BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Jacob Poel made his first visit to the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment a memorable one by capturing the Gator Championship qualifier Saturday night at Volusia Speedway Park.
“We just swapped a motor out yesterday, after having one problem after another,” said Poel, of Spring Lake, Mich. “I ran third in the heat and I don’t know where we started in that feature but the car was just absolutely perfect. I don’t know really what else to say. It was an amazing feeling. I’m just glad to be able to come down here with all the people that have supported me and got me here”
Poel and Matt Cooper split leader Bryce Jewell on lap nine before trading the top spot the following two laps. Poel distanced himself after taking the lead from Cooper on lap 11 of the 20-lap main event. The win earned Poel a nice $700 paycheck and a spot in the redraw for Monday night’s Gator Championship, where he can start no worse than 10th.
“I’ve got my confidence and that’s all I need,” Poel said. “I didn’t need to win tonight, but I wanted to. I just needed something to give me confidence after the week we’ve had down here and I definitely got that tonight.”
Cooper finished second and was one of four other drivers who also earn a spot in Monday night’s redraw by finishing in the top five. Dirt late model standout Wendell Wallace was third. Friday night’s winner and defending Gator Champion Nick Hoffman finished fourth. Rodney Sanders, who won the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals opener in his first visit to Volusia Speedway Park on Tuesday night, rounded out the top five.
Jacob Poel, Matt Cooper, Wendell Wallace, Nick Hoffman, Rodney Sanders, Bryce Jewell, Kyle Bronson, Jake Griffin, Ty Dillon, Danny Schwartz, David Mielke, Garrett Stewart, Donovan Lodge, Troy Giralmo, Jonathan Taylor, Dave Wietholder, J.E. Stalder, Tyler Nicely, Kyle Strickler, Tyler Carpenter, Jeff Thomas, Corey Seckerson, Levi Kissinger, Brian Ruhlman.