Federated Raceway at I-55
Stovall edges Sheppard, ends Babb's 2-win streak
PEVELY, Mo. (Aug. 27) — Jesse Stovall of Galena, Mo., rallied from his 19th starting spot Saturday at I-55 Raceway to overtake Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., in the final two laps, grabbing a thrilling MARS DIRTcar Series victory.
Stovall earned $5,000 in the Valvoline Battle Royal, running side-by-side with the low-running Sheppard over the final five laps at the third-mile oval in capturing his fifth career series victory.
Sheppard nearly made it a photo finish at the checkers in settling for second while ninth-starting Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., was third. Jeremy Payne of Springfield, Mo., was fourth and polesitter Randy Korte of Highland, Ill., rounded out the top five.
Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., who was gunning for a MARS weekend sweep after victories in Highland, Ill., and Paducah, Ky., fell out of contention with a near-spin, then spun on lap 33 to draw the race's final yellow flag.
Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., started outside the front row and led the first 25 circuits of the 40-lap feature, but the 13th-starting Sheppard stormed to the front, taking command on lap 26. Shirley's race would end a few laps later with mechanical problems.
Sheppard stayed in control, but as the race entered the late stages, Stovall worked his way into contention. Restarting third after a lap-33 yellow, Stovall grabbed the second spot and pulled alongside Sheppard as the frontrunners began a duel to the checkers. Sheppard was ahead at the start-finish line through lap 38, but Stovall nosed ahead at the white flag and beat Sheppard back around the final lap to secure the victory.
Notes: Stovall's Steve Rushin-owned Victory Circle Chassis is sponsored by Swafford's Service and Rushin Towing. ... Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., held the third spot when a lap-33 flat tire forced him to the pits. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Dennis Erb Jr., Rusty Griffaw, Tim Manville, Mark Miner and Ron McQuerry. ... Next up on the MARS circuit is 40th annual 4-State Dirt Track Championship on Sept. 4, a $4,000-to-win event.
Valvoline Battle Royal: (1) Jesse Stovall, (2) Brandon Sheppard, (3) Billy Moyer, (4) Jeremy Payne, (5) Randy Korte, (6) Jack Sullivan, (7) Dewayne Kiefer, (8) Tony Jackson Jr., (9) Jason McBride, (10) Brad Looney, (11) Bobby Pierce, (12) Mark Voigt, (13) Jeff Johns, (14) Terry Phillips, (15) Jason Feger, (16) Shannon Babb, (17) Rickey Frankel, (18) Brian Shirley, (19) R.C. Whitwell, (20) Dave Jumper, (21) Scott Weber, (22) Brandon McCormick, (23) Billy Moyer Jr., (24) Jason Rauen. Heat race winners (among 36 cars): Korte, Shirley, Feger, Sullivan. Consolation winners: Weber, Frankel. Provisional starters: Kiefer, McCormick, Johns, Whitwell.