Tanner English gets DIRTcar Summer Nationals win at Spoon River Speedway!

Tanner English – Jacy Norgaard photo

Dillard Breaks Late, English Wins Third Career Hell Tour Feature at Spoon RiverPierce runs second, Blair nabs third-straight third-place finish

LEWISTOWN, IL – June 23, 2022 – Spoon River Speedway flagger DJ Adams waived the green flag; two laps to go for race leader Cade Dillard. Just three-quarters of a mile away from his first DIRTcar Summer Nationals victory. And then, caution.

Dillard and his S&S Fishing & Rental/Black Diamond Race Cars #97 slowed significantly coming out of Turn 4 and pulled to the infield, done for the race. He and crew chief Donnie Pederson took a look underneath the car and saw the broken drive shaft yoke that caused the loss of power to the rear wheels; their hopes of a first career Hell Tour victory now dashed.

The Robeline, LA-driver led 37 consecutive laps before the breakdown and was maintaining a near one-second advantage over second-place Tanner English, but ultimately came up just two laps short of the $5,000 grand prize.

“Around the five-to-go area, Donnie was telling me I had a decent little lead and we were pulling away,” Dillard said. “Right before I broke, I got comfortable and just made sure to hit my marks, and figured as long as I didn’t mess up, it was ours.

“It just wasn’t meant to be.”

This handed the lead over to English, who encountered a fierce challenge to his outside from a high-flying Bobby Pierce in the final two laps, but held on for his third career Summer Nationals victory.

“I thought [Dillard] thought the race was over, I didn’t really know,” English recalled when he saw the #97 slowing. “I saw the green flag come out, and that meant two-to-go, and then he pulled down. I didn’t know what had happened.

“I just hate it for him, because I’ve been there.”

Dillard was in the midst of turning around a train of bad luck in his first two Summer Nationals starts this week – which consisted of a DNQ and an 18th-place run Wednesday at Adams County Speedway – qualifying quickest in his group, then winning his Heat Race and redrawing the outside pole for the Feature. He and the team worked hard, and though it didn’t end how they envisioned, they were proud of the efforts they made to get there.

“It’s just me and Donnie, and we’re working hard,” Dillard said. “I know it’s a lot of miles no matter where I go race. It’s a lot of work and a lot of time away from home. To be able to put yourself in position to win these things is good because they’re hard to come by.”

“To let one slip away from me like that is tough, but we’ll keep working hard and try and put ourselves in position.”

English celebrated in Summer Nationals Victory Lane for the first time since his win at Tri-City Speedway last year after a charge from 10th on the starting grid. He made crucial, quick passes toward the end of the race that set him up to be in position when Dillard broke at the end and get the win.

“I had to go where they weren’t; they were kinda all over the place,” English said of his late passes for position. “Some were on the top, some were on the bottom. A lot of times, if they were on the bottom, I just had to wait for them to make a mistake and I could take advantage of it.”

After starting fourth, Pierce came back from as deep as seventh at one point to finish second. The Oakwood, IL-driver was able to make the top groove work in the closing laps, and nearly stole the win out of Turn 4 coming to the checkered, crossing the stripe just .159-seconds after English.

Max Blair, of Centerville, PA, crossed in third for the third-straight time this week. Ryan Unzicker was fourth, and Brian Shirley completed the top-five.


The DIRTcar Summer Nationals clashes with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series in the two-day St. Louis Firecracker Faceoff Friday-Saturday, June 24-25, at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. If you can’t be at the track, watch every lap live on DIRTVision.

32 entries


Feature (40 Laps): 1. 81E-Tanner English[10]; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce[4]; 3. 111V-Max Blair[8]; 4. 24-Ryan Unzicker[14]; 5. 3S-Brian Shirley[11]; 6. 25-Jason Feger[3]; 7. 11-Gordy Gundaker[1]; 8. 36-Logan Martin[6]; 9. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[7]; 10. 86-Kyle Beard[15]; 11. F1-Payton Freeman[12]; 12. 18-Shannon Babb[21]; 13. 44-Blaze Burwell[17]; 14. 14G-Joe Godsey[9]; 15. 26M-Brent McKinnon[5]; 16. 77-Preston Luckman[20]; 17. 0-Deshawn Gingerich[13]; 18. 97-Cade Dillard[2]; 19. 14R-Jeff Roth[19]; 20. 30-Mark Voigt[18]; 21. 15-Justin Duty[16]; 22. 80-Rich Dawson[22]

Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps): 1. 44-Blaze Burwell[6]; 2. 30-Mark Voigt[1]; 3. 14R-Jeff Roth[11]; 4. 80-Rich Dawson[8]; 5. 77-Preston Luckman[3]; 6. 4D-Doug Tye[12]; 7. 74-Russ Adams[9]; 8. 23NZ-Mick Quin[5]; 9. T8-Tim Gauntt[13]; 10. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[2]; 11. 98-Cole Swibold[14]; 12. 31AUS-Paul Stubber[7]; 13. 25T-Tucker Finch[10]; 14. C40-Mike Chasteen Jr[4]; 15. 18-Shannon Babb[16]

Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 25-Jason Feger[1]; 2. 26M-Brent McKinnon[4]; 3. 14G-Joe Godsey[2]; 4. 0-Deshawn Gingerich[3]; 5. 30-Mark Voigt[5]; 6. 23NZ-Mick Quin[6]; 7. 74-Russ Adams[7]; 8. T8-Tim Gauntt[8]

Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. 97-Cade Dillard[1]; 2. 36-Logan Martin[2]; 3. 81E-Tanner English[4]; 4. 24-Ryan Unzicker[3]; 5. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr[6]; 6. 44-Blaze Burwell[5]; 7. 25T-Tucker Finch[7]; 8. 98-Cole Swibold[8]

Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce[1]; 2. 28-Dennis Erb Jr[3]; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley[2]; 4. 86-Kyle Beard[5]; 5. 77-Preston Luckman[6]; 6. 31AUS-Paul Stubber[7]; 7. 14R-Jeff Roth[8]; 8. 11T-Trevor Gundaker[4]

Heat 4 (10 Laps): 1. 11-Gordy Gundaker[1]; 2. 111V-Max Blair[2]; 3. F1-Payton Freeman[3]; 4. 15-Justin Duty[5]; 5. C40-Mike Chasteen Jr[8]; 6. 80-Rich Dawson[6]; 7. 4D-Doug Tye[7]; 8. 18-Shannon Babb[4]

Qualifying 1 (2 Laps): 1. 25-Jason Feger, 00:13.358[4]; 2. 14G-Joe Godsey, 00:13.677[8]; 3. 0-Deshawn Gingerich, 00:14.101[7]; 4. 26M-Brent McKinnon, 00:14.109[1]; 5. 30-Mark Voigt, 00:14.419[5]; 6. 23NZ-Mick Quin, 00:14.692[2]; 7. 74-Russ Adams, 00:14.734[6]; 8. T8-Tim Gauntt, 00:16.362[3]

Qualifying 2 (2 Laps): 1. 97-Cade Dillard, 00:13.496[8]; 2. 36-Logan Martin, 00:13.849[2]; 3. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 00:13.868[5]; 4. 81E-Tanner English, 00:13.889[3]; 5. 44-Blaze Burwell, 00:13.924[4]; 6. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr, 00:13.975[6]; 7. 25T-Tucker Finch, 00:14.473[1]; 8. 98-Cole Swibold, 00:14.567[7]

Qualifying 3 (2 Laps): 1. 32-Bobby Pierce, 00:13.700[2]; 2. 3S-Brian Shirley, 00:13.700[6]; 3. 28-Dennis Erb Jr, 00:13.834[7]; 4. 11T-Trevor Gundaker, 00:13.875[5]; 5. 86-Kyle Beard, 00:13.953[4]; 6. 77-Preston Luckman, 00:14.382[8]; 7. 31AUS-Paul Stubber, 00:14.755[3]; 8. 14R-Jeff Roth, 00:14.911[1]

Qualifying 4 (2 Laps): 1. 11-Gordy Gundaker, 00:13.750[2]; 2. 111V-Max Blair, 00:13.806[5]; 3. F1-Payton Freeman, 00:13.822[3]; 4. 18-Shannon Babb, 00:13.852[1]; 5. 15-Justin Duty, 00:14.257[7]; 6. 80-Rich Dawson, 00:14.540[4]; 7. 4D-Doug Tye, 00:14.550[8]; 8. (DQ) C40-Mike Chasteen Jr, 00:14.282[6]

Hot Laps 1: 1. 23NZ-Mick Quin, 00:16.174[2]; 2. 25-Jason Feger, 00:16.494[4]; 3. 14G-Joe Godsey, 00:16.699[8]; 4. 26M-Brent McKinnon, 00:17.094[1]; 5. 0-Deshawn Gingerich, 00:17.309[7]; 6. 30-Mark Voigt, 00:18.487[5]; 7. 74-Russ Adams, 00:19.287[6]; 8. T8-Tim Gauntt, 00:19.534[3]

Hot Laps 2: 1. 44-Blaze Burwell, 00:14.844[4]; 2. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr, 00:14.933[6]; 3. 97-Cade Dillard, 00:14.971[8]; 4. 24-Ryan Unzicker, 00:15.057[5]; 5. 98-Cole Swibold, 00:15.339[7]; 6. 81E-Tanner English, 00:15.443[3]; 7. 25T-Tucker Finch, 00:15.882[1]; 8. 36-Logan Martin, 00:15.882[2]

Hot Laps 3: 1. 32-Bobby Pierce, 00:14.036[2]; 2. 14R-Jeff Roth, 00:14.833[1]; 3. 3S-Brian Shirley, 00:14.841[6]; 4. 11T-Trevor Gundaker, 00:14.845[5]; 5. 86-Kyle Beard, 00:14.959[4]; 6. 77-Preston Luckman, 00:16.258[8]; 7. 31AUS-Paul Stubber, 00:21.993[3]; 8. 28-Dennis Erb Jr, 00:21.993[7]

Hot Laps 4: 1. 18-Shannon Babb, 00:13.856[1]; 2. 111V-Max Blair, 00:13.961[5]; 3. 11-Gordy Gundaker, 00:14.172[2]; 4. C40-Mike Chasteen Jr, 00:14.227[6]; 5. 15-Justin Duty, 00:14.250[7]; 6. F1-Payton Freeman, 00:14.419[3]; 7. 80-Rich Dawson, 00:14.721[4]; 8. 4D-Doug Tye, 00:14.721[8]