Mike Spatola discusses his first win in the
"Summernationals" opener at Kankakee, Ill. (Charlie Lancour)
UMP Summernationals: Spatola
Rolls to Opening Night Win at Kankakee
KANKAKEE, Ill. - June 16. Mike Spatola doesn't have much experience in a Dirt Late Model, but that didn't
prevent him from winning the opening night of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals 'Hell Tour' Thursday at Kankakee County
The driver affectionately known as "Opie" to his friends and fans claimed the first Hell Tour
win of his career, worth $5,000, by holding off fellow front row starter Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa,
and third place finisher Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill.
The night's fast qualifier, Ryan Unzicker (24), fnds
himself in some fierce competition with #25 Chad Simpson and #81 Scott James. Simpson went on to finish the final in the runner up
position behind Mike Spatola. (Charlie Lancour)
Spatola, who has raced regularly at Kankakee, had a strong start to his night by earning quick time honors in
his qualifying group, which he parlayed into a heat race victory and a front row starting spot in the 40-lap
Overall quick timer Ryan Unzicker of El Paso, Ill., finished fourth while Waterville, Ohio, driver Matt Miller
rounded out the top five.
June 16 - Kankakee Co. Speedway
1. Mike Spatola, 2. Chad
Simpson, 3. Brian Shirley, 4. Ryan Unzicker, 5. Matt Miller, 6. Scott James, 7. Dennis Erb Jr., 8.
Shannon Babb, 9. Brandon Sheppard, 10. Greg Johnson, 11. Bret Sievert, 12. Donny Walden, 13. Bobby
Pierce, 14. Jack Sullivan (prov.), 15. Billy Moyer Jr., 16. Jason Feger, 17. Rusty Schlenk (prov.), 18.
Aaron Ricketts (prov.), 19. Keith Piano, 20. Brandon Thirlby (prov.), 21. Jay Morris, 22. Sean Toczek,
23. Scott Schmitt (prov.).
Heat winners (36 entries): Sheppard, Simpson, Shirley, Spatola,
B-Main winner: Feger. C-Main winner: Ricketts.
Charlie Lancour photo