CHARLESTON, Ill. (June 27) — Tuesday’s UMP DIRTcar Summernationals stop at Charleston Speedway was a perfect night for Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., who lead every lap of the $5,000-to-win feature after clocking the evening’s overall fast time and winning his heat race.
Redrawing to start on the pole of the 40-lap main event, Moyer Jr. charged to the front of the field at the drop of the green flag, never seriously challenged as he outran Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., for his second Summernationals victory of the season.
“We had a good car tonight,” Moyer Jr. said after the race. “We had a tough group. When you look up and it’s me and dad and (Shannon) Babb and Bobby (Pierce), you can’t get any tougher than that. We had fast time and won the heat and that’s how you’ve got to start the night.
“I’ve done that a couple of times, been good, and then I’ve sucked in the feature. Or I haven’t qualified good and then run good in the feature, but when you start in the back it’s hard. The past couple of nights we’ve been decent, but not good enough to win. We finally put an entire night together.”
As the race neared the halfway mark, Moyer Jr. held as much as a straightaway lead over second-running Unzicker. But as the track moved to one groove in the final few laps, the Illinois driver was able to close the gap on the race leader.
“I think we were a little maneuverable,” Moyer Jr. said. “Then the track kind of cleaned up about 15 to go really bad. It was kind of difficult to get out of that spot. But the track was really good before that.
"I’m glad to get a win. The guys behind me ran me clean. The lapped cars did me quite a bit of favors. (Ryan) Unzicker, he got close. I think he could have roughed me up and didn’t. The big thing is to keep on staying in the top five.”
Charging from the sixth starting spot to run in second on the second lap, Unzicker finished runner-up at the checkers. Fourth-starting Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., finished third, with Rusty Schlenk improving four positions to run fourth. Advancing from the 10th starting spot, Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., rounded out the top five.
“I watched the B-main of the modifieds and they were rolling that little brown up top,” Unzicker said of his early move to the front. “The car, we just snugged it up enough to roll up there and get some good bite and a good run. We rolled in to second there pretty early. (Moyer Jr.) was good tonight, but all in all, to roll out of here second, we’re tickled to death with it.”
After slipping back a few spots in the early running, Pierce said he was happy to come away with a third-place finish.
“I was really kicking my butt there at the beginning,” Pierce said. “I got stuck behind (Bob) Gardner a little bit. Right when I moved down to try to pass him he moved down and that whole outside lane went by us. I was able to get back up.
“The top was the place to be the first 20 laps or so. I was trying really hard to work my way through there. But everyone was rolling around the top and the only way you could make it work was a slider. It was a lot of fun though. I wish we raced here more.”
Notes: Moyer Jr. notched his seventh career Summernationals victory. His last came at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio, on July 11, 2015. ... The raced marked Moyer Jr.'s fourth victory on his 2017 campaign. ... The 40-lap feature ran caution-free. ... Suffering water pump issues early in the night, Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Ill., was hopeful to start the feature. But unable to make the repairs, he was the lone entry failing to start Tuesday's main event. ... Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., was the winner of the UMP modified feature.
Preliminary notes and results:
Among drivers scratching from heat race action were Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Ill., and Jeremy Sneed of Cedar Hill, Tenn. Weaver suffered water pump issues, while Sneed experienced problems with his MSD box. Both drivers hope to start the 40-lap feature. … After the redraw, Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., will start on the pole of the main event. He’s looking for his second Summernationals victory of the season after winning the June 17 rained-shortend event at Peoria Speedway. … Tanner English of Benton, Ky., was among heat race winners for the second straight night; he will start third in Tuesday's feature. … With none of the Hell Tour's previous Charleston winners in attendance on Tuesday, the feature winner will make the tour’s fourth different winner in four events hosted by the Illinois oval.
Running side-by-side down the backstretch, second-starting Ryan Unzicker edged ahead of polesitterBob Gardner to lead the first lap. Gardner pulled back ahead one circuit later, fighting off challenges from Unzicker as Jose Parga and Gordy Gundaker battled for third. Gardner pulled away late-race to pick up the heat win, with Unzicker running second. Gundaker edged out Parga for third.
Finish: Bob Gardner, Ryan Unzicker, Gordy Gundaker, Jose Parga, Adam Tischhauser, Blaze Burwell. Scratched: Kevin Weaver
Pulling ahead of fellow front row starter Brent Larson down the backstretch, polesitter Tanner English powered to an early lead. At the halfway mark, English held nearly a straightaway lead, with third-running Rusty Schlenk reeling in Larson for the second-place spot. English won the second heat, with Larson running second and Schlenk finishing third.
Finish: Tanner English, Brent Larson, Rusty Schlenk, Dustin Nobbe, Brian Ligon, Russ Adams, Bob Franklin. Scratched: Jeremy Sneed
Polesitter Billy Moyer Jr. shot to the lead at the drop of the green flag, with third-starting Bobby Pierce pulling ahead of Billy Moyer to run in second. Moyer Jr. and Pierce battled side-by-side through the opening laps, with Moyer Jr. maintaining his lead on the high side. Moyer Jr. held off Pierce to win the heat, with Moyer Sr. rounding out the podium in third.
Finish: Billy Moyer Jr., Bobby Pierce, Billy Moyer, Shannon Babb, Paul Stubber, Rusty Griffaw, Jeff Riddell, Rick Standridge
Heat race lineups
Row 1: Billy Moyer Jr., Billy Moyer
Row 2: Bobby Pierce, Shannon Babb
Row 3: Paul Stubber, Rusty Griffaw
Row 4: Jeff Riddell, Rick Standridge
Row 1: Tanner English, Brent Larson
Row 2: Rusty Schlenk, Brian Ligon
Row 3: Dustin Nobbe, Bob Franklin
Row 4: Russ Adams, Jeremy Sneed
Row 1: Bob Gardner, Ryan Unzicker
Row 2: Kevin Weaver, Gordy Gundaker
Row 3: Jose Parga, Blaze Burwell
Row 4: Adam Tischhauser
Tuesday’s Charleston event marks the 12th contested in 13 races scheduled thus far. The series has had just one rain out so far this season, coming last Wednesday at Farley (Iowa) Speedway. … Charleston marks the start of the third week of Summernationals points. Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., won the first week’s points bonus, while Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., who currently tops the overall points standings, clinched the bonus for the second week of Hell Tour action. ... Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., was the winner of the most recent Summernationals stop at Charleston back in 2010, but he’s not on hand for Tuesday’s event. … Also missing from Tuesday’s field are the most recent Hell Tour winners Tyler Erb of Waverley, Texas, and Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill. Both drivers are headed to Dirt Oval at Route 66 in Joliet, Ill., for Wednesday’s World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series event. … Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Ill., is piloting Jay Morris’s No. 77 at Charleston. … Joining Summernationals at Clarksville (Tenn.) Speedway on Monday night, Brian Ligon of Augusta, Ga., has also made the trip to Illinois for Tuesday’s race. ... After sweeping weekend events at Fremont (Ohio) Speedway and I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Mich., Rusty Schlenk of McClure, Ohio, has joined the Summernationals field at Charleston. ... The 23-car field is down three from the 2010 count of 26 cars. However, it should be noted that Charleston does not host a weekly Late Model program.
UMP Summernationals competitors travel to Charleston (Ill.) Speedway on Tuesday for the 12th round of 2017 Hell Tour action. The $5,000-to-win event marks the tour’s fourth-ever visit to the Illinois bullring.
The series returns to Charleston for the first time since 2010, when Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., picked up his sixth career Summernationals victory. Other former Hell Tour winners at Charleston include Rodney Melvin of Benton, Ill. (2009), and Bob Pierce of Oakwood, Ill. (2002).
Tuesday’s program will include time trials, three 10-lap heat races, consolations and the $5,000-to-win, $500-to-start feature. With 23 cars on hand, there will not be a Late Model consolation. UMP modifieds will also be in action with a $1,000-to-win event.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Billy Moyer Jr. (21), Batesville, Ark., 13.572
Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 13.601
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 13.799
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 13.892
Paul Stubber (31AUS), Bunbury, West Australia, 14.164
Rusty Griffaw (16), Festus, Mo., 14.328
Jeff Riddell (09), Steward, Ill., 14.526
Rick Standridge (10R), Collinsville, Ill., 15.043
Tanner English (96), Benton, Ky., 13.882
Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 14.176
Rusty Schlenk (91), McClure, Ohio, 14.226
Brian Ligon (4), Evans, Ga., 14.446
Dustin Nobbe (9N), Batesville, Ind., 14.637
Bob Franklin (9F), Catesville, Ind., 15.057
Russ Adams (74), Princeville, Ill., 15.101
Jeremy Sneed (24S), Cedar Hill, Tenn., no time
Bob Gardner (4G), East Peoria, Ill., 14.011
Ryan Unzicker (24), El Paso, Ill., 14.095
Kevin Weaver (77M), Gibson City, Ill., 14.21
Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., 14.241
Jose Parga (6P), New Berlin, Ill., 14.386
Blaze Burwell (44), Mount Vernon, Ill., 14.898
Adam Tischhauser (4T), Mulberry Grove, Ill., 15.118
3 p.m. - Gates open
6 p.m.- Drivers
6:30 p.m.- Hot laps
7 p.m.- Time trials begin; racing to follow
- Late Model heat races (10 laps)
- Modified heat races (eight laps)
- Modified consolations (eight or 10 laps)
- Late Model (40 laps)
- Modified (25 laps)