Shirley captures Peoria's Bohlander Tribute
By Jeff AdamsPeoria Speedway
PEORIA, Ill. (June 3) — Brian Shirley made a third-to-first move on the 13th lap Sunday at Peoria Speedway and led the remainder of the 50-lap Don Bohlander Tribute for his first career Corn Belt Clash Series victory.
Shirley earned $4,000 in taking the checkers ahead of Bloomington, Ill., drivers Jason Feger and Billy Drake, winner of the two previous Late Model events at Peoria. Reigning Corn Belt Clash champion Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, was fourth and Tim Isenberg of Marshfield, Wis., winner of Friday’s series event in Fountain City, Wis., rounded out the top five on a night when rain delayed the program 90 minutes.
“First off, I want to thank all the fans who sat through all the rain,” Shirley said in victory lane. “They did as good as they could do with the track, but it was a little rough. I got a great run on the top and was able to get the lead past Drake. It's been a rough week for us, so it’s good to get this win.”
Although Shirley won the night’s $500 dash, he drew the fifth starting spot for the main event and polesitter Steve Lance Jr. of Cuba, Ill., shot into the lead on the lightning-fast surface. Drake overtook Lance on the sixth lap with Shirley chasing the frontrunners.
Shirley went to the high side on the 13th lap in turns one a two, getting a run on the leaders at the other end of the track to move past Lance and then Drake, taking command. Feger moved into second a lap later, just before a three-car pileup slowed the action on lap 15.
The race ran caution-free the rest of the way with Shirley and Feger dicing through lapped traffic, but Shirley kept the edge the rest of the way for the victory in a race originally rained out April 15.
Notes: Shirley’s Pierce Race Car is sponsored by Jayco Construction, Skateland South, Allstar Performance, Kim’s Auto Body, and JFR Graphics. ... Shirley notched his second victory of the season at Peoria in a race that’s part of the track’s Budweiser-sponsored miniseries. ... Shirley is the second straight first-time Corn Belt Clash winner; Tim Isenberg’s Friday victory at Mississippi Thunder Speedway was his first, too. ... Rain hit on the 14th lap of the modified feature and officials ruled Gary Cook Jr. as the winner although Erik Bruce made a pass just before the checkers flew to end it. Scoring went back to the last completed lap to give Cook the victory. ... Brian Crebo won the Limited Late Model feature. ... The next Peoria Late Model event is set for June 9. ... The Corn Belt Clash takes a break until the June 29-30 weekend at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb., and Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa.
Don Bohlander Tribute: (1) Brian Shirley, (2) Jason Feger, (3) Billy Drake, (4) Chris Simpson, (5) Tim Isenberg, (6) Ryan Unzicker, (7) Bobby Pierce, (8) Todd Bennett, (9) Kevin Weaver, (10) Steve Lance Jr., (11) Kyle Logue, (12) Wes Steidinger, (13) Dick Taylor, (14) Jon Rogers, (15) Bob Gardner, (16) Rich Bell, (17) Jim Rytchik (18) John Gardner Jr., (19) Jake MeierRuss Adams, (19) Kelly Meyer, (20) Chad Simpson, (21) Scott Schmitt. Heat race winners (among 31 cars): Pierce, Shirley, Chris Simpson. Dash winner: Shirley.
Correction: Reverses Chris Simpson and Chad Simpson in finishing order and makes other fixes.