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Jeep VanWormer & Nick Hoffman Win Allstar Performance DIRTcar Fall Nationals Features

Mother Nature forces Eldora & DIRTcar officials to finish the Allstar Performance DIRTcar Nationals on Sunday afternoon

by Matt Prieur

ROSSBURG, OH — Sunday, Oct. 8th— It took two days to complete night II (which was originally supposed to be night III) of the Allstar Performance DIRTcar Fall Nationals at Eldora Speedway. Eldora and DIRTcar Officials finally persevered over Mother Nature, but after frantically getting through most of the racing program on Saturday, Oct. 7th, Mother Nature paid a visit during the DIRTcar Late Model Feature, forcing Officials to postpone the Feature, at lap 16, to Sunday, Oct. 8th. The historic ½-mile high-banked dirt oval, located just east of the Indiana/Ohio state line in Rossburg, Ohio, would finally see the end of the DIRTcar Fall Nationals that was to originally start on Thursday, Oct. 5th and ended up getting extended by a day.

The battle for the DIRTcar Late Models National points title would come down to 2010 National Champion Rusty Schlenk and 2011 National Champion Ryan Unzicker, separated by a mere nine markers going into the weekend. Jon Henry merely needed to take the green flag on Saturday night and he would clinch his third Sunoco ALMS title and first since 2011. As for the Eldora Track Champion, Kent Robinson held a slim 10-point lead over Henry, who had a shot at two titles over the weekend. Jacob Hawkins and Jeff Babcock were third and fourth and also had a mathematical chance at the track championship.

In the 40-lap Allstar Performance DIRTcar Fall Nationals Feature paying $5,000 to win and took two days to complete, two-time Eldora Track Champion, Jeep VanWormer and 2007 Dirt Late Model Dream winner, Steve Casebolt brought the 23-car field down to the green flag. VanWormer shot out to the early lead with Robinson, who started behind VanWormer in the second row, following him by Casebolt. Soon, outgoing three-time DIRTcar Late Model National Champion, Bobby Pierce slipped into third and set his sights on the two race leaders who were battling side by side for the race lead.

On lap 16, the yellow flag came out as Mother Nature paid a visit to the track. After careful consideration along-with a heavy downpour of showers, Eldora and DIRTcar Officials made the decision to postpone the race to Sunday, October 8th. The top 10 at that point was VanWormer leading followed by Robinson, Pierce, Henry and Hawkins, the top five. Jeremy Berwanger was sixth ahead of Unzicker as Casebolt, Reaume and Babcock were the top 10. Schlenk was 11th when the rains came.

So approximately 17 hours later, the green flag flew again with VanWormer leading the way. The top three cars of VanWormer, Robinson and Pierce put on a battle for the ages with Robinson briefly taking the lead on lap 18. VanWormer regrouped however and grabbed the lead back away from Robinson and from there, the Pinconning, Michigan standout would off a late charge from Pierce to score his eighth career Sunoco American Late Model Series feature win at Eldora, the 35th of his ALMS career, both within one of the all-time leads in both categories to Matt Miller and Kris Patterson respectively.

Outgoing three-time DIRTcar Late Model National Champion, Pierce finished second as Robinson settled for third, but would clinch the 2017 Eldora Speedway DIRTcar Late Model Track Championship. The first of his career. Henry was fourth to officially wrap up his third Sunoco American Late Model Series title as Hawkins completed the top five. 2007 Dirt Late Model Dream winner, Casebolt was sixth as Reaume and Unzicker were seventh and eighth. With his ninth-place finish, Schlenk secured the 2017 DIRTcar Late Model National Championship. The second of his career as his first was back in 2010. Troy Worrick completed the top 10.

The previous day, Robinson would win the Fast Qualifier award with a lap measured at a 16.305 around the big ½ mile, which equals out to 110.396mph. VanWormer, Casebolt and Robinson would collect the Heat Race wins.

In the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, Mike Harrison had already clinched his record sixth DIRTcar UMP Modified National Championship. Meanwhile, the top eight drivers in the Eldora track standings all had a chance at the title led by four-time track champion (three of those in a Modified), Jerry Bowersock. Of the top eight still alive in the chase for the championship, only Bowersock, Dylan Woodling, Ryan Sutter and Evan Taylor had recorded top five finishes on opening night of the DIRTcar Fall Nationals, which turned out to be Friday, October 6th after the original opening night (Thursday, October 5th) was canceled due to rain.

The final event of the weekend, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and under bright sunny skies, Trent Young and Jonathan Taylor led the star-studded 26-car field to the green flag to begin the 30-Lap / $5,000 to win main event for the Modifieds. Young paced the field for the first seven laps before Nick Hoffman picked his way through from the fourth spot and took over the lead. Hoffman set a torrid pace and soon was mired in lapped traffic. This allowed David Stremme, who started 12th and had worked his way up to second, to catch up to the race leader. However, Hoffman, despite an ailing car, was up to the challenge and the Mooresville, North Carolina star held on for the $5,000 payday.

Stremme settled for second as Young, Kenny Wallace and Taylor Cook completed the top five. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver, Justin Haley finished sixth with smoke pouring from behind his machine as Josh Rice and Woodling were seventh and eighth. Bowersock finished ninth to clinch his fourth DIRTcar UMP Modified Track Championship at Eldora and fifth overall of his stellar career. Sutter would complete the top 10.

On Saturday, October 8th and with the storms just west of the track, the 20-Lap / $3,000 to win Wabash River Challenge B Feature would see Fairmont, West Virginia standout, Jacob Hawkins not leave Eldora empty-handed as he took the $3K home. Hawkins, who was one of three drivers pulling double-duty over the weekend in a Late Model and a Modified, started on the outside of the front row, shot out to the early lead and never looked back en route to the victory. Pole-sitter, Tyler Nicely finished second as Jordan Conover, Joel Dick and R.J. Otto would complete the top five.

As for the Fall Harvest C Feature, Ashmore, Illinois driver, Danny Schwartz went back to the Prairie State $2,000 richer after taking the win and leading every lap. Blake Spalding came home in second with Gene Nicholas, David Baldwin and Bill Griffith were the top five. Also, the day before in the tournament style Qualifier Heat Races, which were lined up via the finishing results of Eldora’s popular “Every Lap Matters” Format, four 15-Lap events were conducted. The finishing results would set the field for the Allstar Performance DIRTcar Nationals Feature and it would be Kyle Strickler, Taylor Cook, Josh Rice and Justin Haley scoring the victories.

The final major event of the 2017 racing season for DIRTcar Racing is on Thursday-Friday-Saturday, October 26-27-28th at The Dirt at Charlotte in Concord, North Carolina. The 2nd Annual OneDirt World Short Track Championships, held the weekend before the prestigious World of Outlaws World Finals, will see eight different divisions in action at the immaculate 4/10s (0.400) mile high-banked dirt oval. A total purse of more than $110,000 is on the line for the DIRTcar/SECA Pro Late Models, DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, DIRTcar Northeast Sportsman Modifieds, DIRTcar Pro Sprints, SECA Crate Sportsman, MMSA Mini Stocks and Front Wheel Drives/Hornets. For complete information, go to the event website located at: dirtcarump.com/world-short-track-championship

10/7-8/17 — ALLSTAR PERFORMANCE DIRTCAR FALL NATIONAL

Allstar Performance DIRTcar Fall Nationals Feature (40 Laps): 1. (1) 55 Jeep VanWormer, 2. (4) 32 Bobby Pierce, 3. (3) 7r Kent Robinson, 4. (5) 15 Jon Henry, 5. (6) 20h Jacob Hawkins, 7. (11) 88 Andrew Reaume, 8. (9) 24 Ryan Unzicker, 9. (14) cj1 Rusty Schlenk, 10. (16) 79w Troy Worrick, 11. (15) 39 Hillard Miller, 12. (22) 5n Dustin Nobbe, 13. (23) 38 Jake Hooker, 14. (8) 7b Jeff Babcock, 15. (7) 44j Jeremy Berwanger, 16. (20) 79 Bryant Dickinson, 17. (10) 1n Casey Noonan, 18. (12) 49 Brian Ruhlman, 19. (17) 51 Devin Shiels, 20. (18) 4g Kody Evans, 21. (21) 1 Benjamin Mott, 22. (13) 95 Jerry Bowersock, 23. (19) 55m Kevin Mack

Qualifying: 1. 7 Kent Robinson 16.305, 2, 4g Kody Evans 16.542, 3. 24 Ryan Unzicker 16.750, 4. 15 Jon Henry 16.871, 5. cj1 Rusty Schlenk 16.945, 6. 88 Andrew Reaume 17.076, 7. 20h Jacob Hawkins 17.098, 8. 39 Hillard Miller 17.295, 9. c9 Steve Casebolt 17.392, 10. 7b Jeff Babcock 17.397, 11. 49 Brian Ruhlman 17.559, 12. 51 Devin Shiels 17.630, 13. 1 Benjamin Mott 17.671, 14. 32 Bobby Pierce 17.940, 15. 55 Jeep VanWormer 18.067, 16. 44j Jeremy Berwanger 18.180, 17. 5n Dustin Nobbe 18.324, 18. 95 Jerry Bowersock 18.359, 19. 1 Casey Noonan 18.875, 20. 79w Troy Worrick 19.273, 21. 38 Jake Hooker 19.364, 22. 79 Bryant Dickinson 19.395, 23. 55r Kevin Mack 20.105

Heat 1-Group A (8 Laps): 1. (3) 55 Jeep VanWormer, 2. (4) 32 Bobby Pierce, 3. (2) 44j Jeremy Berwanger, 4. (6) 1 Casey Noonan, 5. (5) 95 Jerry Bowersock, 6. (7) 79w Troy Worrick, 7. (8) 55m Kevin Mack, 8. (1) 5n Dustin Nobbe

Heat 2-Group B (8 Laps): 1. (1) c9 Steve Casebolt, 2. (4) 15 Jon Henry, 3. (5) 7b Jeff Babcock, 4. (2) 88 Andrew Reaume, 5. (3) cj1 Rusty Schlenk, 6. (6) 51 Devin Shiels, 7. (7) 79 Bryant Dickinson

Heat 3-Group C (8 Laps): 1 (4) 7 Kent Robinson, 2. (1) 20h Jacob Hawkins, 3. (2) 24 Ryan Unzicker, 4. (6) 49 Brian Ruhlman, 5. (5) 39 Hillard Miller, 6. (3) 4g Kody Evans, 7. (7) 1 Benjamin Mott, 8. (8) 38 Jake Hooker

10/7-8/17 — ALLSTAR PERFORMANCE DIRTCAR FALL NATIONAL
DIRTcar UMP Modifieds – 87 Cars

Allstar Performance DIRTcar Fall Nationals Features (30 Laps): 1. (4) 2 Nick Hoffman, 2. (12) 35 David Stremme, 3. (1) 10y Trent Young, 4. (3) 36 Kenny Wallace, 5. (8) 21 Taylor Cook, 6. (11) 99 Justin Haley, 7. (9) 11 Josh Rice, 8. (15) 3 Dylan Woodling, 9. (14) 95j Jerry Bowersock, 10. (13) 18 Ryan Sutter, 11. (18) 44 K.C. Burdette, 12. (5) 91 Derrick Ramey, 13. (7) 87 David Mielke, 14. (17) 36l Jamie Lomax, 15. (20) 25w Allen Weisser, 16. (19) 24 Zeke McKenzie, 17. (6) 8 Kyle Strickler, 18. (10) 7 Evan Taylor, 19. (16) 10l Nathan Loney, 20. (21) 20m Josh Morton, 21. (2) 5 Jonathan Taylor – DID NOT START: 101 Jesse Wisecarver, 77b Ray Bollinger, 22 Josh Harris, 111 Curt Spalding, 19 Chad Bauer

Wabash River Challenge B Feature (20 Laps): 1. (2) 13 Jacob Hawkins, 2. (1) 25 Tyler Nicely, 3. (4) 7c Jordan Conover, 4. (3) 09d Joel Dick, 5. (14) 51 R.J. Otto, 6. (9) 12c Jeff Curl, 7. (5) 51g Brandon Green, 8. (7) 1 Scott Williams, 9. (6) 28b Jason Brookover, 10. (13) 22t Tony Anderson, 11. (5) 67 Garret Stewart, 12. (24) 28d Jeff Deckard, 13. (13) 2j Troy Johnson, 14. (18) 28 Mark Beard, 15. (12) 47b Joe Brosseau, 16. (17) 2m David Mitchell, 17. (11) 01 Earnie Woodard, 18. (15) 27 Frank Paladino, 19. (19) 98p Patrick LaJeunesse, 20. (22) 76 Brad Smith, 21. (20) 01r Brenden Rassel, 22. (23) 44 Scott Boyd Jr., 23. (8) 11j Jared Spalding, 24. (16) 36 Brandon Vaughan

Fall Harvest C Feature (10 Laps): 1. (6) 21s Danny Schwartz, 2. (8) 1s Blake Spalding, 3. (1) 11n Gene Nicholas, 4. (7) 6b David Baldwin, 5. (9) 4g Bill Griffith, 6. (5) 36s Adam Schaeff, 7. (12) 71d Anthony Davis, 8. (2) 89 Rodney Morgan, 9. (11) 16 Jeff Koz, 10. (4) 67 Warren Shingleton, 11. (10) 21 Sean Monaghan, 12. (3) 115 Mikel Knepley, 13. (13) 74 Lenny Guyton – DID NOT START: 71 Will Norris, 69jr Jimmy Farris Jr., 15 Jamie Carter, 4l Mike Learman, 19x Cody Bauer, 71dd Dan Davies, 17 Nicole Spalding,

Qualifier Heat 1 (15 Laps): 1. (5) 8 Kyle Strickler, 2. (13) 2 Nick Hoffman, 3. (1) 87 David Mielke, 4. (2) 18 Ryan Sutter, 5. (6) 77 Ray Bollinger, 6. (4) 25 Tyler Nicely, 7. (7) 51 Brandon Green, 8. (11) 12 Jeff Curl, 9. (8) 2j Troy Johnson, 10. (16) 2m David Mitchell, 11. (12) 22t Tony Anderson, 12. (14) 11n Gene Nicholas, 13. (15) 67 Warren Shingleton, 14. (20) 6b David Baldwin, 15. (9) 4l Mike Learman, 16. (19) 21 Sean Monaghan, 17. (3) 111 Curt Spalding, 18. (10) 71d Dan Davies, 19. (17) 71d Anthony Davis, 20. (18) 74 Lenny Guyton – DID NOT START: 11h Mike Hohlbein, 4 Jon Henry

Qualifier Heat 2 (15 Laps): 1. (1) 21 Taylor Cook, 2. (3) 35 David Stremme, 3. (9) 10y Trent Young, 4. (2) 95j Jerry Bowersock, 5. (4) 22 Josh Harris, 6. (5) 13 Jacob Hawkins, 7. (7) 20m Josh Morton, 8. (6) 28b Jason Brookover, 9. (8) 67 Garret Stewart, 10. (15) 51 R.J. Otto, 11. (11) 28 Mark Beard, 12. (16) 76 Brad Smith, 13. (13) 89 Rodney Morgan, 14. (12) 36 Adam Schaeff, 15. (10) 1s Blake Spalding, 16. (14) 4g Bill Griffith – DID NOT START: 44 K.C. Burdette, k9 Will Krup, 8 Jimmy Lennex Jr., 20k Bill Keeler, 29 Danny Moore, c7 Casey Fritz

Qualifier Heat 3 (15 Laps): 1. (1) 11 Josh Rice, 2. (5) 5 Jonathan Taylor, 3. (7) 91 Derrick Ramey, 4. (3) 3w Dylan Woodling, 5. (6) 10 Nathan Loney, 6. (8) 09d Joel Dick, 7. (13) 1 Scott Williams, 8. (9) 01 Earnie Woodard, 9. (12) 27 Frank Paladino, 10. (14) 98p Patrick LaJeunesse, 11. (15) 44 Scott Boyd Jr., 12. (11) 19 Chad Bauer, 13. (16) 115 Mikel Knepley, 14. (4) 21s Danny Schwartz, 15. (10) 15 Jamie Carter, 16. (12) 19x Cody Bauer, 17. (17) 16 Jeff Koz, 18. (18) 17 Nicole Spalding – DID NOT START: 90 Jason Beaulieu, 33 Mike Gemmer, 25 Bud Watson, 12 Rick Aukland

Qualifier Heat 4 (15 Laps): 1. (1) 99 Justin Haley, 2. (2) 7 Evan Taylor, 3. (5) 36 Kenny Wallace, 4. (3) 101 Jesse Wisecarver, 5. (4) 36l Jamie Lomax, 6. (12) 7 Jordan Conover, 7. (7) 25w Allen Weisser, 8. (11) 11 Jared Spalding, 9. (6) 24 Zeke McKenzie, 10. (14) 47b Joe Brosseau, 11. (10) 36 Brandon Vaughan, 12. (8) 01 Brenden Rassel, 13. (13) 28 Jeff Deckard, 14. (9) 91 Will Norris, 15. (15) 69jr Jimmy Farris Jr. – DID NOT START: 13 Andy Galgoci, 11 Ed Roley, 55 Alyssa Rowe, 5x Tim Richardson, 1 Rob Williams, 52 Weasel Philpot

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