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Tri-City Speedway

Moyer grabs $10,000 UMP victory at Tri-City

June 22, 2012, 6:33 pm
By Joshua Joiner
DirtonDirt.com staff writer
Billy Moyer (21) battles Randy Korte at Tri-City. (stlracingphotos.com)
Billy Moyer (21) battles Randy Korte at Tri-City. (stlracingphotos.com)

PONTOON BEACH, Ill. (June 22) — Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., survived contact while battling race-long leader Randy Korte on lap 29 of Friday’s UMP DIRTcar Summernationals feature at Tri-City Speedway and led the final 21 laps on his way to a $10,000 victory at the 3/8-mile racetrack. | Complete Summernationals coverage

The fourth-starting Moyer pressured Korte of Highland, Ill., for much of the 50-lap race before the contact between the two drivers knocked Korte into the wall and out of contention.

Moyer cruised the remaining distance, topping Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., for the 80th Summernationals victory of his career and his first on this year’s tour.

Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, advanced from the eighth starting spot to finish third with fast qualifier Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., and seventh-starting Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., rounding out the top five in the ninth leg of the 29-race Summernationals tour.

The victory gave Moyer his second $10,000 payday in less than a month at Tri-City, a track that he ranks among his favorites.

“We’ve had a lot of good runs here, a lot of good luck,” said Moyer, whose previous Tri-City victory came in May 27‘s Budweiser 50. “I guess when you run good, you like the racetrack better. But there’s a lot of tracks where I’ve won and don’t care a lot for. Here, it just seems like it’s always fun to come back. The dirt here, the shape of it and everything about it, it’s just fun to race on.”

The lap-29 run-in with Korte ended a tight battle for the lead that had raged for more than 10 laps.

Moyer moved to second by lap seven and kept pace with Korte until the race's first caution on lap 16. Moyer turned up the pressure following the restart, and the two leaders raced side by side for the majority of the laps leading up to the lap-29 incident.

The race’s decisive moment was setup by Moyer ‘s strong run off of turn four, giving him what he thought was enough room to dive into turn one harder than he had the previous laps.

Moyer’s momentum carried him high exiting turn two and Korte didn’t give. The two drivers came together at the exit of the corner, sending Korte into the wall. The contact with the wall wasn’t significant, but Korte’s car rode down the concrete and came to rest at the end of the back straightaway.

Korte displayed his displeasure with Moyer on the track, pulling his car in front of Moyer’s when he reached him under caution and gesturing before pulling to the pit area.

“We came up on lapped traffic and Billy just crowded me,” Korte said. “He got into me there and it was just enough to get me into the wall, and that’s how it ended.

“I ran the same line the whole race, so why did he crowd me that lap versus the rest of the race? I just don’t understand that. There’s yellow paint on both of my wheels on my left side, so that should say something.”

After the race, Moyer said that he felt he gave Korte enough room to avoid hitting the wall.

“I hated to see that happen with Randy there,” Moyer said in victory lane. “We’re friends and we were racing real hard. I didn’t think I got into him; I thought I left him enough room up there.”

Shirley entered the night trailing reigning series champion Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., by three points in the series standings. With Babb finishing eighth Friday night, Shirley unofficially took the points lead.

The runner-up finisher was aiming for his second consecutive victory on the tour after winning the previous night at Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, Ill. But his efforts were hampered by the wrong right-rear tire that was mistakenly put on his car before the race.

“We ended up putting a right-front tire on our right-rear. It had a lot of sipes in it, so it ended up chunking out a little bit,” Shirley said. “Billy was really good. I’m not gonna take anything away from how good he is; he’s Billy Moyer. But when a tire like that is on the right-rear, … I don’t know how you keep that thing underneath you.”

The first of the race’s two cautions appeared with 16 laps complete when Jason Feger slowed on the back straightway, ending his run from 16th to seventh.

Feger’s car was ailed by heavy left-front damage that was caused by contact with Dennis Erb Jr. on the back straightaway the previous lap. Feger rolled once the caution waved and made contact with Erb’s car a number of times and gestured before pulling to the pit area.

Notes: Moyer’s Clements-powered Victory Circle Chassis is sponsored by Henderson Motorsports, L&D Trucking, Car City, Cooley Transport and Watter’s Autoland. ... Moyer's 80 victories leads the tour's all-time winlist. Babb is second on the list with 73 wins. ... Moyer becomes the tour's seventh different winner in nine events. Only Moyer's son, Billy Moyer Jr., has won multiple races. ... Moyer's victory came after a poor qualifying effort. He rebounded by charging from fifth to first in his heat race. “The driver finally showed up in the heat race," Moyer said. "I don’t know who was in it in qualifying, some guy who knocked the wall down." ... The Summernationals moves to Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway Saturday night for a $10,000-to-win event.

Summernationals @ Tri-City: (1) Billy Moyer, (2) Brian Shirley, (3) Brian Birkhofer, (4) Bobby Pierce, (5) Dennis Erb Jr., (6) Brandon Sheppard, (7) Billy Drake, (8) Shannon Babb, (9) Jon Henry, (10) Jason McBride, (11) Billy Moyer Jr., (12) Mike Spatola, (13) Ryan Unzicker, (14) Chad Zobrist, (15) Michael Long, (16) Dewayne Kiefer, (17) Frank Heckenast Jr., (18) Greg Johnson, (19) Chris Simpson, (20) Randy Korte, (21) Jason Feger, (22) Wendell Wallace. Fast qualifier (among 43 cars): Pierce, 15.465. Heat race winners: Moyer, Shirley, Sheppard, Korte. B-main winner: Heckenast. Provisional starters: Moyer Jr., Henry, Kiefer, Wallace. C-main winner: Wallace.

Preliminary results:

Redraw and notes

The feature field was called to staging at 10 p.m. while track prep continues. ... Provisional starting spots go to Billy Moyer Jr., Jon Henry, Dewayne Kierfer and Wendell Wallace. ... Looking for his second straight victory, Brian Shirley will start from the pole of tonight's 50-lap main event after a redraw among heat race winners. Randy Korte will join Shirley on the front row while Billy Moyer and Brandon Sheppard will share row two. ... Fast qualifier Bobby Pierce was one of the faster cars during heat race action, but he missed out on making the redraw when contact with an infield tractor tire slowed a potential race-winning move on Brian Shirley in the second heat race. “I was so focused on (Shirley) that I just didn’t see I was so close to it,” said Pierce, the young son of legendary racer and car builder Bob Pierce. “My dad’s got a good bumper on these cars, so I knew I could nick (the infield tires), but I guess I hit it too hard and it messed me up.” Pierce held on to the second spot in the heat and will start sixth in the main event. He’s hoping track conditions will play into his favor. “I think I can get up there; it just depends on what they do to the track,” Pierce said. “I know they’ll do something, but I hope it’s not too much.” … Ryan Unzicker is another driver looking to move forward in the feature. He advanced from ninth to third in his heat race to earn the 12th starting spot. “It’d be good if we could get up there and get us a good run, like a top five,” said Unzicker, who has struggled since winning the tour’s race at Wilmot (Wis.) Speedway on Sunday. “We need something to get things turned around and get our mojo back.” Unzicker switched race cars for tonight’s race, going with his car from last year to see if it’ll help change his fortunes.

B-main

Frank Heckenast Jr. started from the pole and led every lap of the B-main, topping Mike Spatola to earn a starting spot in the main event. Spatola was a close second at the finish of the caution-free race and will also transfer. Drivers finishing outside the transfer spots included Billy Moyer Jr., Jimmy Mars and Brad Neat. The race's only caution appeared with four laps remaining when Rickey Frankle and Steve Karnes tangled in the middle of turns three and four.

Finish: Frank Heckenast Jr., Mike Spatola, Eric Smith, Billy Moyer Jr., Nick Bartels, Jimmy Mars, Todd Hall, Kyle Logue, Mark Burgtorf, Rodney Melvin, Brad Neat, Rickey Frankel, Steve Karnes.

C-main results

Top three transfer to B-main
Finish: Wendell Wallace, Ricky Frankel, Rodney Melvin, Dewayne Kiefer, Jason Riggs, Kevin Weaver, Jay Morris, Justin Reed, Michael Jacober, Jerry Lierly, Kathy Jarvis.

Fourth heat

Polesitter Randy Korte moved ahead of Brian Birkhofer on the start of the race and led every lap for a convincing victory. Birkhofer was shuffled back to third by a high-running Jason Feger early in the race, but he retook the spot midway through. Ryan Unzicker charged from the ninth starting spot to finish third while Feger faded back to fourth as the track's top groove appeared to go away. Feger will join the top three in transferring to the main event.

Finish: Randy Korte, Brian Birkhofer, Ryan Unzicker, Jason Feger, Mike Spatola, Jon Henry, Brad Neat, Rodney Melvin, Bran Kehrer, Chad Stapleton

Third heat

Polesitter Brandon Sheppard took control on the start and pulled away to a convincing victory over third-starting Dennis Erb Jr. in another caution-free race. Shannon Babb advanced from his sixth starting spot to finish third while Michael Long held off Nick Bartels and Jimmy Mars to earn the fourth and final transfer spot.

Finish: Brandon Sheppard, Dennis Erb Jr., Shannon Babb, Michael Long, Nick Bartels, Jimmy Mars, Mark Burgtorf, Wendell Wallace, Jason Riggs.

Second heat

After two failed starts, outside polesitter Brian Shirley pulled ahead of fellow front-row starter Bobby Pierce held off the young driver in a race-long battle for the lead. The low-running Pierce pulled alongside Shirley multiple times throughout the 10-lap race, but his strongest run was nixed when he tagged a tractor tire on the inside of turn three. He corrected his car and chased down Shirley, but ran out of time and settled for second. Chris Simpson was a close third in the caution-free race while Billy Drake charge from 10th to fourth to also transfer to the main event.

Finish: Brian Shirley, Bobby Pierce, Chris Simpson, Billy Drake, Eric Smith, Billy Moyer Jr., Kyle Logue, Tim Manville, Dewayne Kiefer, Justin Reed.

First heat

Billy Moyer charged forward from his fifth starting spot and used a late restart to overtook race-long leader Jason McBride on his way to winning the 10-lap prelim. McBride settled for second followed by reigning track champion Chad Zobrist and Greg Johnson in a race that transferred the top four to the feature. The second-starting McBride got the jump on polesitter Kevin Weaver and pulled away to a comfortable lead. But his lead was erased when Weaver slammed the wall while attempting to hold off Moyer for second. Weaver limped to the pit area under caution.

Finish: Billy Moyer, Jason McBride, Chad Zobrist, Greg Johnson, Frank Heckenast Jr., Todd Hall, Steve Karnes, Jay Morris, Michael Jacober.

Time trials

Young Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., mastered a tricky racing surface during qualifying for Friday's UMP DIRTcar Summernationals event at Tri-City Speedway and posted the fastest lap of 43 qualifiers at the St. Louis-area dirt track.

Pierce's lap of 15.586 seconds earned him the pole starting spot for one of four heat races coming up at the 3/8-mile oval. Other heat race polesitters after group qualifying: Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Ill.; Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill.; and Randy Korte of Highland, Ill.

The top four finishers in each 10-lap prelim will transfer to Friday night's 50-lap, $10,000-to-win main event, while two consolation race transfers and four provisional starters will make up the remainder of the 22-car field.

The track's surface proved difficult for a number of drivers during qualifying, which was done four cars at a time. Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., slapped the wall exiting turn four on his first lap and didn't improve much on his second lap. Mike Spatola of Manhattan, Ill., also found the wall during his run, with his brush with the concrete coming in between turns one and two.

Pre-race notes

With his victory Thursday night at Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, Ill., Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., closed to within three points of reigning series champion Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., in the series points standings. Behind Babb (513 points) and Shirley (510), Billy Moyer Jr. (448) is third with Jason Feger (435) and Ryan Unzicker (402) rounding out the top five. … Dennis Erb Jr. is in the pit area tonight, meaning he is officially off the list of full-time drivers on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. The national-tour competes tonight in South Carolina. … Billy Drake of Bloomington, Ill., has rejoined the tour for Friday’s race. He finished fourth at Spoon River Speedway Tuesday in his only start on this year’s tour. … Other notable drivers rejoining the tour at Tri-City include Billy Moyer, the tour’s all-time winningest driver who hasn’t won in four starts this year; Chris Simpson of Oxford Iowa, who’s looking to improve on his best finish of 20th in the three events; Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., who scored a top-five finish at Cedar Lake Speedway; and Cedar Lake runner-up Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa. … Wendell Wallace had more issues with his hauler on the way from Fayette County to Tri-City. Wallace and crew made it to the track, but had to call a mechanic to repair a broken axle on the truck. Wallace, who finished third last night at Fayette County, swapped engines in his race car for tonight’s action. … Jon Henry welcomed back crew member John McClain last night and will enjoy his help in the pits through Sunday’s race at I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, Mich. Henry was without any crew help for his victory Tuesday night at Spoon River and in Wednesday’s race at Highland (Ill.) Speedway. … During the drivers’ meeting, series director Sam Driggers reiterated that in a wreck, any driver stopping on the track is considered involved in the caution and automatically sent to the rear. There was some confusion to the rule during Thursday's feature when second-running Jason McBride spun to avoid a lapped car that had cut through the infield and pulled back onto the track directly in front of him.

Qualifying (unofficial)

First group

  1. Kevin Weaver (B12), Gibson City, Ill., 15.895
  2. Jason McBride (77), Carbondale, Ill., 15.924
  3. Todd Hall (99), Charleston, Mo., 15.970
  4. Greg Johnson (24H), Bedford, Ind., 15.970
  5. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 16.201
  6. Chad Zobrist (78), Highland, Ill., 16.467
  7. Jay Morris (77), Watseka, Ill., 16.387
  8. Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 16.410
  9. Butch Kruckeberg (76) Edwardsville, Ill., 16.809
  10. Steve Karnes (11), Marion, Ill., 16.952
  11. Michael Jacober (7), Highland, Ill., 17.258

Second group

  1. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill. 15.586
  2. Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill. 15.695
  3. Chris Simpson (32s), Oxford, Iowa 16.099
  4. Eric Smith (9), Bloomington, Ill. 16.117
  5. Kevin Cole (81c), Christopher, Ill. 16.165
  6. Justin Reed (1st), Collinsville, Ill. 16.183
  7. Richey Frankel (33), Quincy, Ill. 16.215
  8. Dewayne Keifer (0), St. Genevieve, Mo. 16.221
  9. Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr) Batesville, Ark. 16.235
  10. Kyle Louge (21k), Oreana, Ill. 16.255
  11. Billy Drake (75), Bloomington, Ill. 16.305

Third group

  1. Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 16.001
  2. Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 16.160
  3. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 16.274
  4. Michael Long (56), Quincy, Ill., 16.430
  5. Wendell Wallace (6m), Batesville, Ark., 16.444
  6. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 16.537
  7. Jerry Lierly (7L), Camp Point, Ill., 16.761
  8. Mark Burgtorf (15), Quincy, Ill., 16.812
  9. Nick Bartels (27), El Segundo, Calif., 17.118
  10. Jason Riggs (81jr), Harrisburg, Ill., 17.178
  11. Kathy Jarvis (30), Park City, Utah, 17.601

Fourth group

  1. Randy Korte (00), Highland, Ill., 16.245
  2. Brian Birkhofer (15B), Muscatine, Iowa, 16.279
  3. Jason Feger (25) Bloomington, Ill., 16.338
  4. Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill., 16.552
  5. Brad Neat (41), Dunnville, Ky., 16.606
  6. Jon Henry (15) Ada, Ohio, 16.666
  7. Chad Stapleton (32), Edinburgh, Ind., 16.747
  8. Rodney Melvin (27), Benton, Ill., 16.883
  9. Ryan Unzicker (24), El Paso, Ill., 16.932
  10. Brant Kehrer (92), New Memphis, Ill., 17.214

Feature lineup

Row 1: Shirley, Korte
Row 2: Moyer, Sheppard
Row 3: McBride, Pierce
Row 4: Erb, Birkhofer
Row 5: Zobrist, Simpson
Row 6: Babb, Unzicker
Row 7: Johnson, Drake
Row 8: Long, Feger
Row 9: Heckenast, Spatola
Row 10: Moyer Jr., Henry
Row 11: Kiefer, Wallace

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