Arpin Captures UMP Modified Opener In First Ever Volusia Visit BARBERVILLE, FL -- Nearly 70 United Midwestern Promoters Open Wheel Modified teams kicked off their 2005 race season on Tuesday at Volusia Speedway Park yet it was just one driver,...
Arpin Captures UMP Modified Opener In First Ever Volusia Visit
BARBERVILLE, FL -- Nearly 70 United Midwestern Promoters Open Wheel Modified teams kicked off their 2005 race season on Tuesday at Volusia Speedway Park yet it was just one driver, Canadian standout Steve Arpin from Fort Frances, Ontario, who stood in victory lane after capturing the 34th Annual Winter Nationals opener.
"This is a great way to start off the week, especially with our first ever trip to Volusia," said Arpin, after leading flag-to-flag in the 20-lap U.M.P. Modified main to earn the $700 top-prize in his maiden voyage to the Sunshine State. "Earning a good starting position is important out here and tonight we certainly made it pay off."
Despite starting on the pole, Arpin's first career victory in Florida was far from a runaway as he was pressured throughout the 10-mile feature. First from eventual third-place finisher Steve Wetter and then by runner-up and defending Winter Nationals champion Craig Thatcher, with Gary Clark and Julia McDermitt trailing in the top-five .
Arpin set the tone early as he won the first qualifying heat to earn the pole-position start for the U.M.P. Modified main that had 68 entries vying for just 24 starting berths. He easily out-dragged front row partner Wetter with Thatcher improving quickly from his start inside row five even when Greg Baumberger and Blake Jegtvig tangled as soon as the first green flag dropped.
As the final laps clicked off the door-to-door, paint trading open-wheel showdown between these northern rivals carried on. 2004 WISSOTA National Modified champion Thatcher from Knapp, Wisconsin won a pair of Florida Tour features last February while Arpin, who placed ninth in the final WISSOTA Modified point standings last season, was looking to grab just his first headline during the season-opening Race Week ritual.
While Thatcher made a last lap effort to get by, Arpin held on for the dramatic victory that also awarded him with an early advantage in the Winter National point standings. Thatcher settled for a close second-place followed by Wetter, Clark, who won twice last winter to finish third in points, and McDermitt, the only female currently entered in the U.M.P. Open Wheel Modified field.
The U.M.P. Modifieds return to action at Volusia on Wednesday in round two while the 2005 Winter Nationals points champion is crowned Sunday, Feb. 13 following the sixth straight night of open-wheel competition.
SUMMARY EVENT NO. 1
FEATURE (200 LAPS): 00-STEVE ARPIN, 91-Craig Thatcher, 33-Steve Wetter, 4g-Gary Clark, 1m-Julia McDermitt, 1s-Brian Shaw, 71-Bill Davis, 64-Dan Leatherman, 65-Todd Sherman, 77-Jim Shipman, 2w-George White, 12d-Scott Duvall, Q-Joey Jenson, 33z-Zack Vanderbeer, 6b-Brandon Green, 18-Brent Glastetter, 1f-Floyd Jordon, 7j-Johnny DeYoung, L8-Jimmy Crabtree, 55-Tom Moore, 1a-Chad Ohnstad, 17je-J.E. Stadler, t3-Greg Baumberger, 2j-Blake Jegtvig.
HEAT 1: Arpin, Clark, DeYoung, Baumberger.
HEAT 2: Wetter, McDermitt, Green, Jordon.
HEAT 3: Glastetter, Davis, Moore, Anthony Hofbauer.
HEAT 4: Stadler, Thatcher, Ohnstad, M.J. Hintz.
HEAT 5: Leatherman, Crabtree, Shaw, Rick Singleton.
HEAT 6: White, Shipman, Sherman, Corky Thomas.
CONSI 1: Jenson, Jordon, Hintz, Tommie Seets.
CONSI 2: Baumberger, Jegtvig, Singleton, Ben Stephens.
CONSI 3: Duvall, Vanderbeer, David McWilliams, Jesse Snyder.