The Saturday finale of week 2 put the “winter” back in Winternationals with cold windy conditions reducing the fan count, but drivers turned in for the final night of competition.
With the top six in points locked in for the DIRTCar UMP Modified 75-lap main, six heat races were held to move two drivers from each heat to the main event. Heat winners were Travis Varnadore, Tyler Nicely, David Pollen Jr., Bradley Jameson, Devin Dixon and Tyler Clem. The three B-mains gave the final chance for drivers to secure a spot for the $5,000-to-win finale. Those consolations resulted in wins for Corey Bevard, Seth Geary and Brandon Hutchinson.
The top six drivers were entitled to a special hot laps session, but only five chose the extra laps. Following that, drivers gathered on the front stretch to draw for position in the order of points. Lucas Lee went first and took the outside front row with Victor Lee, driver of #4, drawing the 4. When the draw came to the final competitor, defending winner Kevin Adams had no choice but to take the last pill – which was the pole position #1.
After all the competitors were set, the field came onto the track with the thermometer reading 40 degrees. Lucas Lee took the early lead and the field was slowed on lap 5 for an incident between Bradley Jameson and Seth Daniels. On the next lap, Drake Troutman slowed to a stop, ending his night as the two-time winner in 2021 was held out of victory lane this year. On the restart, Adams shot to the lead from the outside. Lucas Lee gained the top spot on the next circuit and led until lap 16 when Victor Lee charged top the front. Wednesday runner-up Chris Wilson, who changed an engine overnight, made it up to second when caution waved on lap 23. The yellow wiped out a big lead that Victor Lee had accumulated, but Lee picked up right where he left off. The yellow returned on lap 35 for the mandatory fuel stop with Victor Lee, Lucas Lee, Kevin Adams, Shane Burrows (from 18th) and Nicely rounding out the top five.
On the return to action, Lucas Lee lasted only a couple laps before dropping the from the contest. Burrows contin uing his charge on the bottom, grabbing second on lap 49. By the time the caution returned on lap 58, Victor Lee had built up a 6.2-second lead, more than a half track in distance. Adams was able to eventually slip past Burrows who kept charging along the low line. The effort ended on lap 73 when Burrows stopped on the front stretch, setting up a two-lap shootout. No one could catch Victor Lee, who cruised to his second win of the week.
By the time Victory Lane had completed for the DIRTCar UMP Modifieds, the temperature had sunk to 37 degrees. It was time for the 25-lap A main for the Top Gun Sprints. Billy Bridges, Shane Butler and two-time feature winner Danny Martin Jr. won the preliminaries. The Lee and Jeff Barfield Memorial Clean Sweep, awarded to a heat winner who could win the feature, stood at $600.
At the start of the main, Shane Butler took the early lead but encountered a rough spot in the surface, which sent the car flipping. Multi-time series champion A. J. Maddox was collected in the incident and out of the race before a lap was completed. When the race went green, Martin wasted no time going from eighth to the front, passing Frank Beck on lap two. By lap nine, Martin had built up a half track lead on the field. As the leader was approached a lapped car, the car spun and continued right in front of the leader, a close call at the midpoint of the race.
After a lap 15 restart, trouble struck for runner-up Mark Ruel Jr. who attempted to pass a lapped car on the outside and hit the turn four wall. With eight laps remaining, Ohio’s Justin Clark used the outside line to make his way to second, but Martin could not be caught. Defending series champion Tyler Clem was able to pull Clark to claim at the end.
The 2022 Winternationals will continue with three nights of Late Model racing with the arrival of CrateUSA Racing 602 and 604 classes for Feb. 3-5.
DIRTCAR UMP MODIFIEDS
Feature: Victor Lee (4), Kevin Adams (40), Seth Geary (7G), Travis Varnadore (205), Allen Weisser (1), Devin Dixon (33), Bryan Bernhardt (B69), Bradley Jameson (757), Dale Kelley (22K), Shane Burrows (70B), Aaron Branham (38B), Chase Holland (45), Tyler Nicely (25), David Pollen Jr. (88), Brandon Hutchinson (85A), Chris Wilson (17), Dawson Cook (242x), Lucas Lee (12L), Brian Skaggs (20), Brian Shaw (1s), Tyler Clem (14), Corey Bevard (c8), Drake Troutman (7), Seth Daniels (21s), Patrick Passanise (54).
TOP GUN SPRINTS
Feature: Danny Martin Jr. (24), Tyler Clem (6s), Justin Clark (78), Larry McVay (83), Andrew Griffin (32), Brad Shanks (4j), Kristina Pratt-McVay (83k), Luke Hill (41), Dustin Burtron (97B), Josh Bricker (1X), Danny Jones (14), Troy Thompson (T15), Owen Dimm (17), Mark Ruel Jr. (20), Garrett Green (82), Nathan Barouch (13), Billy Bridges (1), Frank Beck (89), Brandon Grubaugh (G6), Skip Feriance (2M), Shane Butler (18), A,J, Maddox (17D)