By Brian Liskai
(Attica, OH) Shannon Babb hopes to keep his chances of a fourth UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” championship alive when the series visits Attica Raceway Park on Central Ohio Farmers/Summit Racing Equipment Night Friday, July 19.
Babb, from Moweaqua, IL, scored the win at “Ohio ’s Finest Racing” speed plant at last year’s Hell Tour event. He comes into Friday’s contest with a tour leading six wins but sits third in the Summer Nationals points. Babb is now tied with Bill Moyer for most career Summer Nationals wins with 82. Babb claimed the 2005, 2006 and 2011 Summer Nationals Championships.
New Berlin, Illinois driver Brandon Sheppard leads the points with his four wins followed by 16-year-old Bobby Pierce who has also scored four wins during the month of racing. Ryan Unzicker with two wins during the tour is fourth in the Summer Nationals points with Dustin Griffin rounding out the top five.
The Hell Tour started June 12 and as wraps up Saturday, July 20 at Oakshade Raceway in Wauseon , Ohio – 39 days. So far there have been 23 races and five rain outs/reschedules held in 9 different states. Of the 23 events there have been nine winners – Babb with six wins; Sheppard and Pierce with 4 wins each, Unzicker with 2 wins, Bill Moyer, Dennis Erb Jr., Brian Birkhofer, Kevin Weaver, Chris Simpson, Scott Bloomquist and Brian Shirley (the 2012 Hell Tour champion) each with one win.
The Hell Tour invaders will face the likes of local hot shoes Rusty Schlenk, who won last Friday at Attica , his third win of the season at the track and the 17th of his career. Schlenk, a former national UMP champion, leads the track’s all-time late model win list. Jon Henry has a win at Attica in 2013 and has 12 for his career at the track. Other winners in 2013 at Attica include Matt Miller, who now has 6 career Attica wins, Jeff Babcock, who has four career Attica wins, Dusty Moore, Cody Scott and Dona Marcoullier. Ryan Missler, who has been held winless at Attica in 2013, is leading the track’s points and has won the last four straight track championships. Scott, in only his third year of late model racing, is second in the track’s points followed by Matt Irey, Mike Bores and John Mayes Jr.
Attica Raceway Park is covering the $25 temporary UMP DIRTcar membership for any drivers in the track’s top 25 in points. The event pays the $5,000 to win.
Joining the late models will be the Hell Tour for the Summit Racing Equipment UMP DIRTcar Modifieds. The event pays the winner $1,000. The modifieds began their Hell Tour June 8 and will wrap up July 20 at Oakshade. So far they have competed in 23 events with three rain outs in eight states.
Mike Harrison leads the Hell Tour modified points with his four wins over Rusty Griffin, Jeff Curl, defending Hell Tour champion Kenny Wallace and Donovan Lodge.
Last year at Attica , Taylor Cook took the victory in the modified event.
Also in competition Friday will be the O’Reilly Auto Parts 410 winged sprint cars running for $3,000 to win.
Gates will open Friday at 4 p.m. with racing underway at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for senior citizens, $10 for teens ages 11-15 with kids 10 and under getting in free. Pit passes are $30.
For more information go to www.atticaracewaypark.com or www.thehelltour.com