Brian Shirley took the checkered flag at Sycamore Speedway. (Photo by Terry Page)
MAPLE PARK, Ill. -Never talked about the “if” for Brian Shirley in the first week of the Hell Tour, even if it was “when.”
The “when” came on Sunday night at Sycamore Speedway, where the four -time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion went on to win for his first win of the tour season, making the move to Max Blair for the lead in the latter in the race and sent it home. for a $ 5,000 payday.
“I felt like our car was pretty nice,” Shirley said. “I knew I had to make a big mistake to pay myself in the career.”
Polesitter Payton Freeman took the early jump off the green and led the lap nine of the 40-lap main event. Soon, Blair was chasing Freeman as the 19-year-old Hell Tour rookie approached traffic and went under him to take the top spot on lap 10.
Blair led the field around the three-eighths mile oval for most of the race, and the car looked defeated, until Shirley entered the frame.
Shirley, who reached fifth in the opening lap, overtook fellow Summer Nationals champion Jason Feger on lap 22 after a back-and-forth battle that lasted several laps before the half mark. Once he removed No. 25 by Feger, Shirley focused her gaze on Blair with less than half the race left.
Blair survived several restarts in the second half with Shirley behind him, but traffic on the home stretch became a problem. Down the backstretch with a nine-to-go, Blair rode Greg Cantrell Jr. to put him on a lap down but not fully committed to the bottom to pass. It left the door open for Shirley to pass, which she did, and won the drag race off turn four to lead the stripe.
“We were riding in these vehicles and I felt like he was stuck, and I just chose to circle him outside,” Shirley said. “I’m not sure how it will be held just because of the traffic. We’re just preparing for a lot of traffic. “
Although the lead was in her hands, Shirley’s mission was not over. Another pair of restarts appeared within eight-to-go, but he and Bob Cullen Racing No. 3 is ready. Shirley stuck to the middle groove and brought it back home unopposed for her 37th career DIRTcar Summer Nationals victory.
Blair remained for second and his best career finish on the Hell Tour, while Feger retained third to hold his top five spot in points. Ryan Unzicker climbed eight spots in a run from 12th to fourth place, and was finished by Dennis Erb Jr. the Illinois-Iowa Sunday by a fifth-place run.
Reigning Summer Nationals champion Bobby Pierce finished sixth and crowned Illinois-Iowa Week champion after two wins, two runners-up, sixth and a DNF (17th) in six races, collecting $ 2,000 already bonus as weekly champion points.
Features (40 laps): 1. 3S-Brian Shirley; 2. 111V-Max Blair; 3. 25-Jason Feger; 4. 24-Ryan Unzicker; 5. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 6. 32- Bobby Pierce; 7. F1-Payton Freeman; 8. 36-Logan Martin; 9. 15-Justin’s role; 10. 77-Preston Luckman; 11. 14G-Joe Godsey; 12. 21B-Rich Bell; 13. 1M-Mike Mataragas; 14. 89-Mike Spatola; 15. 4G-Bob Gardner; 16. 26M-Brent McKinnon; 17. 4D-Doug Tye; 18. 30-Mark Voigt; 19. 3-Dale Markham; 20. 01JR- Greg Cantrell; 21. 10S-Taylor Scheffler; 22. 29-Spencer Diercks