, 18.1; 2. K19-Will Krup, 18.144; 3. 7CT-Christian Thomas, 18.351; 4. 7A-Shane Sabraski, 18.465; 5. 12-Jason Gross, 18.589; 6. 97-Mitch Thomas, 18.808; 7. 11H-Spencer Hughes, 18.886; 8. 52-Colin Green, 19.008; 9. 9PG-Percy Gendreau, 19.535

Qualifying Flight-G: 1. 18L-Michael Long, 18.17; 2. 99M-Mike Mullen, 18.25; 3. 45J-Johnny Broking, 18.295; 4. 19-Chad Bauer, 18.304; 5. 24D-Travis Dickson, 18.361; 6. 1M-Curt Myers, 18.489; 7. 4UW-Bobby Regot, 18.55; 8. 100-Scott Fritz, 19.021; 9. 1S-Brian Shaw, NT

Qualifying Flight-H: 1. 65-Todd Sherman, 18.187; 2. O5-Dave Wietholder, 18.42; 3. 7F-Bryan Foy, 18.481; 4. 99-Hunt Gossum, 18.502; 5. 6-Ryan Fowler, 18.664; 6. 96-Cole Parker, 18.674; 7. OO-Buzzie Reutimann, 19.115; 8. O1-Bryce Nichols, NT; 9. 14J-John Baker, NT

Heat #1 - Flight (A) (8 Laps) - Top 3 Transfer: 1. 8KS-Kyle Strickler [1]; 2. 36-Kenny Wallace [4]; 3. 90-Jason Beaulieu [2]; 4. 82-Gary Dillon [8]; 5. 7JA-Justin Allgaier [5]; 6. 8-Steve Stevenson [3]; 7. A1-Gary Bentley [10]; 8. 1-Brenden Rassel [7]; 9. 15-Rick Potter [9]; 10. 96M-Mike McKinney [6]

Heat #2 - Flight (B) (8 Laps) - Top 3 Transfer: 1. 5-Curt Spalding [1]; 2. 2J-Troy Johnson [4]; 3. 11JH-Justin Haley [2]; 4. 11-Jesse Rupe [3]; 5. 6A-Ryan Ayers [6]; 6. 71L-Dennis Lunger [7]; 7. 17T-Michael Tarlton [8]; 8. 22T-Tony Anderson [9]; 9. 32-Chad Roush [5]; 10. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [10]

Heat #3 - Flight (C) (8 Laps) - Top 3 Transfer: 1. 23-Ryan Cripe [2]; 2. 77-Ray Bollinger [4]; 3. 22-Dale Kelley [1]; 4. 95-Michael Altobelli [3]; 5. 17-Rob Pitcher [6]; 6. 11M-Mike McGee [7]; 7. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt [5]; 8. 11N-Gene Nicholas [8]; 9. O7-Curtis King [9]; 10. 3L-Jeff Leka [10]

Heat #4 - Flight (D) (8 Laps) - Top 3 Transfer: 1. 75-Terry Phillips [2]; 2. 2A-Donnie Moran [1]; 3. 7-Drake Troutman [6]; 4. 24-Zeke McKenzie [5]; 5. 67-Garret Stewart [3]; 6. 25-Tyler Nicely [7]; 7. 12H-Jason Hughes [4]; 8. 12L-Lucas Lee [10]; 9. 20-Tyler Hendrix [8]; 10. Z06-Larry Mott [9]

Heat #5 - Flight (E) (8 Laps) - Top 3 Transfer: 1. 35-David Stremme [1]; 2. 8A-Austin Holcombe [2]; 3. 2-Nick Hoffman [4]; 4. 49-Brian Ruhlman [3]; 5. 88-Matt Crafton [6]; 6. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [5]; 7. 9-Sheldon Creed [7]; 8. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [9]; 9. 5F-Jerry Foster [8]

Heat #6 - Flight (F) (8 Laps) - Top 3 Transfer: 1. K19-Will Krup [2]; 2. 17TE-Tyler Evans [1]; 3. 7A-Shane Sabraski [4]; 4. 7CT-Christian Thomas [3]; 5. 12-Jason Gross [5]; 6. 97-Mitch Thomas [6]; 7. 11H-Spencer Hughes [7]; 8. 52-Colin Green [8]; 9. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [9]

Heat #7 - Flight (G) (8 Laps) - Top 3 Transfer: 1. 18L-Michael Long [1]; 2. 45J-Johnny Broking [3]; 3. 99M-Mike Mullen [2]; 4. 19-Chad Bauer [4]; 5. 24D-Travis Dickson [5]; 6. 1M-Curt Myers [6]; 7. 4UW-Bobby Regot [7]; 8. 100-Scott Fritz [8]; 9. 1S-Brian Shaw [9]

Heat #8 - Flight (H) (8 Laps) - Top 3 Transfer: 1. 65-Todd Sherman [1]; 2. O5-Dave Wietholder [2]; 3. 7F-Bryan Foy [3]; 4. 96-Cole Parker [6]; 5. 6-Ryan Fowler [5]; 6. OO-Buzzie Reutimann [7]; 7. 99-Hunt Gossum [4]; 8. 14J-John Baker [9]; 9. O1-Bryce Nichols [8]

C-Main 1 (8 Laps) - Top 8 Transfer: 1. 1-Brenden Rassel [1][-]; 2. 100-Scott Fritz [4][-]; 3. 11N-Gene Nicholas [2][$75]; 4. 5F-Jerry Foster [7][$75]; 5. O7-Curtis King [6][$75]; 6. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [3][$75]; 7. 96M-Mike McKinney [9][$75]; 8. 3L-Jeff Leka [10][$75]; 9. 1S-Brian Shaw [8][$75]; 10. 15-Rick Potter [5][$75]

C-Main 2 ( Laps): 1. 22T-Tony Anderson [1][-]; 2. 12L-Lucas Lee [2][-]; 3. 52-Colin Green [3][$75]; 4. 32-Chad Roush [5][$75]; 5. O1-Bryce Nichols [8][$75]; 6. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [7][$75]; 7. 14J-John Baker [4][$75]; 8. 20-Tyler Hendrix [6][$75]; 9. Z06-Larry Mott [10][$75]; 10. Z1-Zac Oedewaldt [9][$75]

Last Chance Showdown 1 (8 Laps) - Top 1 Transfer: 1. 49-Brian Ruhlman [2][-]; 2. 88-Matt Crafton [4][-]; 3. 7JA-Justin Allgaier [3][-]; 4. 31G-Stephen Pedulla [6][-]; 5. 8-Steve Stevenson [5][$75]; 6. A1-Gary Bentley [7][$75]; 7. 1-Brenden Rassel [9][$75]; 8. 9-Sheldon Creed [8][$75]; 9. 11N-Gene Nicholas [10][$75]; 10. 82-Gary Dillon [1][$75]; 11. O7-Curtis King [11][$75]; 12. 96M-Mike McKinney [12][$75]

Last Chance Showdown 2 (Laps): 1. 7CT-Christian Thomas [2][-]; 2. 11-Jesse Rupe [1][-]; 3. 71L-Dennis Lunger [5][-]; 4. 6A-Ryan Ayers [3][-]; 5. 97-Mitch Thomas [6][$75]; 6. 100-Scott Fritz [9][$75]; 7. 17T-Michael Tarlton [7][$75]; 8. 12-Jason Gross [4][$75]; 9. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [11][$75]; 10. 11H-Spencer Hughes [8][$75]; 11. 5F-Jerry Foster [10][$75]; 12. 3L-Jeff Leka [12][$75]

Last Chance Showdown 3 (Laps): 1. 95-Michael Altobelli [1][-]; 2. 24D-Travis Dickson [4][-]; 3. 19-Chad Bauer [2][-]; 4. 1M-Curt Myers [6][-]; 5. 11M-Mike McGee [5][$75]; 6. 52-Colin Green [10][$75]; 7. 22T-Tony Anderson [9][$75]; 8. 11Z-Zane Oedewaldt [7][$75]; 9. 14J-John Baker [12][$75]; 10. O1-Bryce Nichols [11][$75]; 11. 17-Rob Pitcher [3][$75]; 12. 4UW-Bobby Regot [8][$75]

Last Chance Showdown 4 (Laps): 1. 24-Zeke McKenzie [1][-]; 2. 67-Garret Stewart [3][-]; 3. 96-Cole Parker [2][-]; 4. OO-Buzzie Reutimann [6][-]; 5. 25-Tyler Nicely [5][$75]; 6. 12H-Jason Hughes [7][$75]; 7. 99-Hunt Gossum [8][$75]; 8. 12L-Lucas Lee [9][$75]; 9. 32-Chad Roush [10][$75]; 10. 20-Tyler Hendrix [12][$75]; 11. 9PG-Percy Gendreau [11][$75]; 12. 6-Ryan Fowler [4][$75]

-DIRTcar Racing Press Release
-Photo Credit: DIRTcar Racing

Illinois Racer Charges to Victory in DIRTcar Nationals Opener