By Jordan Morris
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio. July 16, 2014 2012 DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Brian Shirley survived an over-heating engine en route to dominating all 40-laps and claiming the $5,000 checkered flag Wednesday night at Atomic Speedway.
Shirley started the feature event in the third position behind front-row starters Duane Chamberlain and Delmas Conley. On the races opening lap, Shirley quickly made his way to the lead by rocketing around both drivers before either had a chance to lead a single lap.
Conley fell back through the field, eventually settling for an 18th place finish. Chamberlain stayed glued to the leaders back-bumper for the first handful of laps, as he challenged Shirley for the top spot on several occasions. Shirley had trouble pulling away from Chamberlain in the early laps of the race, but by lap 18 the leader began to inch further from the field after finding a faster line higher up the track.
Shirley had the car to beat, eventually building a lead of over two-seconds on second-place, but in the final stages of the event his car began to overheat. The leader suffered a punctured hole in his radiator, turning his car into a ticking bomb waiting to explode. Shirley continued on, never surrendering the lead during the duration of the event, and surviving an overheating engine to claim his third victory of the 2014 DIRTcar Summer Nationals season at Atomic Speedway.
Its nice to still have a shot at the championship, but were not worrying about the points deal, said Shirley, who last won at Clayhill Motorsports Park on June 26. We just came out here to try to win races and make as much money as we can – so were just gonna try to win the rest of the races and let the points fall where they fall.
If the battle atop the championship standings wasnt close enough before the race, it has since gotten closer. Points-leader Shannon Babb started the feature in the eighth position, six spots better than Ryan Unzicker who trailed Babb in the standings by 41-points heading into the night.
On lap 29, Babb managed to climb to the fifth position and was slowly working his way to the front of the field when his car suddenly slowed on the front stretch. Babb was forced to retire following mechanical issues, giving Unzicker the opportunity to gain ground on the points-leader. Unzicker took advantage, finishing the night in the seventh position, and cutting Babbs points lead to 26-points.
After capturing the win on Wednesday night, Brian Shirley now sits third in the championship standings only 45-markers behind Babb for the top spot and 19 behind Unzicker for second. The championship battle now becomes a three driver fight with three races remaining.
RJ Conley, Doug Drown and Jeep Van Wormer rounded out the top five.
Heat race winners were Chamberlain, Delmas Conley and Shirley.
With only three races remaining in the 2014 DIRTcar Summer Nationals season, the tour joins the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals on Thursday night at Brushcreek Motorsports Complex in Peebles, Ohio.
DIRTcar Summer Nationals Statistical Report; Atomic Speedway; Chillicothe, Ohio; July 16, 2014; A-Main (40-laps): 1. 81-Brian Shirley ($5,000), 2. 20C-Duane Chamberlain, 3. 71C-RJ Conley, 4. 20-Doug Drown, 5. 55-Jeep Van Wormer, 6. 99M-Devin Moran, 7. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 8. B5-Brandon Sheppard, 9. 81JR-Jason Riggs, 10. 21M-Jason Montgomery, 11. 5M-Ryan Markham, 12. 51-Jamie Oldfield, 13. 96-Tanner English, 14. 77K-Steve Kester, 15. 25L-Steve Lance Jr, 16. 19-Chad Smith, 17. 18-Shannon Babb, 18. 71-Delmas Conley, 19. 29K-Garrett Krummert, 20. 9F-Mark Frazier, 21. 71R-Rod Conley, 22. 33-Kevin Wagner.
2014 DIRTcar Summer Nationals Schedule
|June 11||Wed||Brownstown Speedway||Brownstown, Ind.||RAIN|
|June 12||Thur||Kankakee Co. Speedway||Kankakee, Ill.||Billy Moyer|
|June 13||Fri||Cedar Lake Speedway||Somerset, Wis.||Rick Eckert|
|June 14||Sat||Cedar Lake Speedway||Somerset, Wis.||RAIN|
|June 15||Sun||Wilmot Raceway||Wilmot, Wis.||Rick Eckert(2)|
|June 17||Tue||Farley Speedway||Farley, Iowa||Shannon Babb|
|June 18||Wed||Spoon River Speedway||Canton, Ill.||Jason Feger|
|June 19||Thur||Quincy Raceways||Quincy, Ill.||RAIN|
|June 20||Fri||Tri-City Speedway||Pontoon Beach, Ill.||Billy Moyer(2)|
|June 21||Sat||Fairbury Speedway||Fairbury, Ill.||RAIN|
|June 22||Sun||I-96 Speedway||Ionia, Mich.||Brian Shirley|
|June 23||Mon||Peoria Speedway||Peoria, Ill.||Brandon Sheppard|
|June 25||Wed||Clarksville Speedway||Clarksville, Tenn.||Shannon Babb(2)|
|June 26||Thur||Clayhill Motorsports||Atwood, Tenn.||Brian Shirley (2)|
|June 27||Fri||Paducah Int. Raceway||Paducah, Ky.||RAIN|
|June 28||Sat||Federated Auto Parts Raceway||Pevely, Mo.||Brian Birkhofer|
|June 29||Sun||Lincoln Speedway||Lincoln, Ill.||Brady Smith|
|July 1||Tue||Belle Clair Speedway||Belleville, Ill.||Bobby Pierce|
|July 2||Wed||Jacksonville Speedway||Jacksonville, Ill.||Jason Feger(2)|
|July 3||Thur||LaSalle Speedway||LaSalle, Ill.||Brian Birkhofer(2)|
|July 4||Fri||Fayette Co. Speedway||Brownstown, Ill.||Brandon Sheppard(2)|
|July 5||Sat||Highland Speedway||Highland, Ill.||Tyler Reddick|
|July 6||Sun||Tri-State Speedway||Haubstadt, Ind.||Billy Moyer(3)|
|July 8||Tue||Florence Speedway||Union, Ky.||Jason Jameson|
|July 9||Wed||Terre Haute Action Track||Terre Haute, Ind.||Billy Moyer(4)|
|July 10||Thur||Macon Speedway||Macon, Ill.||Shannon Babb(3)|
|July 11||Fri||Farmer City Raceway||Farmer City, Ill.||Billy Moyer(5)|
|July 12||Sat||34 Raceway||Burlington, Iowa||Billy Moyer (6)|
|July 13||Sun||Vermilion Co. Speedway||Danville, Ill.||Shannon Babb(4)|
|July 16||Wed||Atomic Speedway||Chillicothe, Ohio||Brian Shirley (3)|
|July 17||Thur||Brushcreek Motorsports Complex||Peebles, Ohio||$5,000|
|July 18||Fri||Attica Raceway Park||Attica, Ohio||$5,000|
|July 19||Sat||Oakshade Raceway||Wauseon, Ohio||$10,000|
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour is brought to fans across the country by many important partners including: Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Racing Electronics (Official Communication), Velocita (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to these fine Contingency Partners: Beyea Headers, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Edelbrock, Fox Shocks, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Mobil 1, MSD, Quartermaster, Superflow Dynos, Summit Racing Equipment and Wrisco Aluminum; Promotional Partners include: Chevy Performance Parts, Indiana Decal, Intercomp and Petroff Towing.