Babb’s $10,000 victory comes on night of daughter’s birthday
The quest for 100 DIRTcar Summer Nationals wins just got one race closer for Shannon Babb.
Babb, of Moweaqua, IL, found a sudden burst of speed late in the race around the bottom lane of Fairbury Speedway Saturday night and blew by his opponents for a $10,000 grand prize and his 99th career DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature win.
“It’s special right here at Fairbury. $10,000-to-win Summer Nationals always meant a lot to us. Growing up, it was everything. These are big races,” Babb said.
While it was a big win at a big race, it was also special to Babb on a personal note. Six years ago, he came into Fairbury after the birth of his daughter Finnlee and captured his 90th career Hell Tour victory. His 99th victory Friday night came six years to that date, at the very same track.
Babb’s second appearance of the season with the tour put him in a similar situation to the previous night at Tri-City Speedway – starting the 50-lap Feature from the third row. But it didn’t all play out in exactly the same way.
Babb quickly made his way up to third from sixth but decided to switch lanes en route to catch the leaders, which ended up sending him all the way back to eighth. He rode there several laps, just before the halfway mark, when his car came to life.
“I was the first one to hit the bottom, and when I hit the bottom, I ran back about eighth or ninth… But it came in for us,” Babb said.
Indeed, his Team Zero Race Cars chassis #18 did come in. It only took 11 laps for the four-time Summer Nationals champion to pass every car ahead of him.
Like his nicknamesake, The Moweaqua Missile launched off the bottom lane of the quarter-mile and made the move underneath Tanner English for the lead on Lap 35. Within 10 laps, Babb had opened up a gap of over two seconds and pushed it to over three seconds by the time he took the checkered.
English held off Devin Moran for second while Frank Heckenast Jr. and Bobby Pierce completed the top-five. Defending Summer Nationals champion Brian Shirley started on the pole but slipped back to seventh by the race’s end. Local favorite Mike Spatola arrived late to the track and was forced to start at the tail of a Heat Race, but made good on the night by transferring in through the Last Chance Showdown to finish ninth.
Now with $10,000 in his pocket, Babb’s already looking forward to Fairbury’s biggest event of the season – the Prairie Dirt Classic.
“This is the highlight of our season coming here. We can’t wait to get here at the end of July, they’re really coughing up some money for that race,” Babb said.
Round #6 of the 2021 DIRTcar Summer Nationals campaign hits Indiana’s Plymouth Speedway Sunday night, June 20. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (50 Laps) 1. 18B-Shannon Babb; 2. 81E-Tanner English; 3. 9M-Devin Moran; 4. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 5. 32-Bobby Pierce; 6. 42-Mckay Wenger; 7. 3S-Brian Shirley; 8. 6M-Dona Marcoullier; 9. 89-Mike Spatola; 10. 12W- Ashton Winger; 11. 32S-Chris Simpson; 12. 48-Tim Lance; 13. 9-Eric Smith; 14. B12-Kevin Weaver; 15. 25-Jason Feger; 16. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr; 17. 14G-Joe Godsey; 18. 4G-Bob Gardner; 19. 84-Myles Moos; 20. 2-Mike Chasteen Jr; 21. 18-Jeffrey Ledford; 22. 24-Ryan Unzicker