Babb Wins Birthday Race/Summer Nationals Finale
Shannon Babb, from Moweaqua, Illinois, picked up his sixth consecutive DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals win in front of a jam-packed crowd at Oakshade Raceway on Saturday night. It was the final event of the series in which Babb was crowned champion in addition to picking up the $10,000 check from Oakshade for winning the 13th Annual Birthday Race.
Donnie Moran out of Dresden, Ohio started on the pole and fended off the challenge from Babb the first seven laps of the 60-lap Birthday Race feature. After a few laps of side by side racing, Babb finally took command of the race on lap eight. The first and only caution flag flew on lap 13 after Casey Noonan spun coming out of turn four.
The final 47 laps were all green flag racing and Babb pulled away from Moran after the restart to a sizable lead. Jeep Van Wormer worked his way past Moran into second and began to make up ground on Babb as Babb fought through slower traffic at the tail of the field. Just past the halfway point in the race, Van Wormer had eliminated the straightaway advantage Babb had opened up to close to within a car-length. That was as close as it would get. Van Wormer faded back just a bit after Babb changed up the line he was running through the corners and went on to cap off his championship run in the 2011 “Hell Tour” with another feature victory. Van Wormer settled for second with Carpentersville, Illinois’ Dennis Erb, Jr. finishing third. Moran slipped back to finish fourth and last week’s feature winner John Henry came home fifth.
Oakshade Raceway was also host to the final event in the Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals. Zach Schroeder started on the outside of the front row of the 25-lap feature event and led the entire distance. Brian Ruhlman worked his way quickly up to the second position by lap four after starting 11th. Jeff Sayles had a top five run going until he spun on lap to bring out the second yellow flag of the race. Ruhlman jumped to the outside of Schroeder to challenge for the lead after the restart, but Schroeder held him off and began to stretch his advantage while working through lapped traffic. Schroeder went on to pick up the checkered flag followed by Ruhlman and Tyler Boggs. Brent Hole finished fourth and Brad Roberts wound up fifth after starting 16th.
Two drivers have monopolized all but one feature win in the Oakshade Hornet division this year and both drew front row starting positions for the feature on Saturday night. Derek Morris and Drew Smith immediately battled for the lead once the green flag dropped. Morris had the advantage, but Smith drove hard underneath Morris going into turn one on the second lap and slid up in front of Morris. Morris then ducked back under Smith in turn two and maintained the lead. Morris went on to pick up his third feature win of the year with Smith settling for second. Closing in on the leaders near the finish was third place finisher Brandon Myers. Dylan Gensler was fourth and Breanna Franks rounded out the top five.
Next Saturday at Oakshade Raceway, it is the “Night of Wheels.” In addition to a full racing program of UMP Late Models, UMP Sportsman, UMP Bombers and Hornets, a bunch of lucky kids will win free bikes to take home with them. Gates open at 4pm with racing at 7pm.