SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — It has been a turbulent start to the season for Brian Shirley.
But the tides seem to be turning as he picked off his second consecutive $5,000 payday in the seventh round of the DIRTcar Late Model Summer Nationals at Springfield Raceway on Tuesday night.
Shirley pounced on early leader and fast qualifier Payton Freeman on a lap 18 restart and then fought off Max Blair and Bobby Pierce over the closing rounds to secure his second win of the season.
“We’ve had a pretty rough start to the season, so it feels good to be gaining some momentum,” Shirley explained. “It gives us some confidence and helps our guys realize that the hard work that they have been putting in is paying off.”
While Shirley gridded the field outside the second row, Freeman gunned into the lead at the outset from the pole position and set the pace in the early going as Shirley diced with Joe Godsey and Blair for position before taking command of second by the time a caution flew after 17 laps.
Shirley wasted little time disposing of Freeman on the restart and survived a barrage of cautions over the last half of the race to secure the win.
“My car wasn’t feeling good at all coming off two there late in the race,” Shirley explained as his right-rear tire flattened while in victory lane.
Seventh-starter Pierce and Blair kept Shirley honest in the closing laps, battling for position with Pierce taking runner-up honors as Blair settled for the show position.
Logan Martin battled amongst the top-five throughout before settling for fourth with Kyle Beard rebounding from an early incident to round out the top five after starting 16th.
Freeman set the quickest overall time of 12.650-seconds atop the quarter-mile before Shirley, Unzicker, Godsey and Freeman topped scintillating heat race action and then Kylan Garner besting the B Main.
Feature (40 Laps): 1. 3S-Brian Shirley; 2. 32-Bobby Pierce; 3. 111V-Max Blair; 4. 36-Logan Martin; 5. 86-Kyle Beard; 6. F1-Payton Freeman; 7. 93-Mason Oberkramer; 8. 24-Ryan Unzicker; 9. 25-Jason Feger; 10. 91-Rusty Schlenk; 11. 14G-Joe Godsey; 12. 77-Preston Luckman; 13. 10-Garrett Smith; 14. 0-Deshawn Gingerich; 15. 50-Kaeden Cornell; 16. 45-Kylan Garner; 17. 30-Mark Voigt; 18. 14R-Jeff Roth; 19. 26M-Brent McKinnon; 20. 4D-Doug Tye; 21. 23NZ-Mick Quin; 22. 31AUS-Kye Blight