Poel Powers to UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Gator Qualifier Victory
Michigan racer locks into Monday night’s $5,000-to-win Gator Championship
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 16, 2013 – Jacob Poel made his first visit to the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment a memorable one by capturing the Gator Championship qualifier Saturday night at Volusia Speedway Park.
“We just swapped a motor out yesterday, after having one problem after another,” said Poel, of Spring Lake, Mich. “I ran third in the heat and I don’t know where we started in that feature but the car was just absolutely perfect. I don’t know really what else to say. It was an amazing feeling. I’m just glad to be able to come down here with all the people that have supported me and got me here.”
Poel and Matt Cooper, of McKenzie, Tenn., split leader Bryce Jewell of Madisonville, Ky., on lap 9 before trading the top spot the following two laps. Poel distanced himself after taking the lead from Cooper on lap 11 of the 20-lap main event. The win earned Poel a nice $700 paycheck and a spot in the redraw for Monday night’s Gator Championship, where he can start no worse than 10th.
“I’ve got my confidence and that’s all I need,” Poel said. “I didn’t need to win tonight, but I wanted to. I just needed something to give me confidence after the week we’ve had down here and I definitely got that tonight.”
Cooper finished second and was one of four other drivers who also earn a spot in Monday night’s redraw by finishing in the top five. Dirt late model standout Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark., was third. Friday night’s winner and defending Gator Champion Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., finished fourth. Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas who won the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals opener in his first visit to Volusia Speedway Park on Tuesday night rounded out the top five.
Jewell, UNOH DIRTcar Nationals point leader Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., Jake Griffin of Quincy, Ill., Ty Dillon of Welcome, N.C., and Danny Schwartz of Ashmore, Ill., locked into inside rows six through ten for Monday night by finishing in the top 10 Saturday.
J.E. Stadler of Martins Ferry, Ohio, and Donovan Lodge of Moline, Ill., claimed Last Chance Showdown victories.
There were 42 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds on hand for the first of two Gator Qualifying nights of competition. Sunday night’s racing program will feature the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series as well as the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds Gator Championship Qualifying Night Two.