Demetrios Drellos has made a habit of visiting Volusia Speedway Park in the winter. And for the second straight season, he’ll venture South on two separate occasions.
The Queensbury, NY driver kicks off his 2024 season in a DIRTcar Pro Late Model at Sunshine Nationals, Jan. 17-20, before turning his attention to the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifeds during Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 14-17.
While he’s spent the last four seasons at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile” competing in his Big Block, 2022’s Battle in Barberville was his first race in a Late Model.
When he returned in his Late Model a month later at Sunshine Nationals, he proved he could be successful, finishing second to Michael Page on the event’s opening night. However, he was awarded the victory after Page was disqualified – a milestone moment for Drellos who had yet to win at the Florida venue.
“I wish I got to celebrate, but a win’s a win,” Drellos said. “That’s my only win at Volusia in anything so I’ll take it. It was cool to do it in a car I’ve only raced once before that. I can’t wait to go back down and hopefully do it again.”
His four years of experience in a Big Block helped him adapt to a Late Model, knowing the changes he needed to make throughout the night. Drellos said to win at the Volusia, you need to know what the track conditions will do because it’s different from anywhere else in the country.
“You can ask any competitor, and they’ll tell you Volusia is different than any racetrack you go to, and there’s no similarities,” Drellos said. “I don’t care if you’re racing 602 Late Models, Pro Late Models, or a Big Block. Laps are laps.
“The way you drive any car there is different than you would anywhere else. And the way you set up the car is different from anywhere else. Once you get familiar with the racetrack it helps a lot, and the only way you do that is by racing.”
While Drellos aims for another Pro Late Model win, he’s also looking for redemption with his Big Block during DIRTcar Nationals.
On the second night of Super DIRTcar Series action in 2023, he led the first 29 laps of the Feature before “Big Gator” trophy winner Mat Williamson passed him on the final lap. It’s a runner-up finish that leaves Drellos both hungry and confident after earning two track championships at his local tracks in 2023 – including one at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
“I know going down there this year we’re stronger than we were last year,” Drellos said. “We were fairly close last year. That was a heartbreak. I want that (golden) gator trophy, but I want that Big Gator (championship) trophy at the end of the week, too. So, I’m really excited to give it my all and go for it.
“Our Big Block program is operating at 100% right now. There’s a lot of confidence knowing you’re really competitive right now. It would surprise me more if we had a bad run than if we had a good run. I feel really good about it. I feel really good about running some Super DIRTcar Series races and I’m really excited to do it.”
But before his chance at redemption, he’s focusing on his #111 Pro Late Model, the car he’ll make his first laps of 2024 in during Sunshine Nationals.
“It’s a really cool event,” Drellos said. “It feels like the prelim to DIRTcar Nationals. It’s like a little pre-game show. I like it a lot and I tell everyone it’s a lot of fun.”
Drellos and the Crate Racin’ USA DIRTcar Pro Late Models will battle at Volusia Speedway Park during Sunshine Nationals, Jan. 17-20, joined by the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series and 602 Late Models for a Late Model Palooza. For tickets, CLICK HERE.
Then, he’ll return with his Big Block Modified during the Super DIRTcar Series portion of Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 14-17. For tickets, visit dirtcarnationals.com.
If you can’t make it to the track, watch all our events live on DIRTVision – available either online or through the DIRTVision App.