WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Fifth Week of 39th Hell Tour Challenges Michigan, Ohio Regulars

BUTLER, MI (July 10, 2024) – For the fifth and final full week of competition in the 39th edition of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals, the Hell Tour championship battle will turn north to Michigan and Ohio.

Following the rain-related cancelations of the first two races – July 9 at Shadyhill Speedway and July 10 at Hartford Speedway – Butler Motor Speedway in Butler, MI, will be the site of the week’s first race for both the Late Models and DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals. From there, both tours travel to Crystal Motor Speedway on Friday and Oakshade Raceway on Saturday before wrapping up Sunday at Wayne County (OH) Speedway.

Tyler Erb is the current overall Summer Nationals points leader, holding a 19-point gap over second place Dillon McCowan. Both drivers are projected to compete during Week 5 against the Michigan and Ohio locals, where the overall points championship could be decided in the week’s final race at Wayne County.

If an overall Late Model champion has not been decided at the conclusion of Sunday’s main event, the battle will shift to the final race on the 2024 calendar – Thursday, July 18 at Sycamore Speedway.

Tickets for all five events on the Week 5 schedule will be on sale at the gate on race day. If you can’t be at the track to watch in person, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.

Here are the drivers to watch and storylines to follow this week:

UNCLE T RETURNS – Tyler Erb is committed to finish what he started on the Hell Tour in 2024 and will compete for both the Week 5 and the overall Summer Nationals championship.

Erb, 27, of New Waverly, TX, has won eight of the 15 Features he’s started on tour this summer, the most recent of which came Sunday night when he led all 30 laps of the main event at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, IN – the site of his first-ever Hell Tour win in 2017.

He and the Ohio-based Best Performance Motorsports team will compete twice in their home state this week with a potential $20,000 in points fund money on the line – $10,000 should they win the Week 5 points championship and an additional $10,000 if Erb can earn enough points to clinch the overall Summer Nationals championship.

TRAVELING MAN – Dillon McCowan is projected to contest every race of Week 5. Should he start all four Feature events and appear in the main event at the rescheduled race at Sycamore Speedway on July 18, he’ll bag the honor of being the only driver to start every Late Model Feature on the 2024 Hell Tour.

McCowan, 20, of Urbana, MO, has yet to reach Victory Lane but will have Week 5 and potentially the Sycamore makeup event to try and secure his first career Summer Nationals Feature win. This past week, he finished no worse than fifth in each of the five Summer Nationals Features contested during Week 4 and finished second in the weekly points standings to Tanner English.

Starting Thursday, McCowan will get his first true test of Super Late Model racing in Michigan and Ohio, going against the locals in an effort to get a win before his first venture on the Hell Tour is done.

SOUTH INVADES NORTH – Ashton Winger makes his home in Hampton, GA, but has made Michigan and Ohio a second home for winning on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals since his first full-time season on tour in 2021.

The 24-year-old reigning Summer Nationals champion has the Week 5 schedule in his sights and will go for his second win of the season after taking the checkers in his first appearance on tour at Springfield Raceway two weeks ago. Fortunately, Winger has a strong track record in both Michigan and Ohio.

Winger has three Summer Nationals wins in Michigan at Thunderbird Speedway, Tri-City Motor Speedway and Merritt Speedway – all in 2021 – and two in Ohio, both of which came at Oakshade in 2021 and 2023. A two-time champion of Oakshade’s prestigious Birthday Race, Winger is a perfect two-for-two at the Ohio oval and will be among the frontrunners to win against a large field of local Late Models on Saturday.

LOCAL LATE MODELS – The DIRTcar Late Model East Region is filled with weekly Super Late Model competitors of Michigan and Ohio that will take on DIRTcar’s national and regional stars on their home turf this week.

East Region points leader Travis Stemler will lead the charge for the locals. The 33-year-old from Ionia, MI, has three wins in DIRTcar-sanctioned competition this year. Piloting the Anklam Racing No. 4, Stemler has led laps in Summer Nationals Features in years past and has multiple top-five finishes – the most recent of which was a third-place run at Merritt Speedway in the 2021 season finale.

At Crystal, Hubbardson, MI-driver Garrett Wiles tops the weekly points standings with one Feature win while Six Lakes, MI-native Ryan Vanderveen tops the win column with three in six starts this season. Oakshade is ruled by points leader Carter Murday but headlined by three other drivers all with two Feature wins at the 3/8-mile – Colin Shipley, Steve Kester and Devin Shiels.

One year ago, Kyle Moore outdueled Hell Tour champion Ashton Winger to win his first career Summer Nationals Feature at Wayne County. He hasn’t slowed down any in local competition at the 3/8-mile oval in 2024, topping the points standings with and winning seven of the eight Late Model races held there so far this season.

NORTHERN MODS – The Michigan-Ohio region has its own UMP Modified contenders as well, several of which will try for their first career Summit Modified tour win this week.

Current UMP Modified Ohio-Indiana Region points leader Todd Sherman, of Churubusco, IN, also tops the weekly standings at Butler Motor Speedway with one win and five top-fives in seven races. The 59-year-old racer has won DIRTcar regional points championships in the past but has yet to reach Victory Lane on the Hell Tour.

At Wayne County, Ashland, OH-native Ryan Markham tops the weekly points standings with one win and five top-fives in eight starts. No driver other than Nate Young – last year’s Summit Modified winner at Wayne County – has won more than once at the track this year, providing ample competition for the Summit Modified invaders to race against.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.