Fairbury American Legion Speedway
Shirley tops Feger in Fairbury's PDC tuneup
By Matt Curl and Mike NorrisFairbury American Legion Speedway
FAIRBURY, Ill. (Sept. 3) — Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., came out on top Friday at Fairbury American Legion Speedway, kicking off the Prairie Dirt Classic weekend with a dramatic 40-lap victory in the inaugural Prairie Dirt Shootout tuneup feature. The sixth-starting Shirley slipped past Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., just before the finish and grabbed the $5,000 victory. | Video
Feger, whose car suffered damage and an eventual flat tire after getting a piece of the race's lone accident on lap 37, slipped to third at the finish behind Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark., who rallied from 10th. Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., and Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., rounded out the top five on the first of two big nights of UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned non-touring events.
Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., started outside the front row and got the jump at the outset, leading early while Shirley quickly worked his way to second. Shirley pounced to take command when Smith got sideways in turn four on the 10th lap amid traffic, and Feger quickly dropped Smith to third. Sullivan worked his way into contention, reaching the third spot at the halfway point, just before Feger used the high groove to take the point from the low-running Shirley on lap 21.
Feger was still in the lead when heavy lapped traffic slowed the frontrunners, and a Richie Hedrick-Greg Johnson collision brought out the race's lone caution on lap 37, and Feger's No. 25 suffered heavy right-side cosmetic damage that began deflating a tire.
Feger restarted up front, but he jumped the cushion in turn four in the race's waning moments, allowing Shirley to regain the lead and race to victory by a half-length over Sullivan.
Action returns to the quarter-mile oval Saturday with the 21st annual Prairie Dirt Classic, a $10,000-to-win event sponsored by Lynn Chevrolet-Buick, Livingston Stone and Schahrer Trucking. Shirley is guaranteed a starting spot based on a provisional for the highest-finishing driver from Friday's feature.
Prairie Dirt Shootout: (1) Brian Shirley, (2) Jack Sullivan, (3) Jason Feger, (4) Shannon Babb, (5) Billy Moyer, (6) Brady Smith, (7) Dennis Erb Jr., (8) Wendell Wallace, (9) Bret Sievert, (10) Scott James, (11) Ryan Dauber, (12) Ryan Unzicker, (13) Scott Bull, (14) Eric Smith, (15) Donny Walden (16) Junior Shickel, (17) Greg Johnson, (18) Richie Hedrick, (19) Rodney Melvin, (2) Mike Provenzano (21) Frank Heckenast Jr. Fast qualifier (among 43 cars): Heckenast, 12.363 seconds. Heat race winners: Melvin, Feger, B. Smith, Sievert. Consolation winners: G. Johnson, Shickel. Provisional starter: E. Smith.