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WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Super DIRTcar Series Kicks off 2024 Season at DIRTcar Nationals

Matt Sheppard, Mat Williamson, and Jack Lehner battle at Volusia Speedway Park
The Beasts of the Northeast will battle at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 14-17

A trip to the Sunshine State awaits the Super DIRTcar Series as it prepares for its annual gator hunt.

The Beasts of the Northeast kick off its 2024 season at the 53rd annual Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 14-17. 

Drivers will battle for four nights at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile,” starting with three 30-lap Features paying $5,000-to-win on Wednesday, Feb. 14, Thursday, Feb. 15, and Friday, Feb. 16. Then, on Saturday, Feb. 17, a $7,500 prize is on the line in a 50-lap finale.

The iconic Big Gator trophy isn’t the only thing up for grabs at DIRTcar Nationals this season, as the top three in Big Gator points will receive a check. The week’s champion gets $2,000, while second gets $1,000 and third gets $500.  

TICKETS: dirtcarnationals.com

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision, either online or with the DIRTVision app.

Here are some of the storylines to watch:

Mat Wants More: Despite falling short in his quest for a second Super DIRTcar Series title, Mat Williamson had a season to remember in 2023. The St. Catharines, ON driver, won more Series events than any other driver last year (7), including two at Volusia to score his first Big Gator trophy—both won with last-lap passes.

Mat Williamson celebrates his 2023 DIRTcar Nationals Championship
Mat Williamson raises the big gator trophy after winning on a last-lap pass at Volusia Speedway Park in 2023/Jacy Norgaard photo

The defending Billy Whittaker Cars 200 champion has five career triumphs at DIRTcar Nationals and hopes to become the second driver to claim back-to-back Big Gator trophies, joining Larry Wight (2019, 2020).

A Shot at Redemption: While Williamson aims for another trip to Victory Lane, the two drivers he passed for those wins are looking for redemption.

Jack Lehner and Demetrios Drellos finished second in those two races but gained momentum for the rest of the season. Lehner had his best Super DIRTcar Series season, finishing seventh in the final standings, while Drellos earned track championship at two of his local tracks.

While a win for Lehner would be his first at the Florida venue, Drellos has already tasted Volusia Victory Lane, winning a DIRTcar Pro Late Model Feature during Sunshine Nationals in 2023.

Chasing 500: While Matt Sheppard’s quest for a record 11th Super DIRTcar Series title officially kicks off in March, the Waterloo, NY driver is chasing three other milestones.

In his quest for a third Big Gator, Sheppard is one win away from his 500th Feature win after scoring three victories last week at All-Tech Raceway. 

Matt Sheppard races at Volusia Speedway Park in 2023
Matt Sheppard is searching for his 500th career Feature win at DIRTcar Nationals/Paul Arch

Sheppard is also close to becoming the second driver to reach 100 Super DIRTcar Series wins—a feat only accomplished by Brett Hearn. His next Series triumph will be his 95th.

While he can’t reach the mark at Volusia, he can tie Wight for the most Big Gators since the trophy’s inception in 2012 (3).

Sheppard has eight wins at the track but is searching for his first Volusia win since 2018.

The Jet Returns: Brett Hearn returns to DIRTcar Nationals for the first time since 2021 as he looks to add his 141 Super DIRTcar Series victories.

The Sussex, NJ driver won the Big Gator trophy in 2017, and that’s also the last time he reached Victory Lane at Volusia. Hearn is tied with Stewart Friesen for the most wins at the track (10) and is looking for his first win since his World of Outlaws World Finals triumph in 2021.

A win by Hearn at DIRTcar Nationals would be his 921st overall victory.

WHEN AND WHERE  
Volusia Speedway Park (1/2-mile) in Barberville, FL on Feb. 14-17

ONLINE   
Volusia Speedway Park: volusiaspeedwaypark.com

TRACK RECORD
Volusia Speedway Park: 16.754 by Jamie Mills in 2015 

Big Gator Champions:
2023- Mat Williamson
2022 – Jimmy Phelps
2021 – Max McLaughlin
2020 – Larry Wight
2019 – Larry Wight
2018 – Tim McCreadie
2017 – Brett Hearn
2016 – Matt Sheppard
2015 – Larry Wight
2014 – Stewart Friesen
2013 – Danny Johnson
2012 – Matt Sheppard

Projected DIRTcar Nationals Roster

Car #                            Name                          Hometown
1                                  Billy Pauch Jr.              Frenchtown, NJ
2                                 Jack Lehner                 Saratoga Springs, NY
3J                                Marc Johnson            Guilderland, NY
4                                 Anthony Perrego         Montgomery, NY
4SL                             Bob Hentschel            Pine Bush, NY
6                                  Matt Stangle               Neshanic Station, NJ
7                                  Rick Laubach               Quakertown, PA
7Z                                Zachary Payne            Stanley, NY
8                                  Rich Scagliotta            Boundbrook, NJ
9S                                Matt Sheppard           Waterloo, NY
11                                Matt Caprara               Clayton, NY
12                                Darren Smith               Binghamton, NY
14                                C.G. Morey                  Rutland, VT
14                                Brian Swarthout          Beaver Dams, NY
15X                              Justin Stone                Middlebury, VT
16X                              Danny Creeden           Wurtsboro, NY
20                                Brett Hearn                 Sussex, NJ
21A                              Peter Britten               Brisbane, QLD, AUS
21M                             Bob McGannon           Garnerville, NY
22                                Brandon Walters        Sidney, NY
25                                Erick Rudolph              Ransomville, NY
28                                Alan Therrien              Victoriaville, QC
28                                Mike Trautschold        Roscoe, NY
29                                Garrett Krummert       Butler, PA
30                                H.J. Bunting                 Milford, DE
32C                             Justin Haers                Phelps, NY
32R                              Ronnie Davis III           Memphis, NY
35                                Francois Bellemare     Trois Rivieres, QC
35                                Cedric Gauvreau         Gatineau, QC
44                                Stewart Friesen           Sprakers, NY
45                                Steve Feder                 Butler, PA
47S                              Corey Wheeler            Cornwall, ON
48Too                          Dave Rauscher           Waterloo, NY
58                                Louden Reimert          Oley, PA
66                                Wallace Stacey           Kahnawake, QC
66M                             Corbin Millar               Perth, ONT
70A                              Alex Payne                  Hopewell, NY
84Y                              Alex Yankowski          Covington Township, PA
88                                Mat Williamson          St. Catharines, ON
91                                Billy Decker                 Unadilla, NY
91                                Felix Roy                      Napierville, QC
92                                Dexter Stacey             Kahnawake, QC
98H                             Jimmy Phelps             Baldwinsville, NY
99L                              Larry Wight                 Phoenix, NY
111                               Demetrios Drellos       Queensbury, NY
118                              Jim Britt                        Newtown Square, PA