I-55 Raceway Summer Nationals report 2002-06-29

Pevely, MO (June 29, 2002) A packed house filled the grandstands in anticipation of the seventh annual Bud UMP Summer Nationals at I-55 Raceway. Thirty-six UMP Late Models signed in to compete for the $10,000 top prize. The action kicked off with...

Pevely, MO (June 29, 2002) A packed house filled the grandstands in anticipation of the seventh annual Bud UMP Summer Nationals at I-55 Raceway. Thirty-six UMP Late Models signed in to compete for the $10,000 top prize. The action kicked off with Billy Moyer setting fast time in qualifying with a time of 13.587 seconds around the high-banked one-third mile oval.

Bob Pierce took off from his front row starting spot in the dash and ran off with the win. Shannon Babb made a late race charge for the lead but had to settle for second. Defending track champion Ed Dixon took third, with Don O' Neal fourth and Billy Moyer fifth.

Defending UMP Late Model National Champion Rodney Melvin claimed the first heat race over NASCAR veteran Kenny Schrader, Matt Taylor was third, Justin Allgaier fourth and Steve Shive rounded out the top five.

Scott Bloomquist checked out on the rest of the field and won the second heat by a full straightaway. Dan Schlieper was second, Danny Haynes third, with Jim Durbin and Tim Ratajczyk completing the top five.

Heat three was the most exciting heat race of the evening, with Kevin Weaver and Dave Jumper battling side-by-side for much of the event. Weaver edged ahead to claim the win. Mark Oller, Clay Baumann and Danny Maguire filled out the top five.

Johnny Johnson and Jason Frankel won the semi features.

Twenty-five cars took to the track for the feature event, doing a four-wide parade lap with each driver carrying the American Flag in honor of Independence Day. Once the event was underway, the two cars that started on the front row, Pierce and Babb, put on a show that fans won't soon forget. Babb pulled ahead but Pierce stayed right there with him, pulling up on the inside of Babb through each turn, but Babb would pull ahead down the straight-aways. The battle raged on each lap, as the drivers fought through heavy lapped traffic. Babb continuously found the best path through the traffic, maintaining his slight lead over Pierce. As they worked through traffic, Billy Moyer moved into the mix and actually moved ahead of Pierce and took second on lap thirty-six, but a caution came out for Danny Maguire' s single car spin. On the restart, Babb was able to pull away and left Pierce and Moyer to battle for second. Meanwhile, Don O'Neal and Scott Bloomquist were fighting tooth and nail for fourth. At the end, they crossed the line how they had restarted, with Babb claiming the $10,000 top prize. Pierce was second, Moyer third, O'Neal fourth and Bloomquist fifth.

The UMP Modifieds once again put on spectacular show. Scott Weber pulled away from the field en-route to his fifth victory of the season at I-55 Raceway. As Weber checked out, that left a large group of cars battling for second. Brent Mullins, Dean Hoffman, Rusty Griffaw, Brian Collins, Bobby Bittle and Jim Shereck took turns swapping around the top five positions. With five laps remaining, Mullins caught inside wall coming out of turn four and broke a tie-rod on the left front. He fell from second, but still drove very hard to finish eighth. As the event went all twenty laps without a caution, Hoffman claimed the second spot, with Griffaw third, Collins fourth and Bittle fifth.

The AARA Sportsman didn't disappoint the fans; Paul Bauman and Scott Stuppy drove the final ten laps of their event in a near dead heat. Each driver took turns at the point, but in the end Bauman crossed the line first to claim his first feature win of 2002. Stuppy was second, Todd McGraw third, Rich Whaley fourth and Sam Worley fifth.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Scott Bloomquist