Brady Smith Hangs On At Lincoln
LINCOLN, Ill. – Brady Smith captured his second career DIRTcar Summer Nationals victory on Sunday night at Lincoln Speedway after leader Chase Junghans spun with 15 laps to go while trying to navigate through lapped traffic.
Smith grabbed the pole for the 40-lap feature with Saturday night winner, Brian Birkhofer, starting on his outside. Smith secured the lead and an early advantage on the opening lap as Birkhofer came under fire from the rest of the field. A hard charging Brian Shirley, who started in the fifth position, made his way around Birkhofer and challenged Smith for the lead early, but was unsuccessful at securing the top spot.
As Smith and Shirley battled for the lead, Chase Junghans who started in the third position, lurked behind the two leaders, staging his move for the top spot. On lap 16, Junghans took advantage of lapped traffic, making a daring pass to the inside of both Shirley and Smith for the lead. Smith held his line on the outside as the two fought for the lead, but Junghans would prove to be too tough and pulled away from Smith by the halfway point of the race.
Junghans looked to have the car to beat in his DIRTcar Summer Nationals debut, but on lap 24 he spun while trying to pass a slower Mike Spatola, handing the lead back over to Brady Smith. On lap 38, the race would be temporarily red-flagged after 2013 DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Brandon Sheppard flipped while running in the top five. Fortunately, Sheppard escaped the wild ride without any injuries.
Following the short stoppage, Smith held off a late-race charge from Brian Birkhofer, leading the races final 15 laps en route to capturing his first DIRTcar Summer Nationals victory in seven years.
Shirley, Dennis Erb Jr., and Ryan Unzicker rounded out the top five. Heat race winners included Birkhofer, Smith, Brandon Sheppard, and Junghans.
Brady Smith, Brian Birkhofer, Brian Shirley, Dennis Erb Jr., Ryan Unzicker, Chase Junghans, Rich Bell, Jason Riggs, Jim Moon, Mike Spatola, Rusty Schlenk, Myles Moos, Brandon Sheppard, Steve Lance Jr., Greg Kimmons, Billy Moyer Jr., Matt Taylor, Michael Kloos, Billy Drake, Shannon Babb, MCKay Wenger, Kevin Weaver.