The annual UMP Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” opens Wednesday night in Brownstown, Ind. That means it’s only a few weeks away from its July 2 stop at Quincy Raceways, which will host its sixth Hell Tour event just three days after the track’s midseason championship races June 30.
Quincy’s tour date is No. 16 on a 31-race schedule that covers eight states and 5,700 miles between June 12 and July 20.
“That is great for us,” Bullring spokesman Jack Walbring said. “Our date comes early in the series, meaning we should have an outstanding field of drivers. In most of the past years when we’ve had a Summer Nationals race it was late in the schedule and some of the big names had left the tour at that point.”
This year’s Hell Tour is a week longer than in recent years. UMP Director Sam Driggers explains why.
“With so many promoters wanting a Summer Nationals date we have chosen to add another week to the schedule to give more tracks a chance to experience a taste of the Hell Tour,” Driggers said. “The expansion will also allow for a few more scheduled days off so the teams have more time to prepare their equipment for what is well-known as the most grueling series in late model racing.”
The Hell Tour dates back to 1986 and is regarded as one of the crown jewels in all of dirt-track racing — with its epicenter in Illinois. Competition in the state of Illinois once again dominates the Summer Nationals schedule. Fourteen tracks located in the Land of Lincoln are set to host events, plus facilities in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan and Iowa.
Nine Summer Nationals events will offer $10,000 first-place prizes. Another 21 features will pay $5,000 to win and one will have a winner’s check of $7,500. Quincy will pay $5,000 to its winner.
Hell Tour drivers will compete for $202,500 in first-place cash from purses totaling nearly $900,000. Another $65,000-plus in points-fund money will be on the line, including a $25,000 check for the 2013 champion.
• Most of the Hell Tour programs will be doubleheaders with the Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals, a points series showcasing the open-wheel UMP Modified division. The modifieds will be part of the Quincy program on July 2.
Here’s a list of past Hell Tour winners at the Bullring:
2012: Brian Shirley, Chatham, Ill.
2011: No race was scheduled in Quincy
2010: Jeep Van Wormer, Pinconning, Mich.
2009: Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, Ill.
2008: Rained out
2007: Shannon Babb, Moweaqua, Ill.
2006: Randy Korte, Highland Ill.