PEEBLES, Ohio — official release — Jim DenHamer photo — Mason Zeigler became the twelfth different winner in 2014 DIRTcar Summer Nationals action after capturing the $5,000 checkered flag on Thursday night at Brushcreek Motorsports Complex for his first career DIRTcar Summer Nationals victory.
Zeigler, a 17-year-old from Chalk Hill, Pa., started the 40-lap feature event on the outside of pole-sitter Ryan Unzicker. Zeigler quickly shot around Unzicker for the top spot on the opening lap, as Unzicker fell back through the field, eventually settling for a eighth place finish.
Zeigler was never seriously challenged, as third-place starter R.J Conley worked his way to second but could never catch Zeigler to capture the lead. R.J Conley ran second for much of the race but fell to fourth after allowing his dad, Rod Conley, and championship-leader Shannon Babb to slip by him.
Rod Conley had a chance to overtake Zeigler following a late-race restart, but fell just short as the leader rocketed away from the field after a couple of laps. Rod Conley eventually finished a distant 3.298 seconds behind Zeigler, who became just the second Pennsylvania native driver to win in DIRTcar Summer Nationals action, joining Rick Eckert on that exclusive list.
Zeigler, who runs a family-owned Longhorn Chassis car, led from the drop of the green-flag to the checkers, easily capturing his first DIRTcar Summer Nationals victory in his first career start at Brushcreek Motorsports Complex.
“We’ve been trying so hard and working so hard at the shop just to get everything dialed in,” said Zeigler, whose win will likely allow him to continue in DIRTcar Summer Nationals action on Friday night at Attica Raceway Park. “We got this new Longhorn earlier this year and we struggled a little bit, but we’ve been really good overall with it. I think we’re finally getting to the point where we can really dial it in and get it how we like it.”
The 2014 DIRTcar Summer Nationals championship standings took another substantial turn Thursday night. After closing to within 26-points of championship-leader Shannon Babb, Ryan Unzicker started from the pole-position and looked to carry over the momentum. He was joined at the front of the field by Brian Shirley, who started fourth and sat third in the points just 45-markers behind Babb.
Unfortunately for both Unzicker and Shirley, their cars were never in contention. Babb, on the other-hand, marched from his seventh starting position to pass both drivers, who finished eighth and seventh respectively, en route to a third place finish. Babb increased his points-lead back to 45-points over Unzicker with just two races to go.
Rod Conley, Shannon Babb and R.J Conley rounded out the top five. Heat race winners were Shirley, Unzicker, R.J Conley and Zeigler.
With only two races remaining in the 2014 DIRTcar Summer Nationals season, the tour joins the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals on Friday night at Attica Raceway Park in Attica, Ohio.
DIRTcar Summer Nationals Statistical Report; Brushcreek Motorsports Complex; Peebles, Ohio; July 17, 2014
A-Main (40-laps): 1. 25Z-Mason Zeigler ($5,000), 2. 71R-Rod Conley, 3. 18-Shannon Babb, 4. 71C-RJ Conley, 5. 20-Doug Drown, 6. 20C-Duane Chamberlain, 7. 81-Brian Shirley, 8. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 9. B5-Brandon Sheppard, 10. 99M-Devin Moran, 11. 31-Nick Latham, 12. 55-Jeep Van Wormer, 13. 1B-Jeff Babcock, 14. 21M-Jason Montgomery, 15. 96-Tanner English, 16. 32J-Jason Jaggers, 17. 51-Jamie Oldfield, 18. 25L-Steve Lance Jr, 19. 5M-Ryan Markham, 20. 81JR-Jason Riggs, 21. 71-Delmas Conley, 22. 77K-Steve Kester.