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Billy Drake dominates UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals opener at Peoria Speedway!

Billy Drake – Jim Denhamer photo

PEORIA, IL — June 13 — Billy Drake had a hard time believing that his victory in Wednesday night’s 40-lap DIRTcar Summer Nationals opener at Peoria Speedway was his first on the Hell Tour in nearly 15 years. But it was indeed, throwing the 48-year-old driver from Bloomington, IL back to his days as a well-traveled, full-time racer who was one of the dirt Late Model division’s rising stars.

“Things went right for us tonight. We were able to win that heat race, which was critical. The track got a little one lane, and we were right where we needed to be,” a surprised Drake said following the Feature event. ” We’ve been doing our homework and studying these cars, and with the help of Jimmy and Chris Mars we’ve been able to get this car pretty good.

Drake now competes on only a limited basis in an MB Customs machine fielded by Ray Neitner of Peoria, IL, but the talent that gained him several major wins during the 2000s remains in him. He proved it with a flawless performance at his car owner’s hometown track, setting fast time, winning a heat race and leading the Hell Tour’s 2018 lidlifter from start-to-finish off the outside pole without facing a single serious challenge.

Polesitting former Summer Nationals Champion Jason Feger was outgunned by Drake for the lead at the initial green flag and chased his fellow Bloomington resident for the entire distance. But even with five restarts, Feger was never able to draw close enough to make a significant bid for the lead and settled for the runner-up spot, 1.403 seconds behind Drake.

Fourth-starter Brian Shirley of Chatham, IL moved up one spot on the race’s opening lap and ran third for the duration to claim the final podium spot. Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, AR lost a position when the Feature began and finished fourth, while sixth-starter Brandon Thirlby of Traverse City, MI immediately seized fifth place and went on to complete the top five.

UMP Late Models

A Feature 1

00:00:00

Pos Start Driver Hometown Car
1 1 Billy Drake Bloomington, IL 75
2 2 Jason Feger Bloomington, IL 25
3 3 Brian Shirley Chatham, IL 3S
4 4 Billy Moyer Jr Batesville, AR 21JR
5 6 Brandon Thirlby Traverse City, MI M14
6 9 Billy Moyer Sr Batesville, AR 21
7 5 Bob Gardner Washington, IL 4G
8 12 Nick Hoffman Mooresville, NC 2
9 19 Ryan Unzicker El Paso, IL 24
10 7 Rusty Schlenk McClure, OH CJ1
11 17 Shannon Babb Moweaqua, IL 18
12 13 Allen Weisser Peoria, IL 61
13 8 Frank Heckenast Jr Frankfort, IL 99JR
14 15 Timothy Culp Prattsville, AR C8
15 16 Gordy Gundaker St. Charles, MO 11G
16 22 Paul Stubber Wanneroo, Aust 31AUS
17 20 Mike Spatola Manhattan, IL 89
18 21 Matt Shannon Bartonville, IL 15
19 18 Tony Jackson Jr Lebanon, MO 56
20 10 Allen Murray San Antonio, TX 2M
21 11 Todd Bennett Peoria, IL T2
22 14 Charles Hess Peoria, IL 40

B Feature 1

00:00:00

Pos Start Driver Hometown Car
1 1 Shannon Babb Moweaqua, IL 18
2 2 Tony Jackson Jr Lebanon, MO 56
3 3 Ryan Unzicker El Paso, IL 24
4 4 Mike Spatola Manhattan, IL 89
5 5 Tyler Bruening Decorah, IA 16T
6 10 Austin Rettig Sikeston, MO 94
7 7 Brian Diveley Springfield, IL 11D
8 9 Dennis Erb Jr Carpentersville, IL 28
9 8 Russ Adams Princeville, IL 74
10 6 Paul Stubber Wanneroo, Aust 31AUS
11 13 Myles Moos Lincoln, IL 84
12 14 Matt Shannon Bartonville, IL 15
13 12 Rich Bell Sheffield, IL 21B
14 15 Rusty Griffaw Festus, MO 16G
15 11 Kevin Weaver Gibson City, IL B12
16 20 Chuck Hummer Lyons, OH 25H

C Feature 1

00:00:00

Pos Start Driver Hometown Car
1 2 Matt Shannon Bartonville, IL 15
2 1 Myles Moos Lincoln, IL 84
3 3 Rusty Griffaw Festus, MO 16G
4 8 Chuck Hummer Lyons, OH 25H
5 4 Victor Benedetto Marengo, IL 14B
6 6 Robbie Bauman Fairview, IL 30
7 10 Bill Kettering Pekin, IL 25K
DNS Jay Sparks Metamera, IL 7
DNS Glen Thompson Buckingham, IL 14T
DNS Jeff Riddell Steward, IL 09

Heat 1

00:00:00

Pos Start Driver Hometown Car
1 1 Billy Drake Bloomington, IL 75
2 2 Bob Gardner Washington, IL 4G
3 4 Billy Moyer Sr Batesville, AR 21
4 3 Allen Weisser Peoria, IL 61
5 5 Shannon Babb Moweaqua, IL 18
6 6 Tyler Bruening Decorah, IA 16T
7 7 Dennis Erb Jr Carpentersville, IL 28
8 9 Myles Moos Lincoln, IL 84
DNS Jay Sparks Metamera, IL 7
DNS Glen Thompson Buckingham, IL 14T

Heat 2

00:00:00

Pos Start Driver Hometown Car
1 4 Jason Feger Bloomington, IL 25
2 1 Brandon Thirlby Traverse City, MI M14
3 2 Allen Murray San Antonio, TX 2M
4 5 Charles Hess Peoria, IL 40
5 7 Tony Jackson Jr Lebanon, MO 56
6 3 Paul Stubber Wanneroo, Aust 31AUS
7 6 Austin Rettig Sikeston, MO 94
8 8 Matt Shannon Bartonville, IL 15
9 9 Robbie Bauman Fairview, IL 30
10 10 Bill Kettering Pekin, IL 25K

Heat 3

00:00:00

Pos Start Driver Hometown Car
1 2 Brian Shirley Chatham, IL 3S
2 1 Rusty Schlenk McClure, OH CJ1
3 4 Todd Bennett Peoria, IL T2
4 6 Timothy Culp Prattsville, AR C8
5 7 Ryan Unzicker El Paso, IL 24
6 3 Brian Diveley Springfield, IL 11D
7 5 Kevin Weaver Gibson City, IL B12
8 8 Rusty Griffaw Festus, MO 16G
DNS Jeff Riddell Steward, IL 09

Heat 4

00:00:00

Pos Start Driver Hometown Car
1 1 Billy Moyer Jr Batesville, AR 21JR
2 2 Frank Heckenast Jr Frankfort, IL 99JR
3 3 Nick Hoffman Mooresville, NC 2
4 4 Gordy Gundaker St. Charles, MO 11G
5 6 Mike Spatola Manhattan, IL 89
6 5 Russ Adams Princeville, IL 74
7 7 Rich Bell Sheffield, IL 21B
8 8 Victor Benedetto Marengo, IL 14B
9 9 Chuck Hummer Lyons, OH 25H

Qualifying 1

1 laps | 00:00:00

Pos Start Driver Hometown Car Time
1 4 Billy Drake Bloomington, IL 75 13.505
2 8 Rusty Schlenk McClure, OH CJ1 13.606
3 1 Bob Gardner Washington, IL 4G 13.617
4 14 Brian Shirley Chatham, IL 3S 13.625
5 19 Allen Weisser Peoria, IL 61 13.642
6 11 Brian Diveley Springfield, IL 11D 13.656
7 5 Billy Moyer Sr Batesville, AR 21 13.657
8 12 Todd Bennett Peoria, IL T2 13.658
9 6 Shannon Babb Moweaqua, IL 18 13.734
10 2 Kevin Weaver Gibson City, IL B12 13.789
11 9 Tyler Bruening Decorah, IA 16T 13.855
12 7 Timothy Culp Prattsville, AR C8 13.968
13 16 Dennis Erb Jr Carpentersville, IL 28 14.012
14 18 Ryan Unzicker El Paso, IL 24 14.028
15 10 Jay Sparks Metamera, IL 7 14.184
16 17 Rusty Griffaw Festus, MO 16G 14.264
17 15 Myles Moos Lincoln, IL 84 14.297
DNS Jeff Riddell Steward, IL 09 9.999
DNS Glen Thompson Buckingham, IL 14T 9.999

Qualifying 2

1 laps | 00:00:00

Pos Start Driver Hometown Car Time
1 11 Brandon Thirlby Traverse City, MI M14 13.543
2 4 Billy Moyer Jr Batesville, AR 21JR 13.719
3 18 Allen Murray San Antonio, TX 2M 13.721
4 2 Frank Heckenast Jr Frankfort, IL 99JR 13.748
5 1 Paul Stubber Wanneroo, Aust 31AUS 13.789
6 3 Nick Hoffman Mooresville, NC 2 13.789
7 5 Jason Feger Bloomington, IL 25 13.833
8 7 Gordy Gundaker St. Charles, MO 11G 13.880
9 15 Charles Hess Peoria, IL 40 14.017
10 10 Russ Adams Princeville, IL 74 14.044
11 9 Austin Rettig Sikeston, MO 94 14.051
12 6 Mike Spatola Manhattan, IL 89 14.097
13 13 Tony Jackson Jr Lebanon, MO 56 14.246
14 14 Rich Bell Sheffield, IL 21B 14.260
15 19 Matt Shannon Bartonville, IL 15 14.289
16 8 Victor Benedetto Marengo, IL 14B 14.456
17 16 Robbie Bauman Fairview, IL 30 14.521
18 17 Chuck Hummer Lyons, OH 25H 14.958
19 12 Bill Kettering Pekin, IL 25K 15.125
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