Drake Troutman has quickly established himself as one of motorsports’ rising young stars.
This week, he put himself in the national spotlight by piloting his Smith Transport No. 7 RFI Resources/ MB Customs/ LaSalle’s Racing Engine UMP Modified to five consecutive Top-5’s – including two victories – during the 45th Annual Winternationals. (Jim DenHamer photo)
“Honestly, it’s unreal,” Troutman said with a big smile after the race. “We went from not having any national wins with these guys, and now this week we have two. It’s amazing. This Is definitely one to remember.”
Drake Troutman kicked off his Florida Speedweeks at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Fla. on Tuesday. In a stout field of 48 entries, Drake topped the speed charts in time trials before coming in second in his heat race behind Tyler Nicely.
Earning the eighth-starting position for the A-Main, Troutman wasted no time advancing forward as he was up to second by lap eight, shifting his focus on race-leader Tyler Nicely.
Overtaking Nicely on the bottom as the leader rolled through the middle, Drake held off Nicely’s charge on the final lap to capture his first win of the season and a $1,000 prize. Nicely, Mike Potosky, Shane Burrows, and Jason Hughes rounded out the Top-5 finishers in the 30-lap affair.
“It’s really cool to win against this caliber of guys,” Troutman said. “[My crew] did a great job tonight. Everything worked out perfect. I knew I had a really good racecar when I got up to fourth. I didn’t think I had a winning racecar; I figured I’d be a second or third-place car. We hit lapped traffic there, where we were racing three and four-wide. Me and a lapped car about got together and Nicely pulled up alongside of us, but we had enough momentum off the top to hold on.”
For the second round of the Winternationals on Wednesday, Troutman followed up the fastest lap in his qualifying group with an eight-lap heat race victory. Starting the feature in sixth, Drake took part in a heated battle for the lead late in the 30-lapper but was slowed by lapped-traffic on the final circuit, resulting in a second-place finish behind Kevin Adams. Chris Wilson, Jason Hughes, and Devin Dixon completed the Top-5 finishers.
On Thursday, Drake notched a runner-up finish in his heat race behind Spencer Hughes, which positioned him seventh on the starting grid for the $1,500-to-win A-Main. Passing four cars in the 35-lap affair, Troutman scored a third-place finish behind Lucas Lee and Spencer Hughes, with Jason Hughes and Devin Dixon trailing them to the checkers.
The following night, Troutman came in fastest in his qualifying group before placing second in his heat behind Dale Kelley. Locked into the 12th-starting position for the A-Main, Drake paced his way forward to place himself in contention for the win as the laps winded down.
As he closed in on a podium spot with five-to-go, Troutman snuck past Nick Allen for second, shifting his focus to race-leader Devin Dixon. Executing a perfect slide job on the final lap over Devin Dixon, Drake Troutman soared to his second win of the week over Dixon, Nick Allen, Dave Hess Jr., and Kevin Adams.
“I just saw [the flagman] show five-to-go, and I knew I had to go,” Troutman said. “I was going as hard as I possibly could. The car was great. Dixon went in there and he got a little bit tight and looked like he sheared it, broke loose up here in [Turns] 1 and 2, and that helped me some.”
On Saturday for the $5,000-to-win Winternationals finale, Troutman had already locked into the redraw via his finishes the week’s preliminary events. Receiving the second-starting position, Drake faded three spots in the 75-lapper to register a fifth-place finish behind Kevin Adams, Jason Hughes, Shane Burrows, and Devin Dixon.
With his fifth consecutive Top-5 finish on Saturday night, Drake Troutman was crowned the East Bay Winternationals Modified Champion.
For complete results from these events, please visit www.DIRTcar.com.