Moyer and Babb

Billy Moyer slips under a high running Shannon Babb before claiming another "Illini 100" win at Farmer City Raceway. (Mike Ruefer) 

Moyer Outduels Former Protege' Babb Again For Farmer City Victory

By Kevin Kovac

FARMER CITY, Ill — April 10. Billy Moyer still has Shannon Babb's number in the "Illini 100" at Farmer City Raceway.

For the second time in three years the veteran star denied his former protégé's bid for an emotional hometrack victory, taming the tricky fairgrounds quarter-mile oval on Saturday night to capture the third annual World of Outlaws Late Model Series event before a standing-room-only crowd.

Moyer, 52, of Batesville, Ark., remained undefeated in the Illini 100 with a $20,175 triumph that closely mirrored his thrilling win over Babb in the inaugural race in 2008. While his victory margin wasn't quite as narrow as two years ago, Moyer grabbed the lead on lap 72 when Babb slipped over the turn-one berm while negotiating lapped traffic and then had to repel several frantic late-race challenges from the hard-charging Moweaqua, Ill., driver.

McCreadie - Feger

Tim McCreadie battles his way past Illinois ace Jason Feger at Farmer City.  McCreadie's third place finish continued an impressive trend of top fives for the still winless driver, while Feger's highly touted appearance with the World of Outlaws regulars yielded a very respectable sixth place. (Mike Ruefer) 

"That was a lot of fun," said Moyer, who became the seventh different winner in as many WoO LMS A-Mains this season. "I like the kind of racetracks that you gotta chase like I did tonight. It was slick, and I think I ran every inch of it out there, every groove there was. That makes it fun for a driver, rather than just running in that one little spot."

Babb, 36, was a deeply disappointed runner-up after leading on three separate occasions during the highly-competitive event. Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., who started 17th, joined the lead battle with Moyer and Babb late in the distance but settled for third place, while Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, slipped to fourth at the finish after leading briefly before a mid-race caution flag and sixth-starter Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., placed fifth.

"That's pretty ironic I guess, to run one-two like that again (with Babb)," said Moyer, who did not enter last year's Illini 100. "He's a good kid. We sat here (Moyer and Babb were parked side-by-side in the pit area) and shot the s--- all weekend. I like him from back in the day when he ran for us (Babb drove cars owned by Moyer's father) and we're still good friends."

Moyer, who started seventh, had his Victory Circle by Moyer car up to third place when the race's first caution flag flew on lap 46 for the engine problems


Shane Clanton - Chub Frank

Still trying to get his program back on track following some early season surgery, #25 Shane Clanton put in his best showing to date with eighth place at Farmer City, while #1 Chub Frank continued to struggle with his, taking a dismal 20th place, one lap down. (Mike Ruefer) 

suffered by Rick Eckert of York, Pa. Then Birkhofer, who had become the first driver to supplant Babb as the leader when he slipped in front on lap 44, got off slowly on the restart, allowing Babb and Moyer to move into the top-two spots as lap 47 was scored.

Babb built nearly a straightaway edge over Moyer by lap 52, but less than a dozen circuits later the two drivers were in a battle for the lead. Moyer surged ahead to assume command on lap 64, but Babb split Moyer and a lapped car in turn three to regain the lead on lap 68.

The lead changed hands for the fifth and final time in the event on lap 72 after Babb ran out of racing room as he attempted to go around a lapped car and slid over the turn-one berm in his Sheltra Construction Rocket, handing the top spot back to a shocked Moyer.

"He'd done that twice before and he saved it," Moyer said of Babb's momentum-killing misstep. "Shannon drove the wheels off that thing every lap – you got to give the kid credit for that – but he just missed it that time. He was just trying so darn hard I guess.

"When I seen him slip there, I wanted to get in there and close the door before he could get back down. But when I went by he still had two wheels out there (over the berm), so I was in the clear."

Not for long, however. By lap 80 Moyer was being challenged by McCreadie, whose charge from deep in the field in the Sweeteners Plus Rocket car reached

 Feger - Richards - Schlieper

Josh Richards battles #25 Jason Feger and Dan Schlieper back in the field before taking tenth place at Farmer City. (Mike Ruefer) 

second place when Babb slipped out of the groove, and Babb was regrouping for another assault.

But even a final caution flag on lap 93 – for WoO LMS rookie Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., who stopped along the backstretch – couldn't stop Moyer from recording his WoO LMS alltime-best 36th career win. He took advantage of the paint-trading race for second between Babb and McCreadie to open up some breathing room before reaching the checkered flag ahead of Babb with about four car lengths to spare.

"I just told myself, 'Don't make a mistake,'" Moyer said of the final restart. "You just can't bobble. I feel like I made two of them in those last seven laps, but it turned out good for us I guess.

"We've raced against each other a lot and I know how (Babb) drives, so I just had to drive defensively," added Moyer, who registered his 14th WoO LMS win since 2004 and first since April 15, 2008, at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa. "That's just part of being around as long as I have. On that last lap I was ready for anything because I knew he was eager and he'd be right there, so I kinda drove three and four a little differently to make sure nothing happened."

Babb couldn't hide his dejection after falling short in his homestate's biggest and richest dirt Late Model event. He was terse with his post-race assessment of his defeat, complaining about his problems dealing with lapped traffic.

"We had a really good car on that restart (on lap 46)," said Babb, who started from the outside pole. "We got by Billy and Birkhofer, and got the lead."

But Babb's grip on the race was ripped away when he couldn't safely overtake a slower machine entering turn one on lap 72. He described his struggles trying to rally: "I lost four positions (before regaining speed) and had to try and come back, while those guys (lapped cars) are out there running that quarter-midget line from top-to-bottom. All in one lap they run the whole racetrack…I don't know, it's frustrating."

McCreadie, meanwhile, twice appeared that he might be in position to win, but circumstances dive-bombed his hopes.

"We ran (Moyer) down (with 20 laps remaining) and I thought we might just roll right by him," said McCreadie, who turns 36 on April 21. "But then all of a sudden I kind of stalled out, and that was it.

"Then, when that yellow fell with about 10 to go, I thought, This is about the only chance I got. I knew we were gonna be good for about six laps, but I just never really got a chance to do anything."

That's because Babb darted to the inside of McCreadie on the lap-93 restart, stopping McCreadie's move on Moyer before it even started. McCreadie was able to nose underneath Moyer a couple times rounding turn two during the next two laps, but he ultimately spent too much time battling – and trading paint – with Babb to mount a last-ditch bid for the win.

"The only thing I can think is that Shannon laid back about five or six car lengths (coming to the restart) to get the type of a run he did down the homestretch," McCreadie said of the final restart. "I never saw him until we went into one. I looked over and he was there, and that pretty much killed the run I had on Moyer.

"I wish we could've had more fun racing for the lead rather than letting Billy get away from us like he did," added McCreadie, who took over the WoO LMS points lead. "Us racing together like that for the last five laps probably cost both of us a shot at the win."

Defending DIRTcar UMP Late Model national champion Jason Feger of Bloomington, Ill., finished sixth, falling short of a coveted victory in his hometrack's marquee event. Polesitter Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., gradually slipped backward during the 100 and placed seventh. Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., who used an 'emergency' WoO LMS provisional to start from the 25th spot, finished eighth despite running the final 60 laps with a broken 'dummy' shock on his car's left-rear corner; Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersvlle, Ill., was a steady ninth; and Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., completed the top 10 after starting fourth.

McCreadie and Tim Fuller captured Saturday night's pair of 20-lap B-Mains. Ironically, both WoO LMS regulars hail from Watertown, N.Y., and starred in the Northeast's DIRTcar big-block ranks before moving on to the full-fender division.

Tim Lance of Brimfield, Ill., captured the 25-lap Non-Qualifiers' Race. He pocketed $1,000 as a consolation prize for missing the Illini 100.

 Illini 100 Finish

Non-Qualifiers Race Finish (25 laps): 1. Tim Lance ($1,000); 2. Ryan Unzicker ($700); 3. Steve Lance Jr. ($500); 4. Joe Harlan ($400); 5. Eric Smith ($325); 6. Scott Schmitt ($275); 7. Brent Robinson ($250); 8. Jimmy Dehm ($225); 9. Kerry Hansen ($200); 10. Jill George ($175); 11. Bret Sievert ($150); 12. Mike Glasscock ($150); 13. Charles Hess ($150); 14. Denny Eckrich ($150); 15. Steve Sheppard Jr. ($150); 16. Matt Lux ($150); 17. Tyler Reddick ($150); 18. Donny Walden ($150); Chris Simpson - DNS

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