Tri-State UMP Challenge report 2003-05-31

Shannon Babb takes second leg of Tri-State Challenge Pevely, MO (May 31, 2003) Forty U.M.P. Late Models signed in the gates for the second stop of the first annual Tri-State Challenge. The night kicked off with qualifying, where Roger Long...

Shannon Babb takes second leg of Tri-State Challenge

Pevely, MO (May 31, 2003) Forty U.M.P. Late Models signed in the gates for the second stop of the first annual Tri-State Challenge. The night kicked off with qualifying, where Roger Long posted the fastest time around the 1/3 mile high banked oval. Long was the only driver to get in the twelve second range, as he posted a lap time of 12.968 seconds. Billy Moyer had the second fastest time. Justin Allgaier, Tim Ratajczyk, Ed Dixon and Billy Drake completed the top six fastest qualifiers.

Using the standard U.M.P. Summer Nationals format for this event, the top six qualifiers went directly to the dash along with the 2002 U.M.P. National Champion, Terry English, the 2002 I-55 Raceway track champion which was Tim Ratajczyk, but he had already made the dash through qualifying, therefore that spot went to the next driver in track points that was present which was Mark Oller and a random drawn racer from all the cars that have competed each week at I-55 Raceway which went to Danny Haynes.

With the top six qualifiers redrawing for the starting spots in the dash, Justin Allgaier pulled the front row pole starting position and Roger Long got the outside of the front row. Billy Drake started on the second row inside with Tim Ratajczyk on the outside. The third row was Ed Dixon and Billy Moyer, however Dixon was late to staging for the dash and had to start at the back of the dash. Terry English, Mark Oller and Danny Haynes made up the final starting positions.

Billy Drake worked his way to the front on the second lap of the dash and went on to take the win. Terry English moved up from the seventh starting position to finsh second. Roger Long was third, Tim Ratajczyk fourth, Billy Moyer fifth and Ed Dixon was sixth. Those six all advanced straight into the feature the way the finished. Mark Oller was seventh and earned the front row pole starting position of the first heat race, Justin Allgaier was eighth and earned the front row starting position of the second heat race and Danny Haynes ninth to earn the front row starting position of the third heat race.

Mark Oller failed to make the start of the first heat. Shannon Babb battled early on with Clay Baumann and Billy Faust during the first heat, but soon Babb got out front all alone and pulled away to take the win. Billy Faust took second and Clay Baumann took the final transfer spot with the third place finish.

Don O'Neal drove to victory in heat two over Justin Allgaier and Dennis Erb.

Brian Wolfmeier took heat three over Kevin Weaver and Bill Frye.

The fourth and final heat went to Bob Pierce over Wendell Wallace and Randy Korte.

The first semi feature saw some great three wide racing for the lead for the first five laps as Duke Whiseant, Garrett Durrett and Brian Collins battled side by side lap after lap. On lap five the caution flew for Dean Hoffman who got into the wall in turn two which put the field single file. Several cars got together on the restart which eliminated Brian Collins. A hard crash with just two laps remaining took out Paul Belken and Bryan Millican. Duke Whiseant went on to take the win over Garrett Durrett and Steve Shive claimed the final transfer spot with a last lap pass over Dewayne Kiefer.

The second semi feature appeared to be a runaway as Kevin Gundaker checked out on the field. However, with just two laps remaining in the event, something broke on Gundaker's car causing him to slow. Danny Haynes went on to take the checkered flag. Bret Sievert took second and Jeff Taylor got the final transfer spot.

Billy Drake started front row pole in the feature event and jumped out to a nice lead in the opening laps. Roger Long moved up to second place behind Drake. Shannon Babb made his move to the front as well, as he moved up three spots to fourth on the opening lap. On lap thirteen, Babb had moved up to second place when Billy Drake began to slow down on the back stretch. Drake had a left rear tire go flat and this brought out the first caution. On the restart, Babb assumed the lead and he lead until lap eighteen, thats when Roger Long found the fast line around the top and moved into the lead. Long opened up a nice size lead until he started working lapped traffic. Babb moved under Long several times in the lapped traffic, but each time Long would pull back ahead. The next caution flew on lap thirty when Bill Frye was turned around in turn three. The race went another three laps before another caution flew for debris on the track, setting up a seven lap dash to the end. Roger Long again moved to the high side on the restart, allowing Babb to drive around the bottom. Moyer moved into the battle using the center of the track, creating a great three way battle for the lead. Babb moved just ahead of Long with two laps remaining, but Long wouldn't give up as he pulled along side Babb in each turn. Babb took the win by two car lengths over Long. Moyer came home third, Bob Pierce fourth and Don O'Neal fifth.

Shannon Babb's victory earned him the Tri-State Challenge bonus money. Any driver that could win two of the three events of the series collected a $10,000 bonus. Babb also won Friday's Tri-State Challenge feature at Farmer City Raceway. Babb collected $30,000 for his efforts the past two nights.

Scott Weber dominated the U.M.P. Modified division as he swept the night's events. Point leader Ray Walsh was second in the feature, Jim Shereck third, Brent Mullins fourth and Brian Wolfmieir fifth.

Ray Wagner drove to his first Sportsman victory of the year. Ed Lowry was second, Todd McGraw third, Bob Prince fourth and Scott Stuppy fifth.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Bill Frye , Justin Allgaier