Times Sports Editor
The Hell Tour arrives at Lincoln Park Speedway on Tuesday evening as the Putnamville oval hosts some of the top dirt late model drivers in the nation during an extensive and rigorous slate of racing.
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals has earned its ominous moniker as the points schedule offers up 17 races paying $5,000 to win, seven events paying a $10,000 payday and a tour best $12,000 to win show on July 1 at Paducah, Ky. International Speedway. Teams that travel over the entire month schedule that began on June 15 and runs through July 16. Over the course of the 32-day tour, there will be events at 25 tracks in nine Midwestern states. The drivers will be competing for $167,000 in first-place money and the $25,000 champion's share of the points fund for the tour.
Also on tap that night will be the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals tour that will pay $1,000 to the winner. The Putnamville date is one of 25 modified events on the tour with a $10,000 cash point fund that will reflect a driver's 10 best finishes.
Jason Feger, the "Highside Hustler," is the defending points champion and dethroned Carpenterville, Ill's Dennis Erb Jr., who had won three straight Summer Nationals titles.
Feger is likely to get plenty of competition over the course of the tour and Tuesday's Lincoln Park Speedway date is no different. Shannon Babb is chief among those threats to win along with drivers like Billy Moyer, himself a former points champion. Martinsville's Don O'Neal, fresh off a $100,000 payday after winning the sports most prestigious race, "The Dream", at Eldora Speedway, is likely to return to try and defend his win last year at Lincoln Park as Babb and Feger chased him across the line ahead of Jeep Van Wormer.
"I think the 2011 DIRTcar Summer Nationals is going to be as competitive as ever," said DIRTcar UMP director Sam Driggers. "We have a great group of drivers ready to go out on the road and bring fans across the Midwest a real action-packed month of racing."
Rain captured the Saturday show at Fairbury, Ill. and was the fifth event out of the 10 scheduled tour dates that was postponed or canceled thus far. Scott James of Lawrenceburg, Ind. led the points heading into Sunday's event in Michigan. James held a five-point advantage over Babb with Feger in third-place.
New wrinkles in this year's Hell Tour will include two-lap group qualifying at each date; electronic transponder scoring every night for the first time; and four provisional starting spots at each race (two Summer Nationals points provisionals, one 2010 DIRTcar UMP national points provisional and one track/local provisional).