Currently, 14 drivers will start their quest for the 2023 championship when the season kicks off at Volusia Speedway Park during Sunshine Nationals, Jan. 18-21. Three nights of action are on tap at The World’s Fastest Half Mileincluding a $20,000 final on Saturday, Jan. 21.
Among the 14 competitors are returning champions, the winningest driver in Series history, rising stars and talented rookies.
Here’s a look at who will make up the roster when the 2023 season begins:
Dennis Erb Jr. | 2022 Series Champion | Carpentersville, IL
Dennis Erb Jr., along with his crew chief Heather Lyne – who became the first championship winning female crew chief in a national dirt racing series – are back to defend their title.
Through a season of consistency, and four victories, they claimed their first World of Outlaws title this year.
With a World of Outlaws championship on their resume, Erb and Lyne – who is also a two-time Series Crew Chief of the Year (2021, 2022) – plan to build off that and grow their legacy with the Series further.
If the dynamic duo can do it again, they would join Billy Moyer, Josh Richards and Brandon Sheppard as the only champions to win in back-to-back years.
Brandon Shepherd | 4X Champion & Winningest Driver | New Berlin, IL
Brandon Sheppard is the most accomplished driver in World of Outlaws CASE Late Models history with four championships and 81 victories (most all-time). But in 2023, his quest for a record fifth championship comes with changes.
For the first time on tour, Sheppard won’t be driving for Rocket1 Racing – the car he drove to his four titles. Instead, he’ll pilot the #B5 for Sheppard-Riggs racing—a joint effort between himself and Scott Riggs, who Tanner English drove for last season.
He’s also made a chassis switch for 2023, moving from a Rocket to a Longhorn Chassis.
If the New Berlin, IL driver can win the championship again, he’ll break a tie with Josh Richards for most all-time.
Tanner English | 2022 Rookie of the Year | Benton, KY
Reigning World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Rookie of the Year Tanner English is back for more in his second season on tour—hoping to build on his three-win campaign and second-place finish in 2022 points.
However, the Benton, KY driver has made some changes for next season, as he now drives for the Shawn and Lisa Martin-owned Viper Motorsports in a black #96 car.
English will return to a Longhorn Chassis when the season starts in January, hoping to carry his momentum from last season into 2023 and his first World of Outlaws CASE Late Models championship.
Chris Madden | Gray Court, SC
One of the top Late Model drivers in 2022 has returned to the Series to chase the championship in 2023. Chris Madden, who finished second to Sheppard in 2021, is searching for his first Series title.
Madden scored four victories when he last ran the tour full-time and hopes to grab momentum at Volusia Speedway Park, where he scored his lone Series win of 2022.
“Smokey” enters his 2023 campaign after a 15-win season, including four victories worth $50,000 or more.
Nick Hoffman | Mooresville, NC
Nick Hoffman will race for a national Late Model championship for the first time in his career when he joins the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models in 2023 with Tye Twarog Racing.
Hoffman, who’s racked up five DIRTcar Summit Equipment Modified National Championships, will have a learning curve in his Rookie of the Year campaign, driving a Longhorn Chassis for the first time.
He’s made 17 starts with the Series so far, picking up two top fives and five top 10s – his best finish is fifth (twice).
He’ll be one of four drivers chasing Rookie of the Year honors in 2023. And while many are used to seeing him in a blue #2 Modified – which he’ll still run from time to time – they’ll have to get used to seeing him in a blue #9 Late Model.
Max Blair | Centerville, PA
Another driver making a change in 2023 is Max Blair, who battled English for Rookie of the Year honors last season.
Coming off a two-win season, Blair will now be part of the Briggs Transport stable as a teammate to Series veteran Boom Briggs.
The Centerville, PA driver hopes his knowledge from his first year on the road will help him vault two spots higher in the standings to claim his first Series title.
Boom Briggs | Bear Lake, PA
For the second consecutive season, Boom Briggs and his Briggs Transport team will have two cars on the road, this time with Max Blair as his teammate in 2023.
The veteran driver from Bear Lake, PA, is still in search of his first World of Outlaws Late Models victory, an accomplishment that’s eluded him in his time on tour.
Briggs has 53 chances to take the checkered flag, including a hometown trip to Stateline Speedway, where he scored a top five the last time the Series visited the Busti, NY facility in 2021.
Ryan Gustin | Marshalltown, IA
Ryan Gustin broke through for his first two World of Outlaws CASE Late Models victories in 2022 and hopes to turn that momentum into a 2023 championship run.
“The Reaper” was in contention for many victories throughout the season before a string of bad luck kept Gustin out of Victory Lane on multiple occasions throughout the year.
Gustin will also have a change to his team in 2023, as long-time crew chief Brett Ladehoff is coming off the road. He filled that position with Taylon Center, who recently spent time as the crew chief for Hudson O’Neal and Ricky Thornton Jr.
Brent Larson | Lake Elmo, MN
Brent Larson returns to the World of Outlaws in 2023, coming off a personal best fifth-place finish in the season standings.
The Lake Elmo, MN driver narrowly missed his first career win last season at Cedar Lake Speedway when he finished second to Mike Marlar on night one of the USA Nationals in August. He also improved his average finish by four positions.
Larson hopes he’ll continue to take strides forward and build on his fifth-place finish and hopes to grab that elusive first checkered flag.
Gordy Gundaker | St. Charles, MO
Gordy Gundaker faced many ups and downs throughout his rookie season with the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models. However, a late momentum charge has him optimistic heading into 2023 and the season-opener at Sunshine Nationals.
Despite only grabbing 10 top-10s in the 2022 season, three came over the final six races.
With more experience under his belt, Gundaker is another driver aiming for his first career Series win. He has the chance to do it at home in June when the Series visits Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, IL, a facility promoted by his parents.
Todd Cooney | Des Moines, IA
Todd Cooney will join Nick Hoffman in the Rookie battle and Gustin as another driver from Iowa on tour in 2023.
Cooney, who’s yet to make a World of Outlaws CASE Late Models start, will join the Series at Volusia Speedway Park during Sunshine Nationals—where he’s found success. The Des Moines, IA driver, scored a top 10 in a DIRTcar Pro Late Model at the event in 2021.
He’s spent most of his career racing around Iowa, including three IMCA Super Nationals Late Model wins at Boone Speedway, home of the Hawkeye 50.
He also scored three wins in two different Series in 2021. Two with the Haulin’ with Hoker Trucking Super Late Model East Series at Cresco Speedway and Manquoketa Speedway and one with the Malvern Bank Super Late Model West Series at Shelby County Speedway.
Dustin Walker | Polk, MO
After suffering a stroke in 2020, Dustin Walker will be living a dream in 2023, joining the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models full-time.
It’s a bucket list item for him and one he hopes to turn into a successful rookie season.
Walker will hit the road alongside his daughter when the season starts next month and said he hopes to finish top 12 in points at the end of the year.
He made two starts with the World of Outlaws in 2022, and spent most of his season racing around the Midwest—his best finish a second at Midway Speedway in Lebanon, MO.
Logan Martin | West Plains, MO
Logan Martin, from West Plains, MO, will join the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models for the first time in 2023, hoping to grab Rookie of the Year honors.
In his 12 starts with the Series, Martin found his best success with the Series in 2021 when he had a top-five and two top 10s at Boone Speedway – which the Series will return to on Tuesday, Aug. 1, for the Hawkeye 50 .
He also set fast time in 2022 during an event at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 last June.
Payton Freeman | Commerce, GA
After a solid second-place finish with the DIRTcar Summer Nationals in 2022, Payton Freeman joins a national tour for the first time with the World of Outlaws Late Models.
The Commerce, GA driver, will battle for Rookie of the Year honors behind the wheel of the GR Smith-owned #22 car. He already scored a win for the team in November, when he grabbed the $22,000 prize in the Southern Showcase at Deep South Speedway.
Freeman hopes his experience in the Midwest will give him an advantage throughout the season, as he’s one of the drivers aiming for their first career Series victory.
These 14 drivers will begin an 11-month, 53-race grind on Jan. 18-21 when the Series opens the 2023 season at Volusia Speedway Park during Sunshine Nationals. Joining them at Volusia are the DIRTcar Pro Late Models and 602 Late Models as part of a Late Model Palooza.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either at DIRTVision.com or by downloading the DIRTVision App.