MACON, Ill. — official release — Jimmy Dearing photo — Macon Speedway fans should just call Shannon Babb “Five Time.”
Babb, from nearby Moweaqua, Ill., traded the lead back-and-forth with championship rival Ryan Unzicker for most of the race before Babb finally claimed the top spot just past halfway en route to making history by capturing his third win of the season and fifth Herald & Review 100 at his hometown Macon Speedway.
Bobby Pierce, who started from the pole-position, jumped out to an early lead and controlled the first four circuits. Babb, who started just behind Pierce in the third position, easily made his way around second-place starter Brian Shirley, as he stayed close to the leader’s back bumper.
Babb captured the lead from Pierce on lap five and was not seriously challenged for almost the next 30 laps. Babb held the lead until lap 34 when lapped traffic helped a hard-charging Ryan Unzicker, who started in the seventh position, squeeze past Babb and claim the top spot.
Unzicker held the lead for the next 22 laps but could not hold off Babb, who found the high-line just past halfway in the event and charged back to the front to retake the lead. Babb pulled away from Unzicker and easily led the final 45 laps of the 100-lap feature event, claiming the $5,000 checkered flag at Macon Speedway. Unzicker settled for his sixth runner-up finish of the season without capturing a victory yet.
“We’ve growed up here and raced here a lot, so it means a lot to win this thing,” said three-time series champion Shannon Babb, who received a loud ovation upon winning in front of his hometown crowd. “You know, it’s tough running 100 laps here and staying out of trouble.”
In another back-and-forth battle, Babb returned his name to atop the series all-time wins list as he tied Billy Moyer at 86 DIRTcar Summer Nationals career victories, just one night after Moyer won at Terre Haute Action Track and took the outright lead.
Brian Shirley, Dennis Erb Jr. and Matt Taylor rounded out the top five.
Heat race winners were Pierce, Gary Christian, Babb and Shirley.
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals continues on Friday night as they join the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals at Farmer City Raceway in Farmer City, Ill.
DIRTcar Summer Nationals Statistical Report; Macon Speedway; Macon, Ill.;
July 10, 2014; A-Main (100-laps): 1. 18-Shannon Babb ($5,000), 2. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 3. 81-Brian Shirley, 4. 28E-Dennis Erb Jr, 5. 24T-Matt Taylor, 6. 12B-Kevin Weaver, 7. 42-MCKay Wenger, 8. 25L-Steve Lance Jr, 9. 4T-Guy Taylor, 10. 38L-Ryan Little, 11. 91-Kyle Logue, 12. 7T-Steve Thorsten, 13. 30V-Mark Voigt, 14. 27K-Greg Kimmons, 15. 1M-Jim Moon, 16. 28B-John Beck, 17. B5-Brandon Sheppard, 18. 1CJ-Gary Christian, 19. 36-Andrew Barnes, 20. 32-Bobby Pierce, 21. 33H-Billy Hough, 22. 21B-Rich Bell.