Kent Robinson Hangs On For $10,000 Birthday Race Win

For the second night in a row, the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Late Models produced some exciting feature race action with Bloomington, Indiana’s Kent Robinson holding off a hard-charging Devin Shiels to win the 19th Annual Birthday Race/DIRTcar Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” Finale at Oakshade Raceway Saturday night.

Trouble started even before the initial drop of the green flag for pole-sitter Ryan Unzicker who could not get his car out of gear to get it started after the driver introductions. That moved up the inside row putting Brandon Thirlby on the pole for the start. Thirlby opened up a big lead early in the 60-lap main event. A caution on lap 21 for James Rice tightened the field back up with Ruhlman in second behing Thirlby. Kent Robinson and Devin ShIels pressured Ruhlman for the second position just after the restart, with both drivers eventually getting by. Robinson then closed in on Thirlby and was able to overtake him just before the halfway point of the race. Shiels followed into second a handful of laps later and then reeled in the race leader with 20 laps remaining. The two drivers ran nose to tail for several laps until Shiels took a shot at passing on the high side coming off turn four. That move backfired on Shiels as he slid up the track, lost touch Robinson and get stuck behind a lapped car he had previously passed. Shiels seemed to be granted a reprieve when the caution flag flew on lap 53 which meant a clear track ahead for the leaders to battle it out. Shiels desperately tried to find a way to get up alongside Robinson, but Robinson held on to earn the big $10,000 Birthday Race victory. Shiels settled for second with Brandon Thirlby ending up third. Last year’s Birthday Race winner, Jon Henry, finished fourth with defending Late Model track champion Brian Ruhlman fifth.

Friday night’s Summer Nationals Late Model feature winner, Bobby Pierce, was officially crowned the 2017 DIRTcar Summer Nationals Champion after his tenth place finish, earning him $25,000.

North Carolina driver Nick Hoffman swept both Birthday Race weekend Summit Racing Equipment Modified Summer Nationals races last year at Oakshade and appeared to have the car to beat again in the Modified feature on Saturday night. Hoffman jumped out to a big lead in the first part of the 30-lap feature event. Clark Lake, Michigan’s Brian Ruhlman worked his way up to second on lap 18, but was a good distance behind Hoffman. Bad luck struck late in the race as Hoffman suffered a flat tire while leading. He continued to try to nurse his car around the track, but Ruhlman closed in and took over the lead with three laps to go as Hoffman limped back to the pits. Ruhlman went on to pick up the win easily over the previous night’s winner, Taylor Cook. John McClure, Jeff Koz and Hillard Miller were the rest of the top five finishers.

The Compact feature event capped off a great night of racing with point leader Jason Deshler setting the pace early. Brogan Rehklau marched to the front quickly and took the lead away on a lap three restart after a caution. Rehklau pulled away from Deshler who was caught up in an incident with two laps to go while running second which ended his night on the back of the tow truck. Rehklau went on to post his fourth consecutive Compact feature win with Nathan Goodman finishing second. Forest Riffe started near the back of the pack and worked his way up to a third place finish. Cameron Tusing and Jeff Foks Sr. were the rest of the top five finishers.

The final Oakshade/Attica Late Model Challenge Series event takes place this coming Saturday, July 22. Along with the UMP Late Models will be the UMP Sportsman, Bomber and Compact classes back in action. Gates open at 4pm with hot laps at 6pm and racing at 7pm.


Pierce And Cook Oakshade Raceway Summer Nationals Night Number One Winners

Bobby Pierce from Oakwood, Illinois, captured his first Oakshade Raceway feature win over six time track champ Rusty Schlenk in an exciting 40-lap DIRTcar Summer Nationals feature event on Friday night.

Schlenk started on the pole and grabbed the early lead over Ryan Unzicker in the main event. After opening up a decent lead early, Unzicker closed back in on Schlenk in lapped traffic and was about to take the lead on lap 18 when Brent Larson was spun just in front of the leaders to bring out the yellow flag. Schlenk led the field back to the green with Pierce in third. A couple laps later Pierce was able to overtake Unzicker for second and then set his sights on Schlenk. With Pierce close behind, Schlenk made some contact with the car just in front of him that was trying to stay on the lead lap which forced Schlenk to check up. At the same time, Pierce dove to the inside to take the lead away on lap 32. Schlenk regrouped and closed back in on Pierce and was able to get back up beside him with three laps to go. Pierce would fend off the challenge and pick up the $5,000 check for the win. Schlenk settled for second with Unzicker third. Cody Mahoney finished fourth with last year’s Birthday Race winner Jon Henry fifth.

Nick Hoffman from Mooresville, North Carolina, swept the two Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds Summer Nationals races at Oakshade Raceway last year. Hoffman had the car to beat early in the Modified feature this night, but another North Carolina driver would spoil his bid at a third consecutive Oakshade win. Taylor Cook from Stanley, North Carolina got to the inside of Hoffman to snatch the lead away on lap 14. Cook then set sail, opening up a big lead over Hoffman who was battling with Brian Ruhlman for second. Ruhlman was able to get by Hoffman for second at one point, but Hoffman battled back. Cook went on to the easy win with Hoffman finishing second ahead of Ruhlman. Jamie Lomax finished fourth followed by Tom Conrad Jr. and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular, Matt Crafton.

More Summer Nationals racing action is on the way for Saturday, July 15. The DIRTcar Summer Nationals Late Model Finale will be the19th Annual Oakshade Raceway Birthday Race paying $10,000 to the winner. The Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds will be racing for $1,500 to win and the Compacts will also be in action. Gates will open at 10am and the pits will be open to anyone with a grandstand admission until 4pm to meet the drivers. Hot laps will be at 6pm with racing at 7:30pm.


Shiels Continues His Winning Ways

Devin Shiels from Britton, Michigan, increased his UMP Late Model point lead at Oakshade Raceway after picking up feature win number three on Saturday night. The Vintage American Race Cars were also in action featuring race cars from the 1930s through the 1980s including midgets, champ cars, sprints, modifieds, coupes and even a 1981 dirt late model that won one of the exhibition feature races.

Steve Kester entered the night third in points and jumped out to a big lead early in the 25-lap UMP Late Model feature race after starting on the pole. Matt Shipley slowly began to reel in Kester while working through some slower lapped traffic, but a couple cautions on lap 15 and 18 tightened up the field. Shipley fell back after the restart for the lap 15 caution. After the lap 18 restart, Ryan Missler and Devin Shiels fanned out three-wide for the race lead. Shiels powered by on the outside to take the lead coming off turn two and went on to take the checkered flag. Kester held off Missler to finish second and also moved up one spot to second in the points behind Shiels. Following Missler, who ended up third, were Brian Ruhlman and Rusty Schlenk who started at the back of the running order.

Wauseon, Ohio’s Jeff Geis picked up his second UMP Sportsman feature win in as many weeks, holding off a challenge from point leader Rusty Smith for much of the race. Bob Gregory was third and Chris Williams ended up fourth after starting 10th. Drew Smith, who is second in points, finished fifth.

Gregg DeTray from Swanton, Ohio, started 7th in the Bomber A Main and worked his way up to the front to earn his third feature win of the year. William Cundick got his best finish of the season, winding up in second. Last week’s A Main winner, Chris Henry, slipped back to a third place finish after starting on the outside of the front row. Tim Hancock, who is second in Bomber points, made up a little ground in the standings after finishing fourth. Jeff Foks Jr. maintained a slim two point lead after finishing fifth.

Rich Riffe started inside the fifth row and quickly worked his way into contention of the Bomber B Main. Riffe worked his way up to second and after an early race restart, took over the race lead from Zach Stotz. The Toledo, Ohio driver went on to pick up the win with Dave McMannamy and Josh Montague finishing second and third respectively. Stotz slipped back to fourth with Bobby Swagger fifth.

Brogan Rehklau has been on fire in the Compact class the past couple of weeks. The Waldron, Michigan driver earned his fifth feature win of the year and third straight counting last week’s double features. Cody Kipp capped off his season debut with a second place finish after starting 12th. Nathan Goodman finished third followed by point leader Jason Deshler in fourth. Cory Gumm ended up fifth.

A couple of make up Bomber features from the rain-shortened June 17th event finished off the evening. Rich Riffe added another A Main win to his list of accomplishments. It was his third of the year. Gregg DeTray settled for second after starting on the pole followed by Tim Hancock, Jeff Foks Jr. and Dylan Hough.

Justin Gamber started at the rear of the final race of the night, the make up Bomber B Main and took the lead late. Gamber’s car pushed up high in the turn and Cody Laney from Hicksville, Ohio, got by and took the win. Shane Estes was able to take second with Gamber slipping back to third. Cody Stetten was fourth with Brianna Ruby finishing fifth.

Two huge nights of racing are scheduled for Oakshade Raceway this coming weekend. There will be action on both Friday and Saturday as the Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” rolls in to town to crown their champion. On Friday night, the Summer Nationals Late Models will race for $5,000 to win and the Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds for $1,000. The stakes get higher on Saturday with $10,000 up for grabs to the winner of the Summer Nationals finale in the 19th Annual Birthday Race. The Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds will race for $1,500 to win. Compacts will also be in action on Saturday night. Gates will open at 10am both Friday and Saturday with racing at 7:30 each night. General admission ticket holders will be able to access the pits on Saturday until 4pm.