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Home » Shirley and Spalding Shine as Summernationals and Summit Modified Nationals Gets Underway

Shirley and Spalding Shine as Summernationals and Summit Modified Nationals Gets Underway

Shirley and Spalding Shine as Summernationals and Summit Modified Nationals Gets Underway


The 2019 UMP Summer nationals and Summit Modified Nationals kicked off the grueling campaigns Thursday night at the newly reconfigured Kankakee County Speedway and when the dust had settled at night’s end, Chatham, IL native Brian Shirley and Michigan’s Curt Spalding had put on a short track clinic to each collect the victor’s spoils.


Shirley, driving a Bob Cullen Racing Rocket Chassis powered by a Andy Durham Racing Engine, was quick right out of the box picking up the checkers to heat race one over fast qualifier Rusty Schlenk. Shirley would go on to win the $5,000 to win feature convincingly over polesitter Frank Heckenast Jr, Schlenk, Jason Feger, and Ryan Unzicker. However, while Shirley was making things look relatively easy, the near capacity crowd had their attention set on two of Illinois favorite sons. El Paso’s Ryan Unzicker and Gibson City’s Kevin Weaver were turning heads as they marched up from near the rear of the field. Unzicker began the 40-lap feature event in the 18th starting spot and rose up to claim a top five finish, while Weaver started in the 17th position and finished ninth. Weaver was so impressed with the new track layout that he took time to put in a call to promoter Tom Smith early Friday morning. “When I first looked over the track upon my arrival, I thought you guys screwed up, but you guys slowed it down just enough to make it racy and multi-grooved. It couldn’t have been better” he added. That said, it goes hand in hand with what race winners have been saying all along so far this season


Hartford, Michigan’s Curt Spalding had a driving clinic of his own shortly thereafter as he ran away from the field in the Summit Modified 30-lap main event. Spalding bested a field of 38 cars that attempted to make their way into the 22-car starting grid. Will Krup and Jeffrey Ledford took note of Unzicker and Weaver’s charge and turned the field upside down as they made their way to second and fourth from 11th and 12th, respectively. Frank Marshall of Valparaiso, IN finished third while fast qualifier and pole-sitter Nick Allen of Wheatfield, IN rounded out the top five. Special thanks to Dairy Queen of Plymouth, IN for their $100 bonus to the Summit Modified feature winner (Spalding) and the event’s hard charger (Krup).
In other action, Dakota Ewing bested a field of twenty to claim the 25-lap Pro Late Model feature while Andrew Short scored the 15-lap I-Mod feature and David Lauritson earned the 15-lap UMP Sport Compact top honors.
Racing action resumes at the 1/4 mile high banked oval next Friday night with a full program of racing including a $500 to win UMP Stock Car special.