Shannon Babb Blasts Forward >From 13th To Capture Wednesday’s Florida
DIRTcar Nationals Main For UMP Late Models
BARBERVILLE, FL – Feb. 14, 2007 – Starting 13th in Wednesday night’s 30-lap
UMP DIRTcar Racing Late Model feature at Volusia Speedway Park didn’t hamper
Wheeling a one-week-old C.J. Rayburn car, Babb stormed forward to claim a
$5,000 victory in the 36th annual Florida DIRTcar Nationals Presented by
“This car has just been super-good every time we’ve raced it,” Babb said of
his Billy Moyer Sr.-owned machine. “It’s a new-style 2007 Rayburn that has
some little improvements on it, and we’re real happy with it.”
Babb, 33, of Moweaqua, Ill., made his key moves of the race following a
lap-10 restart. Fifth when green-flag action resumed, he vaulted up to
second in barely more than a lap, passing Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., Josh
Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., and opening-night Florida DIRTcar Nationals
winner Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., in rapid succession.
Then Babb used the inside lane to slip by Dan Schlieper of Sullivan, Wis.,
for the lead on lap 18. The two-time defending UMP DIRTcar Racing
Summernationals champion dominated the remainder of the distance, pulling
away to defeat Frank’s Lester Buildings No. 1* by 3.335 seconds.
The pole-sitting Schlieper settled for third place after leading laps 7-17,
while Darren Miller of Milledgeville, Ill., advanced from the 20th starting
spot to place a strong fourth and the 18-year-old Richards was fifth.
Babb felt that the race’s second caution flag, on lap 10, played a pivotal
role in his first career UMP Late Model win at the half-mile, D-shaped oval.
His only previous checkered flag at VSP came on Feb. 6, 2004, in a 360 OTC
World of Outlaws Late Model Series event.
“I think I was a little quicker after the restart,” said Babb, whose car now
sports a gray-and-red paint scheme rather than his customary red-and-yellow
hues. “I was able to get by three guys real quick.”
Besting Schlieper was a bit tougher, but Babb pulled that off after
searching the racy speedway for the fastest lane.
“The racetrack was awesome,” said Babb, who this season is using a
powerplant from Bullock Racing Engines in Somerset, Ky., for the first time.
“I moved around and found a pretty good groove where I could roll onto the
backstretch and not lose any momentum.”
Frank, who turned 45 on Jan. 22, seized second from Schlieper on lap 22, but
without a caution flag to bunch the field he never had a chance to challenge
“I don’t think in open track (Babb) was that much better than us,” said
Frank, who started ninth behind the wheel of a Rocket car. “But he got
through traffic better.”
Frank pointed specifically to the lap-10 restart, when Babb made a couple
breathtaking moves to reach second place.
“I thought we were in good shape until Babb went flying by everybody,”
analyzed Frank, a regular on the 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series.
“It looked like we all got bunched up for a second, and he made the right
move to go scooting by.”
The driver who might have been Babb’s biggest obstacle to victory was Chris
Madden of Grey Court, S.C. But moments after Madden, who started 10th, slid
into second place on lap 10, his Bloomquist Chassis No. 44 came to a stop
with terminal mechanical trouble.
Madden, who didn’t compete in the Florida DIRTcar Nationals opener on Monday
night, looked like he was going to duplicate his dominant victory in last
October’s 360 OTC WoO LMS ‘Gator 100’ at Volusia.
“It was a repeat of last October,” said Madden. “We ran the same car and the
same motor, and it was perfect.”
Ricky Elliott of Seaford, Del., made a charge from 18th to finish sixth.
Pearson, who led laps 1-6 from the outside pole, faded to seventh at the
checkered flag, ahead of Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., Jimmy Owens of
Newport, Tenn., and 24th-starter Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y.
An enormous 102-car field entered the second night of UMP Late Model
competition during the Florida DIRTcar Nationals.
Justin Ratliff of Campbellsville, Ky., turned the fastest lap of the “group”
qualifying sessions, circling the track in 16.239 seconds.
Heat winners were Schlieper, Pearson, Terry Casey of New London, Wis.,
Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., Richards, Patrick Sheltra of
Indiantown, Fla., and Jerry Rice of Verona, Ky. The B-Mains were captured by
Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill., Elliott, Lanigan and Miller.
The 360 OTC World of Outlaws Late Model Series takes center stage at the
Florida DIRTcar Nationals on Thursday night (Feb. 15). A 50-lap event paying
$10,000 to win will headline the program, which also includes the Advance
Auto Parts Super DIRT Series for big-block Modifieds.
For more information on the Florida DIRTcar Nationals, visit
UMP DIRTcar Racing Late Model Feature Finish (30 laps):
1. Shannon Babb
2. Chub Frank
3. Dan Schlieper
4. Darren Miller
5. Josh Richards
6. Ricky Elliott
7. Earl Pearson Jr.
8. Darrell Lanigan
9. Jimmy Owens
10. Tim Fuller
11. Patrick Sheltra
12. Dennis Erb Jr.
13. Donnie Moran
14. Steve Shaver
15. Justin Ratliff
16. Dave Hess Jr.
17. Jonathan Davenport
18. Rick Eckert
19. Damon Eller
20. Shane Clanton
21. Jerry Rice
22. Ronny Lee Hollingsworth
23. Chris Madden
24. Terry Casey
DNQ: Mike Jackson, Mark Anderson, J.O. Nobles, Peyton Taylor, Duke Whisenant,
Wayne Chinn, C.J. Rayburn, Christian Rayburn, Mike Balzano, Homer Leonard,
Mike Mataragas, Ronnie DeHaven, Joe Ramey, Austin Dillon, Ricky Arms, Jackie
Boggs, Greg Johnson, Eric Jacobsen, Michael England, Steve Sheppard Jr.,
Matt Miller, John Tindall, Frank Ingram, Stacy Boles, Jordan Bland, Chuck
Julien, Jason Smith, Mike Williams, Kenny Adams, Brian Birkhofer, Mike
Hammerle, Terry Lumley, Don Mihelich, Dale McDowell, Greggie Oliver, Brandon
Kinzer, Steve Casebolt, Dan Stone, Bill Howe, Ivedent Lloyd, Billy Moyer,
Larry Perry Jr., John Blankenship, Rodney Kiker, Joe Denby, Jake Redetzke,
Eddie Carrier Jr., Jimmy Mars, Vic Coffey, Jeff Smith, Chris Hackett, Tim
Manville, Mike Marler, Kenny Pettyjohn, Tim McCreadie, Josh McGuire, Clint
Smith, Adam Hensel, Ray Cook, Jeep VanWormer, Rhon Moon, Bub McCool, Garrett
Durrett, Jamie Eichels, Don O’Neal, Chris Wall, Brian Claudnic, Jason
McBride, Jeff Alsip, Scott James, Mike Amell, Wendell Wallace, Billy Decker,
Roy Mitchell, Terry English, Sherri Heckenast, Johnny Johnson, Devin Sebree