Peoria Speedway kicks off the 8th annual Modified Tour in support of DIRTcar Summer Nationals
by Matt Prieur
CONCORD, NC — May 25, 2018 — The Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals will support the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. From June 13 to July 14, and then on July 27-28, the premier drivers and teams within the DIRTcar Modified ranks will race in 33 total events spread out over seven states throughout the country. The open-wheel teams will go after a minimum of $1,000-to-win each night and a $5,000 top prize for winning the 2018 Summit Modified Nationals Championship Title as well as bonuses and contingencies totaling almost $50,000.
The Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Tour has run a total of 172 features since its inaugural 2011 season. Five-time and defending Summit Modified Nationals Champion Mike Harrison has been the driver to beat. The Highland, IL standout, also a six-time and reigning DIRTcar UMP Modified Champion, has scored an impressive 36 feature wins, just over 20 percent of the races held in the entire history of the tour. Six of those wins came in 2017, and three of the others came at the track that will host the 2018 Summit Modified Nationals opener, Peoria Speedway (IL) on Wednesday, June 13 in what will be the tour’s eighth appearance there. Harrison’s last win at Peoria was in 2015. He is the only driver to have won at least one feature in all seven years of the tour.
2016 Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Champion Nick Hoffman was the winner at Peoria in 2016 and is second all-time in career wins with 13 wins. The Mooresville, NC resident, originally from Belleville, IL, recorded seven of his triumphs in 2017, the last one at Hartford Speedway (MI). This year, however, Hoffman will concentrate his efforts on his DIRTcar Super Late Model with a run at the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Championship.
There’s a tie for third in all-time career wins as Ray Bollinger and Devin Gilpin both have 11 checkered flags. One of Bollinger’s wins, back in 2012, was at Peoria, where he is a former track champion. The Kewanee, IL standout, who finished third in 2017 Summit Modified Nationals point, racked up four wins last year, with the last one coming at Fairbury American Legion Speedway (IL). Gilpin, a three-time DIRTcar UMP Modified Champion, scored a single victory in 2017 at Brownstown Speedway (IN). Spring Lake, MI standout Jacob Poel completes the top five in all-time Summit Modified Nationals career victories. Poel has 10 wins, seven of those during the 2014 tour. His last trip to Victory Lane came at Merritt Speedway (MI) in 2017.
A pair of former NASCAR stars are next on the list. 2012 Summit Modified Nationals Champion Kenny Wallace is in sixth all-time with six wins, including one in 2017 at Kickapoo Speedway (IL). Wallace also recorded one of his triumphs at Peoria. That win came in 2016. Fellow NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader has five all-time wins, with his last one coming in 2014 at Macon Speedway (IL).
Michael Long and Brian Ruhlman are tied for eighth all-time with four victories apiece. Both drivers scored their most recent wins last year – Long at Quincy Raceway (IL) and Ruhlman at Oakshade Raceway (OH). A six-way tie for tenth includes 2014 Peoria winner David Wietholder, Lucas Lee, Jeff Curl, Chad Kinder, Clayton Miller and Josh Harris, each with three wins.
For the eighth consecutive year, the cars and stars of the DIRTcar Modifieds will join the most grueling and intimidating tour in short track racing. The Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals will mirror the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour through July 14, and it all begins on Wednesday, June 13 at Peoria Speedway (IL) with the first of 22 races in the state of Illinois. Then on Thursday, June 14, it’s a return trip to Kankakee County Speedway (IL) for the tour’s ninth ever race there.
The second ever appearance at Sycamore Speedway (IL) is next for the Mods on Friday, June 15 before the first-ever appearance at the immaculate Dirt Oval at Route 66 Raceway (IL) on Saturday, June 16. The first week concludes on Sunday, June 17 with a return trip to Plymouth Speedway (IL) and the first of four races in the state of Indiana.
For more information about the 2018 Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals, visit modifiednationals.com. Follow the tour throughout the off-season and into race month by visiting @SummerNationals on Twitter and Facebook. The headlining DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour will join the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds each night of the 2018 Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals. Information on the Late Models can be found at thehelltour.com.