The few brave competitors that attempt to make every event in the 2013 UMP Summer Nationals (The Hell Tour), will be faced with a daunting task of competing in 31 events over the span of 39 days. Think about that, in less than six weeks they will compete in almost the same number of events that the NASCAR Sprint Cup series holds from February to November!
It’s hard to believe, but for 2013 the series actually added events to the schedule to form the most intense month of racing that we have ever seen. However, by adding the events they were also able to add more days off for the teams.
[quote align=”alignright” width=”200″]You can never be prepared for the Summer Nationals! It is the toughest deal in dirt late model racing – 2010 Hell Tour Champion Jason Feger[/quote]
“The 2013 DIRTcar Summer Nationals is looking like it could be one of the best ever,” DIRTcar UMP director Sam Driggers said. “With so many promoters wanting a Summer Nationals date, we have chosen to add another week to the schedule to give more tracks a chance to experience a taste of the ‘Hell Tour.’ The expansion will also allow for a few more scheduled days off so the teams have more time to prepare their equipment for what is well-known as the most grueling series in DIRTcar Late Model racing.”
Kenny Wallace, when asked about the Hell Tour stated, “The Summer Nationals have created such great race car drivers. You’re talking about Shannon Babb, Billy Moyer, Erb, O’Neal, the list goes on and on. There are so many great race car drivers throughout the United States, but especially through Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin. The Summer Nationals bring out the big boys, and have made big names.”
The Insane Amount Of Travel
To get a better idea of just how grueling this schedule will be for the competitors of the Hell Tour lets take a look at just one stretch of races from July 2nd – July 7th.
Coming off a much needed day off, where the teams only traveled 140 miles from Lincoln to Quincy, teams will race a $5,000 to win main event at Quincy Raceway. They will then pack up and travel 83 miles that night to Jacksonville speedway for another $5,000 to win main event.
After the July 3rd event at Jacksonville teams will have to travel 163 miles to arrive at their $5,000 to win July 4th event in LaSalle, Illinois. Once finished there, the teams will drive another 186 miles for their $7,500 to win July 5th event in Brownstown, Illinois. Starting to see how intense this is yet?
After brownstown teams will only have to drive 44 miles for a $10,000 to win event at Highland Illinois. After Highland, teams will drive 147 miles for a $5,000 to win event at Haubstadt Indiana before a much needed day off.
Keep in mind, that is only one week of their intense schedule. During that stretch of racing, teams will have traveled more than13 hours and driven 774 miles outside of the track. Not to mention maintenance their vehicle, repair damages, and race night after night.
When it is all said and done the teams that will brave the entire schedule will have driven over 100 hours of driving, and logged over 5,700 miles in only a month and a half. Think you could do it?
So Why Even Do It?
The question often comes up for those that attend any events of the hell tour why would teams put themselves through this type of torture?
As Hell Tour regular and 2010 champion Jason Ferger noted, “You can never be prepared for the Summer Nationals! It is the toughest deal in dirt late model racing, you just go with the flow and try to be as prepared as you can.”
One reason is the Summer Nationals can improve your program greatly. And not to mention give teams a great chance at winning some serious cash.
2013 will feature an astounding $202,500 in just winner’s checks alone. The series will hold 21 5,000 to win events, 9 $10,000 to win events and one $7,500 to win event. Show us another series that will put up that much money to win in a little over a month.
In 2011 we saw Shannon Babb go on an impressive winning streak that ultimately crowned him the 2011 champion. That winning streak and the $25,000 championship check netted him over $80,000 in winnings.
For 2012 champion Brian Shirley the racing took on a much deeper meaning, “It makes clear to me what the objective is when we go racing. It’s not just me anymore, it’s my family and there’s a bigger picture so we try and come to the races and make sure we do our job. It helps me focus on the right things and it helps me not get distracted with things I shouldn’t be there for. I knew that if I was going to have to be away from my family, I need to do what I’m out here to do.”
Why put your self through it? Because it can make your year!
Ultimately fans want to see the best drivers in the country come out and contend every night of the tour. You would think with a schedule as grueling as the Hell Tour that not that many drives would attend events… But you would be wrong!
In 2012, only three events had a car count lower than 30 cars. The first event of the year had 49 entries, while the final event had 56 cars show up for the $10,000 to win.
The series averaged an astounding 37 of the best late model drivers in the country per event last year.
If you have never seen a hell tour event, you are missing out on some of the greatest dirt late model action in all of this great country. As a fan, it doesnt matter where you attend one of the events. You will not be disappointed!
Complete 2013 Hell Tour Schedule:
June 12 – Wednesday – Brownstown Speedway – Brownstown, IN – $5,000 to win
June 13 – Thursday – OFF
June 14 – Friday – Cedar Lake Speedway – New Richmond, WI – $5,000 to win
June 15 – Saturday – Cedar Lake Speedway – New Richmond, WI – $10,000 to win
June 16 – Sunday – Wilmot Raceway – Wilmot, WI – $5,000 to win
June 17 – Monday – OFF
June 18 – Tuesday – OFF
June 19 – Wednesday – Spoon River Speedway – Canton, IL – $5,000 to win
June 20 – Thursday – Belle-Clair Speedway – Belleville, IL – $5,000 to win
June 21 – Friday – Tri-City Speedway – Pontoon Beach, IL – $10,000 to win
June 22 – Saturday – Fairbury American Legion Speedway – Fairbury, IL – $10,000 to win
June 23 – Sunday – I-96 Speedway – Lake Odessa, MI – $5,000 to win
June 24 – Monday – Peoria Speedway – Peoria, IL – $5,000 to win
June 25 – Tuesday – OFF
June 26 – Wednesday – Clarksville Speedway – Clarksville, TN – $5,000 to win
June 27 – Thursday – Clayhill Motorsports Park – Atwood, TN – $5,000 to win
June 28 – Friday – Paducah International Raceway – Paducah, KY – $10,000 to win
June 29 – Saturday – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 – Pevely, MO – $10,000 to win
June 30 – Sunday – Lincoln Speedway – Lincoln, IL – $5,000 to win
July 1 – Monday – OFF
July 2 – Tuesday – Quincy Raceways – Quincy, IL – $5,000 to win
July 3 – Wednesday – Jacksonville Speedway – Jacksonville, IL – $5,000 to win
July 4 – Thursday – LaSalle Speedway – LaSalle, IL – $5,000 to win
July 5 – Friday – Fayette County Speedway – Brownstown, IL – $7,500 to win
July 6 – Saturday – Highland Speedway – Highland, IL – $10,000 to win
July 7 – Sunday – Tri-State Speedway – Haubstadt, IN – $5,000 to win
July 8 – Monday – OFF
July 9 – Tuesday – Florence Speedway – Union, KY – $5,000 to win
July 10 – Wednesday – Terre Haute Action Track – Terre Haute, IN – $5,000 to win
July 11 – Thursday – Macon Speedway – Macon, IL – $5,000 to win
July 12 – Friday – Kankakee County Speedway – Kankakee, IL – $10,000 to win
July 13 – Saturday – 34 Raceway – Burlington, IL – $10,000 to win
July 14 – Sunday – Vermilion County Speeedway – Danville, IL – $5,000 to win
July 15 – Monday – OFF
July 16 – Tuesday – OFF
July 17 – Wednesday – Brushcreek Motorsports Park – Peebles, OH – $5,000 to win
July 18 – Thursday – Twin Cities Raceway Park – North Vernon, IN – $5,000 to win
July 19 – Friday – Attica Raceway Park – Attica, OH – $5,000 to win
July 20 – Saturday – Oakshade Raceway – Wauseon, OH – $10,000 to win
~ Salvador Dali