Jimmy Phelps aims to defend his 2022 DIRTcar Nationals title against a stout field of drivers
The Super DIRTcar Series will kick off its 2023 season at the Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park, Feb. 15-18.
Four days of racing at The World’s Fastest Half-Mile builds to the crowning of a new Big Gator champion during the Saturday finale and lead into the Series’ championship season, starting at Atomic Speedway, March 31-April 1.
This year will see an increased purse for drivers with the Features Wednesday through Friday paying $5,000 to win and Saturday’s Feature paying $7,500 to win.
Also attracting the best Big Block Modified drivers from around the country, the Super DIRTcar Series has produced some of the event’s most exciting races and six different winners in the last six races.
Testing out a new format for the four-night event, the drivers will now draw for their qualifying order. Their qualifying result will determine which Heat Race they’ll be in and where they’ll start. The top-two finishers from each Heat Race will go to the redraw. As usual, each race only counts toward the Big Gator championship points, not the Super DIRTcar Series championship season points.
Here are the top storylines to follow:
UNPRECEDENTED: Defending Series champion Matt Sheppard, of Waterloo, NY, logged one of the most successful seasons of any Big Block driver during the 2022 season.
He clinched seven Feature wins including a third Billy Whittaker Cars 200 title at NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week. He was officially crowned the Series champion for the ninth time in his career at the conclusion of The World Finals in Charlotte, NC.
Though he has had some past success at Volusia Speedway Park taking home the Big Gator trophy in 2012 and 2016, he struggled in last season’s showing. He only managed to break into the top 10 once with a fourth-place finish on the third night. He’ll hope the strong end of his 2022 season will carry into the 2023 season opener.
GATOR RETENTION: Jimmy Phelps enters the 2023 Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals as the defending Big Gator champion. The Baldwinsville, NY driver performed at the top of his game at last year’s event, finishing fourth, second, sixth, second and first in the five races last year.
The Heinke-Baldwin Racing driver went on to post solid results the rest of the Super DIRTcar Series season, landing another victory at his home track of Weedsport Speedway on Aug. 15. He finished out the season strong with a fourth-place finish at the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 and a third-place finish in Series points. The veteran driver will aim to carry that momentum into DIRTcar Nationals and try to claim his second straight Big Gator championship.
His teammate, 2021 Big Gator champion, Max McLaughlin, will also be in attendance to attempt to bring home some hardware. McLaughlin has already captured two Feature wins at the event and will be on the hunt for a third this time around.
BACK FOR MORE: NASCAR Truck Series star and 2014 Big Gator champion Stewart Friesen will be back on the track battling it out against the Series stars to bring home some additional gator hardware. The Sprakers, NY resident notched two top-five finishes along with a Feature win last year before going on to score a Series victory on May 29 at Weedsport Speedway.
LIGHTNING STRIKES: Three-time Big Gator champion Larry Wight will hit Volusia Speedway Park looking to capture the coveted trophy one more time.
Wight was one of the most consistent drivers at DIRTcar Nationals last year, finishing inside the top 10 each night and scoring a second-place run on the final night. He’s no stranger to consistency at the track, having won three straight nights in 2020, leading to his third Big Gator trophy.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Making her Big Block debut, veteran DIRTcar Sportsman Modified driver Jessica Power received the opportunity of a lifetime to run a Big Block Modified at this year’s Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals against the best-of-the-best. Power finished fifth in last season’s DIRTcar Sportsman Series points chase.
Veteran Big Block Modified driver Rich Scagliotta will also be in attendance after his career-best showing last year. The Bound Brook, NJ native posted two fifth-place finishes, resulting in a sixth-place overall in Big Gator points.
UP NEXT: The Super DIRTcar Series will commence it’s 2023 season at Volusia Speedway Park during the 52nd DIRTcar Nationals, Feb. 15-18. For tickets, CLICK HERE.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every Super DIRTcar Series race live on DIRTVision – either at DIRTVision.com or by downloading the DIRTVision App.
2023 DIRTcar Nationals Prospective Entries
Harold Bunting III
Ronnie Davis III