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Ryan Timms in victory lane at Volusia Speedway Park. (USCS photo)

HOLLAND: January Sprint Car Racing

JUPITER, Fla. — After a little more than two months off, I made it back to a dirt track for the first sprint car racing weekend of the season, Jan. 25-27, at Volusia Speedway Park near Barberville.

My last race was back on Nov. 11 at Pennsylvania’s BAPS Motor Speedway where Danny Dietrich posted the victory, so that left only December without a race. I didn’t hit any of the indoor shows.

I like the high speed of Volusia’s half-mile track and they were hosting Pete Walton’s United Sprint Car Series for the second annual GermFree Southern Sprint Car Shootout. 

I had planned on being there for all three nights, but my injured dog kept me away for the first two. My dog was better Saturday, so I headed north two-and-a-half hours to Volusia County.

There were 43 entrants in the pits from 18 states, Canada and Great Britain for the weekend. However, a few had dropped out by the time Saturday night rolled around. Florida had the most entrants with nine and Canada had five. There were also drivers from as far away as Arizona, Colorado and North Dakota.

Austin McCarl, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Ryan Timms and Justin Peck were the class of the field for the first two nights and continued to be the top contenders on Saturday night. 

The finale paid $10,000 to the winner and all four of those drivers had a shot at it. Three of them were in their regular rides, while Peck was driving Chris Dyson’s No.20 car wrenched by Sean Michael. Peck will be in that ride more this year with a 410 engine in it when not out on the road with his usual Buch Motorsports No. 13 team. 

For the first four laps of the feature, Peck, McCarl, Hafertepe and Timms were trading spots in the top four. McCarl looped his Country Builders No. 88 car exiting turn four on lap four and went to the rear. Peck led until lap 19 when Timms took command and paced the rest of the distance over Peck, Hafertepe and McCarl, who raced from the rear to finish fourth. 

Dietrich, who was making a rare 360 start in Gary Kauffman’s No. 48 car, finished fifth after starting 14th. Dietrich also raced from 12th to finish fifth on Friday night.

Peck, McCarl, Hafertepe and Timms finished in the top-four spots every night but one when Timms was seventh and Iowa’s Cameron Martin finished fourth. Martin finished in the top 10 every night with a fourth-place effort and a pair of sixth-place runs.

Timms is 17 years old with a bright future and a ton of wins ahead of him.

It was also nice to see two sprint car drivers taking a back seat and helping their teenage sons race. 

Tim Crawley’s son, Landon, was there driving Jason Sides’ No. 7s machine and will be on the World of Outlaws tour aboard the Sides machine. Sides and Tim Crawley were once competitors on the ASCS trail, now they’re on the same team.

Chad Kemenah’s son, Creed, was also there piloting his dad’s familiar No. 15k car and they plan on going 410 racing this year everywhere they can with no set schedule.

The Southern Sprint Car Shootout will return to Volusia Speedway Park in 2025, but it looks like the plan is to run it the weekend before the DIRTcar Nationals instead of having a weekend in between. 

The dates will be Jan. 30-Feb. 1.