Mike Harrison Rewrites Summit Modified Nationals History with Sixth Championship
All-time career wins leader scores win #44 & eighth of the season to clinch sixth title in eight years
FAIRBURY, IL — July 28, 2018 — The 2018 Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals concluded on Saturday, July 28th as part of the 29th annual Prairie Dirt Classic presented by Bank of Pontiac. The fast quarter-mile of Fairbury American Legion Speedway (IL), located northeast of Bloomington in Fairbury, IL, was the site of a dramatic, history-making weekend for the UMP Modifieds. Coming into the weekend, Mike McKinney led five-time defending Tour Champion Mike Harrison by just four points in the chase for the Championship.
After Friday night’s action, McKinney and Harrison were tied for the points lead after Harrison won his seventh Summit Modified Nationals Feature of the season and 43rd of his career, while McKinney finished fifth in the same race. Harrison, the all-time career wins leader in the eight-year history of the Summit Modified Nationals, had to win the 40-lap, $5,000-to-win Feature to lock up his sixth title overall and second in a row.
“I usually don’t get nervous with these races, but tonight, for some reason, this one had me on my toes a little bit. I was really worried about this one,” offered the 40-year-old driver of the #24 Rinderer Farms / Impressive Race Cars / Bill Faust Racing Engines entry while being congratulated from fans, friends and fellow competitors.
“Hats off to Mike (McKinney). He had a helluva year. But to come here on the last night, having to win the big show to win the points, this one is definitely at the top of the list. I’ll remember this one for a long time,” he added.
The 200th all-time Summit Modified Nationals Feature in the Tour’s eight-year history would see Allen Weisser and Danny Schwartz bring the stellar 27-car field to the green flag. Schwartz beat the field to the first corner to take the early race lead, while the rest of the field jockeyed for position behind him. Jacob Hawkins, who started in fourth, quickly worked his way up to second and began his charge, directed at Schwartz. On lap 15, Hawkins drove by to take the point and lead the way.
Hawkins maintained the lead until lap 25, when the caution flag came out and the race leader went pit side with apparent damage. This handed the lead back to Schwartz, who now had Harrison on his back bumper. Lap 28 proved to be the most pivotal moment of the 2018 Summit Modified Nationals. Harrison took over the lead from Schwartz, and as that was happening, McKinney, who had climbed up into the top 10 from his 19th starting spot, spun in turn three. Harrison would not be challenged the rest of the way and went on to take the checkered flag first.
Kyle Strickler, who started 14th, passed Schwartz on the white flag lap to bring home the runner-up spot, while Schwartz settled for the final podium position in third. Weisser was fourth, and Derek Losh finished off the top five. 2012 Summit Modified Nationals Champion Kenny Wallace finished in sixth after starting 16th, while Chris Arnold, Tait Davenport, Lucas Lee and current FALS DIRTcar Modified points leader McKay Wenger completed the top 10.
The weekend of racing started on Friday as Davenport out-qualified the 61-car field with a 13.885-second lap. He also won a Qualifier Feature, as did Arnold, Harrison and Hawkins. On Saturday in the three Last Chance Showdowns, 2008 DIRTcar Modified National Champion Jeff Leka scored the win to transfer into the PDC, as did Steven Brooks and McKinney.
DIRTcar Summit Modified Feature (40 Laps): 1. 24H-Mike Harrison ; 2. 19-Kyle Strickler ; 3. 21d-Danny Schwartz ; 4. 25W-Allen Weisser ; 5. 21-Derek Losh ; 6. 36-Kenny Wallace ; 7. 99W-Chris Arnold ; 8. 18T-Tait Davenport ; 9. 12L-Lucas Lee ; 10. 42-Mckay Wenger ; 11. 15-Chris Smith ; 12. 5-Steven Brooks ; 13. 3L-Jeff Leka ; 14. A1X-Phil Dixon ; 15. 77-Ray Bollinger ; 16. 45-Kyle Hammer ; 17. 13H-Jacob Hawkins ; 18. 12-Jeff Curl ; 19. 32-Donovan Lodge ; 20. 96m-Mike McKinney ; 21. 18L-Jeffery Ledford ; 22. 162-Logan Moody ; 23. 7m-Mark Lamont ; 24. 5X-Alan Stipp ; 25. 7R-Dan Rork ; 26. 24B-Brent Weaver ; 27. 87-David Shain ; Hard Charger Award: 19-Kyle Strickler [+12]
Summit Racing Equipment Qualifying Flight-A: 1. 18T-Tait Davenport, 13.885; 2. 25W-Allen Weisser, 13.922; 3. 1-Steve Stevenson, 14.081; 4. 99W-Chris Arnold, 14.086; 5. 21-Derek Losh, 14.121; 6. 42-Mckay Wenger, 14.126; 7. 53s-Bobby Stremme, 14.13; 8. 5-Steven Brooks, 14.133; 9. 8K-Levi Kissinger, 14.15; 10. 77-Ray Bollinger, 14.157; 11. 18L-Jeffery Ledford, 14.177; 12. 72A-Austin Lynn, 14.219; 13. 12L-Lucas Lee, 14.234; 14. 21A-Nick Allen, 14.25; 15. 7L-Jay Ledford, 14.302; 16. 15-Chris Smith, 14.428; 17. 87-David Shain, 14.452; 18. 14-Michael Thayer, 14.472; 19. 1s-Brian Shaw, 14.503; 20. 10-Shawn Scripter, 14.507; 21. 31-Mark Anderson, 14.552; 22. 4L-Mike Learman, 14.553; 23. 28-Kevin Morrow, 14.56; 24. 27T-Michael Turner, 14.618; 25. 12-Jeff Curl, 14.649; 26. 61-Logan Rogers, 14.778; 27. 45-Kyle Hammer, 14.838; 28. 84-Stan Beadles, 15.045; 29. 1JR-Floyd Jordan, 15.191; 30. A1X-Phil Dixon, 15.211; DNS. 74J-Jeff Sanford, NT
Summit Racing Equipment Qualifying Flight-B: 1. 21d-Danny Schwartz, 14.105; 2. 13H-Jacob Hawkins, 14.141; 3. 24H-Mike Harrison, 14.15; 4. 18c-Matt Cooper, 14.264; 5. 7m-Mark Lamont, 14.352; 6. 25-Tyler Nicely, 14.381; 7. 32-Donovan Lodge, 14.436; 8. 36-Kenny Wallace, 14.475; 9. 19-Kyle Strickler, 14.478; 10. 3L-Jeff Leka, 14.489; 11. 96m-Mike McKinney, 14.497; 12. 162-Logan Moody, 14.504; 13. 1w-Bob Pohlman, 14.521; 14. 24B-Brent Weaver, 14.624; 15. 72-Brian Lynn, 14.682; 16. 7R-Dan Rork, 14.71; 17. 3-Mike Brooks, 14.781; 18. 35-Jason Hastings, 14.836; 19. 28m-Frank Marshall, 14.84; 20. K67-Ian Keller, 14.917; 21. 59-Chevy Miller, 14.944; 22. 22-Wade Wenthe, 14.948; 23. 69Jr-Jimmy Farris, 14.951; 24. 0.02-Nick Clubb, 14.997; 25. 5X-Alan Stipp, 15.183; 26. 13-Kevin DeYoung, 15.204; 27. 21X-Troy Dodson, 15.248; 28. 27-Beau DeYoung, 15.562; 29. 13S-Terry Starks, 16.232; 30. 18J-Scott James, NT