FAIRBURY, IL – The quest for 100 DIRTcar Summer Nationals wins just got one race closer for Shannon Babb.
Babb, of Moweaqua, IL, found a sudden burst of speed late in the race around the bottom lane of Fairbury Speedway Saturday night and blew by his opponents for a $10,000 grand prize and his 99th career DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature win.
“It’s special right here at Fairbury. $10,000-to-win Summer Nationals always meant a lot to us. Growing up, it was everything. These are big races,” Babb said.
While it was a big win at a big race, it was also special to Babb on a personal note. Six years ago, he came into Fairbury after the birth of his daughter Finnlee and captured his 90th career Hell Tour victory. His 99th victory Friday night came six years to that date, at the very same track.
Babb’s second appearance of the season with the tour put him in a similar situation to the previous night at Tri-City Speedway – starting the 50-lap Feature from the third row. But it didn’t all play out in exactly the same way.
Babb quickly made his way up to third from sixth but decided to switch lanes en route to catch the leaders, which ended up sending him all the way back to eighth. He rode there several laps, just before the halfway mark, when his car came to life.
“I was the first one to hit the bottom, and when I hit the bottom, I ran back about eighth or ninth… But it came in for us,” Babb said.
Indeed, his Team Zero Race Cars chassis #18 did come in. It only took 11 laps for the four-time Summer Nationals champion to pass every car ahead of him.
Like his nicknamesake, The Moweaqua Missile launched off the bottom lane of the quarter-mile and made the move underneath Tanner English for the lead on Lap 35. Within 10 laps, Babb had opened up a gap of over two seconds and pushed it to over three seconds by the time he took the checkered.
English held off Devin Moran for second while Frank Heckenast Jr. and Bobby Pierce completed the top-five. Defending Summer Nationals champion Brian Shirley started on the pole but slipped back to seventh by the race’s end. Local favorite Mike Spatola arrived late to the track and was forced to start at the tail of a Heat Race, but made good on the night by transferring in through the Last Chance Showdown to finish ninth.
Now with $10,000 in his pocket, Babb’s already looking forward to Fairbury’s biggest event of the season – the Prairie Dirt Classic.
“This is the highlight of our season coming here. We can’t wait to get here at the end of July, they’re really coughing up some money for that race,” Babb said.
Round #6 of the 2021 DIRTcar Summer Nationals campaign hits Indiana’s Plymouth Speedway Sunday night, June 20. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision.
Feature (50 Laps) 1. 18B-Shannon Babb; 2. 81E-Tanner English; 3. 9M-Devin Moran; 4. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 5. 32-Bobby Pierce; 6. 42-Mckay Wenger; 7. 3S-Brian Shirley; 8. 6M-Dona Marcoullier; 9. 89-Mike Spatola; 10. 12W- Ashton Winger; 11. 32S-Chris Simpson; 12. 48-Tim Lance; 13. 9-Eric Smith; 14. B12-Kevin Weaver; 15. 25-Jason Feger; 16. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr; 17. 14G-Joe Godsey; 18. 4G-Bob Gardner; 19. 84-Myles Moos; 20. 2-Mike Chasteen Jr; 21. 18-Jeffrey Ledford; 22. 24-Ryan Unzicker
HIGH FIVE: Hoffman Wins at Fairbury for Fifth Consecutive Feature Win
Six-time champion Harrison challenges Hoffman early, retires after contact with wall
Five nights, five races, five wins. Nick Hoffman is on one of the most dominant winning streaks in DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals history.
Through those five races, there’s been 130 total Feature laps contested. Hoffman has led every single one. Even with the tough competition on the roster for Saturday night’s race at Fairbury Speedway, nothing could shake his concentration.
“I had a memory pop up on my Facebook today of two years ago [during] Summer Nationals, and it was a quote that I was off to a rough start to Summer Nationals, and man, this is the total opposite,” Hoffman said in Victory Lane.
The one and only six-time Summit Modified champion Mike Harrison, of Highland, IL, made the trip to Fairbury and initially looked to be a serious threat to Hoffman’s win streak, winning his Heat Race and lining up fourth for the start of the Feature.
Harrison jumped right into second on Lap 3 of the 30-lap event, pounding the cushion very aggressively, engine wound-up as he went in hot pursuit of leader Hoffman. But it didn’t last him the whole race.
With 11 laps remaining, having already scraped the outside wall several times, Harrison’s right-front tire gave out and sent him into the Turn 1 wall, ending his night early.
“He gets away with it a lot of times running up there, and sometimes it’ll bite ya,” Hoffman said of the incident. “Right before that happened, I found a ton of grip about a lane off the cushion. I felt like it would’ve been a pretty good race there because I picked up a bunch of pace.”
Curt Spalding inherited the runner-up spot for the restart but did not have anything for the three-time and defending champ Hoffman, who drove away with the $2,000 winner’s check. Nick Allen, Tommy Sheppard Jr. and Allen Weisser completed the top-five.
Round #6 of the 2021 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals campaign hits Indiana’s Plymouth Speedway on Sunday night, June 20. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision.
Feature (30 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman; 2. 5CS-Curt Spalding; 3. 21A-Nick Allen; 4. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr; 5. 25W-Allen Weisser; 6. 1W-Bob Pohlman; 7. 9H-John Demoss; 8. 0-Travis Kohler; 9. 24Z-Zeke McKenzie; 10. 45-Kyle Hammer; 11. 64-Dawson Cook; 12. 35-Ethan Weber; 13. 36-Eric Vaughan; 14. 11S-Nick Seplak; 15. 22C-Nick Clubb; 16. 5-Steven Brooks; 17. 24H-Mike Harrison; 18. 8K-Levi Kissinger; 19. 37-Michael Ledford; 20. 22- Wade Wenthe; 21. 88S-Alan Stipp; 22. 17-Mike Mosier