Story By: JORDAN DELUCIA / DIRTCAR – BARBERVILLE, FL – One of motorsports’ most storied families will be honored this weekend with the biggest DIRTcar UMP Modified marquee event on the fall calendar – the ninth annual Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial, Nov. 18-19.
On the line for the all-star field of DIRTcar UMP Modified drivers – a toy tractor trophy, a $7,000 winner’s check, and Volusia Speedway Park immortality.
The program gets underway with a practice session for all divisions Thursday night, Nov. 17. Hot Lap/Qualifying and Showdown Features for the UMP Modifieds highlight Friday’s program alongside a full show for 602 Late Models, Street Stocks and Thunder Stocks. Modified redraw, Last Chance Showdowns and the 50-lap main event are on-tap for Saturday, while DIRTcar Pro (604) Late Models and 3/4-Modifieds support the show.
All tickets will be sold at the gate on race day.
Here are the drivers to watch and storylines to follow this weekend…
JUST A NUMBER – The red/white #00 has graced the door panels of race cars in the Reutimann family for over 50 years, collecting an abundance of wins and championships over the course of history. Its legacy continues this weekend, representing the 2022 Volusia UMP Modified track champion – Buzzie Reutimann.
The 81-year-old racing legend from Zephyrhills, FL, won the Blazing Guns 25 main event on Aug. 6, capitalizing on his opponents’ misfortunes in the closing laps to grab the lead and hold on for one of the most popular victories of the season amongst the local crowd. The win was enough to shoot Reutimann into the track points lead, which he sustained through the final points race of the year on Sept. 26 to be crowned track champion.
Buzzie will carry the torch into the marquee event that honors his family alongside son David Reutimann, the Beak Built Chassis owner/founder, who won the event in 2015 and 2016.
HORNS UP – With three Feature wins in his last five starts, Ethan Dotson comes into his Volusia debut behind the wheel of the Longhorn Chassis house car with a big opportunity for his first career marquee UMP Modified event win.
The 23-year-old from Bakersfield, CA, scored back-to-back Feature wins with the Renegades of Dirt Modified Tour at Atomic Speedway two weeks ago, banking a $15,000 check in the Saturday night finale. The weekend prior, Dotson went to Victory Lane in the World Short Track Championship All-Star Invitational Feature at The Dirt Track at Charlotte before a runner-up effort in Saturday’s main event.
Dotson also carries the knowledge of team owner and former Volusia DIRTcar Nationals champion Steve Arpin, and the technical backing from Longhorn’s lead engineer Kevin Rumley with him as he aims for Longhorn’s third Reutimann Memorial win in the last five years.
DAYTONA-TO-DIRT – In three career Reutimann Memorial starts, Justin Haley has finished inside the top-10 on all three occasions, and a fourth could be coming later this week.
The NASCAR Cup Series full-timer debuted his brand-new Elite Chassis three weeks ago at the World Short Track Championship, running third to runner-up Ethan Dotson and winner Taylor Cook in the main event. He’ll make his fifth UMP Modified outing of the season this weekend, aiming for the first UMP Modified marquee event win of his career.
Haley, of Winamac, IN, climbed from 17th to an eighth-place run in last year’s event, following his fourth-place finish in 2020. He’s part of an exclusive list of entrants to win at the half-mile oval, taking the checkers on “All Features Night” of the 2019 DIRTcar Nationals.
GEARED-UP – Five different drivers won a UMP Modified Feature at Volusia this year. Seth Geary was one, capturing the checkered flag three times, tying reigning track champion Garret Stewart for most in 2022.
Geary, the 2022 DIRTcar Deep South Region champion from Apollo Beach, FL, clinched the regional title on the back of eight total Feature wins at four different tracks – the most by any driver in his region.
He aims to top his best career finish in the event from last year – a seventh-place run for the 22-year-old.
ONE MORE SHOT – Five-time Volusia UMP Modified track champion Garret Stewart is scheduled to return to the seat of a UMP Modified this weekend after several weeks away while transitioning into a 604 Late Model.
The Fruitland Park, FL-racer sold his Modified equipment earlier this year and has already dug-in hard on the Crate-engine Late Model, recording his first top-10 through three Feature starts at Volusia. He’s scheduled to pull double-duty this weekend with his Late Model and a special Modified ride set up just for the Reutimann Memorial.
Fellow Floridian veteran Larry Mott will field a Lethal Chassis No. Z06 for Stewart as he gets one more shot in one of the only Volusia events he’s yet to win. Formerly an Elite Chassis driver, Stewart brings many years of Modified experience to the table in pursuit of what would be one of the biggest wins of his career.