Unzicker, Shirley Share Oakshade Stage

Unzicker Best at Oakshade; Shirley Wins First Hell Tour Championship


Wauseon, Ohio  – July 14, 2012 – Defending DIRTcar Late Model National Champion Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., bested a tour-high 56 DIRTcar Late Models Saturday night at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon, Ohio, winning the $10,000 finale of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour.

(For late breaking news from the DIRTcar Summer Nationals ‘Hell Tour’, click here to follow along on Twitter.)


Unzicker started eighth and methodically worked his way to the front using the low groove to chase down leader Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., who set a blistering pace after taking the lead.


“Everything went well early tonight,” Unzicker said. “With all the cars here I Just feel lucky that I only had to start eighth after our heat because the second place finisher of heat six has to start the main event in 12th. I didn’t realize we could win it but it’s definitely a great way to end the Summer Nationals because the whole deal has been a struggle and just to get the last win is pretty cool.”


Unzicker made the pass for the lead on lap 56 as lapped traffic impeded Sheppard’s progress on the top.


“I can run up top, but the bottom has always been good for me, and to be honest I was going to be happy for second,” Unzicker said. “We just tried to keep our nose clean and the bottom just suited our style.  All and all I’m just glad to get a win. We have high hopes going forward.  The car is really balanced right now and with the great help I have it just kind of makes you want to keep going.”


Unzicker stretched his lead the final four circuits.  Sheppard settled for second in the 60-lap main event.  Homestate driver Matt Miller of Whitehouse, Ohio, finished third.  Jeep Van Wormer of Pinconning, Mich., made a charge from seventh to finish fourth but the night truly belonged to fifth-place finisher Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill.

(Click here for news and information on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals.)


Shirley, the tour’s winningest driver in 2012, captured his first DIRTcar Summer Nationals crown on the strength of five feature wins.


“It’s always nice to have the most wins,” Shirley said. “I would have liked to have won tonight or last night, but we were racing on the conservative side because of the big picture, even the two previous nights.  It’s a tough way to race.  It was so easy for weeks but last night and tonight just made things more emotional and made my stomach a little upset.  But, you play the cards you’re dealt to the best of your ability.”


Shirley’s 66-point average was the best over the course of the grueling month-long tour.


“It’s a relief that it’s over, it kind of feels like it was starting to turn into a soap opera,” Shirley said. “I’m just be proud of my crew and the effort that everyone put into this.  The run that we did, to be that consistent, to win the races we did, makes me really proud and makes me realize how blessed I am. I was never worried because we had to race tonight.  It put the exclamation point on it tonight because it erases all doubt, we were ahead tonight no matter what and we left here tonight ahead.


“I think next week when my wife and I go on vacation I’ll be able to look back and appreciate how hard we worked.”


Shirley’s strong run was more difficult this year than in years past due to Shirley’s new role as husband and father.


“It’s weird, I feel a little different with racing,” he said. “It makes clear to me what the objective is when we go racing.  It’s not just me anymore, it’s my family and there’s a bigger picture so we try and come to the races and make sure we do our job. It helps me focus on the right things and it helps me not get distracted with things I shouldn’t be there for.  I knew that if I was going to have to be away from my family, I need to do what I’m out here to do.”


DIRTcar Summer Nationals Statistical Report; Oakshade Raceway; Wauseon, Ohio; July 14, 2012 A-Main (60-laps): 1. Ryan Unzicker ($10,000), 2. Brandon Sheppard, 3. Matt Miller, 4. Jeep Van Wormer, 5. Brian Shirley, 6. Frank Heckenast Jr., 7. Brian Ruhlman, 8. Shannon Babb, 9. Jason Feger, 10. Mike Spatola, 11. Jeff Babcock, 12. Dona Marcoullier, 13. Jason McBride, 14. Devin Shiels, 15. Steve Kester, 16. Jon Henry, 17. Nick Bartels, 18. Casey Noonan, 19. Rusty Schlenk, 20. Kevin Reeve, 21. Zack Olger, 22. Dusty Moore. Fast qualifiers (among 56 cars): Feger, Shirley, Sheils, Miller,Babb, Vochaska. Heat race winners: Feger, Babb, Sheppard, Marcoullier, Shirley, Shiels. Consolation winners: B.J. Gregory, Chris Keller, Brad Eitniear. B-main winner: Ruhlman. Provisional starters: McBride, Schlenk, Noonan, Henry.


2012 DIRTcar Summer Nationals Schedule




Winner (Cars)


Brownstown Speedway

Brownstown, IN

Billy Moyer Jr. (49)


Kankakee County Speedway

Kankakee, IL

Shannon Babb(45)


Cedar Lake Speedway

Somerset, WI

Billy Moyer Jr. (37)


Cedar Lake Speedway

Somerset, WI

Billy Moyer Jr. (32)


Wilmot Raceway

Wilmot, WI

Ryan Unzicker (31)


Spoon River Speedway

Canton, IL

Jon Henry (38)


Highland Speedway

Highland, IL

Rodney Melvin (42)


Fayette Co. Speedway

Brownstown, IL

Brian Shirley (41)


Tri City Speedway

Pontoon Beach, IL

Billy Moyer (43)


Fairbury Speedway

Fairbury, IL

Brian Shirley (41)


I-96 Speedway

Lake Odessa, MI

Shannon Babb (36)


Lincoln Park Speedway

Putnamville, IN

Jason Feger (21)


Belle Clair Speedway

Belleville, IL

Jason Feger (34)


Clay Hill Motorsports Park

Atwood, TN

Brandon Sheppard (28)


Paducah Int. Raceway

Paducah, KY

Brian Birkhofer (35)


Federated Auto Parts I-55

Pevely, MO

Billy Moyer (34)


Lincoln Speedway

Lincoln, IL

Canceled (Heat)


Peoria Speedway

Peoria, IL

Brian Shirley (41)


Jacksonville Speedway

Jacksonville, IL

Jason Feger (40)


Lasalle Speedway

Lasalle, IL

Brian Birkhofer (36)


Macon Speedway

Macon, IL

Brian Shirley (38)


Quincy Raceways

Quincy, IL

Brian Shirley (31)


Clarksville Speedway

Clarksville, TN

Dennis Erb Jr. (32)


Tri State Speedway

Haubstadt, IN

Scott Weber (28)


Florence Speedway

Union, KY

Shannon Babb (44)


Brushcreek Motorsports

Pebbles, OH

Eddie Carrier Jr. (32)


Terre Haute Action Track

Terre Haute, IN

Don O’Neal (22)


Attica Raceway Park

Attica, OH

Shannon Babb (54)


Oakshade Raceway

Wauseon, OH

Ryan Unzicker (56)

The DIRTcar Summer Nationals (The Hell Tour) is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Racing Electonics (Official Communication), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to these fine contingency sponsors: Beyea Headers, Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Chevy Performance Parts, Intercomp, JE Pistons, Klotz Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Quartermaster, Superflow Dyno’s, UNOH (University of Northwestern Ohio), Wix Filters, and Wrisco Aluminum.