The countdown currently sits at less than 60 days until the 52nd annual DIRTcar Nationals begins at Volusia Speedway Park.
The traditional trip to Florida in February again begins with two nights of the All Star Circuit of Champions (Feb. 7-8) followed by the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series on Thursday-Saturday, February 9-11.
It marks the first of five consecutive shows for The Greatest Show on Dirt at the Barberville, FL 1/2-mile – with the Series slated to return for a Daytona Bike Week special three weeks later on Sunday-Monday, March 5-6.
With the prestigious DIRTcar Nationals Big Gator Championship and an expanded $20,000-to-win, $1,500-to-start finale purse on the line, fans can expect to see the biggest and best names in Sprint Car Racing battling for the gator trophies at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”
Decided with a points system used across all five nights of racing, the Big Gator Championship goes to the most consistent driver of the week. Last year, David Gravel (2017, 2022) joined Daryn Pittman (2013, 2015, 2019) and Brad Sweet (2016, 2020) as the only multi-time champions since the switch to a “Big Gator” was made in 2012. Other winners in that timeframe include Logan Schuchart (2021), Donny Schatz (2018), Paul McMahan (2014), and Sammy Swindell (2012).
In 2022, the DIRTcar Nationals featured all separate winners for the first time since 2014 as Donny Schatz (Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing #15), Sheldon Haudenschild (Stenhouse Jr. / Marshall Racing #17), and David Gravel (Big Game Motorsports #2) split three World of Outlaws wins to kickstart the year.
Schatz, a 10-time Series champion, returns to Volusia as the winningest Sprint Car driver in DIRTcar Nationals history with 22 wins to his credit. The Fargo, ND native hopes to start 2023 the same way he ended 2022 – back-to-back wins in the Ford Performance, Advance Auto Parts #15 – with more Victory Lane appearances.
Among active drivers, four-time and defending World of Outlaws champion Brad Sweet is closest to Schatz with eight DIRTcar Nationals wins on his resume. The Kasey Kahne Racing, NAPA Auto Parts #49 team could join Schatz and “The King” Steve Kinser in the five consecutive titles club in 2023.
The 2021 Big Gator Champion, Logan Schuchart, is a three-time winner himself at Volusia Speedway Park. The Shark Racing star returns to the scene in 2023 fresh off the winningest season in team history with a combined nine Series wins from him and his teammate/uncle, Jacob Allen.
David Gravel and Carson Macedo, both championship podium finishers in back-to-back years now, have made DIRTcar Nationals breakthroughs since aligning with their respective new teams at Big Game Motorsports and Jason Johnson Racing.
Additional stars with former Volusia Speedway Park wins include Sheldon Haudenschild, Aaron Reutzel, Jason Sides, Kerry Madsen, Wayne Johnson, Kraig Kinser, and Kasey Kahne, all of who are likely to contend for another when the gators come to play in February.
If you can’t make it to the event, the entire 2023 season will be live on DIRTVision – available either online or through the DIRTVision App.
DIRTcar Nationals – Sprint Car Winners:
22 wins – Donny Schatz
19 wins – Danny Lasoski
8 wins – Brad Sweet
6 wins – Daryn Pittman, Joey Saldana, Steve Kinser
5 wins – Craig Dollansky
4 wins – Dave Blaney
3 wins – Logan Schuchart, Terry McCarl, Kenny Jacobs, Gary Wright, Keith Kauffman, Rocky Hodges
2 wins – Sheldon Haudenschild, David Gravel, Jason Johnson, Greg Hodnett, Sammy Swindell, Jeff Shepard, Lance Dewease, Dale Blaney, Frankie Kerr, Robbie Stanley, Bobby Davis Jr.
1 win – Carson Macedo, Aaron Reutzel, Shane Stewart, Jason Sides, Jason Meyers, Kerry Madsen, Chad Kemenah, Stevie Smith, Wayne Johnson, Kraig Kinser, Fred Rahmer, Kasey Kahne, Billy Pauch, Kevin Gobrecht, Jac Haudenschild, Joey Allen, Steve Stambaugh, Jimmy Sills, Doug Wolfgang, Tim Green