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Ryan Unzicker Capitalizes on Erb-Feger Collision to Win at Spoon River

Tyler Carr Photo

Tyler Erb was four laps away from the checkered flag in what was potentially his fifth DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature win of 2024, until as Ryan Unzicker put it, “(Jason) Feger came out of nowhere.”

Twenty-seven laps into Thursday’s main event at Spoon River Speedway, Erb was riding the high banks around the 3/8-mile oval, having led every lap up to that point with Unzicker and Feger following close behind. Feeling the pressure from Unzicker with only four laps left, Erb switched to the bottom lane heading into Turn 1 to keep Unzicker at bay behind him while Feger rode the cushion around the top.

Heading out of Turn 2 and down the backstretch, Feger shot the gap between Unzicker and Erb. Feger then dove low in Turn 3 in a slide job attempt, slid up the track in front of Erb in Turn 4 and the two made contact, ending with Erb facing the wrong way and bringing out the caution.

Feger (25) getting ready to shoot the gap between Unzicker (24) and Erb (1) (Tyler Carr photo)

“I just had a hell of a run down the backstretch that was for the lead, and it looked like it was a good opportunity to take it,” Feger said. “I don’t think [Erb] was expecting it. I don’t even know if he knew I was there because he was racing with Ryan, and he probably wasn’t expecting me to be there.

“I thought I had him cleared. This place is pretty tricky coming off Turn 4. He probably thought I was going to leave him a lane or something there and it closed last minute. It’s hard racing.”

With Erb restarting from the tail of the field, Unzicker inherited the lead with four laps left and Feger lined up behind him. On the restart, Unzicker got the jump and led the final four circuits to collect his 14th career Hell Tour win.

Unzicker (24) holding off Feger (25) in the final laps (Tyler Carr photo)

“I didn’t actually see the contact,” Unzicker said of his point-of-view on the Erb-Feger incident. “We were coming out of [Turn 2], I was a little bit underneath Erb. Jason came out of nowhere to me and had a good run off the top of 2 and shot between [Erb] and I going into [Turn] 3 and I didn’t see it.

“I don’t know if I would’ve won without that. I’m not sure but at the end of the day my name is on the check I guess. But all I will say is we was battling Erb and had a good car.”

After the event’s conclusion, Erb was unavailable for comment.

Earlier in the race, Unzicker chased Erb while battling with Feger for the second spot. At one point early on, they were battling three-wide – Feger on the bottom, Unzicker in the middle and Erb on the top. As the race reached the halfway point, Unzicker was racing side-by-side with Erb and had inched ahead of him in Turns 1 and 2 on the bottom multiple times but was unable to clear him before the incident in the final laps.

It was Unzicker’s second win with the Summer Nationals at Spoon River – 14 years removed from his first win on the Hell Tour at the same place.

“It’s been a long time hasn’t it,” Unzicker said. “Anytime you can win anymore it’s a good feat. I think what I’m mostly proud of is I still feel like that I’m that regional, local working man and that makes me proud that I can still win against some guys that do it for a living.”

UP NEXT

The DIRTcar Summer Nationals next head for Brownstown Bullring on Friday, June 21, racing alongside the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals.

Tickets will be on sale at the gate. If you can’t be there to watch in person, catch all the action live on DIRTVision.

ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 24-Ryan Unzicker[2]; 2. 25F-Jason Feger[3]; 3. 96-Tanner English[5]; 4. 33-Kye Blight[10]; 5. 10-Garrett Smith[6]; 6. 21-Billy Moyer Sr[11]; 7. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[8]; 8. 27M-Rodney Melvin[4]; 9. 58-Tyler Clem[21]; 10. 8-Dillon McCowan[12]; 11. 25W-Allen Weisser[16]; 12. 15V-Kolby Vandenbergh[15]; 13. 22R-Will Roland[17]; 14. 15-Clayton Stuckey[9]; 15. 1-Tyler Erb[1]; 16. 99-Dylan Thompson[18]; 17. 30-Mark Voigt[19]; 18. 26M-Bob Gardner[14]; 19. 75-Daniel Adam[7]; 20. 38-Thomas Hunziker[22]; 21. 17A-Austin Howes[13]; 22. 10K-Daryn Klein[20]

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