Waynesfield Motorsports Park
Babb repels Feger, earns $7,500 at Waynesfield
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com chief writer
WAYNESFIELD, Ohio (July 10) — Shannon Babb got hot a bit too late to join the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals title chase, but he's grabbing all the purse money he can before the month-long series wraps up.
The 35-year-old driver from Moweaqua, Ill., nabbed his fourth victory in seven races Friday at Waynesfield Motorsports Park, collecting $7,500 in the 22nd and second-to-last event on the series. The sixth-starting Babb wrestled the lead from outside front row starter Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., on the 21st lap, then held off a last-ditch, low-groove charge by third-starting Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., for the 40-lap victory. | Slideshow | Complete Summernationals coverage
"When I saw him down there," Babb said of Feger's final charge, "I just figured I better get going a little harder and pick up the pace a little bit, so I did."
Feger flashed across the finish line just behind Babb in second while eighth-starting Duane Chamberlain of Richmond, Ind., rejoining the Summernationals for the first time since July 1, was third for his best series performance. Shirley was fourth and 1997-'98 Summernationals champion Rick Aukland of Zanesville, Ohio, rounded out the top five in his only series appearance of '09.
The series title contenders didn't finish up front, but leader Randy Korte of Highland, Ill., rallied from his provisional starting spot to unofficially increase his leading margin to 20 points over two-time and reigning champ Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill. Korte advanced 10 positions to finish ninth while the 13th-starting Erb finished where he started. Erb entered the race 14 points behind Korte. Just one series race remains Saturday at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio.
At the outset of the feature, polesitter Scott James of Lawrenceburg, Ind. — back on the series where flat tires, spins and flips proved his undoing — pulled away from Shirley early in the race before his Summernational jinx appeared again.
The lapped car of Rick DeLong got into the rear of James entering turn one on the 13th lap, sending his No. 83 spinning. Officials sent No. 3 DeLong and James to the tail, but James elected to head to the pits. Before he left the track, in a bizarre case of mistaken identity, James retaliated against the No. 3 of the second-running Shirley on the backstretch, crinkling the quarterpanel of the wrong No. 3.
Shirley inherited the lead for the restart with Babb, Chamberlain, Doug Drown and Feger in pursuit, and once Feger disposed of Drown, the top four duked it out through the race's middle stages. Babb beat Shirley into turn three just past the halfway point, and he stretched his lead to a half-straightaway by lap 25. But with Feger sliding under Chamberlain to take second on that lap, he slowly reeled Babb in the rest of the way.
With Babb sticking with the high groove, Feger worked the low side in turns three and four, pulling alongside the leader a few times in the closing laps. But Babb's momentum off turn four on the final lap carried him to the checkers just ahead of Feger, who misunderstood the flagger's signals and at first mistook the white flag for the checkers.
"It was good side-by-side the last couple of laps," said Feger, who fought a tight-handling car. "It just ended up being a good finish."
Notes: Babb's Rocket Chassis has a Clements Racing Engine and sponsorship from Petroff Towing, Sheltra Construction and Donley Trucking. ... Besides the caution for the spin by James, the only other yellow appeared on the fifth lap for a spin by Jerry Bowersock that also involved Donny Walden and Rick DeLong. ... Waynesfield hosted its first series race and drew 29 cars, the second-lowest total on the series. ... A quick program saw the feature end at dusk.
Feature: (1) Shannon Babb, (2) Jason Feger, (3) Duane Chamberlain, (4) Brian Shirley, (5) Rick Aukland, (6) Doug Drown, (7) Tim McCreadie, (8) Ryan Unzicker, (9) Randy Korte, (10) Matt Miller, (11) Frank Heckenast Jr., (12) Wayne Chinn, (13) Dennis Erb Jr., (14) Rodney Melvin, (15) Kevin Weaver, (16) Brian Ruhlman, (17) Donny Walden, (18) Rick DeLong, (19) Rusty Schlenk, (20) Scott James, (21) Jerry Bowersock. Fast qualifier (among 29 cars): Drown, 12.20 seconds. Heat race winners: Feger, James, Shirley. Consolation winner: McCreadie. Provisional starters: Korte, Ruhlman, DeLong.
Correction: Fixes Babb's engine builder.
Correction on redraw
The redraw originally reported was incorrect. Scott James and Brian Shirley are on the front row with Jason Feger starting in the third spot.
Series points leader Randy Korte gets the Summernationals provisional, Brian Ruhlman gets the provisional based on '08 weekly points, and Rick DeLong gets the provisional as the fastest qualifier not already in the lineup.
In a tight battle between the front-row starters, lower-running Tim McCreadie edged higher-running Kevin Weaver at the line for a victory in the consolation race. Matt Miller got the third and final transfer spot while series points leader Randy Korte was fourth and forced to take a series provisional.
Finish: Kevin Weaver, Tim McCreadie, Matt Miller, Randy Korte, Jon Henry, Brian Ruhlman, Rick DeLong, Brandon Thirlby, Troy Catterene, Dan Wallace, Scott Orr, Bryant Dickinson, Craig Vosbergen.
Brian Shirley won a tight duel with polesitter Shannon Babb for a victory in the third heat whie Rick Aukland, Rusty Schlenk and Jerry Bowersock also got transfer spots.
Finish: Brian Shirley, Shannon Babb, Rick Aukland, Rusty Schlenk, Jerry Bowersock, Jon Henry, Ronnie Perrine Jr., Dan Wallace, Bryant Dickinson.
Polesitter Scott James raced to an easy victory, finishing nearly a straightaway ahead of fellow front-row starter Wayne Chinn. Duane Chamberlain was a close third while Frank Heckenast Jr. and Donny Walden got the final two transfer spots.
Finish: Scott James, Wayne Chinn, Duane Chamberlain, Frank Heckenast Jr., Donny Walden, Kevin Weaver, Brandon Thirlby, Craig Vosbergen, Troy Catterene, Scott Orr.
Outside front-row starter Jason Feger cruised to an easy victory with polesitter Doug Drown in second. Ryan Unzicker got the third spot with Rodney Melvin and Dennis Erb Jr. also transferring to the main event. Heavy-hitters Tim McCreadie and Matt Miller along with series points leader Randy Korte will go to the consolation race.
Finish: Jason Feger, Doug Drown, Ryan Unzicker, Rodney Melvin, Dennis Erb Jr., Tim McCreadie, Matt Miller, Randy Korte, Brian Ruhlman, Rick DeLong.
Officials ruled that because of a miscommunication, Doug Drown's fast time was 12.20 seconds, instead of 13.20 seconds, making him the fast qualifier and putting him on the pole of the first heat.
Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., topped 29 qualifiers Friday night for the 22nd leg of the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals in the first-ever series visit to Waynesfield Motorsports Park. Feger turned a lap of 12.22 seconds at the quarter-mile oval and will start on the pole of the first heat race.
Other drivers topping qualifying groups to earn poles for 10-lap heat races: Scott James (12.43) of Lawrenceburg, Ind., and Shannon Babb (12.29) of Moweaqua, Ill.
Three heat races will send five drivers apiece to the main event. A consolation race sends three drivers to the main event. Three provisional starters round out the 21-car field for the 40-lap feature paying $7,500 to the winner.
Series points leader Randy Korte of Highland, Ill., and reigning champion Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., are separated by just 14 points before the 22nd leg of the month-long ... The two drivers are in a stacked first qualifying group that includes series newcomer Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., two-time Sunoco ALMS champion Brian Ruhlman of Clarklake, Mich., and Kankakee, Ill., Summernationals runner-up Matt Miller of Waterville, Ohio. ... Among other series newcomers for the first series race in Ohio of '09 is Doug Drown of Wooster, Ohio; Wayne Chinn of Bradford, Ohio; and Jon Henry of Ada, Ohio. ... Waynesfield, a quarter-mile oval promoted by Dean Miracle (who operated the former Independent Racing Series), is the fourth Ohio track in series history and the third first-time track on the '09 circuit. ... Besides Late Models, a truck division and a mini sprint division. ... Australian driver Craig Vosbergen of Perth, a champion dirt racer Down Under, entered the race with Doug Drown. Vosbergen has made several previous U.S. appearances. ... The 29 cars entered are second-fewest on the series to the 26 at Charleston (Ill.) Speedway. ... Three provisional spots are available; one for the series, one based on '08 UMP weekly points and one to the fastest qualifier not transferring to the feature lineup through the prelims. ... The series wraps up Saturday with a 40-lap feature paying $10,000 to win at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio.
Time trials (one lap; unofficial)
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 12.22
Correction: Order amended after officials ruled Drown's lap was a second quicker than previously announced.