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.
Plainfield's Mike McKinney and Mike Harrison were in the front row of the 25-lap Modified feature. The pair battled back and forth for the lead in the first three laps before the yellow flag came out. McKinney and Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford battled for the lead on the restart. Soon, Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., got past Ledford to take over second. Harrison, riding the top side, was in third after also getting past Ledford. Harrison grabbed the lead from Hoffman with 18 laps complete but a caution flag flew for an incident that almost collected the new leader. The battle again flared up between Harrison, Hoffman, and McKinney but Harrison held on to win by a car length. “We put on a show,” said Harrison. “The top felt right off the start. Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like the top, but I found a good rhythm up there.” Kewanee's Ray Bollinger was fourth followed by Jeff Curl of Fairbury. Leading the second group of five was Buffalo's Jeff Leka, Lucas Lee of Paris, Tenn., Levi Kissinger of Mt. Vernon, Ind., Peoria's Allen Weisser, and Ledford. Harrison, Hoffman, Ledford, and McKinney were heat winners. Weisser picked up the semi-feature victory. Bollinger had the top speed of 13.958 seconds in the first group of qualifying, while McKinney was fastest in the second group with a 13.835 second lap.
Meiferdt and Ian Keller of West Lebanon, Ind., led the field to the green in the 20-lap Street Stock feature with Meiferdt setting the early pace. Wilmington's Joe Brown, Jerrad Krick of Earl Park, Ind., and Dwight’s Rick Thomas battled for the second position, with Thomas taking command of the second spot with five laps to go. “My car was awesome and unreal. It is cool to get in victory lane tonight,” Meiferdt said. Krick was third and was followed by Brown, Keller, Chebanse's Luke Gash, Curtis Radke of Milford, 15th starter Peter Odell of Streator, Lovington's Jeremy Nichols, and Michael Schomas of Ottawa in the top ten. Heat winners were Brown, Keller, Krick, and Meiferdt. Meiferdt also won the dash and had fast time with a 15.299 second trip. Chad Rockefeller of Monee won the semi feature.