by Darlene Miller
The Summer Nationals roared into Fairbury American Legion Speedway for the 10th leg of the 29-race tour on Saturday night. The “Moweaqua Missile” Shannon Babb dominated the 50-lap Late Model feature for the $10,000 win. Highland’s Mike Harrison took home the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals $1,500 prize, and Coal City’s AJ Meiferdt continued his FALS hot streak as he won the $800 Midwest Street Stock Championship race, his fifth Street Stock feature win of the season.
Fairbury’s McKay Wenger and current series points leader Bobby Pierce of Oakwood brought the 22-car field to the green flag and it took only a moment for fourth place starter Babb to grab the lead. Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville quickly moved to the second position after starting sixth. The caution flag flew with just four laps in for Gordy Gundaker of St. Charles, Mo., and after the restart the pair found themselves in lapped traffic just nine laps into the feature. Another yellow flag flew with 28 laps down for Pierce and Troy's Tim Manville in turn two. On the green, Babb, Erb, and Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, pulled away from the group behind them. Babb, running the middle, felt constant pressure from Erb who was relentless running the low groove. But Babb held him off at the finish line for his second win of this year’s tour. “I got by Pierce and I knew I had to do it early in the race,” said Babb. “The car was excellent. We made a good call on the car (setup). This is awesome. Thanks to all the fans.” Erb Jr. was second, followed by Simpson, Brent Larson of Lake Elmo, Minn., and Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., in the top five. The second five included Trenton's Michael Kloos, Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., Matt Furman of Portland, Ore., Pierce, and Bloomington's Jason Feger. Heat winners were Babb, Pierce, Simpson, and Wenger. Chatham's Brian Shirley won the “C” main, while Mike Spatola of Manhattan won the semi feature. Dan Flessner of Roberts was quickest in his qualifying group with a 12.822 second lap, while Moyer Jr. was tops in his group with a 13.075 clocking.
When Fairbury American Legion Speedway and World of Outlaw Craftsman Dirt Late Model Series Officials first announced their partnership back in the spring of 2013, one thing was certain: the Prairie Dirt Classic was set for greatness. Taking home DirtonDirt.com's National "Race of the Year" honors three out of the past four years, the Prairie Dirt Classic has become one of the elite events in the country.
Set apart by the green-to-checkered excitement on the track and the passionate FALS fans off it, the 28th annual Prairie Dirt Classic presented by the Bank of Pontiac will again set the bar high in 2017. The two-day $30,000-to-win World of Outlaws-sanctioned event set for July 28-29 will feature the top drivers in the country chasing a total payout of $93,000 that includes $1,500 to start for the 100-lap feature event.