Feger started to the outside of Ryan Unzicker and immediately got to work on the top side, fending off pressure from Babb and Pierce right behind him. He settled into third after Babb got by him shortly after a Lap 8 restart but was able to match his pace and keep up.
Feger and Babb kept their battle going for the runner-up spot until the caution came out on Lap 26 for a flat left-rear tire on leader Ryan Unzicker. The El Paso, IL-native was showing signs of a slower pace in the laps prior to the yellow and took it to the work area for a tire change, rebounding later in the race from deep in the pack to come back and finish sixth.
What came next was just a good old-fashioned duel between two of Illinois’ best.
Babb had assumed the point after Unzicker went pit-side and led the field back to green, using the extreme bottom lane in the corners, nearly hitting the infield tractor tires at times. Feger threw his MB Customs #25 right up on the top once again and went lap-after-lap with Babb, trading the lead back-and-forth five times from Lap 28 to 33. Feger would just nip Babb at the line one lap, then Babb would sneak ahead at the line the next.
“I knew Babb was right there but I kinda felt okay with him there because I knew what he had. You can’t ever count out Shannon here; he and [Billy] Moyer are two of the best-ever here,” Feger said of the back-and-forth battle.
Feger eventually got a great run off of Turn 4 on Lap 33 and began to pull away from Babb while Pierce began to close-in on them both. All three ended up within a half-car-length of each other as they reached five-to-go and continued their fight for position in close quarters.
Feger dipped into lapped traffic as he got the two-to-go signal, which opened the door for Pierce behind him as he made the move around Babb into second. But in the end, nothing was able to slow Feger down as he sprinted across the stripe to collect his third victory of the year in DIRTcar competition.
“I felt like I was way better on the long runs,” Feger said. “I don’t know if it was me as a driver or the tires or what, but I could smooth out and really get in a good rhythm, and I think that was it.”
Feger’s second year aboard an MB Customs chassis has given him the opportunity to try the bottom lane more frequently, where he’s actually encountered some success in 2020. But Friday night was a performance for the die-hard Feger fans – an all-in, gassed-up showing of mastery on the quarter mile of Farmer City, right in the lane of his nick-namesake.
“Tonight, the track was actually pretty good all over, but I’m definitely comfortable up on that top lane,” Feger said. “I just kinda felt like… you’ve got Bobby [Pierce] back there and [Shannon] Babb, who are both exceptional on the cushion here, and I felt like it was going to be easier for me to make them pass me on the bottom than let somebody drive by me on the outside.”
The MARS Late Model Series action continues Saturday night at Fairbury Speedway in Fairbury, IL for the $10,000-to-win FALS Super Nationals. Follow DIRTcar Racing on social media for live updates throughout the event.