When the air temperature rises on the Hell Tour, so does the action on track. Stormy Scott served up a blazing hot plate of excitement Saturday night with a last-lap, last-corner pass on Ashton Winger for his first career DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature win.
“To win at I-55 – it’s more exciting because everybody knows the history of this place,” Scott said. “Everybody knows who half of one of the owners is, the track is on the video game… It’s awesome to get a win here, for sure.”
After Winger took the lead from Shannon Babb just past the halfway point, Scott and Drake Troutman had ascended into the second and third spots and were hot on Winger’s tail as the laps clicked off. Babb had broken drivetrain components immediately after taking the green on a Lap 25 restart and drew a caution, retiring to the infield under yellow.
Though Scott had got to the runner-up spot first, Troutman found some speed on the cushion and drove around Scott to take second. A couple caution flags in the few laps that followed gave Scott and Troutman some more chances at the leader, but they went uncapitalized as Winger continued his charge out front.
At its largest, Winger’s lead stretched to slightly over a full second as the leaders prepared to enter lapped traffic in the final 10 laps.
“I felt like when I had a gap, I actually tried to slow my pace down ever so slightly to not catch that lapped car,” Winger said. “I saw where the lapped car was running, and I didn’t have it in my mind how I was going to pass him when I got to him.”
That’s when Scott and Troutman began to close back in on Winger, shrinking the gap to less than a car length at its closest. Troutman tried several lanes on the track to make the pass but Winger was able to hold him off. Scott, however, was not to be tamed.
“We all got to racing, and I saw where Troutman got by me on the bottom,” Scott said. “I tried running that line for about three laps and I kept missing it. I knew I had to be patient and figure it out.”
“I knew that as long as I could keep a good run going, if I could keep my tires cooler than theirs at the end, they’d come back to me.”
Armed with a good car and the right strategy, Scott stuck to the bottom and pulled nearly even with Winger down the backstretch as they headed for the white flag.
Winger was forced to make a quick move around a lapped car out of Turn 4 and did so without issue, though he said it did slow his progress slightly.
“I really had to throw a haymaker on that lapped car coming to the white,” Winger said. “I misjudged my entry a little bit – it just barely hindered my rhythm a little bit.”
Scott was unaffected by the slower traffic and continued getting faster on the bottom. He got a run on Winger out of Turn 2 and down the backstretch, came into Turns 3-4 with the speed he needed to get under Winger, held it to the bottom and snuck past him just before the start/finish line by .224 seconds to bag the $10,000 check.
“I knew that if we could be door-to-door getting into Turn 3, I knew the spot where we were all entering, and I was gonna enter as hard as he went,” Scott said. “I was afraid that if I let off too early and he got too much momentum going, I wouldn’t beat him off the corner.
“I didn’t plan on dooring him or anything like that, but I knew that I needed to drive in with him and keep up my speed so I could at least have a shot at it to get off of Turn 4 and we could drag race in.”
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals action continues with the final race of Week 2 on Sunday, June 25, at Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, IL. Tickets will be available at the gate; streaming is available on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (40 Laps): 1. 2S-Stormy Scott; 2. 12-Ashton Winger; 3. 7T-Drake Troutman; 4. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 5. 25-Jason Feger; 6. 21J-Billy Moyer Jr; 7. 33-Mike Harrison; 8. 36-Logan Martin; 9. 2-Tyler Stevens; 10. 31AUS-Kye Blight; 11. 16-Rusty Griffaw; 12. 58-Tyler Clem; 13. 4G-Bob Gardner; 14. 30-Mark Voigt; 15. 19X-Cody Bauer; 16. 15-Clayton Stuckey; 17. 10-Daryn Klein; 18. 18-Shannon Babb; 19. 94-Austin Rettig; 20. 54-Dane Dacus; 21. 4-Jason Suhre; 22. 6K-Michael Kloos