BARBERVILLE, FL – Feb. 10, 2010 – There was no stopping Shannon Babb on Wednesday night at Volusia Speedway Park. Babb, 36, of Moweaqua, Ill., dominated the 30-lap DIRTcar UMP Late Model A-Main, rolling to a flag-to-flag victory in his first night of action during the 39th annual DIRTcar Nationals by University of Northwestern Ohio.
Driving his Sheltra Construction Rocket car, Babb grabbed the lead at the initial green flag from his pole starting position and never looked back. He easily withstood two caution flags to secure the $7,000 triumph by 2.163 seconds over fifth-starter Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., who inherited second place on lap 17 when Jordan Bland of Campbellsville, Ky., spun in turn four but wasn’t able to challenge Babb with his Bowyer Dirt Motorsports Warrior car.
“The track was just in my favor tonight,” said Babb, a two-time champion of the grueling DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals tour. “When that bottom lane is dominant, it’s really hard to pass. So I just sat there and cruised.
“My guys were sitting here (in the infield) communicating with me real good and I could understand them, and that put me in the driver’s seat where I could just relax, breathe and drive the car.”
Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, Wis., fought forward from the eighth starting spot to finish third. Defending World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., started and finished fourth and three-time DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals titlist Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., settled for fifth after taking the green flag from the outside pole.
Babb ended a long victory drought with his standout performance, winning for the first time since July 10, 2009, in a DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals event at Ohio’s Waynefield Motorsports Park.
In addition, Babb scored his first win at Volusia behind the wheel of a Rocket Chassis car. His last win at the half-mile oval, on Feb. 14, 2007, came in a Rayburn mount.
“We learned a lot here over the last couple of years in this Rocket Chassis,” said Babb. “It’s getting more to where I know what to do all the time (with a Rocket), more consistent. I’m real happy with the car.”
Babb sat out Monday night’s DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH opener for the UMP Late Models, opting to spend some extra time working on his equipment at his teammate Patrick Sheltra’s shop in Indiantown, Fla. Tuesday night’s rainout pushed his 2010 Volusia debut to Wednesday — and Sheltra, a young ARCA Racing Series stock car regular who enters selected dirt Late Model events, was on hand to join Babb in Victory Lane.
According to Babb, Sheltra plans to climb behind the wheel of a team car to compete in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series season opener on Thursday night (Feb. 11) at Volusia.
The race’s two caution flags were for minor incidents. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., was left sitting in turn two on lap one after a scrape with Mike Knight of Ripley, N.Y., and Bland suffered the heartbreak of the evening when he lost control of his fleet car on lap 17 and spun out of second place — a position he had held from the start — while chasing Babb.
Rick Eckert of York, Pa., finished sixth, followed by Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.Va., opening-night winner Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who started 14th, Billy Moyers of Batesville, Ark., and Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y.
A field of 68 cars entered the evening’s action.
Babb turned the best overall lap of the group time-trial session, flashing around the sweeping track in 16.523 seconds.
Other group fast-timers included Erb (16.689 seconds), Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky. (17.531), Richards (17.938), McDowell (17.952) and Eckert (17.759).
Heat winners were Babb, Erb, Bland, Richards, McDowell and Eckert. The B-Mains were captured by McCreadie, Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., and Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark.
The 39th annual DIRTcar Nationals by UNOH continue on Thursday (Feb. 11) with the season-opening 50-lap, $10,000-to-win event for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series. A full program featuring the Super DIRTcar Series for big-block Modifieds is also on the agenda.
DIRTcar UMP Late Model A-Main Finish (30 laps):
1. Shannon Babb
2. Dale McDowell
3. Dan Schlieper
4. Josh Richards
5. Dennis Erb Jr.
6. Rick Eckert
7. Eddie Carrier Jr.
8. Darrell Lanigan
9. Billy Moyer
10. Tim Fuller
11. Eric Jacobsen
12. Eric Wells
13. Brad Neat
14. Brandon Sheppard
15. Jordan Bland
16. Mike Knight
17. Earl Pearson Jr.
18. Jack Sullivan
19. Wendell Wallace
20. Clint Smith
21. Jimmy Owens
22. Tim McCreadie
23. Austin Hubbard
24. Randy Korte
Lap Leaders: Babb (1-30)
Heat No. 1 (8 laps — Top 3 Transfer): 1. Shannon Babb, 2. Brandon Sheppard, 3. Brad Neat, 4. Steve Sheppard Jr., 5. Eric Jacobsen, 6. Tim McCreadie, 7. Dan Stone, 8. Russell King, 9. Chub Frank, 10. Ronnie DeHaven Jr., 11. Tyler Reddick (DNS) Dillan White
Heat No. 2 (8 laps — Top 3 Transfer): 1. Dennis Erb Jr., 2 Dan Schlieper, 3. Darrell Lanigan, 4. Brady Smith, 5. Tim Dohm, 6. Kyle Berck, 7. Steve Francis, 8. Jason Feger, 9. Whitney McQueary, 10. Chuck Julien, 11. Roy Mitchell (DNS) Brian Birkhofer
Heat No. 3 (8 laps — Top 3 Transfer): 1. Jordan Bland, 2. Eric Wells, 3. Clint Smith, 4. Earl Pearson Jr., 5. Tommy Kerr, 6. Greg Johnson, 7. Stacy Boles, 8. Jared Landers, 9. Brandon Kinzer, 10. Danny Mitchell (DNS) Mason Ziegler
Heat No. 4 (8 laps — Top 3 Transfer): 1. Josh Richards, 2. Tim Fuller, 3. Wendell Wallace, 4. Bub McCool, 5. Randy Korte, 6. Ricky Weiss, 7. Will Vaught, 8. Jonathan DeHaven, 9. Donald Beyers, 10. Ronnie Rihn, 11. Vic Coffey
Heat No. 5 (8 laps — Top 3 Transfer): 1. Dale McDowell, 2. Jimmy Owens, 3. Mike Knight, 4. Austin Hubbard, 5. Joe Callahan, 6. Jason McBride, 7. Tyler Ivey, 8. Rick Briggs, 9. Justin Rattliff, 10. Brian Nuttal Jr., 11. Kevin Colston
Heat No. 6 (8 laps — Top 3 Transfer): 1. Rick Eckert, 2. Eddie Carrier Jr., 3. Billy Moyer, 4. Jack Sullivan, 5. Brent Robinson, 6. Jeff Beyers, 7. Tyler Bruneing, 8. Dave Zona, 9. John Blankenship, 10. Darren Peters, 11. Mike Hammerle
B-Main No. 1 (10 laps — Top 2 Transfer): McCreadie, Jacobsen, Berck, Frank, S. Sheppard, Feger, Stone, McQueary, Reddick, Julien, B. Smith, Dohm, R. DeHaven, King, Mitchell (DNS) White, Birkhofer, Francis
B-Main No. 2 (10 laps — Top 2 Transfer): Pearson, Korte, Kerr, Boles, Johnson, Weiss, McCool, Vaught, J. DeHaven, Mitchell, Kinzer, Lander, D. Beyers, Rihn (DNS) Ziegler, Coffey
B-Main No. 3 (10 laps — Top 2 Transfer): Sullivan, Hubbard, Robinson, J. Beyers, Callahan, Ivey, Bruening, Briggs, McBride, Nuttal, Blankenship, Zona, Hammerle, Colston, Peters (DNS) Ratliff