Matt Miller Wins Birthday Race/Dennis Erb Crowned 2008 Summer Nationals Champion

The grueling month long UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Series wrapped up at Oakshade Raceway on Saturday night with Matt Miller finding his way back to victory lane for the second time this year.

Dennis Erb entered the night with just a four point advantage over Brian Shirley in the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals point standings. Shirley had his work cut out for himself after having to take a provisional just to make the 60-lap Oakshade Raceway Birthday Race UMP Late Model Feature event. Erb started near the front on the inside of the second row while Shirley started 20th.

Wes Steidinger finished second in last year’s Birthday Race and snatched the lead at the start after starting on the pole. Steidinger then began to pull away from second place Kris Patterson in the early laps.

Dennis Erb, with the UMP Summer Nationals title on the line, suffered a close call shortly after the start as he and Jason Feger got together on the backstretch with both drivers almost ending up in the wall. They checked up and continued on only losing a few positions and getting minor damage to each car.

Last year’s Birthday Race winner Jeep Van Wormer took second from Patterson and then began to make up ground on race leader Wes Steidinger. Van Wormer got up to the rear bumper of Steidinger at one point while working lapped traffic, but Steidinger turned on the afterburners and once again pulled away with the lead.

Steidinger suddenly slowed off the pace on lap 33 after losing his drive shaft which brought out the yellow flag and ended his night. That turned the race lead over to Pinconning, Michigan’s Jeep Van Wormer.

Zac Davis had a strong run going in the third position, but a few laps after Steidinger’s misfortune, Davis spun in turn two to bring out another caution flag and sent him to the tail of the field.

Matt Miller then got up alongside Van Wormer and battled for the lead with Miller eventually taking it around lap 38.

Brian Shirley’s hopes of winning the UMP Summer Nationals title were dashed on lap 39 as his car rolled to a stop on the backstretch. Shirley had fought his way up through the field to sixth before suffering mechanical problems that took him out of competition.

Matt Miller went on to dominate the final stages of the race by opening up a big lead over Van Wormer and the rest of the competitors won the 11th Annual Birthday Race/UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Finale. Matt Miller was presented with a check for $10,000 for the victory.

Jeep Van Wormer finished second with Dennis Erb third. Erb was also crowned the 2008 Summer Nationals Champion, his second consecutive Summer Nationals Championship.

Doug Drown finished fourth with Casey Noonan fifth.

Craig Dippman and Brice Luttrell came together at the start of the UMP Bomber A Main and both drivers went head on into the backstretch wall as they came off turn two. Danny Hogrefe was also collected in the incident that resulted in a complete restart.

Chris Henry took advantage of the restart and led the entire distance on his way to capture his sixth A Main win of the year. Despite all of his feature victories this year, Henry is still second in Oakshade Bomber points to Jim Scout who finished a close second in the feature.

Ron Bloomfield Sr. and Randy Roseman battled hard for the early lead in the UMP Bomber B Main. Bloomfield assumed the lead over Roseman by the end of the second lap.

Dan Shaffer then began to pressure Bloomfield for the race lead, racing side by side for a few laps until finally taking command on lap seven.

Shaffer went on to pick up his first feature win of the year with Randy Roseman finishing second. Chris Howard, Dustin Sautter and Matt Rose rounded out the rest of the top five finishers with Bloomfield dropping back to finish eighth.

Jerry Signor fought off a heavy challenge from Ron Leonard early in the UMP Bomber C Main.

Jeff Strock spun and collected Jeff Grochowski and Jesse Moyer to bring out the yellow flag on lap two. Leonard relinquished second on the track as he retired to the pits while the field was under the yellow flag.

That moved Karl Spoores up to second and he and Signor traded paint and the lead shortly after the restart. Spoores eventually got the lead and then Signor slowed on the backstretch and went to the pits. That turned second over to Chuck Faller who then proceeded to spin in turn one bringing out another caution.

Spoores went on to pick up the victory. It was his first of the year as well. Tim Line was second and Jeff Strock recovered after his earlier caution to finish third. Kevin Cole finished fourth and Josh Overmyer was fifth.

The UMP Hornet class of front-wheel drive four-cylinder cars for 12 to 18 year olds continues to grow each week and produce fun racing action. Fourteen year old Dylan Herman fought off last week’s winner, Ben Liaeff, to earn his first win of the year after a close call on the final lap with the lapped automobile of Stephanie Miller.

The Vintage American Race Cars will join the UMP Late Model, UMP Sportsman, UMP Bomber and UMP Hornet show at Oakshade Raceway on Saturday, July 19. Gates will open at 4pm with racing action beginning at 7pm.

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