FAIRBURY, Ill. — Sixteen drivers raced their way into the World of Outlaws Late Model Series sanctioned Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway Friday night. Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, Devin Moran of Dresden, Ohio, Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., scored $2,500 wins in Friday night’s 25-lap qualifying features that transferred the top four finishers of each to Saturday’s 100-lap, $30,000-to-win finale.
Fast qualifier Bobby Pierce led the first qualifier feature to green, but it was Chris Simpson jumping to the lead from the outside-pole starting position. The Oxford, IA driver led every lap of the event in crossing the finish line 0.762 seconds ahead of runner-up Kyle Bronson. Don O’Neal and Paul Parker finished third and fourth to secure the final two transfer spots. Dennis Erb Jr. rounded out the top five. Pierce retired from the event on lap 13 following contact with Bronson while the pair battled for the second position.
Current WoO points leader Mike Marlar lined up alongside Chris Madden on the front row of the night’s second qualifier feature. Marlar led the way for the first 15 laps until defending WoO champion and defending PDC winner Brandon Sheppard slid past. Sheppard led the remaining distance to score the victory. Madden crossed the finish line in the runner-up position 2.583 seconds behind Sheppard. Billy Drake and Marlar finished third and fourth to transfer to Saturday night’s finale. Jimmy Owens completed the top five.
Devin Moran and Scott Schmitt led the field to the green flag in qualifier feature #3. Moran jumped to the lead on the start and led the entire distance. Ryan Unzicker finished second while 2011 WoO champion Rick Eckert and Michael Kloos, finished third and fourth. Tyler Erb completed the top five.
The night's final qualifier feature came to green with 2015 PDC winner Jonathan Davenport and three-time PDC winner Shannon Babb on the front row. Babb jumped to the lead over Brian Shirley and Davenport, but Shirley slid past Babb for the lead with nine laps to go. Battling back, Babb inched ahead at the finish line for the win forcing Shirley to settle for second. English finished third while Davenport earned the final transfer position in fourth. Gordy Gundaker completed the top five.
The Prairie Dirt Classic continues Saturday with three Last Chance Showdowns that will transfer the top two finishers of each to the 100-lap main event. The Prairie Dirt Shootout for non-qualifiers will give the option of taking the $2,000 prize money or the 27th starting spot for the $30,000-to-win finale.
Click here to watch the event live on DirtonDirt.com.
Qualifier Feature #1 Finish (top four transfer): (1) Chris Simpson, (2) Kyle Bronson, (3) Don O’Neal, (4) Paul Parker, (5) Dennis Erb Jr., (6) Billy Moyer, (7) Hudson O’Neal, (8) Daniel Flessner, (9) Jay Morris, (10) Chase Junghans, (11) Bobby Pierce, (12) Jay Sparks, (13) Derek Doll, (14) Russ Adams, (15) Brian Dunn, (16) Collin Alexander.
Qualifier Feature #2 Finish: (top four transfer): (1) Brandon Sheppard, (2) Chris Madden, (3) Billy Drake, (4) Mike Marlar, (5) Jimmy Owens, (6) Bob Gardner, (7) Jeff Curl, (8) Jason Feger, (9) Kevin Weaver, (10) Rob Toland, (11) Matt Shannon, (12) Kolby Vandenbergh, (13) Justin Duty, (14) Blake Spencer, (15) Kody Evans.
Qualifier Feature #3 Finish (top four transfer): (1) Devin Moran, (2) Ryan Unzicker, (3) Rick Eckert, (4) Michael Kloos, (5) Tyler Erb, (6) Allen Weisser, (7) Spencer Diercks, (8) Mike Spatola, (9) Mike Mataragas, (10) Steve Thorsten, (11) Glen Thompson, (12) Greg Wagner, (13) Scott Schmitt, (14) Jim Rogers, (15) Shane Clanton.
Qualifier Feature #4 Finish (top four transfer): (1) Shannon Babb, (2) Brian Shirley, (3) Tanner English, (4) Jonathan Davenport, (5) Gordy Gundaker, (6) Brent Larson, (7) Jason Jameson, (8) Myles Moos, (9) Taylor Scheffler, (10) Joey Moriarty, (11) David Breazeale, (12) Jonathan Brauns, (13) Curtis Radke, (14) Bill Kettering Jr., (15) Sammy Epling.
Fast qualifier (among 61 cars): Bobby Pierce 13.188 seconds.