July 5, 2024 | By Colby Trotter

Rodney Melvin Leads Flag-to-Flag at Riverside for First Summer Nationals Win in 12 Years

Photo by Tyler Carr

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — For the first time since 2012, Rodney Melvin is a Feature winner with the DIRTcar Summer Nationals.

Melvin, the veteran racer from Benton, IL, led all 30 laps of the Feature while holding off Tanner English and Ethan Dotson in the final laps for his eighth career Hell Tour victory Thursday night at Riverside International Speedway.

“It’s an awesome deal,” said Melvin. “It’s nice. Started up front and kind of pace yourself. The lapped cars anymore, they just give you fits.”

After setting the Quick Time in his Qualifying group and winning his Heat Race, Melvin redrew the pole for the main event. With English – Melvin’s son-in-law – lined up on his outside, Melvin got the jump at the start and took the lead on the first lap.

Once he got out to the lead, Melvin started to set the pace around the 1/4-mile oval. Melvin was over a second ahead of second-place English by the time the race hit the midway point, but then lapped traffic made things more interesting.

When Melvin caught the slower cars on Lap 18, English started to get closer to Melvin each time around the track. On Lap 25, English got to the rear of Melvin and on Lap 26, English went side-by-side with Melvin in Turns 3 and 4 but Melvin stayed in front, racing through the middle groove while English stayed down low.

When the field got the two-to-go signal, Melvin was working to try and get by the slower car of JC Waller directly in front of him with English right on his tail. English dove low in Turn 1 and pulled even with Melvin in Turn 2 but was unable to make the pass.

Melvin darted underneath Waller down the backstretch and cleared him going into Turn 3, putting some separation between himself and English as they raced toward the white flag.

Behind them both, eighth-starting Ethan Dotson was jetting around the high line and caught English as the two raced down the backstretch. English and Dotson gave it all through Turns 3 and 4 but were unable to catch Melvin as he crossed the stripe to claim the $5,000 winner’s check.

“I know [English] is going to race me clean,” Melvin said. “I ain’t got to worry about [English] and it’s fun to start on the front row.”

Dotson, of Bakersfield, CA, wound-up the momentum on the top side through the last two corners and zoomed past English out of Turn 4 to finish second.

With English finishing third, he stays within 5 points of Melvin in the Week 4 points standings, in pursuit of the $10,000 check awarded after Sunday’s main event to the Week 4 points champion.

UP NEXT:  Week 4 of the 39th DIRTcar Summer Nationals continues Friday, July 5, at Paducah International Raceway in Paducah, KY. Tickets will be on sale at the gate on race day. If you can’t be there to watch in person, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.


Feature (30 Laps): 1. 27M-Rodney Melvin[1]; 2. 174-Ethan Dotson[8]; 3. 96-Tanner English[2]; 4. 8-Dillon McCowan[4]; 5. 58-Tyler Clem[3]; 6. 12-Ashton Winger[5]; 7. 31AUS-Joe Chalmers[9]; 8. 74-Mike Carr[6]; 9. 818-Jadon Frame[11]; 10. 38-Thomas Hunziker[10]; 11. 15-Clayton Stuckey[17]; 12. 29-Christian Hanger[20]; 13. 14M-Morgan Bagley[16]; 14. 75-Daniel Adam[12]; 15. 3N-Nathan Brown[7]; 16. 90-Brian Rickman[15]; 17. 2-Charlie Cole[23]; 18. 7W-JC Waller[21]; 19. 51-Dean Carpenter[18]; 20. 28B-Carson Brown[22]; 21. 86-Kyle Beard[13]; 22. 30-Mark Voigt[19]; 23. 51B-Brandon Carpenter[14]

Last Chance Showdown (B-Main) (10 Laps): 1. 15-Clayton Stuckey[3]; 2. 51-Dean Carpenter[1]; 3. 7W-JC Waller[4]; 4. 29-Christian Hanger[7]; 5. 28B-Carson Brown[9]; 6. 2-Charlie Cole[11]; 7. 30-Mark Voigt[14]; 8. ONE11-Matthew Tribble[12]; 9. 24E-Jake Elam[15]; 10. 11-Cruz Skinner[13]; 11. 78-Matthew Brocato[6]; 12. 10C-Ronnie Cooper[8]; 13. 997-Travis Ashley[10]; 14. (DNS) 7JR-Shane Stephens; 15. (DNS) 18C-Matt Cooper

Consolation Race (C-Main) (8 Laps): 1. 11-Cruz Skinner[1]; 2. 30-Mark Voigt[4]; 3. 24E-Jake Elam[2]; 4. 72-Courtney Bass[5]; 5. 78G-Henry Gustavas[8]; 6. 27L-Lynn Irwin[6]; 7. (DNS) 88-Chance Mann; 8. (DNS) 81J-Jack Riggs; 9. (DNS) USA1A-Devon Andrews; 10. (DNS) 79-Nick Kurtz; 11. (DNS) 6-Dillon Knight

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 96-Tanner English[2]; 2. 12-Ashton Winger[4]; 3. 31AUS-Joe Chalmers[1]; 4. 86-Kyle Beard[5]; 5. 51-Dean Carpenter[6]; 6. 18C-Matt Cooper[8]; 7. 28B-Carson Brown[3]; 8. 11-Cruz Skinner[9]; 9. 72-Courtney Bass[10]; 10. USA1A-Devon Andrews[7]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 58-Tyler Clem[4]; 2. 3N-Nathan Brown[2]; 3. 818-Jadon Frame[3]; 4. 90-Brian Rickman[5]; 5. 15-Clayton Stuckey[6]; 6. 29-Christian Hanger[10]; 7. 2-Charlie Cole[7]; 8. 24E-Jake Elam[1]; 9. 27L-Lynn Irwin[9]; 10. 79-Nick Kurtz[8]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 27M-Rodney Melvin[1]; 2. 74-Mike Carr[3]; 3. 38-Thomas Hunziker[2]; 4. 51B-Brandon Carpenter[5]; 5. 7JR-Shane Stephens[7]; 6. 78-Matthew Brocato[6]; 7. 997-Travis Ashley[9]; 8. 88-Chance Mann[4]; 9. 81J-Jack Riggs[8]; 10. (DNS) 6-Dillon Knight

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 8-Dillon McCowan[2]; 2. 174-Ethan Dotson[1]; 3. 75-Daniel Adam[3]; 4. 14M-Morgan Bagley[7]; 5. 7W-JC Waller[5]; 6. 10C-Ronnie Cooper[9]; 7. ONE11-Matthew Tribble[6]; 8. 30-Mark Voigt[4]; 9. 78G-Henry Gustavas[8]

Qualifying A (2 Laps): 1. 31AUS-Joe Chalmers, 00:13.536[4]; 2. 24E-Jake Elam, 00:13.545[6]; 3. 96-Tanner English, 00:13.564[11]; 4. 3N-Nathan Brown, 00:13.610[3]; 5. 28B-Carson Brown, 00:13.744[1]; 6. 818-Jadon Frame, 00:13.794[8]; 7. 12-Ashton Winger, 00:13.797[15]; 8. 58-Tyler Clem, 00:13.848[5]; 9. 86-Kyle Beard, 00:13.879[13]; 10. 90-Brian Rickman, 00:13.925[17]; 11. 51-Dean Carpenter, 00:13.977[10]; 12. 15-Clayton Stuckey, 00:14.038[19]; 13. USA1A-Devon Andrews, 00:14.205[12]; 14. 2-Charlie Cole, 00:14.258[9]; 15. 18C-Matt Cooper, 00:14.349[16]; 16. 79-Nick Kurtz, 00:14.379[18]; 17. 11-Cruz Skinner, 00:14.472[20]; 18. 27L-Lynn Irwin, 00:14.532[14]; 19. 72-Courtney Bass, 00:14.553[2]; 20. (DNS) 29-Christian Hanger

Qualifying B (2 Laps): 1. 27M-Rodney Melvin, 00:13.898[6]; 2. 174-Ethan Dotson, 00:14.019[19]; 3. 38-Thomas Hunziker, 00:14.036[1]; 4. 8-Dillon McCowan, 00:14.064[16]; 5. 74-Mike Carr, 00:14.193[2]; 6. 75-Daniel Adam, 00:14.206[10]; 7. 88-Chance Mann, 00:14.234[4]; 8. 30-Mark Voigt, 00:14.258[17]; 9. 51B-Brandon Carpenter, 00:14.393[9]; 10. 7W-JC Waller, 00:14.420[13]; 11. 78-Matthew Brocato, 00:14.535[12]; 12. ONE11-Matthew Tribble, 00:14.552[18]; 13. 7JR-Shane Stephens, 00:14.611[15]; 14. 14M-Morgan Bagley, 00:14.630[8]; 15. 81J-Jack Riggs, 00:14.645[14]; 16. 78G-Henry Gustavas, 00:14.742[5]; 17. 997-Travis Ashley, 00:15.189[3]; 18. 10C-Ronnie Cooper, 10:00.000[7]; 19. (DNS) 6-Dillon Knight



WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. -- Lucas Lee looked to be en route to his first DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Feature win since 2022 Thursday night at Riverside International Speedway. And then, pop.

Lee, 36, of Paris, TN, had been leading since Lap 5 and was almost two seconds ahead of the field when on Lap 21, Lee’s left-rear tire went flat after contact with another car in spinning to avoid Greg Belyea, who had looped around in Turns 3 and 4. Neville, who had been chasing Lee throughout the race, inherited the lead and led the rest of the way to bank his third Summit Modified Nationals win of the season.

“I feel awful for Lucas,” Neville, of Mackinaw, IL, said. “That’s not how I want to win a race. It’s honestly hard to do an interview and take claim for that win when it was somebody else’s like that, so I feel awful.”

From the outside pole, Neville took the lead on the first lap using the high side of the 1/4-mile oval and he stayed out front until a caution was thrown on Lap 5. On the restart, Lee got even with Neville with in Turns 1 and 2 and down the backstretch and then made his move. Lee dove down low in Turn 3 and slid up in front of Neville in Turn 4 to take the lead at the start/finish line.

While Lee created a sizeable gap between himself and Neville after taking the lead, Neville stayed patient on the high side to hold on to his second-place spot. When Lee’s tire went flat, Neville was there to take advantage for his third win of the Summit Modified season.

“The banking on here is pretty extreme,” Neville said. “It was kind of like home at Fairbury. So, I figured I’d just keep the momentum up and I didn’t have enough side bite or forward drive to try to run the bottom.”

UP NEXT:  Week 4 of DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals competition continues Friday, July 5, at Paducah International Raceway in Paducah, KY. Tickets will be on sale at the gate on race day. If you can’t be there to watch in person, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.



Feature (25 Laps): 1. 777-Trevor Neville[2]; 2. 13-Charlie Mefford[8]; 3. 96M-Mike McKinney[7]; 4. 94-Austin Rettig[16]; 5. 24-Zeke McKenzie[4]; 6. 9-Ken Schrader[14]; 7. 14-Dalton Lane[19]; 8. 9D9-Cole Hilton[3]; 9. 88-Shane Mendoza[18]; 10. 29-Colby Richardson[12]; 11. 23Z-Austin Wayne Self[5]; 12. 18-Clay Caldwell[17]; 13. 5-Dennis Kimbrough[10]; 14. 99P-Brandon Poppenheimer[9]; 15. 07-Jack Walker[22]; 16. 25-Greg Belyea[23]; 17. 12L-Lucas Lee[1]; 18. 52-CJ Davison[20]; 19. 54-Zachary Hawk[6]; 20. 6-Dillon Knight[11]; 21. 60-Blake Bass[15]; 22. 177-Johnny Gustavus[21]; 23. 0K-Damian Kiefer[13]

Last Chance Showdown (8 Laps): 1. 94-Austin Rettig[2]; 2. 18-Clay Caldwell[5]; 3. 88-Shane Mendoza[4]; 4. 52-CJ Davison[8]; 5. 0-Jeremy Dalton[3]; 6. 07-Jack Walker[9]; 7. 81-April Kahler[12]; 8. 778-Raymond Gustavus Jr[6]; 9. (DNS) 25-Greg Belyea; 10. (DNS) 14-Dalton Lane; 11. (DNS) 177-Johnny Gustavus; 12. (DNS) 33-Jamey Dalton; 13. (DNS) 34-Tommy Smith

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 9D9-Cole Hilton[2]; 2. 24-Zeke McKenzie[1]; 3. 96M-Mike McKinney[3]; 4. 5-Dennis Kimbrough[8]; 5. 0K-Damian Kiefer[5]; 6. 25-Greg Belyea[6]; 7. 88-Shane Mendoza[7]; 8. 14-Dalton Lane[4]; 9. 177-Johnny Gustavus[9]; 10. 34-Tommy Smith[10]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 777-Trevor Neville[1]; 2. 23Z-Austin Wayne Self[2]; 3. 13-Charlie Mefford[3]; 4. 6-Dillon Knight[5]; 5. 9-Ken Schrader[4]; 6. 94-Austin Rettig[7]; 7. 18-Clay Caldwell[6]; 8. 52-CJ Davison[8]; 9. (DNS) 33-Jamey Dalton

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 12L-Lucas Lee[2]; 2. 54-Zachary Hawk[1]; 3. 99P-Brandon Poppenheimer[3]; 4. 29-Colby Richardson[5]; 5. 60-Blake Bass[4]; 6. 0-Jeremy Dalton[8]; 7. 778-Raymond Gustavus Jr[7]; 8. 07-Jack Walker[6]; 9. 81-April Kahler[9]

Qualifying 1 (3 Laps): 1. 24-Zeke McKenzie, 00:14.356[3]; 2. 9D9-Cole Hilton, 00:14.404[10]; 3. 96M-Mike McKinney, 00:14.548[4]; 4. 14-Dalton Lane, 00:14.558[8]; 5. 0K-Damian Kiefer, 00:14.564[2]; 6. 25-Greg Belyea, 00:14.713[7]; 7. 88-Shane Mendoza, 00:15.034[9]; 8. 5-Dennis Kimbrough, 00:15.063[1]; 9. 177-Johnny Gustavus, 00:15.443[5]; 10. 34-Tommy Smith, 00:15.608[6]

Qualifying 2 (3 Laps): 1. 777-Trevor Neville, 00:14.612[1]; 2. 23Z-Austin Wayne Self, 00:14.621[9]; 3. 13-Charlie Mefford, 00:14.663[3]; 4. 9-Ken Schrader, 00:14.803[6]; 5. 6-Dillon Knight, 00:14.859[4]; 6. 18-Clay Caldwell, 00:14.966[7]; 7. 94-Austin Rettig, 00:15.026[2]; 8. 52-CJ Davison, 00:29.920[8]; 9. (DNS) 33-Jamey Dalton

Qualifying 3 (3 Laps): 1. 54-Zachary Hawk, 00:14.474[6]; 2. 12L-Lucas Lee, 00:14.573[2]; 3. 99P-Brandon Poppenheimer, 00:14.993[1]; 4. 60-Blake Bass, 00:15.076[8]; 5. 29-Colby Richardson, 00:15.313[5]; 6. 07-Jack Walker, 00:15.557[3]; 7. 778-Raymond Gustavus Jr, 00:15.628[9]; 8. 0-Jeremy Dalton, 00:15.717[4]; 9. 81-April Kahler, 00:16.407[7]


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