FARMER CITY, IL – Sept. 4, 2020 – He’s won this year using the bottom lane and the middle, and now The Highside Hustler is right back to getting it done on the high side.
Jason Feger gave the Farmer City Raceway fans quite a show on their final Friday night race program of the 2020 season, winning the laps-on-end battle for the lead with Shannon Babb and Bobby Pierce late in the race and holding them off for the $5,000 victory in the fourth annual Farmer City 74 with the MARS Super Late Model DIRTcar Racing Series.
Feger started to the outside of Ryan Unzicker and immediately got to work on the top side, fending off pressure from Babb and Pierce right behind him. He settled into third after Babb got by him shortly after a Lap 8 restart but was able to match his pace and keep up.
Feger and Babb kept their battle going for the runner-up spot until the caution came out on Lap 26 for a flat left-rear tire on leader Ryan Unzicker. The El Paso, IL-native was showing signs of a slower pace in the laps prior to the yellow and took it to the work area for a tire change, rebounding later in the race from deep in the pack to come back and finish sixth.
What came next was just a good old-fashioned duel between two of Illinois’ best.
Babb had assumed the point after Unzicker went pit-side and led the field back to green, using the extreme bottom lane in the corners, nearly hitting the infield tractor tires at times. Feger threw his MB Customs #25 right up on the top once again and went lap-after-lap with Babb, trading the lead back-and-forth five times from Lap 28 to 33. Feger would just nip Babb at the line one lap, then Babb would sneak ahead at the line the next.
“I knew Babb was right there but I kinda felt okay with him there because I knew what he had. You can’t ever count out Shannon here; he and [Billy] Moyer are two of the best-ever here,” Feger said of the back-and-forth battle.
Feger eventually got a great run off of Turn 4 on Lap 33 and began to pull away from Babb while Pierce began to close-in on them both. All three ended up within a half-car-length of each other as they reached five-to-go and continued their fight for position in close quarters.
Feger dipped into lapped traffic as he got the two-to-go signal, which opened the door for Pierce behind him as he made the move around Babb into second. But in the end, nothing was able to slow Feger down as he sprinted across the stripe to collect his third victory of the year in DIRTcar competition.
“I felt like I was way better on the long runs,” Feger said. “I don’t know if it was me as a driver or the tires or what, but I could smooth out and really get in a good rhythm, and I think that was it.”
Feger’s second year aboard an MB Customs chassis has given him the opportunity to try the bottom lane more frequently, where he’s actually encountered some success in 2020. But Friday night was a performance for the die-hard Feger fans – an all-in, gassed-up showing of mastery on the quarter mile of Farmer City, right in the lane of his nick-namesake.
“Tonight, the track was actually pretty good all over, but I’m definitely comfortable up on that top lane,” Feger said. “I just kinda felt like… you’ve got Bobby [Pierce] back there and [Shannon] Babb, who are both exceptional on the cushion here, and I felt like it was going to be easier for me to make them pass me on the bottom than let somebody drive by me on the outside.”
The MARS Late Model Series action continues Saturday night at Fairbury Speedway in Fairbury, IL for the $10,000-to-win FALS Super Nationals. Follow DIRTcar Racing on social media for live updates throughout the event.
Feature (47 Laps) 1. 25-Jason Feger ; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce ; 3. 18-Shannon Babb ; 4. 3S-Brian Shirley ; 5. 21-Billy Moyer ; 6. 24-Ryan Unzicker ; 7. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr ; 8. 9-Eric Smith ; 9. 74-Mitch McGrath ; 10. 83-Scott James ; 11. 10S-Taylor Scheffler ; 12. 30-Mike Glasscock ; 13. 21B-Rich Bell ; 14. 4G-Bob Gardner ; 15. 42-McKay Wenger ; 16. 19R-Ryan Gustin ; 17. 1W-Donny Walden ; 18. B12-Kevin Weaver ; 19. 74A-Russ Adams ; 20. 28M-Jake Miller ; 21. 89-Mike Spatola ; 22. 33M-Tim Manville ; 23. 21-Billy Moyer  Hard Charger: 74-Mitch McGrath[+8]
Summit Racing Equipment American Modified Series
He let one get away from him back in July, and there was no way Nick Hoffman was about to let it happen again Friday night at Farmer City Raceway.
Starting on the pole, Hoffman put a big hurt on the field, leading all 30 laps en route to becoming the fifth different Summit Racing Equipment American Modified Series winner in five contested races this season, besting the nine-time Farmer City winner Mike McKinney and seven-time DIRTcar UMP Modified National points champion Mike Harrison.
Hoffman’s good friend and Elite Chassis customer Mike McKinney beat him in a terrific DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Feature event at Farmer City almost two months ago with a late-race pass for the win. Needless to say, Hoffman made certain that did not happen again this time around.
Hoffman jumped out to the lead early and made light work of any lapped traffic he encountered.
“I was able to maneuver really well and pick and choose my lines,” Hoffman said. “When I did have to come off the bottom and go through the middle, I felt I carried plenty of speed where nobody could get below me if they were on me.”
After a quick caution just under halfway, Hoffman again started pulling away from the field, but McKinney had just taken second and rode less than two seconds back. As they entered slower traffic once again, Hoffman sliced through rapidly, but McKinney began to get held up slightly, allowing for Harrison, Allen Weisser and Will Krup to catch him as they entered the home stretch.
In the end, Hoffman remained unchallenged as he cruised to the $2,500 victory while McKinney was able to hang on in traffic for second. Harrison made a terrific effort on the top side to claim third, and Krup nipped Weisser at the stripe to get fourth.
With the guy who’s won nine times at Farmer City in his non-existent rearview mirror, Hoffman held strong out front, knowing the #96 was behind and could strike at any moment if he wasn’t careful.
“There were a couple of times where [signal sticks] showed me that Mike [McKinney] was getting closer, so I stepped my game up and rolled a little bit faster,” Hoffman said.
Heading into the FALS Super Nationals Saturday night at Fairbury Speedway, Hoffman knows it’s going to take another performance like Friday’s for him to beat McKinney and gain those ever-so-important UMP National points before the season wraps-up in the coming weeks.
“[McKinney’s] won nine races here, so he’s the king of this place right now. And Fairbury too, he’ll be really tough, probably the toughest guy to beat,” Hoffman said.
The American Modified Series action continues Saturday night at Fairbury Speedway in Fairbury, IL, for the $10,000-to-win FALS Super Nationals. Follow DIRTcar Racing on social media for live updates throughout the event.
Feature (30 Laps) 1. 7-Nick Hoffman ; 2. 96M-Mike McKinney ; 3. 24H-Mike Harrison ; 4. K19-Will Krup ; 5. 25W-Allen Weisser ; 6. 77-Ray Bollinger ; 7. 5CS-Curt Spalding ; 8. 3L-Jeff Leka ; 9. 25-Tyler Nicely ; 10. 32P-Bobby Pierce ; 11. 4-Victor Lee ; 12. 45-Kyle Hammer ; 13. 28-Michael Bolyard ; 14. 35-David Stremme ; 15. 99W-Chris Arnold ; 16. 16C-John Clippinger ; 17. 1KS-Keith Smith ; 18. 242-Brandon Bollinger ; 19. 59R-Jacob Rexing ; 20. 81C-Christopher Cole ; 21. 21D-Danny Schwartz ; 22. 43A-Larry Anderson ; 23. 21-Troy Dodson  Hard Charger: 25-Tyler Nicely[+12]