By Todd Turner
PONTOON BEACH, Ill. — If anyone can accomplish what’s thought to be an unprecedented hat trick at Tri-City Speedway, it’s Billy Moyer.
The 54-year-old Hall of Fame driver from Batesville, Ark., will be gunning for his third $10,000 victory of the season on July 13 at Tri-City’s Battle of the Beach, a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event that will be telecast later on MavTV.
No driver has won more big races than Moyer at Tri-City since the Kevin and Tammy Gundaker-promoted racetrack was shortened to a 3/8-mile circuit before the 2007 season. Moyer has averaged one five-figure payday per year since then and with $10,000 victories on May 27 (Budweiser 50) and June 22 (UMP DIRTcar Summernationals) already, he’s trying to become what’s thought to be the first driver in track history with three victories at least that lucrative in a single season.
“We like going to any place that is racy and Tri-City Speedway definitely falls into that category,” Moyer said. “It seems like that place really fits my driving style and the track crew does a great job with working the surface. Just like the UMP Summernationals race there a couple of weeks ago, it looked like it was going to take rubber, but they went out and worked on the track prior to the feature and put on a good show for the fans.
“You always like a track a little more when you win, but I can honestly say that Tri-City ranks up there on the list of places we love to race. We have been pretty good there all year.”
In his Budweiser 50 victory, Moyer swept around Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., on the 32nd lap and took the checkers in front of Mars, Brian Birkhofer, Steve Francis and Brian Shirley. During the UMP DIRTcar Summernationals, he survived backstretch contact with Randy Korte and cruised the rest of the way to outrun Shirley, Birkhofer, Bobby Pierce and Dennis Erb Jr.
Of course, Moyer is a perfectionist who has 13 victories overall through June, and he believes his total might’ve been 14 had he not been in the middle of a first-lap skirmish in the previous Lucas Oil Series victory to Tri-City Speedway on May 4. Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., visited victory lane after that $10,000 race while Moyer’s crew was repairing his car in the pits.
“A lot of people look at those last two wins, but I also remember when we got caught up in a first-lap wreck there in the Lucas Oil race in early May,” Moyer said. “I think we had a car capable of winning that night, too, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards. It would be neat to pull off three straight $10,000 wins at Tri-City, and it would also be a little sweet redemption from the one that maybe got away the last time the Lucas Oil bunch showed up there.”
Moyer will have plenty of competition at July 13’s Battle at the Beach. Lucas Oil Series points leader and reigning champ Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., and two-time series champion Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., are among drivers expected along with O’Neal, Francis, Earl Pearson Jr., John Blankenship, Tyler Reddick along with Clint Bowyer Racing teammates Jonathan Davenport and Jared Landers.
Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m. for the Battle at the Beach. General admission is $25 while children 12-and-under are free. For more information, call (636) 448-9111 or visit tricityspeedway.net.