Photo By Brendon Bauman
Moyer Scores Win 98 at Fairbury American Legion Speedway
FAIRBURY, IL — The drumbeat for Billy Moyer’s march to 100 is getting louder and louder. The 60-year-old Hall of Famer and six-time series champion clicked off his series-leading 98th career series victory Saturday at Fairbury (IL) American Legion Speedway, using a high-side charge to rally from his ninth starting spot for a $10,000 payday on the seventh leg of this year’s month-long tour.
Moyer, who has made Fairbury a big part of his Summer Nationals success with eight victories at the quarter-mile oval, outdueled Shannon Babb in the second half of the race, taking the lead for good on the 35th lap and regaining the series points lead from Babb.
“The last few times I’ve been here, I haven’t run like I wanted to, so we just kind took a shot in the dark — from the hip or whatever — on a setup for the main event,” Moyer said. “We changed some stuff around and it’s pretty neutral where I could run anywhere on the track really.”
Brian Shirley of Chatham, IL, dropped Babb to third place with four laps remaining while Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, and 13th-starting Timothy Culp of Prattsville, AR, rounded out the top five. Polesitter Bobby Pierce was outrunning Babb, Moyer and everyone else in the first half of the race, but he coasted to the infield on the 28th lap after his fan went through his radiator. The three-time tour champion’s Dunn Benson team slowly pushed the car away while Babb inherited the lead.
Restarting fourth, Moyer saw that Pierce was making his car go around the high side. “I knew the track was there, and I was just kind of biding my time waiting for the right time to get out there and try it,” the winner said. He pulled the trigger on the lap-28 restart, jumping to the high side to immediately begin pressuring Babb, who had been battling Dennis Erb Jr. on the low side in their pursuit of Pierce.
Moyer blew past on lap 30, but Babb gathered up his No. 18 go back again on lap 31. But Moyer’s high-side charge wasn’t over as he flew back past his friendly series rival exiting turn four on the 35th lap and never gave up the lead. He took the checkers 1.231 seconds ahead of Shirley, who posted his best series finish of the season.
Moyer remembers lots of good times at Fairbury. “I remember coming back here way back when and (fans) were sitting almost all the way around this thing,” said Moyer, who also has six Prairie Dirt Classic victories at FALS. “It just seemed like the atmosphere, they’ve just go great race fans around here that love their dirt track and come and support it. … The people on the back straightaway raising cane and stuff, it’s just always been fun to come up here. I didn’t know how many I won. This place has always been good to me.”
After series drivers faced rugged conditions the previous night at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, IL, the frontrunners were glad for a smoother night on a track that’s been soaked by rain (an enormous pile of mud in the infield was signal of the work done in preparation for the event). “I’m just happy to put in a solid night after a couple of frustrating nights,” Shirley said. “I was a little disappointed last night. I felt like we had the car to beat and we just folded the right-front nose in there. … But all t’ in all, I’m still pumped, and know we’ve got a fast hot rod.”
Babb, who had to unload a backup car after a wreck at Tri-City, wasn’t disappointed he couldn’t duplicated his flag-to-flag Summer Nationals victory from 2017. “The track was real racy tonight and I wasn’t able to hold off Billy and Brian there,” he said. “I was kind of set up for the middle, maybe a little bit too snug to run the top. All in all, we’re really happy to get out of here with a third place.”
Feature Finish: Billy Moyer, Brian Shirley, Shannon Babb, Chris Simpson, Timothy Culp, Kyle Bronson, Dennis Erb Jr., Ryan Unzicker, Nick Hoffman, Allen Weisser, Gordy Gundaker, Frank Heckenast Jr., Scott Schmitt, Jason Feger, Paul Stubber, Mike Spatola, Bob Gardner, Kevin Weaver, Bobby Pierce, Rusty Schlenk, Daryn Klein, Jeff Curl
VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals travels back to the Hoosier State of Indiana for the June 24 event at Tri-State Spreedway (IN) for the 6th night of Legends Week Presented By DirtonDirt. See the complete schedule at the helltour.com/schedule. Follow @SummerNationals on Twitter or Facebook for updates during and between race seasons. The DIRTcar Late Models will be joined by the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds as the Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals runs parallel to the DIRTcar Summer Nationals. Information on the Modifieds can be found at modifiednationals.com.