Brian Ruhlman wins his first ever DIRTcar Nationals feature
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 14, 2016 -Brad Sweet continued his DIRTcar Nationals dominance Sunday night as he scored his second World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series feature victory of the season and claimed the coveted ‘Big Gator’ trophy by winning the Sprint Week championship.
Joey Saldana led the field to the green flag in the 30-lap feature at Volusia Speedway Park but it was Kasey Kahne Racing’s Sweet who dominated much of the night. Sweet battled past Saldana for the lead on a lap 10 restart and even with a late race challenge from Lucas Wolfe, remained out front for the succeeding 20 laps.
“It’s unbelievable,” Sweet said. “The competition is so stiff that you have to put yourself in position each and every time you’re on the race track and it’s not easy, one mistake and you’re behind the eight ball. Tonight we did pretty much everything right, and luckily the dash draw helped us there because it was going to be a tough track to pass on.”
Sweet, who won the season opening series event at Volusia Speedway Park on Friday night, edged Greg Hodnett, who had been the picture of consistency all week, by just four points to win the ‘Big Gator.’ With Daryn Pittman’s 2015 Sprint Week championship, it is the second year in a row Kasey Kahne Racing with Mike Curb has claimed the ‘Big Gator’ trophy.
On the second night of Gator Qualifying for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, Brian Ruhlman, a Clarklake, Mich. native, muscled his way to the top spot on lap one and held off challenges from Jacob Hawkins and NASCAR star Austin Dillon to claim his first DIRTcar Nationals victory.
“I’ve always wanted a Gator, and we have been so close,” Ruhlman said. “I have to thank [my girlfriend] Veronica, it’s just her and I down here this weekend.
“We ran it wide-open all the way around there. If they were going to beat me, they were going to have to earn it.”
Nightly doubleheaders at Volusia run through Saturday, Feb. 20. On Monday night, the DIRTcar Late Models join the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds as the modifieds compete in for the Gator Championship.
For more information and updates on the DIRTcar Nationals, clickDIRTcarNationals.com or follow on Twitter at @DIRTcarNats.
DIRTcar Nationals Statistical Report; Feb. 14, 2016; Volusia Speedway Park; Barberville, Fla.
World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series A-Main (30 Laps) – 1. 49-Brad Sweet  [$10,000]; 2. 1Z-Lucas Wolfe ; 3. 83-Joey Saldana ; 4. 5-David Gravel ; 5. 27-Greg Hodnett ; 6. 1-Sammy Swindell ; 7. 2-Shane Stewart ; 8. 15-Donny Schatz ; 9. 71M-Dave Blaney ; 10. 1B-Dale Blaney ; 11. 29-Kerry Madsen ; 12. 41-Jason Johnson ; 13. 7-Paul McMahan ; 14. 1S-Logan Schuchart ; 15. 7S-Jason Sides ; 16. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 17. 24-Terry McCarl ; 18. 9-Daryn Pittman ; 19. 59-Austin McCarl ; 20. 2L-Danny Lasoski ; 21. W20-Greg Wilson ; 22. 1A-Jacob Allen ; 23. 10H-Chad Kemenah ; 24. O7-Doug Esh . Lap Leaders: Joey Saldana 1-9, Brad Sweet 10-30. KSE Hard Charger Award: 41-Jason Johnson [+6]
DIRTcar UMP Modified Gator Qualifying Night 2 Feature (20 Laps) – 1. 49-Brian Ruhlman [$700], 2. 13-Jacob Hawkins, 3. 3-Austin Dillon, 4. 36-Kenny Wallace, 5. Z8-Max McLaughlin, 6. 90-Jason Beaulieu, 7. 7-Justin Allgaier, 8. 91-Derrick Ramey, 9. 32Z-Nate Zimmer, 10. D4B-Jackie Boggs, 11. 56-Tyler Nicely, 12. 01L-Patrick Lyon, 13. 28-Paul Miles, 14. 126-Joey Jensen, 15. 9-Ken Schrader, 16. 12H-Mike Hansen, 17. 1S-Brian Shaw, 18. 1-Andy Golgoci, 19. 26-Bobby Gierke, 20. 77S-Stephen Schnapf, 21. 17JE-J.E. Stalder, 22. 46-Matt Crafton, 23. 45J-Johnny Broking, 24. 27-Michael Turner
DIRTcar Nationals Day-by-Day Schedule (Grandstands open at 5 p.m.)
Monday, Feb. 15 – DIRTcar Late Models & UMP Modified Gator Championship
Tuesday, Feb. 16 – DIRTcar Late Models & UMP Modified Triple 20’s
Wednesday, Feb. 17 – DIRTcar Late Models Swamp King Champ & Super DIRTcar Series
Thursday, Feb. 18 – World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series & Super DIRTcar Series
Friday, Feb. 19 – World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series & Super DIRTcar Series
Saturday, Feb. 20 – World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series & Super DIRTcar Series