Shirley Valutes To DIRTcar LM Point Lead
CONCORD, N.C. – Brian Shirley has already put one major DIRTcar UMP Late Model championship in his back pocket this season.
Now he’s in the drivers seat for another.
Thanks to a spectacular month of competition that ended with his first-ever DIRTcar Summer Nationals title, Shirley has vaulted to the top of the 2012 DIRTcar UMP Late Model national points standings.
Shirley, 31, of Chatham, Ill., holds an edge of 107 points (2,364-2,257) over Shannon Babb, who finished second in the Summer Nationals standings. Both drivers have Summer Nationals crowns on their resumes but have never won the DIRTcar UMP Late Model national championship.
When the grueling Summer Nationals began its 32-day stretch of nearly nightly racing on June 13, Shirley sat 19th in the UMP Late Model national points standings.
He soared up the rankings, however, after competing in 28 Summer Nationals events and recording five wins, 21 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes.
Shirley’s Summer Nationals title was worth $25,000. Capturing the UMP Late Model national crown would add another $20,000 to his post-season take.
Babb, 38, was not even in the top 20 of the national standings when the Summer Nationals kicked off, but he rose all the way to second on the strength of a Hell Tour performance record showing four wins, 20 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes.
Five of the top six drivers in the UMP Late Model national standings after Week 25 (races completed through July 15) competed in every Summer Nationals event.
The highest-ranked non-Hell Tour regular is 1992 national champ Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Ill., who entered 13 Summer Nationals shows and sits third in the national points battle, which is determined using drivers best 35 finishes/points nights.
Jim Moon of Mt. Auburn, Ill., who led the UMP Late Model national standings entering the Summer Nationals, now sits ninth.
Devin Gilpin of Columbus, Ind., meanwhile, continues to control the UMP Modified national standings, holding a 128-point lead (2,299-2,171) over Nick Allen of Wheatfield, Ind. Defending national champ Mike Harrison of Highland, Ill., is third, trailing Gilpin by 182 points.
Allen has sliced Gilpins points lead nearly in half over the past month, but Gilpin has shown little signs of slowing down.
He leads the circuit with 27 feature wins, with his latest coming on July 11 in a DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals event at Brushcreek Motorsports Park in Peebles, Ohio.
Allen’s UMP Modified victory total sits at 14, including a July 14 score at Shadyhill Speedway in Medaryville, Ind.
The UMP Modified points standings are determined using drivers best 30 finishes/points nights.
Other divisional national points leaders through Week 20 are Nick Bauman of New Berlin, Ill. (Pro Late Models); Troy Clark of North Vernon, Ind. (Sportsman); Rob Lee of Sorento, Ill. (Limited Modifieds); Mike McKinney of Plainfield, Ill. (Stock Cars); Stephen Fohne of Troy, Ill. (Factory Stocks); and Jeremy Callahan of Mt. Vernon, Ill. (Sport Compacts).