CALVERT CITY, KY (May 4th and 5th, 2007)-One of the hottest drivers in Dirt Late Model racing, Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, IL stormed to the lead on the second lap. Then led every lap from then on as he went on capture the Third Annual “99” for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series on Saturday Night at the Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway. The 33 year old racer earned $24,999 for his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victory of the year. Babb piloted the Bill Moyer owned/Car City/J&J Steel/Watters Auto Land/Performance Rod and Custom/Allstar Performance/Imperial Motors/Dargie Race Engines/C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo to victory lane holding off a late race challenge from Steve Francis of Ashland, KY. Francis finished second in the Tim Logan/Morehead Auto Truck Parts and Sales/Russell Baker/Rocket Monte Carlo. Current series point’s leader Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR took third in the Car City/Pro Power Engines/C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo. Rounding out the top five were Brady Smith of Solon Springs, WI in the AMSOIL/Pro Power Engines/Bloomquist Race Cars Monte Carlo and Earl Pearson, Jr. of Jacksonville, FL in the Bobby Labonte Racing/LifeLong Locks/MasterSbilt Dodge Charger. A total of 52 cars were on hand at the Sherri Heckenast owned facility.
Babb, who started from the pole, saw outside front row pole sitter Scott Bloomquist power to the lead on the first lap with Babb running second followed by Don O’Neal. By the second time around the track Babb had taken over the top spot from Bloomquist. The third lap would bring out the first caution of the race for a flat tire on O’Neal’s car.
With O’Neal pitting Steve Francis would move into the third slot followed by Terry Casey. On the restart after O’Neal’s caution Francis move up to second around Bloomquist as Casey pitted for a flat tire. The second caution would fly on lap five for Garrett Durrett in turn two.
That would set up another restart with Babb holding the point followed by Francis, Bloomquist, Jeep VanWormer and Billy Moyer. Those five drivers ran that way until Moyer would get by VanWormer on lap nine to take over fourth place. By this point in the race Babb had built a four to five car length lead over the field.
Back to back cautions would take place on lap 12 for Scott James and Scott Bloomquist who both pitted with flats. Second place running Steve Francis would suffer a similar fate on lap 14 relegating him to the tail after a quick pit stop. The sixth caution came out on lap 15 when the restart cone ended up on the racing surface with several drivers making contact.
The race then had a lengthy stretch of green flag racing with Babb holding command of the race as Moyer started to challenge him as the two entered traffic by lap 28. Babb who at one point held a ten-car length advantage over Moyer saw that lead cut down to one car length when Brian Shirley slowed for the seventh caution of the race on lap 42. On the restart Babb would have Moyer and Brady Smith behind him. Smith had come from the 12th starting spot up to third as he was now challenging the leaders on the restart.
Smith made a run on Moyer passing him for the runner-up slot on lap 61 as Francis was coming back to the front as he was up to third by lap 63. Babb held a straightaway lead over Smith with 30 laps to go. A debris caution for a piece of metal on lap 69 would slow the field as Ray Cook would slow on the restart on lap 72 bringing a halt to the action.
Francis would then start to pressure Smith for second passing him on lap 75. A car on the move was Wendell Wallace. Wallace came storming up through the field in the last half of the race and got all the way to third by lap 77. Wallace then started to hunt down the two frontrunners in Babb and Francis. The last caution of the race came out for Wallace who suffered the same fate as some of the other competitors did during the race as he pitted for a flat tire.
With eleven laps to go Babb would have Francis on his rear bumper on the restart with Moyer in third followed by Smith and Pearson. Babb would take off after the restart as Francis would fall three lengths behind him with less than ten circuits to go. Babb would hold that advantage over Francis until the checkers flew. Moyer would finish third behind those two to maintain his series points lead. Smith would have his best run of the year in taking fourth followed by Pearson who came from the 18th starting spot.
Babb stood in victory lane at Kentucky Lake nearly exhausted after an unseasonably warm night of racing. “My secondary barrels were hung wide open on my carburetor as I’m running around there, when I let off they were still going, so I was locking up my front brake as I ran the last ten about the worst I’ve ever run.” “The track has its own characteristics, you could run high or low, the track was the best I’ve seen it.”
Completing the top ten were Steve Shaver, Brian Birkhofer, Ray Cook, Terry English and Matt Miller.
In preliminary action on Friday Night, Terry Casey was the LifeLong Locks Fastest Qualifier for the 52 entries hand. The Hawk Brake and Quarter Master Heat Races were won by Terry Casey, Don O’Neal, Shannon Babb and Scott Bloomquist. The Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno and Penske Shocks sponsored B-mains were Brian Shirley and Earl Pearson, Jr. The $600 bonus for the highest finishing driver who competed in three or fewer Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events in 2006 went to Eric Jacobsen who finished 16th. The $5,000 bonus to the driver who had the best average finishes from the 2006 Commonwealth Cup and this year’s “99” went to Steve Francis of Ashland, KY.
Coming up next for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series will be the First Annual Superchips “Diamond Nationals” Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts on Friday and Saturday, May 11th and 12th at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO. For more information you can visit www.LucasOilSpeedway.com.
Race Summary Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway-Calvert City, KY Friday and Saturday, May 4th and 5th, 2007
LifeLong Locks Fast Qualifier: Terry Casey 14.024 seconds
Hawk Brake First Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Terry Casey, Jeep VanWormer, Garrett Durrett, Darren Miller, Brian Shirley, Randy Sellars, Steve Casebolt, Frank Heckenast, Jr., Dewayne Kiefer, Todd Hall, Jimmy Owens, Donnie Moran, Mike Marlar
Hawk Brake Second Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Don O’Neal, Billy Moyer, Brian Birkhofer, Matt Miller, Steve Shaver, Michael England, Scott James, Kevin Cole, Phil Walker, Justin Rattliff, Tim Tungate, Clint Smith, Eddie Carrier, Jr. (DNS)
Quarter Master Third Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Shannon Babb, Steve Francis, Terry English, Wendell Wallace, Greg Johnson, Damon Eller, Rodney Melvin, Jordan Bland, Billy Drake, John Blankenship, John Tindal, Dylan Thompson, Dale Groves, Jr.
Quarter Master Fourth Heat: (10 Laps-Top 4 Advance): Scott Bloomquist, Eric Jacobsen, Brady Smith, Brad Neat, Earl Pearson, Jr., Ray Cook, Dan Schlieper, Randy Weaver, John Mason, Joe Mike, Tim Brown
Mason Racin’ Rebel Shock Dyno First B-Main: (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Brian Shirley, Steve Shaver, Michael England, Jimmy Owens, Dewayne Kiefer, Justin Rattliff, Clint Smith, Frank Heckenast, Jr., Donnie Moran, Randy Sellars, Steve Casebolt, Scott James, Phil Walker
Penske Shocks Second B-Main: (12 Laps-Top 3 Advance): Earl Pearson, Jr., Greg Johnson, Ray Cook, John Blankenship, Damon Eller, John Tindal, John Mason, Joe Mike, Dylan Thompson, Randy Weaver, Billy Drake, Rodney Melvin, Freddy Smith, Jordan Bland, Dan Schlieper
Third Annual “99” Feature Finish (99 Laps): Shannon Babb, Steve Francis, Billy Moyer, Brady Smith, Earl Pearson, Jr., Steve Shaver, Brian Birkhofer, Ray Cook, Terry English, Matt Miller, Wendell Wallace, Damon Eller, Jeep VanWormer, Steve Casebolt, Brad Neat, Eric Jacobsen, Scott James, Michael England, Darren Miller, Brian Shirley, Scott Bloomquist, Terry Casey, Greg Johnson, Garret Durrett, Don O’Neal
Entries: 52 Yellow Flags: 11 Lap Leaders: Scott Bloomquist 1 Shannon Babb 2-99 Edelbrock Hard Charger Award: Ray Cook (Started 22nd and Finished 8th-Advanced 14 Positions Allstar Performance Performer of the Race: Steve Francis K&N Clean Pass: Wendell Wallace Comp Cams Rookie of the Race: Brad Neat Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Provisionals: Scott James and Steve Casebolt Track Provisional: Damon Eller
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points Standings (After May 5, 2007)
Current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series COMP Cams Rookie of the Year Points Standings (After May 5, 2007)