Brian Shirley’s consistency plus two wins puts him in Summer Nationals driver’s seat
CONCORD, N.C. – June 27, 2012 – Brian Shirley says his DIRTcar Late Model team flies under the radar, but through a dozen events on the 2012 DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour, his team no longer is stealthy.
Shirley, 31, has two victories in the past five nights and is the overall leader of the grueling tour featuring 29 races in 32 days, including tonight’s race at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill. The drivers chasing Shirley include three-time Summer Nationals champion Shannon Babb, former DIRTcar national and Summer Nationals champ Jason Feger and defending DIRTcar national champion Ryan Unzicker. Shirley, though, is quietly going about his business night in and night out, including Tuesday’s runner-up finish at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind.
“I feel like our cars have been good, we just kind of fly under the radar a lot because of our budget, how we operate,” said Shirley, of Chatham, Ill., who counts several big wins during his career, including a victory in the 2005 Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway Dirt Late Model Nationals. “I felt like at the beginning of the year we were pretty strong, had some consistent runs with some wins. I’m not the type of person to talk about myself. I let our performance do the talking. I never underestimated my team or anybody else this year.”
Shirley might be making it look easy through the first half of the tour, but now is when the grinding schedule of the toughest month in motorsports begins to take its toll on people and equipment.
“It’s pretty grueling,” he said. “Right now it starts to wear on you a little bit. Next week will get a little easier because you won’t travel as far at night so that makes life a little easier. Right now you always get tired. Next week you’ll lose the travel, but you’ll gain the heat, it’s supposed to be 100 degrees next week. You kind of feel like you gain one thing then lose another. It’s really a grueling four weeks, and then you throw in your family that you’re missing and it makes it pretty tough.”
Even though he is leading the Hell Tour championship right now, Shirley, who is a married father of two, remains focused on the individual races during the month.
“What matters to me are the paychecks,” said Shirley, who was the runner-up in the 2008 Summer Nationals championship. “I’m out here away from my family and the most important thing to me is to make the money to provide for my family. If I’m going to be away from my family, I need to have a good reason to be away from them.
“You can’t really honestly worry about points until about three or four races to go. You can just go hot to cold real fast so the points thing you don’t worry about until the last week.”
If Shirley’s consistent runs continue, he won’t have to worry about points at all.
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals (The Hell Tour) is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), Racing Electonics (Official Communication), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel); in addition to these fine contingency sponsors: Beyea Headers, Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Chevy Performance Parts, Intercomp, JE Pistons, Klotz Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Quartermaster, Superflow Dyno’s, UNOH (University of Northwestern Ohio), Wix Filters, and Wrisco Aluminum.