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Ruhlman Rallies for Second Career Gator Win

Story By: CLAYTON JOHNS / DIRTcar UMP MEDIA

Photos By: DAN DEMARCO / RACERSGUIDE.COM

BARBERVILLE, FL – February 17, 2017 – Brian Ruhlman devised a perfect plot and forced Ken Schrader from his preferred line as he engineered a pass in the outside groove with two laps to go for his first win of the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park on Thursday night.

After passing Schrader, the Clarklake, Mich. driver took the checkered flag by over two seconds for his second career Volusia win, extending his point lead in the week long chase for a Big Gator trophy.

Ruhlman started fourth in the 20-lap main event and ran second to the polesitter Schrader until he took advantage of a lap 17 restart. Ruhlman showed the nose of his No.49 to the inside of Schrader’s No.9 several times before the final restart on lap 17, which he revealed was a setup move to make the winning pass.

“Kenny’s a smart racer and he’s one of my heroes,” Ruhlman said in Victory Lane. “He was in the rubber and I had to get him out of the rubber to where I could pass him. I kept showing him the nose on the bottom so he would move down to the bottom, then I could roll the top [lane]. To say I shnookered Kenny Schrader is pretty cool.”

Schrader, a Fenton, Mo. native, earned his first top-five finish of the week, outdueling Tuesday night winner and second-place starter Jacob Hawkins of Fairmont, WV in the process. Schrader shook off Ruhlman’s initial challenge, but knew he couldn’t hold him off until the checkered flag.

“I knew he was coming,” Schrader said. “We started getting slow off of [turn] two. I got to the bottom to block him, but it didn’t make any difference. He was faster. He was going around.”

Hawkins’ third-place finish was his second of the week on the podium and third straight top-10 result. He held off a trio of late-race challenges from Taylor Cook of Stanley, NC to earn the third spot.

“Once Brian got by me I knew he was going to be tough to beat,” Hawkins said. “We had a good car, but Schrader got the jump on me on the start. I could maintain with him, but the closer I got, the more it seemed the [dirty] air affected by car.”

Ruhlman’s quick time on Tuesday night and trio of heat race wins have put him at the front of the starting grid all week and have helped produce consistent results. He enters the weekend as the UMP Modified point leader after finishes of first, second and third so far this week, but the driver of the No.49 isn’t looking at the standings.

“We’re just taking it night by night. We’re so proud to have our luck go the way it has,” Ruhlman said. “It’s just me and my girlfriend, Veronica. It’s just a small team here. To hang around with Kenny Wallace, Kenny Schrader and all the people here is just really cool.”

Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, NC set quick time in group time trials for the second straight race with a lap of 18.498 seconds. Ruhlman, Schrader and Hawkins were all heat race winners along with Tony Anderson of Lima, Oh., Justin Allgaier of Riverton, Ill. and Josh Rice of Verona, Ky. Ray Bollinger of Kewanee, Ill., Chase Collins of Jacksonville, Fla. and Hoffman earned wins in the B-Mains.

The DIRTcar UMP Modifieds return to action alongside the season opener for the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series at Volusia Speedway Park for night four of the 46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals on Friday.

46th Annual DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park

DIRTcar UMP Modified Notebook

A-Main – (20 Laps) – 1. 49 – Brian Ruhlman [4]; 2. 9 – Ken Schrader [1]; 3. 13 -Jacob Hawkins [2]; 4. 21C – Taylor Cook [8]; 5. 36 – Kenny Wallace [9]; 6. 2 – Nick Hoffman [21]; 7. 7 – Justin Allgaier [5]; 8. 3E – Robbie Eilers [7]; 9. 65 – Josh Rice [6]; 10. 45J – Johnny Broking [14]; 11. K9 – Will Krup [13]; 12. 64JR -Billy Workman Jr [10]; 13. 22T – Tony Anderson [3]; 14. 77 – Ray Bollinger [19]; 15. 25 -Tyler Nicely [23]; 16. 58 -Devin Dixon [18]; 17. 14T – Tyler Clem [11]; 18. 98 – Shon Flanary [26]; 19. 10Y – Trent Young [28]; 20. 3L – Jeff Leka [25]; 21. 72 -Todd Neiheiser [24]; 22. 54 – Larry Burkins [12]; 23. 2X4 – Chase Collins [20]; 24. 35 – David Stremme [15]; 25. 88 – Matt Crafton [22]; 26. 11N – Gene Nicholas [27]; 27. 1 – Blake Spalding [17]; 28. 33 – Jeff Matthews [16].

Qualifying Group 1 – 1. K9-Will Krup, 18.692; 2. 3E-Robbie Eilers, 18.811; 3. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 18.819; 4. 5-Jonathan Taylor, 19.127; 5. 88-Matt Crafton, 19.411; 6. 17JE-J.E. Stalder, 19.421;7. 83-Ray Ciccarelli, 19.639; 8. 2J-Troy Johnson, 19.667; 9. 6-Dylan Browning, 20.097; 10. 23G-Robbie Gates, 20.307.

Qualifying Group 2 – 1. 45J-Johnny Broking, 18.858; 2. 21C-Taylor Cook, 18.958; 3. 4-Mike Learman, 19.085; 4. 22T-Tony Anderson, 19.166; 5. 77-Ray Bollinger, 19.193; 6. 3L-Jeff Leka, 19.196; 7. 10Y-Trent Young, 19.352; 8. 8A-Austin Holcombe, 19.855; 9. 9G-Ernie Gingerich, 20.042; 10. 2M-David Mitchell, 20.251.
 Qualifying Group 3 – 1. 36-Kenny Wallace, 18.813; 2. 2×4-Chase Collins, 19.161; 3. 7-Justin Allgaier, 19.163; 4. 35-David Stremme, 19.191; 5. 25-Tyler Nicely, 19.255; 6. 90-Jason Beaulieu, 19.306; 7. 9S-Slater McCray, 19.456; 8. 67-Garrett Stewart, 19.501; 9. 8-Kyle Strickler, 20.147; 10. 00-Will Norris, 21.697.
 Qualifying Group 4 – 1. 24Z-Zeke McKenzie, 19.285; 2. 98-Shon Flanary, 19.383; 3. 33-Jeff Mathews, 19.390; 4. 64JR-Billy Workman Jr., 19.409; 5. 17T-Tyler Evans, 19.492; 6. 01-Jared Spalding, 19.606; 7. 07-Jeff Thomas, 19.615; 8. 13-Jacob Hawkins, 19.758; 9. 89W-Rick Weitekamp, 19.866; 10. 71T-Brent Thompson, 19.883.
Qualifying Group 5 – 1. 2-Nick Hoffman, 18.498; 2. 14T-Tyler Clem, 19.080; 3. 28B-Jason Brookover, 19.326; 4. 1-Blake Spalding, 19.593; 5. 12K-Scott Kincaid, 19.600; 6. 65-Josh Rice, 19.641; 7. 25B-Shawn Beasley, 19.684; 8. 43-Kyle Schmidt, 19.755; 9. 6B-Dave Baldwin, 20.196; 10. 23 Ryan Cripe, 20.209.
 Qualifying Group 6 – 1. 54-Larry Burkins, 19.011; 2. 72-Todd Neiheiser, 19.034; 3. 9-Ken Schrader, 19.168; 4. 58-Devin Dixon, 19.304; 5. 11N-Gene Nicholas, 19.519; 6. Z06-Larry Mott, 19.596; 7. 71M-Shayne Meadows, 20.123; 8. 71-Jessie Hoskins, 20.430; 9. 96J-Matt Johnson, 21.913; 10. D4-Dave Jamieson, No Time.
Heat 1 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) – 1. 49-Brian Ruhlman [2]; 2. 3E-Robbie Eilers [3], 3. K9-Will Krup [4]; 4. 5-Jonathan Taylor [1]; 5. 88-Matt Crafton [5]; 6. 17JE-J.E. Stalder [6], 7. 83-Ray Ciccarelli [7]; 8. 2J-Troy Johnson [8]; 9. 23G-Robbie Gates [10]; 10. 6-Dylan Browning [9].
Heat 2 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) – 1. 22T-Tony Anderson [1]; 2. 21C-Taylor Cook [3]; 3. 45J-Johnny Broking [4]; 4. 77-Ray Bollinger [5]; 5. 10Y-Trent Young [7]; 6. 3L-Jeff Leka [6]; 7. 4-Mike Learman [2]; 8. 8A-Austin Holcombe [8]; 9. 2M-David Mitchell [10]; 10. 9G-Ernie Gingerich [9].
Heat 3 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) – 1. 7-Justin Allgaier [2]; 2. 36-Kenny Wallace [4]; 3. 35-David Stremme [1]; 4. 2×4-Chase Collins [3]; 5. 90-Jason Beaulieu [6]; 6. 25-Tyler Nicely [5]; 7. 67-Garrett Stewart [8]; 8. 8-Kyle Strickler [9]; 9. 9S-Slater McCray [7]; 10. 00-Will Norris [10].
 Heat 4 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) – 1. 13-Jacob Hawkins [8]; 2. 64JR-Billy Workman Jr. [1]; 3. 33-Jeff Mathews [2]; 4. 24Z-Zeke McKenzie [4]; 5. 98-Shon Flanary [3]; 6. 17T-Tyler Evans [5]; 7. 01-Jared Spalding [6]; 8. 71T-Brent Thompson [10]; 9. 89W-Rick Weitekamp [9]; 10. 07-Jeff Thomas [7].
 Heat 5 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) – 1. 65-Josh Rice [6]; 2. 14T-Tyler Clem [3]; 3. 1-Blake Spalding [1]; 4. 28B-Jason Brookover [2]; 5. 12K-Scotty Kincaid [5]; 6. 25B-Shawn Beasley [7]; 7. 6B-Dave Baldwin [9]; 8. 23-Ryan Cripe [10]; 9. 43-Kyle Schmidt [8]; 10. 2-Nick Hoffman [4].
Heat 6 (8 Laps – Top 3 Transfer, Winner Redraws) – 1. 9-Ken Schrader [2]; 2. 54-Larry Burkins [4]; 3. 58-Devin Dixon [1]; 4. 72-Todd Neiheiser [3]; 5. 11N-Gene Nicholas [5]; 6. 71-Jessie Hoskins [8]; 7. D4-Dave Jamieson [10]; 8. 71M-Shayne Meadows [7]; 9. Z06-Larry Mott [6]; 10. 96J-Matt Johnson [9].
 B-Main 1 – (10 Laps, Top 3 finishers transfer to Feature) – 1.77- Ray Bollinger [2]; 2. 88 – Matt Crafton [3]; 3. 3L – Jeff Leka [6]; 4. 10Y – Trent Young [4]; 5. Mike Learman [8]; 6. 8A – Austin Holcombe [10]; 7. Troy Johnson [9]; 8. Jonathan Taylor [1]; 9. 23G – Robbie Gates [11]; 10. Dylan Browning [13]; 11. 2M – David Mitchell [12]; 12. 17JE – J.E. Stalder [5]; 13. 9G – Ernie Gingerich [14]; 14. 83 – Ray Ciccrelli [7].
B-Main 2 – (10 Laps, Top 3 finishers transfer to Feature) – 1. 2X4 – Chase Collins [1]; 2. 25 – Tyler Nicely [5] 3. 98 – Shon Flanary [4]; 4. 90 – Jason Beaulieu [3]; 5. 24Z – Zeke McKenzie [2]; 6. 67 – Garrett Stewart [7]; 7. 8 – Kyle Strickler [9]; 8. 17T – Tyler Evans [6]; 9. 9S Slater McCray [13]; 10. 01- Jared Spalding [8]; 11. 71T – Brent Thompson [10]; 12. 00 – Will Norris [13]; 13. 89W – Rick Weitekamp [12]; 14. 07 – Jeff Thomas [14];
 B-Main 3 – (10 Laps, Top 3 finishers transfer to Feature) – 1. 2 – Nick Hoffman [13]; 2. 72 – Todd Neiheiser [2]; 3. 11N – Gene Nicholas [4]; 4. 28B – Jason Brookover [1]; 5. 25B – Shawn Beasley [5]; 6. 71 – Jesse Hoskins [6]; 7. 6B – Dave Baldwin [7]; 8. D4 – Dave Jamison [8]; 9. 12K Scotty Kincaid [3]; 10. 71M – Shayne Meadows [10]; 11. 96J – Matt Johnson [14]; 12. 23 – Ryan Cripe [9]; 13. 06Z – Larry Mott [12]; 14. 43 – Kyle Schmidt [13].

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