DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor Email address: DirtNews@aol.com Web site: ...
DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor
Email address: DirtNews@aol.com Web site: http://members.aol.com/dirtnews/digest =================================== CONTENTS: July 10 results (published July 11) UMP SUMMERNATIONALS: Bauman wins after Babb is disqualified at Macon, Ill. =================================== UNITED MIDWESTERN PROMOTERS UMP Summernationals
MACON, Ill. (Thursday) Shannon Babb left everyone shaking their heads in amazement in the 17th annual Herald & Review 100 at tiny Macon Speedway.
Forced to the infield when his engine died before the race began, the 23-year-old Babb climbed into Virgil Bilbrey's car just two pace laps before the green flag dropped, started on the tail, maneuvered his way through the 20-car field and crossed the finish line first in the 14th race of the UMP Summernationals.
Unfortunately, UMP officials at the scales were shaking their heads, too. They disqualified Babb because the borrowed car was 20 pounds shy of the 2,300-pound requirement, handing the win to Ed Bauman, who chalked up his biggest career victory as the Macon Summernationals stop ended controversially for the second straight year.
Bauman earned a $5,000 check, as well as the unenviable task of accepting a victory in front of a crowd that had gone bonkers watching Babb's miracle rally in a car that never had won a feature at Macon.
"I tried to hard to win this race so many years, and then this," Bauman said. "I hate it. I hate it that (Babb) was light. He drove a helluva race ... but if he was light, he's light. At the driver's meeting they warned us, 'Make sure you're heavy enough, because the scales were checked today.' That's not my fault he's light. That's all I'm going to say. He's a helluva racer and he did a helluva job."
Billy Drake finished second after starting in the fifth row, while Kevin Weaver, who led from the 12th lap until the 71st lap, finished third. Ed Dixon, starting as the alternate after Bilbrey dropped out, finished fourth while Jeff Leka rounded out the top five. Joe Ross Jr., Kirby Damery, Brian Ater, Jim Rarick and three-time race champion Bob Pierce finished sixth through 10th.
Babb wasn't the only one light at the scales. UMP Summernationals points leader Rick Aukland, who crossed the line fifth, and Matt Taylor, who crossed the line ninth, were disqualified and placed 19th and 20th behind Babb.
Babb had a good excuse. The 5-foot-11 Babb weighs 160 pounds, while Bilbrey checks in at 240 pounds. When Bilbrey gave up his chance to race and offered his No. 1b Bullitt chassis to Babb, there wasn't time to think about adding lead weight during the driver switch.
"When I went around there I wasn't thinking nothing about it until I seen (Bilbrey) as we pulled to the scales, and then it crossed my mind," said Babb, who took the lead from Weaver on the 72nd lap. "And I thought, 'Oh man, I hope I can clear it.' It's always a big worry, especially in 100 laps. If Virgil would've been driving it've been right across (the scales) no problem."
Instead, Babb made three passes across the scales, but never weighed more than 2,280 pounds. The car didn't make weight despite two attempts by Babb to spin his wheels and pick up mud on the car, or the fact that the car was powered by a heavy cast-iron motor.
While Babb was disappointed, he was also grateful Bilbrey gave him the chance to race after his No. 18's engine quit.
"It took a helluva person to jump out at the start of the race, and let me drive it. That means everything to me," Babb said. "I didn't even see him. I was ready to get out and quit, and he pulled up there and jumped out of the car and offered it to me. It takes a real goodhearted person to do that for you."
When Bilbrey saw Babb pull to the infield and remove his helmet, he decided to see what Babb could do driving his car.
"I don't know what possessed me, really I don't. I just figured he was the best man for the job," said the 32-year-old Bilbrey. "It's a good old car, but I'm not capable of putting it where it was tonight."
When the race began, Bauman grabbed the lead and was up front 11 laps before Weaver slipped underneath on lap 12. Weaver held the lead while three cautions slowed the action over the next seven laps, with Bauman, Leka, Ross, and Aukland rounding out the top five as the race restarted on the 19th lap.
Weaver stuck mostly to an inside groove and Bauman ran against the wall as the top two pulled away for the next several laps, while Ross, Leka, Bill Frye, Aukland and Rarick were among those battling for top-10 positions.
Babb, running an ultralow groove, was up to eighth by the 32nd lap, moved under Rarick to grab seventh place on the 39th lap, then got past Aukland for sixth on the 41st lap. Strapping into the car and getting brief instructions about the gauges was about all Babb knew about the car before the race began, but he learned more as the race wore on.
"(The) first couple of laps .... I didn't have a clue," Babb said. "I stood on the gas and about went the wrong way a couple of times. But once I felt what the car needed to do, it drove around there pretty good. I kinda adapted to it in about 10 laps."
A pair of cautions -- one for Aukland's flat tire, and another for Bob Pierce's spin on the restart -- stopped the race twice on lap 44, but Weaver quickly pulled back out to a solid lead on Bauman while Babb moved into fifth.
Weaver held his biggest lead of nearly a full straightaway on the 60th lap, but soon Bauman and Babb, who had moved up to third, tracked the leader down. Babb slipped under Bauman on the 68th lap, then beat Weaver down the backstretch to lead the 72nd lap.
Despite several low-running cars, Babb never had any problems with lapped traffic and gradually pulled away the rest of the race, which went caution-free the final 56 laps. Bauman maintained his high groove to keep second place, and several times he barely avoided getting sucked into the soft mud cushion against the wall.
"The first couple of yellows (car owner) Randy (Rexroad) kept telling me, 'Stay low, stay low,' " Bauman said. "I did and all of the sudden it felt like I was on ice skates. I figured, 'I'm going back to where I know where I can get around: The top.' I'm better on the top than the bottom."
It turned out to be the right move as he finished more than a straightaway behind Babb, but kept Drake in check in what turned out to be the race for first.
Ironically, it was the second big race Babb has lost at Macon because of disqualification. He crossed the finish line first in the a NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour visit to the track in 1994, but failed to meet the weight requirements and gave up the victory to Ken Schrader.
"It definitely don't look good. I want to win one of these races sometime. I'm going to hide my some lead (weight) down there in the corner somewhere so I can pick it up," Babb said jokingly. "I don't know. The luck never goes my way for some reason on that kinda deal."
It was also the second controversial finish in a row for the Herald & Review 100. Ross led last year's race with five laps to go when he spun after making contact with Drake in Turn 3, and Drake held on for a victory that was unpopular with the crowd. Some fans showed they hadn't forgotten as they gave Drake his share of boos during driver introductions this year.
CAR COUNT: 34 late models.
FAST QUALIFIER: Ed Bauman, 11.073 seconds (1/5-mile oval).
FAST DASH (10 laps; sets first three rows of feature): Dick Taylor, Shannon Babb, Ed Bauman, Kevin Weaver, Bill Frye, Jeff Leka, Rick Aukland, Steve Sheppard Jr., Brian Ater.
FIRST HEAT (10 laps; top four advance): Rick Aukland, Joe Ross Jr., Jim Rarick, Danny Maguire, Brian Olysar, John Hobson, Tom Donelan, Tony Izzo Jr., Doug Nevill.
SECOND HEAT: Bob Pierce, Jim Bruggeman, Steve Sheppard Jr., Kirby Damery, Gary Nettleton, Wes O'Dell, Darrick Hulva, Ed Dixon.
THIRD HEAT: Brian Ater, Billy Drake, Matt Taylor, Virgil Bilbrey, John Graham, Bill Harner, Jay Sparks, Chuck Baird.
CONSOLATION (12 laps; top two advance): John Hobson, Gary Nettleton, Ed Dixon, John Graham, Jay Sparks, Brian Olysar, Doug Nevill, Darrick Hulva, Tom Donelan, Bill Harner, Wes O'Dell.
FEATURE (Pos., driver, hometown, chassis, winnings) 1. Ed Bauman (99), New Berlin, Ill., Fast Boys, $5,000 2. Billy Drake (9), Bloomington, Ill., Shaw, $2,000 3. Kevin Weaver (B12), Gibson City, Ill., Warrior, $1,200 4. Ed Dixon (50), Washington, Mo., Rayburn, $1,100 5. Jeff Leka (4), Buffalo, Ill., GRT, $1,000 6. Joe Ross Jr. (25), Springfield, Ill., GRT, $700 7. Kirby Damery (10), Macon, Ill., GRT, $600 8. Brian Ater (5), Decatur, Ill., Rayburn, $500 9. Jim Rarick (32), Moweaqua, Ill., MasterSbilt, $450 10. Bob Pierce (32), Danville, Ill., MasterSbilt, $400 11. Dick Taylor (10), Springfield, Ill., GRT, $230 12. Bill Frye (66), Greenbrier, Ark., GRT, $230 13. Steve Sheppard Jr., (10), New Berlin, Ill., Rayburn, $230 14. Danny Maguire (32m), Carlinville, Ill., MasterSbilt, $230 15. Gary Nettleton (27), Saybrook, Ill., Rayburn, $230 16. John Hobson (16), O'Fallon, Mo., MasterSbilt, $230 17. Jim Bruggeman (54), White Bear Lake, Minn., MasterSbilt, $230
Drivers disqualified for weighing less than 2,300 pounds: 18. Shannon Babb (1b), Decatur, Ill., Bullitt, $230 19. Rick Aukland (12), Fargo, N.D., Rayburn, $230 20. Matt Taylor (44), Springfield, Ill., Bernheisel, $230
NOTES: About a dozen cars finished the feature, which lasted about 45 minutes and ended by 10:20 p.m. .... the late models were the only division in action .... for the third time in the last five Summernationals, Kevin Weaver led more than half the race but lost .... the Babb-Bilbrey car switch wasn't the only one .... Jeff Leka's No. 40 lost a motor, so he drove a No. 4 normally driven by Buffy Clark, but originally slated to be driven Thursday by Marc McLintock .... Dick Taylor drove a Terry Conrad-owned GRT, making way for Wes O'Dell to drive Taylor's normal No. 24 .... Brian Ater drove the No. 5 driven the previous night by Billy West .... after the race, fans flocked to the northeast corner of the pits, where the disqualified Babb and the winner Bauman were pitted .... Babb signed dozens of autographs and accepted many well-wishers .... Bauman's crew rejoiced two pit stalls away, but Bauman begged them not to incite the surrounding fans, some of whom had booed the decision to disqualify Babb ..... Minnesota driver Jim Bruggeman, who made his first appearance on the series that ends in his home state, hadn't heard how small Macon's track was .... "I left my go karts at home," Bruggeman joked .... although Macon is listed as a quarter-mile track, that is overly generous .... if distance runners practiced on the track, four-minute miles would come easily .... three parasailers jumped out of a plane and landed on the frontstretch just before the national anthem .... Jay Sparks, who promoted the Summernationals race at Spoon River, raced at Macon .... Tony Izzo Jr. spun twice during the first heat and left the race .... John Graham ran second much of the way in the consolation, but got caught behind lapped traffic and lost the transfer spot in the closing laps.
CREDIT: Todd Turner <DirtNews@aol.com> of DirtNews Digest. ------------------------------------------------------------- UMP SUMMERNATIONALS SCHEDULE/RESULTS
June 25, Missouri International Racepark, Benton, Mo., $5,000 to win (RANDY SELLARS) June 26, Tennessee Motor Speedway, Baxter, Tenn., $5,000 to win (RAY COOK) June 28, Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway, "Jackson 100," $10,000 to win (RICK AUKLAND) June 29, LaSalle (Ill.) Speedway, $5,000 to win (RAINED OUT; rescheduled for July 13) June 30, Vermilion County Speedway, Danville, Ill., $5,000 to win (KEVIN WEAVER) July 1, K&L Raceway, Mount Vernon, Ill., $5,000 to win (RANDY KORTE) July 2, I-55 Speedway, Pevely, Mo., $5,000 to win (ED DIXON) July 3, Paducah (Ky.) International Speedway, $5,000 to win (TONY IZZO JR.) July 4, Central Park Raceway, McHenry, Ky., $5,000 to win (RICK AUKLAND) July 5, Barren County Speedway, Glasgow, Ky., $5,000 to win (RICK AUKLAND) July 6, Tri-State Speedway, Haubstadt, Ind., $5,000 to win (DONNIE MORAN) July 7, Kankakee (Ill.) Speedway, $5,000 to win (JOE IZZO) July 8, 67 Raceway Park, Godfrey, Ill., $5,000 to win (RICK AUKLAND) July 9, Spoon River Speedway, Banner, Ill., $5,000 to win (JOHN GILL) July 10, Macon (Ill.) Speedway, "Herald & Review 100," $5,000 to win (ED BAUMAN) July 11, Farmer City (Ill.) Speedway, $5,000 to win July 12, Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway, $5,000 to win July 13, LaSalle (Ill.) Speedway, $5,000 to win July 14, Davenport (Iowa) Speedway, $10,000 to win July 15, Cresco (Iowa) Speedway, $10,000 to win July 16, Steele County Fairgrounds, Owatonna, Minn., "Gopher State 50," $10,000 to win -------------------------------------------------------------