By Jordan Morris
WAUSEON, Ohio. July 19, 2014 On the night of champions, local star Matt Miller charged his way from the third position to capture the lead on lap 17 en route to claiming the $10,000 checkered flag at his hometown track of Oakshade Raceway for the second year in-a-row, and third time in his career.
Shannon Babb, who only needed a 19th place finish to secure his fourth DIRTcar Summer Nationals title, finished in the third position and easily scored the $25,000 series title for the first time since 2011.
Miller, of Whitehouse, Ohio, started the 40-lap feature from the third position as Mason Zeigler and Jeep Van Wormer started on the front row. Zeigler, after winning Thursday and Friday nights, looked as if he would accomplish the three-night sweep after jumping out to an early lead.
Saturday night had the look of the previous two nights as Zeigler managed to dominate the opening 16-laps of the feature. Unlike his previous two victories, the leader was reeled in by Miller who passed Van Wormer for second on lap five, and tracked down the leader by lap 16.
Miller, the 1991 Oakshade Raceway track champion, powered around Zeiglers outside on lap 17, completing the pass and securing the lead. Miller stretched his lead by the halfway point as Zeigler came under fire from championship hopeful Ryan Unzicker for second.
Unzicker, who started the night 45-markers behind Shannon Babb for the title, worked his way around Zeigler for second just before Zeigler lost control of his car, causing the races only caution on lap 38. Unzicker pressured Miller for the top spot but fell short of claiming the victory yet again as he finished second for the seventh time of the 2014 season.
Miller led 24 laps and defeated Unzicker by .759 of a second en route to claiming the checkered flag for the second year in-a-row at his hometown track of Oakshade Raceway.
This one is fun, Miller said in victory lane. Theres always going to be a race in September (the World 100 at nearby Eldora Speedway) thats at the top of my list, but this is definitely a good one. Were close to home and weve got tons of fans and people I know up there in the stands, so theres no doubt I get pumped up for this race.
Shannon Babb, of Moweaqua, Ill., started the feature in the seventh position, just behind championship rivals Ryan Unzicker and Brian Shirley. Babb chased Unzicker through the field, eventually finding their way to the front, as Shirley was a non-factor and finished in the sixth position.
Babb did what he needed to do in order to recapture the championship trophy. Babb glued himself to Unzickers back-bumper, and even challenged him for the second position in the final stages of the race.
Babb settled for a third place finish – which was his series leading 17th top-five finish to go with four victories as he captured his fourth career DIRTcar Summer Nationals title by 38-points over Ryan Unzicker.
Its really hard to get these, said Babb, who admitted to getting nervous before the race started. Thirty nights of racing is a lot. You have a lot of ups and downs, but we got it done.
Brandon Sheppard and Jeep Van Wormer rounded out the top five.
Heat race winners were Zeigler, Miller, Sheppard and Van Wormer.
DIRTcar Summer Nationals Statistical Report; Oakshade Raceway; Wauseon, Ohio; July 19, 2014;
A-Main (40-laps): 1. 3-Matt Miller ($10,000), 2. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 3. 18-Shannon Babb, 4. B5-Brandon Sheppard, 5. 55-Jeep Van Wormer, 6. 81-Brian Shirley, 7. 32J-Jason Jaggers, 8. 21D-Dan Stone, 9. 20C-Duane Chamberlain, 10. 23V-Ryan Vanderveen, 11. 25Z-Mason Zeigler, 12. 49-Brian Ruhlman, 13. 91-Rusty Schlenk, 14. 77K-Steve Kester, 15. 9R-Curtis Roberts, 16. 1N-Casey Noonan, 17. 99M-Devin Moran, 18. 81JR-Jason Riggs, 19. 25L-Steve Lance Jr, 20. 0-Chris Keller, 21. 6M-Dona Marcoullier, 22. 20-Doug Drown.
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||Mason Zeigler|
|July 18||Fri||Attica Raceway Park||Attica, Ohio||Mason Zeigler (2)|
|July 19||Sat||Oakshade Raceway||Wauseon, Ohio||Matt Miller|
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.