Shannon Babb Wins UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour Feature at I-96 Speedway
Lake Odessa, Michigan (Sunday, June 26th, 2011): The traveling cars and stars from the UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour and the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals invaded I-96 Speedway for the Biggest Single Day Racing Event in the state of Michigan for the 2011 racing season on Sunday, June 26th as an outstanding crowd jammed every inch of the Lake Odessa, Michigan speed plant and were treated to some outstanding racing within the three divisions as 102 teams were on the grounds.
The UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour 40-lap Feature for the Tinney Automotive UMP Late Models was up first and after the greatest sight seen anywhere at any race track in the world; The four-wide salute “Wave Lap”, one of the strongest fields of the Hell Tour to date, and perhaps the strongest field of UMP Late Models ever assembled at I-96 Speedway took the green flag in search of a $5,000 pay day with Shannon Babb and Brian Shirley leading the stout 22-car starting field to the green flag.
Shirley jumped out to the early lead on the lightning fast 3/8s (0.375) mile high-banked dirt oval over Babb and the rest of the field who were jockeying for position. The laps quickly clicked off with Shirley setting a torrid early pace. By lap 15 Shirley had found himself surrounded by lapped traffic and he used that to his advantage to put even more real estate between him, Babb, and Fast Qualifier Zack Olger, the last weekly feature winner for the Tinney Automotive UMP Late Models at I-96 back on June 4th.
The first caution didn’t come out until lap 31 and on the restart; Shirley again pulled away from Babb and Olger and opened up nearly a straightaway lead on them in just a few short laps. However working on lap 38, Shirley tapped the turn two wall leading into the backstretch and was able to save the car. However he overshot turns three and four and spun his mount forcing the cars behind him to take evasive action. Babb was able to dodge Shirley but Olger had nowhere to go and slid into Shirley’s stopped machine bringing out the caution flag. Shirley was done for the evening while Olger went to the rear of the field with a damaged ride.
On the final restart, Babb had defending race winner, Jeep VanWormer on his back bumper, but after a short battle, Babb was able to put some distance between himself and the home state favorite and when the checkered flag flew, the Moweaqua, Illinois veteran, a two-time UMP Summer Nationals Champion and former Dirt Track World Championship winner, steered his Petroff Towing Chevrolet into victory lane after scoring his first Feature Win of the 2011 Hell Tour and taking over the Tours’ points lead in the process!
VanWormer settled for second with Defending UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour Champion Jason Feger finishing third over 18-year-old Brandon Sheppard and Jack Sullivan who completed the top five. Former Three-Time UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour Champion Dennis Erb Jr., finished sixth while Points Leader going into the night, Scott James was seventh over Billy Moyer Jr. Olger recovered to finish ninth with 19-year-old Dillan White rounding out the top 10.
Olger was the fastest of the 46 cars on the grounds in Qualifying as he established the track record on the 3/8s mile with a lap measured at a 16.255 which equals out to 83.051mph. He also scored a Qualifier Heat Race Win. Shirley, Babb, and White also collected Qualifier Heat Race wins while Donny Walden and Dave Hartman picked up C Main victories and Brian Ruhlman won the B Main over Dona Marcoullier to transfer into the Feature.
James and Walden earned UMP Summer Nationals Hell Tour Provisionals while 2010 UMP DIRTcar Racing Series National Champion Rusty Schlenk and Two-Time and Defending I-96 Speedway Track Champion Eric Spangler also picked up Provisionals as well.
The 30-lap DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals for the Lane Automotive UMP Modifieds rolled out next with a $1,000 pay check awaiting the winner. Another stout field of cars took the green flag as Jeff Sayles and Travis Stemler started on the front row. However it would be Joe Rokos, who started on the inside of the second row making a bold maneuver by the front row to take the early lead.
2007 Track Champion Shannon Fisk, who started on the outside of the second row, also made short work of the front row and set his sights on Rokos. On lap 10, he would take over the lead and try desperately to pull away from the rest of the field. However Jacob Poel, who came into the night second place in the season long points chase, worked his way up to second from his sixth starting spot and soon reeled in Fisk and the battle was on.
After trading the lead back and forth several times, Poel would take over the top spot for good on lap 20 and from there, the Spring Lake, Michigan driver in his Poel’s PRO-ACT Welding & Fabrication Chevrolet would go on to score his second Feature win of the 2011 racing season and draw ever so closer to Current Points Leader and UMP DIRTcar Racing Series Michigan State points leader, Mark Anderson, who finished 11th, in the chase for both titles.
Fisk finished second ahead of new DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Points Leader; Forrest, Illinois visitor Jeff Curl who started 17th. Rokos was fourth ahead of Andy Sprague who finished off the top five. Last Week’s Feature winner, former Two-Time Track Champion Todd Feutz was sixth as Wheatfield, Indiana visitor Nick Allen was seventh over Defending Track Champion Rich Robinson Jr., Sayles, and Tim Stemler from 20th, completed the top 10.
There was no Qualifying for the Lane Automotive UMP Modifieds as all 31 competitors drew for their starting positions in the Qualifier Heat Races. Robinson Jr., Fisk, and Poel won the heat races. For Poel, he is perfect in Heat Races at I-96 in 2011 as it was his sixth straight heat race win in six nights of racing at I-96 Speedway! Hoosier State invader, Ryan Thomas won the B Main to transfer into the Feature over Curl, Kyle Roberts, Brad Wilson, and Tim Stemler who also transferred.
The final race of the night was the 20-lap Feature for the Jim’s Auto Body of Portland UMP Sport Compacts as they were led to Chief Starter Tim Beebe’s green flag by Current Points Leader Rick Peck and Winston Motor Speedway invader Rich Lieb. After a brief side by side dual, it would be Lieb grabbing the early lead away from the reigning 2010 18 and over Rookie of the Year and he would set the pace whole the rest of the field settled in behind him.
Peck experience brief problems in his machine and dropped all the way back to eighth spot. The problem corrected itself and he would then begin fighting his way back to the front. In the meantime, Lieb was enjoying a comfortable advantage over the rest of the field before fellow Winston invader; Chad Tomczak got away from the pack and slowly but surely began reeling in the race long leader.
Tomczak was able to get to Lieb’s back bumper but couldn’t mount a challenge as he had to fight off a resurgent Peck late in the race. This allowed Lieb to again pull away and when all was said and done, the Muskegon, Michigan driver in his East Beltline Towing Eagle would score his first career I-96 Speedway Feature win!
Peck was able to get by Tomczak to finish second as J.T. Leach was fourth over Tim Horvath II who wrapped up the top five. Current 18 and over Rookie points leader Mike Vezino was sixth while Scott Rumsey, Keith Brigance, Taylor Wiles, and Current 17 and Under Rookie points leader, 15-year-old Jordan King were the final top 10. There was no Qualifying for the 25 Jim’s Auto Body of Portland UMP Sport Compacts teams as all teams drew for their starting position in their Qualifier Heat Races. Tomczak and Lieb picked up the Heat Race victories.