HIGHLAND, IL – June 17, 2008 – By Kellen Burns/DIRTcar P.R. – He may not be Irish, but Terry English definitely had luck on his side Tuesday night.
The driver from Benton, Ky., drew the pole position for the 30-lap UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals A-Main at Highland Speedway and took advantage of it, securing the lead on lap 12 and marching on to victory.
English repelled pressure from 2006 UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model national champion Randy Korte of Highland, Ill., and Summer Nationals rookie Will Vaught of Crane, Mo., to pocket the $6,000 top prize. The trio ran nose-to-tail for most of the feature and finished in that order.
Jeep VanWormer of Pinconning, Mich., placed fourth and Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., was fifth.
“I just wanted to make sure I stayed on the bottom and didn’t slip up,” said English, who drove the Scott Riggs-owned No. 81E. “I knew that was where to be.”
English, who borrowed the Riggs machine for Summer Nationals duty after his own car was sidelined by engine trouble in the tour’s opener, registered his fifth career Summer Nationals victory. It was his first on the tour since July 10, 2004, at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway.
Hometown driver Korte continued his strong return to UMP DIRTcar competition by leading the first 11 laps before English used the low line to move in front. Korte, who was sidelined in early February by a back injury suffered in a Florida Speedweeks accident, is finding the seat of a dirt Late Model more to his liking than fielding a car.
“Oh yeah, it feels awesome,” the driver known as King Kong said about being back behind the wheel.
Korte may have done things different in Tuesday night’s A-Main if he had it to do over.
“I probably should have got to the bottom when I was in front of Terry,” said Korte. “But I actually thought the top would get better sooner or later and it never did.”
Vaught fought to advance from the fifth starting spot to finish third. The optimistic young hotshoe thought he had even more for the veterans of the ‘Hell Tour.’
“I thought I had the car to beat before (the surface) rubbered,” said Vaught. “If it wouldn’t have rubbered up, I think we could have won that race.”
Vaught overcame a lackluster qualifying effort and his involvement in a first-heat tangle with a spinning car in turn four to make his way through the preliminary field and finish second.
Forty-seven cars attempted qualifying laps at the semi-banked, quarter-mile oval. Tim Lance of Brimfield, Ill., was the overall fastest qualifier in the group time-trial sessions with a lap of 13.675 seconds.
Heat winners were English, VanWormer, Korte and Rodney Melvin of Benton, Ill. Dual C-Mains were won by Mike Schulte and John Beck, while the B-Main was taken by Mark Faust.
Shirley took over the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals points lead through four events over defending champ Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., who finished eighth.
The UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals heads to the one-fifth-mile Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill., on Wednesday night (June 18).
Be sure and stay tuned to www.umpracing.com for all the latest news and results from the 20th edition of the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals.
UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature Finish (40 laps):
1. Terry English
2. Randy Korte
3. Will Vaught
4. Jeep VanWormer
5. Brian Shirley
6. Billy Faust
7. Kevin Cole
8. Dennis Erb Jr.
9. Rodney Melvin
10. Tim Manville
11. Dewayne Kiefer
12. Wes Steidinger
13. Steve Sheppard Jr.
14. Tim Lance
15. Rick Salter
16. Ryan Unzicker
17. Michael Kloos
18. Mark Voigt
19. Jason Feger
20. Kevin Claycomb
21. Mark Faust
C-Main No. 1 Finish: 1. Mike Schulte, 2. Jordan Bland, 3. Chad Zobrist, 4. Jason McBride, 5. Dan Jacober, 6. Rusty Schlenk, 7. Frankie Martin, 8. Bobby Duaderman, 9. Dewayne Kiefer. Scratched: Patrick Sheltra
C-Main No. 2 Finish: 1. John Beck, 2. Ryan Driemeyer, 3. Mike Hammerle, 4. Dave Thornton, 5. Jason Riggs, 6. Brent Helmkamp, 7. George Scheffler, 8. Matt Santel, 9. Michael Jacober, 10. Brandon Sheppard. Scratched: Brant Kehrer
B-Main Finish: 1. Mark Faust, 2. Brian Shirley, 3. Dennis Erb Jr., 4. Tim Manville, 5. Ryan Unzicker, 6. Wes Steidinger, 7. Jason Bohnenstiehl, 8. Ryan Driemeyer, 9. Steve Sheppard Jr., 10. Kevin Weaver, 11. Paul Bailey, 12. Jordan Bland, 13. Dick Taylor, 14. Mike Schulte, 15. John Beck, 16. Rick Salter