KENTUCKY PROUD: Tanner English Overcomes Early Flat for First Summer Nationals Win at Paducah

Tyler Carr Photo

Right when it appeared that all hope was lost for Tanner English, the Kentucky native gathered-in his concentration and refused to be denied in front of his home-state crowd Friday night at Paducah International Raceway.

English, the former World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year from Benton, KY, led the opening 12 laps of the main event before a flat tire forced him to surrender the lead. When both Jason Feger and Tyler Clem suffered flat tires of their own while leading in the closing laps, English had driven all the way back from the tail of the field and was there to pick up the pieces for his first career DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature win in Kentucky.

“Luck kept rolling our way,” English said. “I hate it for Feger. He had a flat there but I think I probably would’ve won it if I hadn’t had a flat also.”

In Victory Lane, English let the feeling of a win in front of his fans sink in and expressed his emotions in the moment.

“It’s been a long time coming to win a big race here,” English said. “I’ve won some World 50s, some $10,000-to-win races, but like a Summer Nationals [race] – it’s something special.

“It may not be the biggest win, may not be the most competition here, but it means a lot to me.”

English started on the outside pole and took the lead on Lap 1 as he rolled around the high side of the 3/8-mile oval and zoomed past polesitter Jeff Herzog. Once he took the lead, English began to set the pace, gapping runner-up Feger by over a second when the yellow flag was thrown on Lap 12.

English (96) staying ahead of Feger (25F) in the opening part of the race. (Tyler Carr Photo)

Then, the caution flag flew again on Lap 13 and that’s when English discovered he had a flat right-rear tire. Once he found out his tire was flat, English knew he had to fix it no matter how tough the decision was.

“I knew it was fixing to blow,” English said. “I knew it was almost gone so I didn’t have any other choice and had to do it.”

Feger inherited the lead after English took his place at the back of the field and took off on the restart. Once Feger got out to the lead, it appeared as though nobody was going to catch him as he got out to over a four-second lead with 10-to-go.

Feger gapping the field after inheriting the lead. (Tyler Carr Photo)

English had not given up though; he was making a hard charge to the front of the field and was back up to fourth with five laps-to-go. Feger was still way ahead of the field but when the caution flag came out on Lap 38, he discovered he had a flat tire of his own and ducked into the work area.

“I needed a caution bad,” English said. “I was sixth or seventh there and I just kind of rode forever waiting for a caution and finally it came out.”

Tyler Clem then inherited the lead with English behind him. On the restart, Clem jumped the cushion in Turns 1 and 2 and slowed, bringing out the caution again and handing the lead back to English with three laps-to-go.

“I knew something was bound to happen,” English said. “I just didn’t expect it to happen like that. Didn’t expect Feger to have a flat and then Tyler hopped the cushion there in the lead, so I just felt my way with my tires and just stayed up the rest of the race.”

Now, English was back to where he was at the beginning of the race and got a great jump on the restart to take the checkered flag two seconds ahead of runner-up Joe Chalmers.

While he collects the $10,000 grand prize, English said winning a Hell Tour race at his home track – where his father Terry English won five times – means far more than the winner’s check.

“It’s big just to do it in front of my hometown crowd,” English said. “I live 15 miles down the road so it’s awesome because we get to sleep in our own bed tonight.”

English also takes the Week 4 points lead going into the last two races of the week, now sitting 28 points ahead of Rodney Melvin.


Week 4 of the 39th DIRTcar Summer Nationals continues Saturday, July 6, at Clarksville Speedway in Clarksville, TN. Tickets will be on sale at the gate on race day. If you can’t be there to watch in person, stream every lap live on DIRTVision.

ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view results here)

Feature (40 Laps): 1. 96-Tanner English[2]; 2. 31AUS-Joe Chalmers[13]; 3. 15-Clayton Stuckey[20]; 4. 25F-Jason Feger[6]; 5. 8-Dillon McCowan[9]; 6. 75-Daniel Adam[8]; 7. 30-Mark Voigt[15]; 8. 31S-Paul Stubber[14]; 9. 58-Tyler Clem[16]; 10. 27M-Rodney Melvin[3]; 11. 11H-Jeff Herzog[1]; 12. 28B-Carson Brown[10]; 13. 29-Christian Hanger[7]; 14. 99-Dylan Thompson[4]; 15. 38-Thomas Hunziker[11]; 16. 10-Ronnie Cooper[17]; 17. 54-David Breazeale[12]; 18. 2-Charlie Cole[22]; 19. 174-Ethan Dotson[5]; 20. 7-Tony Cruse[21]; 21. 23C-Wyatt Cox[18]; 22. 12-Ashton Winger[19]; 23. 89-Jeremy Anderson[23]