Red-hot Shirley gets 5th Hell Tour win at Quincy
By Joshua JoinerDirtonDirt.com staff writer
QUINCY, Ill. (July 6) — Points leader Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., survived early challenges from Brandon Sheppard and a power outage during Friday night’s UMP DIRTcar Summernationals feature at Quincy Raceway, earning $7,500 for a flag-to-flag victory in the 20th leg of the month-long Summernationals tour. | Complete Summernationals coverage
The polesitting Shirley edged Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., in a side-by-side battle through the race’s first three laps, then pulled away after three early restarts.
Sheppard trailed a few lengths behind Shirley through the first half of the 40-lap race before lightning near the track knocked out all but emergency lights on the front straightaway just after the field reached the halfway mark.
After a nearly 20-minute delay, Shirley again pulled away from Sheppard and cruised as the second half of the race ran caution free. He crossed the finish line nearly a straightaway ahead of Sheppard to earn his fifth victory on this year’s tour and second in as many nights.
“I think everybody had the same tires on, so I knew when we had that (delay) that all I needed to do was just keep the momentum on both ends the best I could,” said Shirley who also won the tour’s race Thursday night at Macon (Ill.) Speedway. “I knew we had a pretty good race car.”
Sheppard settled for second ahead of reigning series champion Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill. Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., was fourth with seventh-starting Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., rounding out the top five.
Shirley’s victory continues his solid season overall and his emergence as the favorite to claim the $25,000 Summernationals championship.
“I feel more confident in the adjustments that I’m making night after night and reading the racetrack," said Shirley, who entered the event with a 29-point over Babb in the series standings. "Really, that’s the most important thing, hitting your marks and reading the racetrack. We took a pretty good guess at it tonight and it worked out for us.”
The runner-up effort was Sheppard’s fourth consecutive top-five finish on the series, but he felt he could have scored the win if not for a poor tire choice.
“I think our car was pretty close. If we would have made the right tire choice I think we could have rolled him on the outside, but we didn’t,” Sheppard said.
Notes: Shirley’s Pierce Race Car has a a Pro Power Engine and is sponsored by Jayco Construction, Skateland South, Allstar Performance, Kim’s Auto Body, and JFR Graphics. … Rain moved into the area just after the Late Model feature, washing out the remaining support division features. … The race’s first caution appeared three laps in when Jason Papich made contact with an infield tire, pushing it out onto the racing surface. … The race’s other two caution were for single-car spins on laps nine and 11. … The Summernationals tour moves to Clarksville (Tenn.) Speedway Saturday night for another $7,500-to-win event.
UMP DIRTcar Summernationals @ Quincy: (1) Brian Shirley, (2) Brandon Sheppard, (3) Shannon Babb, (4) Ryan Unzicker, (5) Jason Feger, (6) Dennis Erb Jr., (7) Jason McBride, (8) Jon Henry, (9) Mark Burgtorf, (10) Mike Spatola, (11) Justin Reed, (12) Jerry Lierly, (13) Nick Bartels, (14) Clint Kirkham, (15) Jim Moon, (16) Mike Hammerle, (17) Jason Perry, (18) RIckey Frankel, (19) Kathy Jarvis, (20) Jason Rauen, (21) Duke Whiseant, (22) Jason Papich. Fast qualifier (among 31 cars): Shirley, 13.730 seconds. Heat race winners: Shirley, Unzicker, Sheppard, Babb. B-main winner: Spatola. Provisional starters: Jarvis, Hammerle, Reid, Papich.
Redraw and provisionals
Looking for his second victory in as many nights, points leader Brian Shirley will start from the pole of tonight's main event after a redraw among heat race winners. Brandon Sheppard will join Shirley on the front row with Ryan Unzicker and Shannon Babb sharing row two. ... Kathy Jarvis will use one of two Summernationals series provisional to make her first series main event. Jason Papich will use the other series provisional while Justin Reid will use the track provisional and Mike Hammerle the UMP national points provisional.
Mike Spatola jumped ahead of polesitter Jim Moon on the start of the 10-lap B-main and led all the way to earn a feature starting spot. Moon held second the entire distance to grab the second feature transfer. The first of four cautions appeared on the second lap when Tony Toste got into the back of Justin Reed in turn two, sending both cars spinning. Michael Long went over the banking in tour one on the restart to bring out the second yellow flag, while spins by Denny Woodworth and Reid caused the third and fourth cautions.
Finish: Mike Spatola, Jim Moon, Matt Furman, Robby Warner, Denny Woodworth, Billy Genebacher, Tony Toste, Justin Reid.
Second-starting Shannon Babb survived repeated challenges from polesitter Dennis Erb Jr. in the fourth and final heat, pulling ahead on a final lap to win by less than a car length. Erb ran door to door with the high-running Babb for the majority of the race, but settled for second after pushing off of turn four coming to the white flag. Duke Whiseant ran with the two leaders early, but faded late in finishing third. Rickey Frankel claimed the fourth and final transfer position.
Finish: Shannon Babb, Dennis Erb Jr., Duke Whiseant, Rickey Frankel, Justin Read, Denny Woodworth, Mike Hammerle
Second-starting Brandon Sheppard roared around polesitter Clint Kirkham in turns three and four on the opening lap and earned the prelim victory after turning back Jason Feger on a late-race restart. Feger trailed just behind Sheppard for nearly the entire distance, but couldn’t capitalize on the race’s only restart with two laps remaining. He settled for second with Jason Rauen just behind in third. Kirkham slid back to fourth at the finish and will join the top three in making the feature lineup. The lap-eight caution was caused by a tangle between Tony Toste and Dustin Griffin.
Finish: Brandon Sheppard, Jason Feger, Jason Rauen, Clint Kirkham, Steve Sheppard Jr., Dustin Griffin, Tony Toste.
Polesitter Ryan Unzicker outdueled fellow front-row starter Mark Burgtorf on the opening lap and pulled away on a pair of mid-race restarts on his way to a convincing victory. Burgtorf held second the entire distance with Jerry Lierly just behind him at the finish. Jason Perry recovered from a lap-six accident to overtake Mike Spatola for the fourth and final transfer spot on the final lap. The race was slowed with six laps complete when Chuck Mitchell and Perry tangled and the end of the front straightaway. The momentum of the two cars carried both over the turn-one banking. Mitchell backed hard into the concrete barriers outside the track while Perry stopped his car just in time to avoid contact. Mitchell was OK, but it took safety crews nearly 15 minutes to get his car towed to the pit area. A second caution waved on lap seven when Matt Furman got too high in turns one and two and spun to avoid going over the banking.
Finish: Ryan Unzicker, Mark Burgtorf, Jerry Lierely, Jason Perry, Mike Spatola, Jason Papich, Matt Furman, Chuck Mitchell.
Leading every lap from the pole, fast qualifier Brian Shirley pulled to more than a straightaway advantage for a convincing victory in the caution-free 10-lapper. Third-starting Jason McBride slid up in front of outside polesitter Jon Henry on the race’s opening lap and held off Henry and Nick Bartels to finish second. Henry pressured McBride the entire distance, but couldn’t find a way around in settling for third. Bartels was fourth and will join the top three finishers in transferring to the main event. Two attempted starts were waved off before the third start stuck.
Finish: Brian Shirley, Jason McBride, Jon Henry, Nick Bartels, Jim Moon, Billy Genebacher, Robby Warner, Kathy Jarvis.
Points leader Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., posted a lap of 13.730 seconds around Quincy Raceways during Friday’s UMP DIRTcar Summernationals time trials and topped 31 qualifiers at the quarter-mile oval.
Shirley’s time was the only the only lap under 14 seconds and earns him the pole for one of four heat races coming up. Other heat race polesitters after group qualifying: Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill.; Clint Kirkham of Camden, Ill.; and Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill.
Each 10-lap heat race will transfer the top four finishers to tonight’s main event while B-main transfers and provisional starters will make up the remainder of the 22-car field.
Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., increased his lead in the series standings with a $5,000 Herald & Review 100 victory Thursday at Macon (Ill.) Speedway. Shirley’s 1,299 points tops reigning series champion Shannon Babb’s 1,270. Jason Feger is third with 1,172 points followed by Brandon Sheppard (1,117) and Ryan Unzicker (1,013).
- Brian Shirley (3s), Chatham, Ill. 13.730
- Jon Henry (15) Ada, Ohio 14.235
- Robby Warner (79), Quincy, Ill. 14.573
- Jason McBride (77), Carbondale, Ill. 14.575
- Nick Bartels (27), El Segundo, Calif. 14.583
- Billy Genebacher (72), Camp Point, Ill. 14.667
- Jim Moon (1m), Zionsville, Ind. 14.729
- Kathy Jarvis (30), Park City, Utah 15.484
- Ryan Unzicker (24), El Paso, Ill. 14.261
- Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill. 14.263
- Mark Burgtorf (7b), Quincy, Ill. 14.518
- Jerry Lierly (7L), Camp Point, Ill. 14.520
- Jason Perry (27), Payson, Ill. 14.540
- Jason Papich (91p), Nipomo, Calif. 14.579
- Chuck Mitchell (117), Jacksonville, Ill. 14.625
- Matt Furman (51), Iowa City, Iowa 14.829
- Clint Kirkham (28), Camden, Ill. 14.061
- Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill. 14.160
- Jason Feger (25) Bloomington, Ill. 14.312
- Jason Rauen (98), Farley, Iowa 14.381
- Michael Long (56), Quincy, Ill. 14.433
- Tony Toste (91t), Arroyo Grande, Calif. 14.433
- Dustin Griffin (20), Camp Point, Ill. 14.674
- Steve Sheppard Jr. (5s), New Berlin, Ill. 14.724
- Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill. 14.146
- Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill. 14.327
- Duke Whiseant (A1), Texarkana, Ark. 14.620
- Rickey Frankel (33), Quincy, Ill. 14.695
- Denny Woodworth (45), Mendon, Ill. 14.975
- Justin Reed (1st), Collinsville, Ill. 15.015
- Mike Hammerle (16), St. Charles, Mo. 15.539