Shirley wins at Clayhill as Summer Nationals head to PIR tonight for Chris Smith Memorial


ATWOOD, Tenn. — Another night, another win for a Central Illinois racer on the UMP Summer Nationals Tour.

Brian Shirley, the 2012 Summer Nationals champ, claimed his second win of the  season Thursday night at Clayhill Motorsports Park after overtaking pole-sitter Timothy Culp when motor troubles struck the race-long leader on lap 34.

The tour moves to Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway tonight for the third annual Chris Smith Memorial. The $10,000 to win race is a 40-lapper on the fast three-eighths mile track. Pits open at 2 p.m. with grandstands open at 5. Racing starts at 7. The Summit UMP Modified Nationals also race for $1,000 to win.

Shannon Babb, the Moweaqua Missile, won Wednesday in Clarksville, Tenn., after reigning Summer Nationals champ Brandon Sheppard, of New Berlin, Ill., won Monday in Peoria, and Central Illinois drivers dominate the point standings.

At Clayhill Thursday night, Shirley scored his second win of the week after taking the checkers Sunday night in Ionia, Mich. He found himself starting on the outside of Culp, who was looking to become the first Louisiana native to win a Summer Nationals feature. Culp quickly pulled away from Shirley and the rest of the field on the start of the race, looking to be the car to beat for most of the 40-lap A-Main.

Shirley slowly began to reel in Culp after his car began to slow battling lapped traffic and eventually blew past the leader on lap 34. Culp’s car was clearly suffering from mechanical problems. Culp’s car broke a water-pump early in the feature event, eventually leading to his motor frying and ending his dreams of capturing his first career Summer Nationals victory.

Shirley dominated the final six laps, compiling a lead of 2.76 seconds over Bobby Pierce, rolling to an unlikely victory and claiming the $5,000 checkered flag at Clayhill Motorsports Park. Culp limped to a sixth place finish after leading races opening 33 laps before surrendering the lead to Shirley.

“It was just a matter of time,” said Shirley, referring to when he would be able to pass Culp for the lead. “Things happen, we were just able to be in the right spot at the right time tonight.”

Shannon Babb, Billy Moyer Jr., and Ryan Unzicker rounded out the top five.

Heat race winners included Babb, Culp, and Shirley.

Summer Nationals

Clayhill Motorsports Park

Atwood, Tenn.

June 26, 2014; A-Main (40-laps): 1. 81-Brian Shirley ($5,000), 2. 32-Bobby Pierce, 3. 18-Shannon Babb, 4. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr, 5. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 6. C8-Timothy Culp, 7. B5-Brandon Sheppard, 8. 18S-Jack Sullivan, 9. 28E-Dennis Erb Jr, 10. 81JR-Jason Riggs, 11. 96T-Terry English, 12. 6M-Wendell Wallace, 13. 94-Austin Rettig, 14. 25L-Steve Lance Jr, 15. 71-Trace Westling, 16. 20-Alan Westling, 17. 96-Tanner English, 18. 1CJ-Gary Christian, 19. 12B-Kevin Weaver, 20. 15-Richard Frost, 21. 3X-Randy Sellars.

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