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WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Sunshine Nationals’ Late Model Palooza Kicks Off 2024 World of Outlaws Season

Sunshine Nationals 2023
Bobby Pierce’s chance for a second title begins at Volusia Speedway Park, Jan. 18-20

As the rays of the sun rest on Florida, the best Late Model drivers in the country converge on Volusia Speedway Park to commence the 2024 World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model season.

A field of 18 Outlaws will answer the call, embarking on a 54-race season that begins with the fifth annual DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals, Jan. 18-20.

The weekend kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 18, for a 30-lap, $10,000-to-win Feature. Then, on Friday, Jan. 19, the Feature purse and distance increase to $12,000-to-win and 35 laps. It all leads to Saturday’s (Jan. 20) massive finale, which features a 40-lap, $15,000 to win, Feature.

Joining the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models at “The World’s Fastest Half Mile” are the Crate Racin’ USA DIRTcar Pro Late Models and DIRTcar 602 Late Models – making the weekend a true “Late Model Palooza.”

TICKETS: bit.ly/3tT75tN

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.

Here are the top storylines to follow:

Smooth Defense: While Bobby Pierce ended the 2023 season as the Series champion, he started it with two of his worst finishes at Sunshine Nationals – 19th and 23rd, respectively.

However, the Oakwood, IL driver got his redemption the next month winning a Gator trophy during Federated Auto Parts DIRTcar Nationals with the World of Outlaws – his second win at the speedway.

Pierce returns to Volusia this week looking for a smoother start to begin his race toward a second consecutive Series championship, trying to join the elusive club of back-to-back Series champions – which includes Billy Moyer (1988-89), Josh Richards (2009-10), and Brandon Sheppard (2019-21).

He’ll enter with momentum on his side, having won four straight races during the Wild West Shootout and the event’s title.

B5 Chasing #5: Brandon Sheppard returns to the World of Outlaws CASE Late Model Series in 2024 again behind the wheel of the Sheppard Riggs Racing #B5. However, this year, he’s also the Longhorn Chassis Factory Team car.

With the added support, Sheppard is primed to chase his fifth World of Outlaws title – which would break the tie for most championships between he and Josh Richards.

First stop for the New Berlin, IL driver and his team – Sunshine Nationals. While he’s yet to win at Volusia during the Late Model Palooza event, he does have eight overall victories at the track – only three away from tying Billy Moyer for the most all time.

His last win at Volusia came during DIRTcar Nationals in 2020.

Longing For More: Of the all-star 2024 World of Outlaws roster, three returning drivers found themselves parked in Volusia’s Victory Lane last year.

Chris Madden, of Gray Court, SC, won one of the DIRTcar Late Model Features during DIRTcar Nationals, collecting his fourth win at the track. After finishing second in Series points last year, he is focused on scoring his first national title this year.

Florida’s own Kyle Bronson brought his home state fans to their feet during Sunshine Nationals last year, winning in the Pro Late Model division. He has 12 wins overall at Volusia – six of them coming during Sunshine Nationals and one being with the World of Outlaws.

In his first full year with the World of Outlaws in 2023, Bronson had a stellar performance, collecting one win, 11 top five finishes and 24 top 10s, leading to a fourth-place finish in points.

While Nick Hoffman didn’t park a Late Model in Victory Lane at Volusia last year, he did dominate November’s Emil & Dale Reutimann Memorial in a DIRTcar UMP Modified. The Mooresville, NC driver was strong during Sunshine Nationals last year finishing eighth the first night and fourth the second.

Overall, Hoffman has collected 22 victories at Volusia. He’ll aim for his first in a Late Model this weekend.

Hauling The Mail: Winning at Volusia is a common theme that Devin Moran is not looking to change anytime soon.

Last season, the Dresden, OH driver broke a Sunshine Nationals trend by becoming the first driver to repeat wins with his sweep of the event behind the wheel of the Double Down Motorsports #99.

Along with his Sunshine success, “The Mailman” has scored two of the last three Big Gator championships (2021 and 2022).

New Challengers Approach: In 2024, five rookies begin their full-time journey with the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models at Volusia Speedway Park.

Max McLaughlin, Cody Overton, Parker Martin, Dustin Sorenson, and Tristan Chamberlain will go after the Rookie of the Year award. All rookies are seeking their first career victory with the Series as well.

However, McLaughlin, of Mooresville, NC, and Overton, of Evans, GA, already know what the view from Victory Lane at Volusia looks like. McLaughlin won three times there with the Super DIRTcar Series and is the 2021 Super DIRTcar Series DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator champion. Overton won a 602 Late Model race during Sunshine Nationals in 2020.

WHEN & WHERE
Volusia Speedway Park (1/2-mile) in Barberville, FL on Jan. 17-20

ONLINE
Volusia Speedway Park: www.volusiaspeedwaypark.com

TRACK RECORD
Volusia Speedway Park: 15.141 by Billy Moyer on 2/20/12

ON THE INTERNET
World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Series
X (Twitter) – Twitter.com/WoOLateModels – @WoOLateModels
Instagram – Instagram.com/WoOLateModels – @woolatemodels
Facebook – Facebook.com/WorldofOutlawsLateModelSeries
YouTube – Youtube.com/WorldofOutlaws
DIRTVision – DIRTVision.com – Platinum annual FAST PASS for $299 or monthly FAST PASS for $39/month

Matt Skipper

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