FARLEY, Iowa (June 17) — Winning a $10,000 UMP DIRTcar Summernationals feature was special enough for Billy Moyer Jr. Doing it at a track in his father’s native home state of Iowa made it downright unforgettable.
Racing in front of his grandfather and other family members from the Hawkeye State, the 27-year-old driver from Batesville, Ark., scored a convincing flag-to-flag victory in Wednesday night’s 50-lap Hell Tour feature at Farley Speedway.
“It means a lot,” Moyer said of his first-ever win in the state where his legendary father, Billy Moyer, grew up before relocating to Arkansas and where many of his relatives still live. “My Uncle Carl and ‘Haircut,’ my grandpa (Billy Moyer Sr.) of course, and (Uncle) Greg … I’ve got half my family up here, so I’m just glad to get a win here.
“We’re happy,” he added. “It’s awesome to celebrate.”
There was simply no stopping Moyer in Round 6 of the grueling Summernationals series. He blasted off the outside of the front row to grab the lead from polesitter Bobby Pierce of Oakwood, Ill., at the initial green flag and never looked back en route to his fourth career Summernationals triumph but first since 2012.
Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, advanced from the sixth starting spot to overtake Pierce for second place on lap 19 and threatened Moyer several times over the remaining distance but couldn’t summon the speed to secure a home-state victory. The 31-year-old settled for a second-place finish, 0.740 of a second behind Moyer at the checkered flag.
Pierce slipped to third in the final rundown 24 hours after capturing his first Summernationals win of 2015 at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway. Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., placed fourth and Chad Simpson of Mt. Vernon, Iowa — the runner-up’s older brother — was fifth in a race that saw passing become difficult as the 3/8-mile oval’s surface took rubber and turned one-lane.
The winner’s father, Hall of Famer Billy Moyer, finished sixth after starting directly behind his son in the fourth spot.
Ratifying his return from a brief spring sabbatical from racing for personal reasons, the younger Moyer put together a strong performance from the evening’s start to its finish to secure the fifth five-figure score of his career. He was especially focused for the race’s original start, which proved critical to his success because his deft move to push his Longhorn Race Car ahead of Pierce carried him to victory.
“You gotta qualify good, you gotta run good in the heat and you gotta get a good start in the feature,” said Moyer, whose three previous Summernationals wins all came during the first four events of the 2012 Hell Tour when he captured the opener at Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway and swept the Masters weekend at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis. “We done all those tonight — finally. Coming down the front straightaway (at the initial green flag) I knew I had to get ahead of (Pierce) … I timed it pretty good I thought, and that meant a lot because it would’ve been hard to pass him here.”
Indeed, the racetrack quickly locked down with rubber, making passing even lapped cars difficult. As a result, Moyer was careful to not press the issue when he reached lapped traffic, aware that trying to pass them in the wrong place could allow Simpson a free lane into the lead.
“You’re handcuffed there,” Moyer said. “I knew if I couldn’t pass a lapped car, it was gonna be hard for somebody to pass me unless I messed up. I mean, if I can’t pass the last-place car, it’s gonna be hard for the second-place car to pass the first-place finish guy — and when I heard it was Simpson behind me, I knew that he’s not gonna rough me up because I wouldn’t rough him up. When I knew it was him, I was like, ‘All right, dipstick … just don’t miss your marks. Just don’t miss the strip, and you’ll be OK.’
“I think it showed. I was preserving my tires the best I could — it was like sandpaper out there from the get-go. We took our time and entered turn one straight the best we could to save our stuff.”
Moyer had plenty of speed in reserve, however.
“That last five laps (after a final caution flag on lap 45) I think you seen, we flipped a switch and we was rolling then,” said Moyer, who put a cushion of several car lengths on Simpson. “I couldn’t run like that earlier because I would’ve burnt my tires off and Simpson might have been able to get us, but for those last five laps we could let it all go.”
Moyer raved about the performance of his car after becoming the sixth different winner in as many Summernationals features this season.
“This old hot rod’s awesome,” Moyer said. “I’m lucky to drive it. It’s my car and I make the calls on it, but man, I’m upbeat right now because it’s just such a joy to drive.”
Moyer’s mount was ultimately too much for Simpson, who had two fleeting opportunities to sneak by Moyer but couldn’t take advantage of them.
The first, just before the race’s halfway point, came shortly after Simpson slid into second place on lap 19 when Pierce drifted high between turns three and four.
“I got rolling pretty good and then he got in the frontstretch wall once,” Simpson said. “I ran up on him pretty good and I was gonna dive on him, and then we just got to traffic. I couldn’t do anything then.”
Later, on lap 43, Moyer had his momentum slowed on the homestretch by two lapped cars and Simpson was able to nose underneath Moyer in turn one.
“I had a chance there, but I wasn’t gonna go in there and rough him up,” said Simpson, who made his first start in his familiar Kevin and Cindy Trca-owned Black Diamond-Club 29 No. 32 after spending the past month running special events for the Houghton, La.-based Childress Racing team. “He’s always raced me clean, so I’d rather have his respect. I could’ve dove in there and took both of us out, but to me it wasn’t really worth it. If I could’ve had the opportunity to do it and clear him, then I would’ve, but I knew I wasn’t able to do it without wrecking him and maybe me both.”
“Second’s good, though. We’ve had some bad luck here these last three weeks with Childress’s stuff, so it’s good to come out here and run good.
“It would’ve been good to get a win,” he added. “(Jimmy) Owens and (Earl) Pearson (Jr) and all those guys give me — for running second all the time so I gotta pick me up a ‘W’ here one of these times.”
Four caution flags slowed the event. Timothy Culp of Prattsville, Ark., brought out the first on lap 10 when he slowed with terminal mechanical trouble. Additional cautions were triggered by Jason Rauen of Farley, Ohio (right-rear flat on lap 26), NASCAR star Austin Dillon of Welcome, N.C. (spin between turns one and two on lap 31) and Darrel Moser of New Haven, Mo. (stopped on lap 45).
Preliminary notes and results:
With the 35-lap IMCA Late Model feature complete — Andy Nezworski was victorious over Justin Kay — the 50-lap UMP DIRTcar Summernationals A-Main is next to run. The green flag is expected to fall by 9:25 p.m. CT.
Bobby Pierce picked the pole position for the second consecutive night — and Tuesday night’s winner at Jacksonville, Ill., is feeling good about his chances for another victory lane appearance. “I like this racetrack a lot better than last year here,” said Pierce, who finished fourth in last year’s Hell Tour feature. “I remember last year being real heavy and rough because it rained a lot the day before the race, but this year it’s smooth and slicker. This kind of fits my motor situation a lot better.” … Billy Moyer Jr. starts from the outside pole one year after registering a seventh-place finish in Summernationals action at Farley. … Billy Moyer will start fourth as he tries to erase memories of his near-miss in last year’s Summernationals A-Main, which he led until blowing a tire with nine laps remaining. … Chris Keller of Adrian, Mich., appeared to have his long drive to compete at Farley end in rough fashion after he slammed the turn-one wall hard during the consolation, but he earned a berth in the feature due to a UMP DIRTcar national points provisional. ... Other provisional starters are teammates Jim Moon and John Hahler (Summernationals) and Dave Eckrich (track).
Finish (top 3 transfer): Joel Callahan, Mike Fryer, Charlie McKenna, Dave Eckrich, Gordy Gundaker, Kyle Hammer, Lyle Zanker, Chris Keller, John Hahler, Jim Moonb.
(10 laps; top 3 transfer)
Row 1: Joel Callahan, Gordy Gundaker
Row 2: Charlie McKenna, Mike Fryer
Row 3: Kyle Hammer, Chris Keller
Row 4: Dave Eckrich, John Hahler
Row 5: Lyle Zanker, Jim Moon
Bobby Pierce blasted off the outside groove to assume command over Chris Simpson at the start of the event and never looked back, sailing to a commanding victory. Simpson settled for second, followed by Ryan Unzicker, Ray Guss Jr. and Darrel Moser.
Finish (top 5 transfer): Bobby Pierce, Chris Simpson, Ryan Unzicker, Ray Guss Jr., Darrel Moser, Charlie McKenna, Chris Keller, Lyle Zanker.
Billy Moyer Jr. ran away with the prelim, leading all the way to win without a challenge. Shannon Babb finished second after driving around the outside of Jason Rauen rounding turns three and four on the final lap.
Finish (top 5 transfer): Billy Moyer Jr., Shannon Babb, Jason Rauen, Jason Feger, Austin Dillon, Gordy Gundaker, Kyle Hammer, John Hahler.
Chad SImpson dominated the action, outgunning Billy Moyer for the lead at the start and cruising to a half-straightaway victory over the Hell Tour's alltime winningest driver. Spencer Diercks held strong to third throughout the distance, with Justin Kay overtaking Timothy Culp to finish fourth. A caution flag flew on the opening lap for Jim Moon, who slid over the bank in turn three and needed help from the safety crew to have his car extracted from the muck.
Finish (top 5 transfer): Chad Simpson, Billy Moyer, Spencer Diercks, Justin Kay, Timothy Culp, Joel Callahan, Mike Fryer, Dave Eckrich, Jim Moon.
Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., was the overall quickest qualifier in the 25-car field, turning a lap of 15.071 seconds to earn the pole position for the first heat race. He will be gunning for redemption after losing the lead in last year's Summernationals event at Farley to a flat tire.
Other group fast-timers earning pole starting spots in heats were Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., and Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa.
Coming off a victory Tuesday night at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway, Bobby Pierce enters the evening leading the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals standings by 32 points (300-268) over Billy Moyer Jr. Jason Feger is third with 259 points despite missing the opener on June 10 at Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway, while Timothy Culp (237) and Ryan Unzicker (225) round out the top five. … Weather conditions for Wednesday’s action feature comfortable temperatures in the upper 70s and partly cloud skies. A risk of isolated thunderstorms does exist, but the greatest chance comes later in the evening. … Unzicker’s frustrating start to the 2015 Summernationals continued on his trip to Farley. An Iowa state trooper pulled him over near Dubuque for noticing from the other side of the highway that his hauler didn’t have a DOT sticker; after a long inspection and discussions with the cop, Unzicker was sent on his way with three citations for various infractions totaling over $800 in fines. “The Summernationals suck,” Unzicker quipped, trying to smile after experiencing one of the more annoying hazards of long-distance traveling. … With Shannon Babb’s wife, Emalie, still a few days away from her due date to deliver the couple’s first child, he’s in the pits ready to defend his ’14 Hell Tour victory at Farley. … Farley’s event is a hometown show for Jason Rauen, who last Friday night was the fast-timer for the Hell Tour event at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis. … Among the drivers joining the Summernationals action for the first time this year are Iowa’s Simpson brothers — Chad of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and Chris of Oxford, Iowa — Spencer Diercks of Davenport, Iowa, Dave Eckrich of Oxford, Iowa, IMCA Late Model standout Justin Kay of Wheatland, Iowa, and Chris Keller of Adrian, Mich., who decided to make the long haul to Iowa and make his first visit to Farley rather than stay home for Buckeye Dirt Late Model Speedweek after weighing the weather for each area. … Chris Simpson is behind the wheel of his familiar Kevin and Cindy Trca-owned No. 32 for the first time since a May 15 Lucas Oil Series start at Oshkosh (Wis.) Speedzone Raceway. He’s competed in three major events in recent weeks with the Houghton, La.-based Childress Racing team. ... NASCAR star Austin Dillon is back in action with his Dirt Late Model for the second consecutive night.
The UMP DIRTcar Summernationals reaches Round 6 of a now-27-race schedule with a Wednesday-night stop at Farley Speedway, a 3/8-mile oval that stands as the lone Hawkeye State track to host a Hell Tour event in 2015. The evening’s 50-lap event also represents the only mid-week Summernationals show that offers a $10,000 first-place prize.
The event marks the second consecutive year that the Hell Tour will visit Farley, which returned last year to the schedule for the first time since July 19, 2005, when Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., emerged victorious. Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., won last year’s event, while other past Hell Tour winners at Farley are Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind. (2000, 2004), Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark. (1993, 1999), Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn. (’03), Bart Hartman of Zanesville, Ohio (‘98) and Jack Boggs of Grayson, Ky. (’91).
Last year’s Summernationals event at Farley was the first contested on the facility’s new 3/8-mile oval. All previous Hell Tour shows were run on the old large half-mile oval, which shortened to its current configuration three years ago.
Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. CT with competition set for a 7 p.m. CT start.
The 25-car field will necessitate three 10-lap heat races and one consolation to set the 22-car feature field.
(Results from time trials determine heat lineups)
Billy Moyer (21), Bateville, Ark., 15.071
Chad Simpson (25), Mt. Vernon, Iowa, 15.251
Spencer Diercks (29), Davenport, Iowa, 15.262
Timothy Culp (8c), Prattsville, Ark., 15.786
Joel Callahan (40), Dubuque, Iowa, 15.817
Justin Kay (15K), Wheatland, Iowa, 16.024
Mike Fryer (54), Freeport, Ill., 16.049
Dave Eckrich (58), Oxford, Iowa, 16.314
Jim Moon (1M), New Florence, Mo., 16.505
Billy Moyer Jr. (21Jr), Batesville, Ark., 15.232
Jason Rauen (98), Farley, Iowa, 15.31
Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 15.352
Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 15.468
Austin Dillon (3), Welcome, N.C., 15.587
Gordy Gundaker (11), St. Charles, Mo., 16.059
Kyle Hammer (45), Clinton, Ill., 16.16
John Hahler (124), New Florence, Mo., 17.512
Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 15.577
Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 15.831
Darrel Moser (22M), New Haven, Mo., 15.87
Ryan Unzicker (24), El Paso, Ill., 15.877
Chris Keller (00), Adrian, Mich., 16.001
Charlie McKenna (22), Clear Lake, Iowa, 16.018
Lyle Zanker (9), Rockford, Ill., 16.497
Ray Guss Jr. (58R), Milan, Ill., 16.764