Quincy, MI (Friday, January 22, 2021) - This week, race tracks in Michigan took the liberty of releasing their 2021 DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour dates. In a unique change for this season, it appears as though the Summer Nationals will not be limited to the traditional one month that fans have come to know. After sporadic dates were announced, indications are that the Hell Tour will span nearly two months from July through August, and Michigan will see two swings through the region.
Currently, indications show that Thunderbird Raceway will mark the first Michigan stop for the annual dirt late model tour. In last season’s stop, Thunderbird played host to the second Michigan stop of the season, with $5,000 up for grabs to the winner. Illinois’ Frank Heckenast, Jr held off a charge from Ryan Guston and Dona Marcoullier to get the win. This season, the Hell Tour stops by on Thursday, July 15th to kick off the first of two swings through Michigan.
The following night, Friday, July 16th, Hartford Speedway makes a return to the Hell Tour schedule after nearly two-decades off the calendar. According to the Hell Tour website, the last time the DIRTcar UMP Hell Tour attended Hartford Speedway was in 2006 when ‘The Real Deal’ Don O’Neal went to victory lane. He also won the season before in 2005, with Jeep VanWormer getting the win back in 2002.
Currently, Oakshade Raceway hasn’t confirmed their date with Horsepower Happenings for the Summer Nationals Hell Tour. But strong indications are that they will take their traditional Saturday night show following the pair of Michigan events. While indications are that the date would be Saturday, July 17th, Oakshade officials could not confirm that. They did, however, confirm that whichever date in the Hell Tour schedule they receive will also be their Annual Birthday race.
In August, the Hell Tour returns to the Michigan region, beginning with a second-ever visit to the high banks of Butler Motor Speedway. Last season, Chatham, Illinois driver, Brian Shirley led wire-to-wire for the win. For 2021, the second swing through Michigan will again begin at Butler on Wednesday, August 18th.
From there, some of the best in the late-model business head northwest to I-96 Speedway on Thursday, August 19th. The Hell Tour comes back to the Lake Odessa Speedway after a year off the schedule. In 2019, Jason Feger found his way to victory lane during a dramatic points battle between Brian Shirley and Bobby Pierce.
Friday night, August 19th, Tri-City Motor Speedway plays host to the Summer Nationals
for what is assumed to be the penultimate event on the 2021 Tour. During last year’s eventful race, Dona Marcoullier became the second Michigan driver in as many years to win on the Hell Tour. Prior to Chris Keller in 2019, Michigan had been shut out of Hell Tour wins for 10 years. Marcoullier methodically worked the bottom of the Speedway to reel in and pass Heckenast, Jr for the win.
Saturday, August 20th the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour moves to ‘God’s Country’ and invades Lake City, Michigan’s, Merritt Speedway. Jason Feger collected the $10,000 victory during the 2020 event, holding off another late-race charge from Guston and Marcoullier. It seems likely that Merritt Speedway will again host the finale for the Hell Tour, however, no official Summer Nationals schedule has been released.
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to on-demand episodes of the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Michigan Dates as of 01/22/2021:
July 15th - Thunderbird Raceway
July 16th - Hartford Speedway
July 17th - Oakshade Raceway (Unconfirmed)
August 18th - Butler Motor Speedway
August 19th - I-96 Speedway
August 20th - Tri-City Motor Speedway
August 21st - Merritt Speedway
Story - Zach Hiser
Photos - Summer Nationals