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UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Night 13: Shirley Captures Rain-Shortened Event At Lincoln Speedway

Brian Shirley - 2008 Lincoln SN
Brian Shirley - 2008 Lincoln SN

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June 29, 2008 – Brian Shirley turned his luck around on Sunday night, taking advantage of other drivers’ misfortune to win the rain-shortened UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals A-Main at Lincoln Speedway.

After a blown tire during heat action two nights earlier at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway set him down a road that cost him the Summer Nationals points lead, Shirley had everything go his way at the quarter-mile fairgrounds oval. He inherited the lead on two occasions from drivers who retired with mechanical trouble and was in front when rain arrived and forced officials to declare the race official with 26 of a scheduled 40 laps completed.

Shirley, 27, of Chatham, Ill., recorded his second win of the 2008 Summer Nationals, joining Darren Miller of Milledgeville, Ill., and defending champion Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., as repeat tour winners. It was his fourth career triumph on the grueling month-long Super Late Model series.

The race’s fourth starter, Shirley found himself in front of the field for the first time with his Ed Petroff-owned No. 3s when race-long pacesetter Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., dropped out with mechanical woes on lap 21. Eric Smith of Bloomington, Ill., overtook Shirley to assume command on the lap-21 restart, but he paced only two circuits before also pulling off with mechanical trouble.

Smith’s departure left Shirley in the lead on lap 24. He was still there on lap 26 when rain intensified during a caution flag for Jeep VanWormer of Pinconning, Mich., prompting an early checkered flag and handing Shirley a $6,000 prize.

Wes Steidinger of Fairbury, Ill., advanced from the ninth starting spot to finish second. Erb maintained a slim points lead over Shirley by placing third, with Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., scoring a Summer Nationals-best finish of fourth and 16th-starter Randy Korte of Highland, Ill., taking fifth.

Four caution flags slowed the event, with the most serious incident for a lap-two rollover by Derek Chandler of Pontiac, Ill. He wasn’t injured.

VanWormer was the fastest qualifier among the 46 cars on hand, turning a lap of 13.712 seconds.

Heat winners were Smith, O’Neal, Matt Taylor of Springfield, Ill., Shirley and VanWormer. The twin C-Mains were topped by Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., and Daren Friedman of Forrest, Ill., and Korte captured the B-Main.

The UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals has a scheduled off day on Monday (June 30) before returning to action with Round 14 on Tuesday night (July 1) at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway.

UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature Finish (rain-shortened to 26 of 40 laps):

1. Brian Shirley
2. Wes Steidinger
3. Dennis Erb Jr.
4. Ryan Unzicker
5. Randy Korte
6. Matt Taylor
7. Steve Lance Jr.
8. Steve Sheppard Jr.
9. Will Vaught
10. Jeep Van Wormer
11. Jayme Zidar
12. Eric Smith
13. Don O’Neal
14. Mike Hammerle
15. Kevin Weaver
16. Nick Bauman
17. Tim Lance
18. Donny Walden
19. Michael Kloos
20. Jesse Stovall
21. Derek Chandler

First C-Main Finish: Brandon Sheppard, Ted Loomis, Russ Adams, Travis Wallbaum, Nick Bauman, Steve Sheppard Jr., Scott Bull. Scratched: Brent Kreke, Jordan Bland, Roben Huffman, Butch Smith

Second C-Main Finish: Daren Friedman, Jason McBride, Mike Hammerle, Jeremy Conaway, Matt Beadles, Dennis Vandermeersch, Kelly Kovski, Nick Macklin, Nick Vandenbergh

B-Main Finish: Randy Korte, Jayme Zidar, Tim Lance, Rodney Melvin, Daren Friedman, Brandon Sheppard, Brandon McCormick, Cory Daugherty, Rick Standridge, Jimmy Dehm, Mike Hammerle, Brandon Thirlby, Kyle Logue (DNS) Ted Loomis

2008 UMP DIRTcar Racing Summer Nationals Schedule (Date/Day/Track/Location/To Win/Winner – Car Count):

June 12 – Thurs. – Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway/Calvert City, KY – $7,500 (Brad Neat – 40)
June 13 – Fri. – Brownstown (IN) Speedway – $10,000 (Rain – postponed to July 11)
June 14 – Sat. – Kamp Motor Speedway/Boswell, IN – $10,000 (Wes Steidinger – 36)
June 15 – Sun. – Tri-State Speedway/Haubstadt, IN – $6,000 (Dennis Erb Jr. – 39)
June 16 – Mon – OFF
June 17 – Tues. – Highland Speedway/Highland, IL – $6,000 (Terry English – 47)
June 18 – Wed. – Belle Clair Speedway/Belleville, IL – $6,000 (Will Vaught – 41)
June 19 – Thurs. – I-57/I-64 Raceway/Mt. Vernon, IL – $6,000 (Darren Miller – 37)
June 20 – Fri. – Farmer City Raceway/Farmer City, IL – $10,000 (Darren Miller – 50)
June 21 – Sat. – I-55 Raceway/Pevely, MO – $10,000 (CANCELED – flooding)
June 22 – Sun. – Vermilion Co. Speedway/Danville, IL – $6,000 (Jeep VanWormer – 43)
June 23 – Mon. – OFF
June 24 – Tue. – Sedalia State Fair Speedway/Sedalia, MO – $6,000 (Brian Shirley – 27)
June 25 – Wed. – Lake Ozark Speedway/Eldon, MO – $6,000 (Billy Moyer – 31)
June 26 – Thurs. – Paducah Int’l Raceway/Paducah, KY – $6,000 (Kevin Claycomb – 35)
June 27 – Fri. – Lawrenceburg Speedway/Lawrenceburg, IN – $10,000 (Dennis Erb Jr. – 36)
June 28 – Sat. – Clarksville Speedway/Clarksville, TN – $10,000 (Rain – postponed to July 19)
June 29 – Sun. – Lincoln Speedway/Lincoln, IL – $6,000 (Brian Shirley – 46)
June 30 – Mon. – OFF
July 1 – Tue. – Peoria Speedway/Peoria, IL – $6,000
July 2 – Wed. – Morgan Co. Speedway/Jacksonville, IL – $6,000
July 3 – Thurs. – Macon Speedway/Macon, IL – $6,000
July 4 – Fri. – Tri-City Speedway/Pontoon Beach, IL – $10,000
July 5 – Sat. – Fairbury American Legion Speedway/Fairbury, IL -$10,000
July 6 – Sun. – Quad City Raceway/East Moline, IL – $6,000
July 7 – Mon. – OFF
July 8 – Tue. – Quincy (IL) Speedway – $6,000
July 9 – Wed. – Spoon River Speedway/Canton, IL – $6,000
July 10 – Thurs. – La Salle Speedway/La Salle, IL – $6,000
July 11 – Fri. – Brownstown (IN) Speedway – $10,000 (Rescheduled date)
July 12 – Sat. – Oakshade Raceway/Wauseon, OH – $10,000
July 19 – Sat. – Clarksville Speedway/Clarksville, TN – $10,000 (Rescheduled date)