Some of the Midwest’s top UMP Late Model drivers were on hand to compete in the finale of the 18th running of the Summer Nationals once again hosted at Oakshade Raceway. Don O’Neal already had the points championship wrapped up for this year coming into Saturday night’s events, but it was Shannon Babb who took home the big check for $10,0000 for winning the 60-lap feature event.
Last week’s feature winner, Aaron Scott, set the fast time in qualifying with a lap of 15.933, one of only two drivers with laps under 16 seconds. Scott won the dash and earned a starting position on the pole for the feature.
Dennis Erb jumped out to the early lead after starting on the outside of the front row. Scott fell back through the field, as Matt Miller, Shannon Babb, Don O’Neal and Kris Patterson would occupy the top five positions.
Patterson, who started ninth, used the low groove to work his way up to third by lap 16 and eventually took the lead on lap 21 while the leaders were working through heavy traffic.
Once Patterson took the lead, he began to pull away from the rest of the pack, until the only caution flag of the event flew on lap 31 after Rusty Schlenk spun in turn one.
Patterson led Erb, Babb, O’Neal and Donnie Moran as racing resumed after the restart. Babb quickly took second away from Erb.
Patterson went from the high groove back down to the low side of the track shortly after the restart. Babb closed in staying up high and took over the lead on lap 42. Patterson hung tough on the inside for a few laps, but then began to slip back through the running order.
Illinois’ Shannon Babb pulled away from the field in the closing laps of the race and was first to take the checkered flag. Dennis Erb was second with the Don O’Neal, last year’s winner, coming home third. Donnie Moran finished fourth and Kris Patterson held on for a top five finish.
The sportsman division had the night off so the bomber features were next to take center stage.
Bill Toedter led a group of fast cars from the start in the bomber A Main. Billy Ruff was right on his tail for most of the race and the two made contact on a couple of occasions in some very tight racing.
Toedter got loose coming off turn two after some more contact. That allowed Ruff to scoot on by and take the lead for a few laps.
Jake Rendel started 11th and with two laps to go, came from out of nowhere to breeze past the leaders and take the lead himself.
Rendel went on to win his second A Main of the year. Ruff finished second with Jim Scout, the bomber points leader entering the night, third.
Chris Dotson and Jeff Foks put on a great battle for the lead in the beginning stages of the bomber B Main, battling side-by-side lap after lap.
Foks took the lead on a restart after a yellow for Rick Dixon’s stopped car on the front stretch.
Dotson, who had fallen back to second, spun in turn two to bring out another caution sending him to the back for the restart.
Foks went on to the easy victory over Curt Lancaster (who started 19th), John Brooks, Dennis Laney and Richard Patten. Dotson ended up working his way back up to finish seventh.
Kyle Light picked up his first bomber feature win of the year leading the C Main from flag to flag.
The event was marred by a slew of caution flags. The first of which came out after hard contact between Dan Bronson and Joe Hefner on lap one that ended both drivers’ nights.
In the end, Light took the checkered flag uncontested.
Jeff Potridge rolled his car over earlier in the night in his heat event and started near the back of the C Main field, but managed to have a second place finish ahead of sportsman regular, John Bailey.
Saturday, July 24 is Auto Value Night at Oakshade Raceway featuring late model, sportsman and bomber racing.