BY MARVIN HOLMAN
Experience was on display in different ways Sunday at the Vermilion County Speedway.
With Oakwood’s Bobby Pierce, it was the experience of most of his 16 years racing at his home track and with Moweaqua’s Shannon Babb, it was having the most Summer Nationals wins at the track.
In a back and forth UMP Summer Nationals late model feature, Babb barely beat out Pierce by just under a second.
“That was probably the best race that I was in,” Pierce said. “To finish second after starting where I was (fifth), it was great. I knew I had a few chances to get past a racer like Shannon and I was close.
“The track was very good and you had to race the bottom on turns 1-2 and on top on turns 3-4 and you had to do that and not make a mistake.”
“It was a great race,” Babb said. “Bobby is getting better all the time and I knew he and his father (Bob Pierce) would be ready at their home track.”
Bobby Pierce was coming off two straight wins in Kankakee and Burlington, Iowa, and entered the night second in points behind Brandon Sheppard, and Pierce finished ahead of Sheppard’s fourth-place finish to get closer to the lead going into today’s race in Peoria.
“I think this year is different from last year because I got used to racing these tracks and the experience has worked well for me,” Pierce said. “It has gone pretty good so far.”
With the win, Babb won his fifth Summer Nationals race at VCS and continued to stay in the hunt for the series title. He also won his 82nd series race, tying him for most all-time with Billy Moyer.
“We want to just hang around,” Babb said. “The thing with this tour is keeping all the equipment in once piece and that is always tough to do.”
After Babb and Pierce, Mike Spatola ended up third, Sheppard was fourth and Frank Heckenast, Jr. was fifth.
In the UMP modified race, Martinsville, Ind. racer Ryan Thomas was able to beat out New Lenox’s Steven Brooks in the feature for his second career win at VCS and his second win of the week.
“We were able to win at Florence, Ky. on Tuesday,” Thomas said. “To go out here and win in these big races is a great thing.”
Thomas is also the owner of Diamond Race Cars with his wife, Heather.
“It is tough to race some of your teammates, but overall it is great,” Thomas said. “I have to thank Keyser Manufacturing, Quick Cars and Summit Racing.”
After Thomas and Brooks, Nick Allen was third, Rusty Griffaw took fourth and Brian Lynn was fifth.
In the street stock feature, Earl Park, Ind.’s Jerrad Krick — who is also the UMP national points leader — easily got the win in a race that was after the two top races.
“The track gets slick after the races and we finally got a hold of the slick track today,” Krick said. “I have to thank everyone here that gets the track ready.”
The win would only bolster the advantage Krick has in points after getting the lead last week and he said he would not get to this level without one person.
“I have to thank my wife (Andrea Krick) because she helps me with a lot of things,” Krick said. “She was working on the car before me today and she always inspires me when I am down.”
Danville’s Jesse Simmons took second, Kyle Laughlin was third, Jordan Smith took fourth and Ryan Huddleston ended up fifth.
The Summer Nationals tour will hit Peoria today before wrapping up the final week of action over the weekend in Ohio.
The next show at Vermilion County Speedway will be the Kickapoo Klash on Aug. 18. The show will feature the 410 non-winged sprints, UMP modifieds, UMP late models and UMP street stocks.