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PEVELY, MO - Sept. 18, 2010 - Shannon Babb finally reached the Promised Land in a World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at I-55 Raceway.
And the 36-year-old star from Moweaqua, Ill., did it in breathtaking fashion, outdueling the red-hot Billy Moyer in a classic battle to capture Saturday night’s 28th annual Pepsi Nationals.
Turning around a moribund season with dramatic flair, Babb used the inside groove to vault from eighth to third on a lap-29 restart and went on to wrestle the lead from Batesville, Ark.’s Moyer on lap 48 of the 55-lap A-Main. The two-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion earned $10,000 for his 10th career victory on the WoO LMS but first since March 21, 2009, at Battleground Speedway in Highlands, Texas.
The triumph brought a joyful end to Babb’s string of close-but-no-cigar runs in WoO LMS competition at the one-third-mile, high-banked oval. He entered Saturday’s action as the only driver with a top-five finish in the national tour’s three previous visits to I-55 after placing a hard-charging second in 2007 and fifth in both 2005 (he lost the lead to eventual winner Moyer late in the distance) and 2008.
Adding even more significance to Babb’s breakthrough was his defeat of Moyer, who had been victorious in all three of his previous appearances this season at I-55 and was just one week removed from winning an unprecedented sixth career World 100 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
“That was really cool,” Babb said of a race that ranked as one of the most memorable of the 2010 WoO LMS campaign. “That guy (Moyer) has been unbeatable all this year and I don’t even know when the last time was that I won a race – that’s why I’m so happy.”
Moyer, 52, settled for a second-place finish, 0.411 of a second behind his protégé at the checkered flag. He nosed ahead to lead laps 26 and 43 but couldn’t maintain command of the event, which featured six lead changes among four drivers.
Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., who started 13th, was closing on the leaders in the final circuits but had to be content with a third-place finish. Polesitter Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., slipped to fourth at the finish after leading laps 15-25 and 27-41 and Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga., advanced from the 11th starting spot to place fifth, registering his fourth top-five run in the last five WoO LMS events.
Lanigan’s fourth-place finish moved him back into the WoO LMS points lead by two points over defending champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., who started and finished sixth. Just three events remain in the chase for the tour’s $100,000 points title – all at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in Concord, N.C., which hosts the World of Outlaws Late Model Shootout on Oct. 13 and the World Finals on Nov. 4-6.
Babb, who started ninth in a Donley Trucking/Petroff Towing Rocket car that he debuted one month ago, waited until just after the race’s halfway point to make his move. He had advanced just one position when two of the A-Main’s three caution flags flew on lap 29 – the first for the ambulance to leave the infield and the second for a slide-and-stop by outside polesitter Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who led laps 1-14 and was still running second when he lost control of his car on the inside of turn four.
On the second restart, Babb found traction on the extreme inside of the track and passed five cars in the span of a lap. One circuit later he overtook Moyer for second and almost immediately began to challenge Lanigan for the lead.
“It surprised me,” Babb said of his sudden surge into contention. “Our car seemed to be good right from the start, but it was so competitive out there I didn’t know what I was gonna do at the beginning. I moved around top-to-bottom so I knew that bottom was there, but you can’t keep up when the top’s as good as it was.
“I had to wait for the middle and top to slow down. Once that happened, I moved down and the bottom was the place to be for the last 30 laps.”
Babb praised the I-55 racing surface, which produced three-wide racing for the lead – early with Lanigan, McCreadie and Moyer, and later with Babb replacing McCreadie in the pacesetting trio – that had the evening’s large crowd standing and cheering.
“(Ray) Marler and (Ken) Schrader (who co-own the speedway outside St. Louis) put an awesome racetrack together tonight,” said Babb. “They went the extra mile and worked the racetrack really good (just prior to the start of the A-Main). All the way to the end we were battling – that’s probably the best racing surface I’ve seen here.”
Moyer, who started third, thought he was in position to win the race several times during the frenetic late-race struggle but simply couldn’t get his Victory Circle chassis through lapped traffic well enough to beat Babb. The former WoO LMS champion nevertheless seemed energized by his race with Babb, who received a hearty congratulatory handshake from Moyer in Victory Lane.
“The fans had to love that race,” said Moyer, who over the past three months won Northeast All-Stars, Summer Nationals and MARS DIRTcar Series events at I-55. “That was fun. The fans saw a heck of a show.”
Finishing in positions 6-10 was Richards, who climbed as high as fourth; Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., who ran fifth for much of the race’s first half; a rallying McCreadie, who was presented the $100 Chizmark Larson Insurance Hard Luck Award; 19th-starter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa.; and 2010 WoO LMS Rookie of the Year Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del.
Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark., faded to an 11th-place finish after starting fourth and running in the top five until nearly the halfway mark, but he still earned the $500 ‘Bonus Bucks’ cash for being the highest-finishing driver who hasn’t won a WoO LMS A-Main and wasn’t ranked among the top 12 in the points standings.
The Pepsi Nationals served as the seventh leg of the LaCrosse Extreme Tough Challenge, a unique mini-series that awards points to the top-five fulltime WoO LMS and Sprint Car Series drivers in 16 selected events – eight Late Model and eight Sprint Car – and will earn the champion of the combined standings a $5,000 bonus from a $15,000 points fund. Lanigan earned five points for being the highest-finishing WoO LMS regular, while Clint Smith (four), Richards (three), Francis (two) and McCreadie (one) also collected points.
Lanigan and Richards ended the night tied for the lead in the LaCrosse Extreme Tough points standings with 19 points each, one point ahead of WoO Sprint Car star Donny Schatz. The WoO Sprint Car racers, however, have three LaCrosse events remaining while the Late Model contingent has just one, on Nov. 5 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Francis was quickest in the 31-car Ohlins Shocks Time Trials session, ripping off a lap of 12.768 seconds for his fourth fast-time honor of 2010.
Heat winners were Francis, Richards and Moyer, and Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., topped the B-Main.
The A-Main was run under the threat of approaching thunderstorms, but while lightning danced in the sky throughout the 55-lapper the precipitation held off until nearly a half-hour after the checkered flag.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
Results of WoO Late Model Series ‘Pepsi Nationals’ (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (9) Shannon Babb/55 $10,000
2. (3) Billy Moyer/55 $5,225
3. (13) Brady Smith/55 $3,000
4. (1) Darrell Lanigan/55 $3,600
5. (11) Clint Smith/55 $3,000
6. (6) Josh Richards/55 $2,800
7. (5) Steve Francis/55 $2,500
8. (2) Tim McCreadie/55 $2,000
9. (19) Chub Frank/55 $2,250
10. (10) Austin Hubbard/55 $2,350
11. (4) Wendell Wallace/55 $1,550
12. (8) Rick Eckert/55 $1,500
13. (7) Tim Fuller/55 $1,950
14. (14) Jason Feger/55 $900
15. (12) Shane Clanton/55 $1,850
16. (18) Ricky Frankel/54 $800
17. (20) Bobby Pierce/53 $770
18. (22) Chris Hall/53 $750
19. (23) Jill George/52 $730
20. (16) Russell King/36 $1,700
21. (17) Ken Schrader/22 $700
22. (21) Scott Weber/15 $700
23. (15) Matt Miller/13 $700
24. (24) April Farmer/12 $725
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 23 Mins., 44.656 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.411 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 3 (Laps 29, 29, 38)
Lap Leaders: McCreadie (1-14); Lanigan (15-25); Moyer (26); Lanigan (27-41); Babb (42); Moyer (43); Babb (48-55)
Provisional Starters: George, Farmer
Rookie of the Race: Hubbard ($250)
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Wallace ($500)
Chizmark Larson Insurance Hard Luck Award ($100): McCreadie
Ohlins Shocks Time Trial Results (Position/No./Driver/Hometown/Best Lap):
1. 15-Steve Francis/Ashland, KY 12.768
2. 29-Darrell Lanigan/Union, KY 12.773
3. 21-Billy Moyer/Batesville, AR 12.819
4. 88-Wendell Wallace/Batesville, AR 12.868
5. 1-Josh Richards/Shinnston, WV 13.019
6. 18-Shannon Babb/Moweaqua, IL 13.142
7. 44F-Tim Fuller/Watertown, NY 13.161
8. 24-Rick Eckert/York, PA 13.167
9. 25-Shane Clanton/Fayetteville, GA 13.224
10. 19H-Austin Hubbard/Seaford, DE 13.298
11. 32-Bobby Pierce/Oakwood, IL 13.379
12. 7-Matt Miller/Waterville, OH 13.431
13. 99Jr.-Frank Heckenast Jr./Orland Park, IL 13.454
14. 25F-Jason Feger/Bloomington, IL 13.485
15. 33F-Ricky Frankel/Quincy, IL 13.507
16. 2-Brady Smith/Solon Springs, WI 13.515
17. 44-Clint Smith/Senoia, GA 13.526
18. 39-Tim McCreadie/Watertown, NY 13.542
19. 1*-Chub Frank/Bear Lake, PA 13.628
20. 1HR-Ron McQuerry/St. Albans, MO 13.654
21. 6K-Michael Kloos/Trenton, IL 13.666
22. 56-Russell King/Bristolville, OH 13.681
23. 9-Ken Schrader/Concord, NC 13.747
24. 00-Scott Weber/Festus, MO 13.859
25. 66-Chris Hall/Sikeston, MO 13.860
26. 13-Dewayne Keifer/St. Genevieve, MO 13.911
27. 8BALL-Brant Kehrer/Albers, IL 14.193
28. 22-Jill George/Cedar Falls, IA 14.208
29. 14-April Farmer/Livingston, TN 14.226
30. 3d-Lou Driemeier/Valles Mines, MO 14.562
31. B1-Randy Bingham/Greenville, IL N/T
Heat No. 1 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Francis, Wallace, Fuller, Hubbard, B. Smith, King, Frank, Hall, Heckenast, George (DNS) Bingham
Heat No. 2 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Richards, Lanigan, Eckert, C. Smith, Feger, Schrader, Pierce, Farmer, Keifer, McQuerry
Heat No. 3 (10 laps – Top 6 Transfer): Moyer, McCreadie, Babb, Clanton, Miller, Frankel, Weber, Kloos, Driemeier, Kehrer
B-Main No. 1 (12 laps – Top 4 Transfer): Frank, Pierce, Weber, Hall, Farmer, McQuerry, Keifer, Kloos, Heckenast, George, Driemeier, Kehrer (DNS) Bingham
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners:
Arizona Sports Shirts ($50 product certificate): April Farmer
Armor All (one case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main w/decal): Brady Smith
Eibach Springs (one free spring): April Farmer
MSD Ignition ($75 cash award): Billy Moyer
MSD Ignition ($25 cash award): April Farmer
Ohlins Pole Award ($50 cash award to fastest qualifier w/decal): Billy Moyer
Pink Carburetors ($100 product certificate): Rick Eckert
Pink Carburetors ($50 product certificate): April Farmer
Quartermaster ($100 product certificate): Billy Moyer
Quartermaster ($50 product certificate): Clint Smith
Quartermaster ($25 product certificate): Shane Clanton
R2C Performance ($100 certificate): Shannon Babb
STP ($50 cash award): Chub Frank
VP Racing Fuels ‘Nice Jugs Award’ (two five-gallon plastic fuel jugs to fastest qualifier who does not make the A-Main if decal is displayed): Frank Heckenast Jr.
Wrisco Aluminum (three sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner w/decal): Billy Moyer
2010 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of Sept. 18 – 41 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Darrell Lanigan 5492
2. Josh Richards 5490 (-2)
3. Tim McCreadie 5400 (-92)
4. Steve Francis 5274 (-218)
5. Shane Clanton 5178 (-314)
6. Rick Eckert 5168 (-324)
7. Austin Hubbard 5114 (-378)
8. Tim Fuller 5050 (-442)
9. Chub Frank 4968 (-524)
10. Clint Smith 4940 (-552)
11. Russell King 4572 (-920)
12. Brent Robinson 3470 (-2022)
13. Jill George 3348 (-2144)
14. Brady Smith 3136 (-2356)
15. Rick 'Boom' Briggs 1820 (-3672)
FOLLOW THE ACTION ON TWITTER: Fans can now keep up-to-date with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series online and through text messages on cell phones via Twitter, the internet’s fast-growing social-networking and micro-blogging website. Updates are provided to Twitter ‘followers’ of the WoO LMS throughout each race night, and fans also receive breaking news and interesting notes from the tour.
To sign-up as a WoO LMS ‘follower’ on Twitter to receive updates anywhere at anytime, visit http://twitter.com/WoOLateModels.
LISTEN ONLINE: If fans can’t get to a track to see the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, they can experience the excitement of the nation’s premier tour live on DIRTvision.com through the DIRT Radio Network.
To listen to the free audio broadcasts, log on to www.dirtvision.com and click on the DIRT Radio Network logo.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), SuperClean (Official Cleaner-Degreaser), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and Chizmark Larson Insurance; in addition to contingency sponsors Eibach Springs, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pink Carburetors, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance and Wrisco Aluminum.