WHEELERSBURG, OH-2012 was a great season for the Jordan Heating & Cooling UMP Modifieds at Southern Ohio Speedway. The year saw a changing of the guard so to speak as young drivers swept the storylines in the class last season. Four of the five drivers who finished in the top five in points were under the age of 30. In addition to the great competition, race fans were also treated to great racing all year long in the class. Let’s take a look at the year’s top points finishers and top races in the Jordan Heating & Cooling UMP Modified division at SOS.
Top Points Finishers
#5. Eric Hatfield
Culloden, West Virginia’s Eric Hatfield, well known for being one of the best at running the cushion at SOS, had a great season in 2012. Everytime Hatfield was at SOS in 2012 he was a contender. Despite missing four races, Hatfield was able to finish fifth in points with five top fives and six top tens. Perhaps his best performance of the season was during a $1,000 to win UMP Modified special on June 15th. On that night Hatfield won the second heat race and finished third in the feature behind Joey Kramer and Jeremy Rayburn. Hatfield, the son of former UMP national champion Hubie Hatfield, made his mark at SOS in 2012 and is a driver that is expected to be really strong this upcoming season.
#4. Jimmy Adams
Jimmy Adams returned to the drivers seat in 2012 driving for veteran driver/car owner Keith Anderson. Adams came out strong to start the season as he finished third on Opening Night and stayed among the top ten all season long. He was one of the most consistent drivers all year, finishing fourth in points with one top five and eight top tens in twelve starts. Just like Hatfield, Adams is a driver expected to be strong in 2013.
#3. Brian Skaggs
After coming off a successful rookie season in 2011, Pedro, Ohio’s Brian Skaggs avoided a sophomore slump in 2012 to score an impressive third place points finish. Skaggs was consistent all season long with five top fives and eight top tens in thirteen starts. The highlight moment for Skaggs last season had to of been during the final race of the year on September 29th. Skaggs had a career performance as he started on pole and led the first eight laps of the feature before getting tangled up with a lapped car. Despite having to go to the tail, he rallied and came back to finish sixth that night. Skaggs along with Adams and Hatfield are drivers who knocked at the door of victory lane in 2012, putting them at the top of the list of drivers race fans can expect to see get their first career SOS feature wins in 2013.
#2. Luke Jordan
At just 18 years old, Luke Jordan has already established himself as one of the top UMP Modified drivers in the region. In 2012, Jordan was impressive as he finished second in points with one win, nine top fives, and eleven top tens in twelve starts. The highlight for Jordan last year was when he was able to finally get that first career SOS feature win on September 29th. On that night Jordan was able to hold off veteran drivers Eddie Harmon and Todd Robinson to visit victory lane. Jordan also made highlights in 2012 after he came out of his #13j machine uninjured following an accident that would see him literally fly off the turn one banking, knock down trees, and go into a neighboring field. That accident was shown on the first episode of MTV’s “Buckwild” series.
Track Champion: Jeremy Rayburn
Lucasville, Ohio’s Jeremy Rayburn has been one of the top Modified drivers in the region for the past several years. In 2012, everything came together for Rayburn as he had a career year that will long be talked about. His stats were incredible as he won the track championship with seven wins, twelve top fives, and twelve top tens in thirteen starts. Rayburn finished in the top five every single race except on April 27th when he was collected in an accident while battling within the top five. He won half of the Jordan Heating & Cooling UMP Modified events ran at SOS in 2012. That number is extra impressive considering the most races any driver won in the class in 2011 was two. In addition to the incredible year Rayburn had at SOS, he also won the Ohio UMP Modified State Championship and finished eleventh in the UMP Modified National Championship.
Top Three Races of 2012
3. NASCAR Night, May 18th
One of the highest car counts of the season was on May 18th when NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Ken Schrader came to Wheelersburg to take on the stars and cars of the Jordan Heating & Cooling UMP Modified division. Schrader looked to have the early advantage as he started on the pole and led the races first two laps before Peebles, Ohio driver Dave Jamison made an impressive pass on the NASCAR driver to take the race lead. Jamison began to then pull away from the field as Schrader found himself in an intense battle with Todd Robinson and Jeremy Rayburn for second. Robinson and Rayburn would eventually pass Schrader and set their sights on Jamison. Jamison was able to hold off the rest of the pack and claim his first career SOS feature win.
2. Fall Family Fun Night, September 29th
With a really tacky racing surface, the action got crazy during the UMP Modified feature on September 29th. The race started out with Brian Skaggs jumping out to a pretty big lead while fast qualifier Todd Robinson worked his way through the pack and into the second position. By lap seven, Robinson was right on Skaggs’ bumper as the leaders began to encounter lap traffic. On lap eight in turn one, Skaggs drifted up the track and allowed Robinson and Luke Jordan to get by him. In turn four on the same lap, a lap car got sideways in front of the leaders, causing Robinson to hit the outside wall and Skaggs to spin. Skaggs was forced to go to the tail while Robinson was done for the night. This left the lead to Jordan as he was able to hold off a strong late race challenge from Eddie Harmon to take his first career feature win by a car length.
1. Regular Show, August 3rd
Perhaps the best UMP Modified race in the new-era of SOS took place on August 3rd. A really tacky race track on this night meant high speeds and an ultra-fast high groove. Luke Jordan jumped out to the race lead while Eddie Harmon quickly moved into the second position. These two drivers then put on an incredible show as they battled for the lead with Jordan running down low and Harmon up on the cushion. This was one of those races were the two drivers were literally driving the wheels off of their cars. The races first and only caution flew with four laps to go and setup a crazy finish. On the restart, Harmon was finally able to make the pass for the lead on the high side with two laps to go and held off Jordan at the line to win by a car length.