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Michael Long Repeats Opening Night Feat to Kick Off 49th DIRTcar Nationals

76 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds on the property for the DCN opener

by Matt Prieur

BARBERVILLE, FL — Feb. 4, 2020 — The 49th DIRTcar Nationals presented by Bozard Ford kicked off Tuesday night at Volusia Speedway Park with Michael Long leading the ironmen of the event — DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, which race the first of seven nights over the 12 straight days of racing. The famed half-mile, high-banked dirt oval west of Daytona Beach featured the busiest division in Florida during February, and perhaps the most competitive of all. Over the next week, the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will race in at least 10 total Features in the chase for the 2020 DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator Trophy.

Opening night featured a stellar field of 76 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds and the results were a mirror image of a year ago as Long took the lead at the drop of the green flag from fellow Prairie State standout, Will Krup. After a brief battle, Long would get away and in the end the Fowler, IL driver would hold off a strong challenge from Kyle Strickler before getting away from him in the waning stages and cruising to the DIRTcar Nationals opening night victory for the second year in a row.

“We just can’t do this without everyone that helps us out. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to compete against some of the best equipment out there. But we’ve got some good stuff too and it showed tonight,” remarked the 38-year-old driver of the #18 Discount Tire & Service / Rage Chassis entry. “I seen that #8 go up on the scoreboard and that made me nervous a little bit. Once I got going, I was good and as long as we didn’t have any more restarts, I knew we’d be ok. I know the wife and kids are watching DirtVision at home and they’re probably going crazy right now. Hopefully we can pick up a few more wins this week for them.”

Krup and Long led the stellar 28-car field to Chief Starter Dave Farney’s green flag, and Long edged Krup going into the first corner to take the early lead. As Strickler, who started eighth, began his charge to the front, Long was pulling away from Krup and the rest of the field. A series of cautions flew, first on lap six, then three straight all on lap seven, with the most serious involving perennial contender, David Stremme who spun and collected NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, Justin Haley as well as Austin Holcombe, ended all three of their nights’.

On what turned out to be the final restart, Strickler, who had worked his way up to second, was challenging Long for the race lead. But Long was up to the task and would slowly pull away again, this time from Strickler as well as the remainder of the field. Long would go on to lead the entire distance en route to his second career DIRTcar Nationals victory.

Strickler settled for second over Ryan Cripe who scored a DIRTcar Nationals career-high third place effort to complete the podium finishers. Four-time defending DIRTcar Nationals Champion Nick Hoffman was fourth over Zeke McKenzie, who won one of the four Last Chance Showdowns just to make the show, started scratch on the field in 28th and clawed his way through the field to complete the top five. Curt Spalding was sixth as Donnie Moran was seventh. Brian Ruhlman, who also won a Last Chance Showdown and started 25th and finished eighth as Kenny Wallace and 14-year-old Drake Troutman, who started 20th, completed the top 10.

Strickler started the night by posting quick time over the 76-car field with a 17.975-second lap at 100.139 mph, then won won his Heat Race. Spalding, Cripe, Terry Phillips, Stremme, Krup, Long and Todd Sherman also won Heats. Brenden Rassel and Tony Anderson won the C-Mains while Ruhlman, Christian Thomas, Michael Altobelli and McKenzie all scored Last Chance Showdown victories.

Wednesday, Feb. 5 is Night Two for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds as the teams return for another $1,000 payday on same card as the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars presented by Mobil 1.

For more information about the 49th DIRTcar Nationals and to order tickets, visit dirtcarnationals.com or call 1-844-DIRT-TIX. You can also follow the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds portions of the DIRTcar Nationals throughout race week by visiting the DIRTcar Racing Social Media outlets. Just search for “DIRTcar Racing” on both Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates from Volusia Speedway Park and the 49th DIRTcar Nationals.

OFFICIAL RESULTS FROM VOLUSIA SPEEDWAY PARK, FEB 4, 2020

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]; KSE Hard Charger Award: 24-Zeke McKenzie[+23]

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 (8 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 (8 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 (8 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 (8 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]