Barberville,FL — Feb. 17, 2010 – Dave Hess Sr. was fairly confident that his son, Dave Hess Jr., would emerge as the UMP Modified points champion of the 39th annual DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio at Volusia Speedway Park.
The elder Hess was so confident, in fact, that when DIRTcar Racing officials went to retrieve a DIRTcar Feature Winner sign from Hess Jr.’s pit after he the opening round of UMP Modified action on Feb. 3, he said with a smile, “You might as well leave it here.”
Hess, 25, of Waterford, Pa., lived up to his father’s boasts, going on to win another feature during the week and putting together a string of strong finishes to secure his first career DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH points title. He was a model of consistency throughout the UMP Modified meet, never finishing outside the top 10 in four A-Main starts with his family-owned No. 44h.
“We had a great week,” said Hess, who lost three more opportunities for checkered flags to rainouts (Feb. 2, 5 and 9). “We’ve been coming down with the Modified for the last five or six years and this was the most successful trip we’ve ever had. We just made a few spring changes during the week and that’s it – the car just worked great.”
An up-and-coming dirt Late Model driver on the competitive circuit in and around the western Pennsylvania area, Hess has a Clinger-built UMP Modified at his disposal for selected events and decided to make the open-wheel car his focus during this year’s DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH. He won the week’s opening A-Main on Feb. 3 and the first ‘Gator Championship’ preliminary feature on Feb. 6; finished third on Feb. 4; and registered a ninth-place finish in the 30-lap ‘Gator Championship’ headliner on Feb. 8.
After the scheduled multiple-feature UMP Modified finale on Feb. 9 was washed out, Hess was declared the series champion by 11 points (299-288) over teenager Austin Dillon of Welcome, N.C., the grandson of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and a winner of one feature during the week.
The DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH crown marks the second major triumph at Volusia for Hess, who in 2008 parlayed a single feature win into the richest prize of his career. That year’s DIRTcar Nationals featured an Alltel-sponsored fan participation contest – and after collecting the most votes among all the week’s winners, Hess was named the ‘Alltel All-Star’ and received a $12,000 check.
“Volusia has been pretty good to us with the Modified,” said Hess. “We’d like to run our Late Model (during the DIRTcar Nationals) too, but the Late Model field is so competitive it’s hard to even qualify (for a feature). We seem to do better with the Modified, so we decided to just concentrate on that and make the week a fun vacation for us.”
For more information on DIRTcar Racing, visit www.dirtcar.com.
39th annual DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio – DIRTcar UMP Modified Final Points Standings:
1. Dave Hess Jr. 299
2. Austin Dillon 288
3. Jared Landers 273
4. David McWilliams 241
5. Kenny Schrader 231
6. Jason Hughes 228
7. Stormy Scott 224
8. Jared Hawkins 219
9. Kenny Wallace 217
9. Tommie Seets Jr. 217
11. Peyton Taylor 202
12. Denny Schwartz 194
13. Clint Bowyer 190
13. Ty Dillon 190
15. Steve Pfeifer 188
The 39th Annual DIRTcar Nationals is brought to fans by the University of Northwestern Ohio. The University of Northwestern Ohio is the Official Education Provider of DIRTcar Racing. UNOH can deliver strong progressive academics, with flexible scheduling at an affordable price. The choice of a university at which to study is a major decision. Your future as a productive professional and a responsible citizen can be greatly enhanced by that decision. Students at UHOH will become critical thinkers, will become communicators, will have the most current technology and will experience small class sizes taught by knowledgeable faculty with real working experience. For more information, visit UNOH at http://www.unoh.edu.