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Paducah International Raceway

Shirley earns $5,000 at Paducah to end drought

September 19, 2009, 6:47 am
By Brian Garrison
O'Reilly MARS DIRTcar Series
Brian Shirley heads for victory at Paducah. (Ron Mitchell)
Brian Shirley heads for victory at Paducah. (Ron Mitchell)

PADUCAH, Ky. (Sept. 18) — Ending an 11-month drought in special-event victories, Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., earned an O'Reilly MARS DIRTcar Series victory Friday night at Paducah International Raceway. Shirley earned $5,000 for winning the USA World 50-Wayne Coakley Memorial for the second straight year. | Slideshow

Shirley, who started seventh in the 22-car field, inherited the lead when race-long leader and four-time World 50 winner Terry English of Benton, Ky., was stymied by a right-rear flat tire. Shirley led the rest of the way and took the checkered flag ahead of five-time MARS champion Bill Frye of Greenbrier, Ark.

Terry Casey of New London, Wis., was third in a Scott Clippinger Racing-backed No. 16c followed by Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., at the high-banked 3/8-mile oval in western Kentucky. Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., rounded out the top five.

With his eighth-place finish, four-time MARS champion Terry Phillips of Springfield, Mo., grabbed the series points lead from Eric Turner of Springfield with just two series races remaining. Turner, who has struggled after holding a comfortable points lead midway through the season, took a provisional starting spot and finished 11th.

Phillips has a five-point margin on Turner heading for Saturday's MARS event at Springfield (Mo.) Raceway and Sunday's season finale at Monett (Mo.) Speedway.

Notes: Shirley drove a Rocket Chassis sponsored by Jegs.com. ... The No. 36 carried the yellow sheetmetal of the car driven by Kenny Wallace at the Sept. 9 Prelude at Eldora Speedway, an all-star event for NASCAR drivers. ... Shirley's regular sponsors on his No. 3s include Petroff Towing, Jayco Construction, J&J Steel and B Auto Parts. ... Shirley's last victory of $5,000 or more came Oct. 18, 2008, at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. ... The race was a makeup of an Aug. 28 rainout. ... Hometown driver Jeremy Williams won the night's Crate Late Model event.

USA World 50-Wayne Coakley Memorial: (1) Brian Shirley, (2) Bill Frye, (3) Terry Casey, (4) Dennis Erb Jr., (5) Jason Feger, (6) Jeremy Payne, (7) Frank Heckenast Jr., (8) Terry Phillips, (9) Terry English, (10) Will Vaught, (11) Eric Turner, (12) Randy Sellars, (13) Tyler Reddick, (14) Dylan Thompson, (15) Tony Jackson Jr., (16) Brandon McCormick, (17) Rodney Melvin, (18) Scott Riggs, (19) Jarryd Holshouser, (20) Darrell Mooneyham, (21) Dewaine Hottinger, (22) Kevin Weaver. Heat race winners (among 40 cars): Melvin, Cole, Feger, English, Frye. Consolation winners: Weaver, Sellars. Provisional starters: Turner, Mooneyham.

O'Reilly MARS points

(Through Sept. 18)
1. Terry Phillips - 1,568
2. Eric Turner - 1,563
3. Jeremy Payne - 1,536
4. Brandon McCormick - 1,336
5. Tony Jackson Jr. - 1,254
6. Darrell Mooneyham - 924
7. Rylan Long - 848
8. Bill Frye - 699
9. Will Vaught - 659
10. Leroy Johnson - 651
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