The hot tempers and hotter temperatures continue on the trail of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals this week with five races scheduled for Missouri-Illinois Week.
Missouri-Illinois Week schedule
Tuesday, June 21 – Springfield Raceway (Springfield, MO)
Wednesday, June 22 – Adams County Speedway (Quincy, IL)
Thursday, June 23 – Spoon River Speedway (Lewistown, IL)
Friday-Saturday, June 24-25 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
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Here are the drivers to watch for and the storylines to follow this week…
HELL TOUR vs. OUTLAWS – For the first time since 2019, the DIRTcar Summer Nationals regulars go head-to-head with the World of Outlaws in the all-new St. Louis Firecracker Faceoff at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.
Hell Tour regulars Bobby Pierce, Brian Shirley and Jason Feger will line-up beside World of Outlaws full-timers Dennis Erb Jr., Max Blair, Tanner English and more, shooting for a $20,000 grand prize on Saturday, June 25, succeeding a $10,000-to-win event on Friday, June 24. The Summit Modifieds and Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car Series presented by Low-E Insulation are also on the card.
2017 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year Devin Moran, of Dresden, OH, won the first-ever meeting of the two series at Terre Haute Action Track on June 29, 2018, before Brandon Sheppard, 2013 Hell Tour champion, beat the Summer Nationals drivers as an Outlaw the next night at I-55 in the second meeting. Sheppard again beat the Hell Tour ringers one year later at Terre Haute, piloting the Rocket1 Racing ride, in the most recent tour matchup.
RETURN OF THE NICK – Five starts, five wins for defending DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals champion Nick Hoffman. He’s been largely unchallenged thus far on tour, but this week, he takes on a different challenge; One he has not seen on the Hell Tour since 2018.
Hoffman is projected to be back behind the wheel of the Barry Wright Race Cars #2 Late Model this week, with three events scheduled. He’ll first take on the high banks of Spoon River Speedway in Lewistown, IL, on Thursday, June 23, before battling the World of Outlaws with the Summer Nationals regulars at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Friday-Saturday, June 24-25.
The four-time Modified champion contested a partial Summer Nationals schedule with a Late Model in 2018, piloting a Propane Direct/Jones Oil-sponsored Rocket Chassis #2.
CHAMP OUT FRONT – Four-time and defending Summer Nationals champion Bobby Pierce is off to a great start in his first week back on tour.
Pierce, of Oakwood, IL, finished all but two races on the podium with two wins, two runner-ups, a sixth and a DNF (17th). That 17th-place finish came at Davenport Speedway last Thursday, where he broke while leading the Feature.
Scheduled to attend every race in Missouri-Illinois Week, Pierce has a win at each of the four tracks on the docket.
LOCAL FLAVOR – Each track on tap for Missouri-Illinois Week features their own local heroes that are possible entries at various points throughout the week and could potentially give the Late Model and Modified regulars a run for their money come Feature time.
Springfield Raceway (Late Models only)
- Logan Martin has been a regular on tour through the first week, appearing in every Feature and collecting one top-five and three top-10 finishes thus far. Springfield is the closest track on the 2022 schedule to his home in West Plains, MO, and he’ll no-doubt be gunning for his first career victory with the tour at the 3/8-mile oval.
- Kyle Beard, of Trumann, AR, has made several starts before with the Summer Nationals, most notably driving from 17th to finish 8th in last year’s Feature at Springfield.
- Mason Oberkramer, of Broseley, MO, notched two top-10s last year with the Summer Nationals, and most memorably drove from 12th to finish runner-up in the 2020 Feature at Springfield.
- Other notable possible Springfield entries include Terry Phillips, Brennon Willard, Scott Crigler and Kaeden Cornell.
Adams County Speedway (IL)
- Austen Beccera, of Carthage, IL, tops the Adams County UMP Modified points standings through seven weeks with two wins and top-fives in all but one race. He’ll lead the charge against Nick Hoffman’s win streak as the Summit Modified Nationals comes back to the Quincy, IL-venue for the first time in three years.
- Dave Wietholder, of Liberty, IL, has identical stats to Beccera at Adams County this year with two wins and six top-fives in seven starts. He’s already run well with the tour so far, notably grabbing a runner-up to Hoffman at Peoria Speedway last Wednesday.
- Mike Vandriet Jr., Levi Long and Kenny Wallace all sit top-five in Modified track points and are projected to be in the field as well.
Spoon River Speedway
- Track UMP Modified points leader Josh Allen has two wins already this year at Spoon and will be the top weekly frontrunner to challenge Hoffman’s reign of terror on the Summit Modified tour thus far.
- Mike Brooks, Ray Bollinger, Kelly Kovski and Dave Wietholder make up the rest of the top-five in Spoon River Modified points and are potential entries into the Summit Modified field this Thursday.
Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55
- Daryn Klein, of Trenton, IL, has one win in two recorded starts at the high-banked, third-mile in local this year. Most notably, Klein led several laps in the 2020 Summer Nationals Feature before coughing up the lead to eventual winner Brandon Sheppard. He’s joined by Michael Kloos and Jordan Bauer as the only other weekly racers with wins at the track this season.
- Kenny Wallace, of Arnold, MO, and Mike Harrison, of Highland, IL, have been downright dominant at I-55 this season, each posting three victories apiece.
Wallace, the 2012 Summit Modified champion and current DIRTcar national points leader, is in his final full-time season of racing, and would love nothing more than a win against a tough STL field in his 1986 ASA Late Model throwback scheme.
Harrison, the six-time Summit Modified champion, is having another record book season with the most UMP Modified wins of any driver in the country this year, sitting second overall in the nation.