World of Outlaws Notebook
Notes: McCreadie-Babb battle spices Illini 100
By Kevin KovacWorld of Outlaws Late Model Series
FARMER CITY, Ill. — Tim McCreadie was right in the mix at the end of the $20,000-to-win Illini 100, Saturday's World of Outlaws Late Model Series thriller at Farmer City Raceway. But instead of focusing on leader and eventual winner Billy Moyer, the 17th-starting McCreadie found himself in a knockdown, dragout battle for second place with Shannon Babb, the central Illinois hero who desperately craved a win in his home state's biggest and richest Dirt Late Model event. | Moyer wins Illini 100
McCreadie, the Watertown, N.Y., driver who turned 36 on April 12, nosed underneath Moyer for the lead a few times late in the distance but ended up spending more time dealing with Babb. They traded paint several times before Babb finished second and McCreadie settled for third.
"I've said it before, him and I race each other like we're related, like we're brothers — and it's not always a good thing," McCreadie said. "We race good together, but we race hard, and we bend sheetmetal up on each other a lot.
"But that's the way it goes. He's a man, he can take it — and I can take it. I just wish we would've been racing for a (win) rather than for second, because then him and I could've laughed about it later."
Babb was deeply disappointed after running so hard only to fall short in the Illini 100 once again. He even declined a request to participate in a top-three-finishers photo opportunity in victory lane with Moyer and McCreadie, preferring to return to his hauler to cool his emotions after giving a terse post-race interview over the public address system.
McCreadie understood what Babb was feeling after failing to win at his home track. "I know how this place is for him here. When we go back to New York, I'm on the chip about winning, too," said McCreadie, who took over the WoO points lead for the first time since finishing his 2006 championship season.
Birkhofer misses again
After pacing three laps (laps 44-46) of the Illini 100, Brian Birkhofer stands as the only driver who has led at least one circuit in all three editions of the big show. Unfortunately, Birkhofer has yet to unlock the door to victory lane. He finished fourth, unable to seriously contend for the win after watching Babb and Moyer blow by him on a lap-46 restart.
"It was part tires and part my setup decisions," Birkhofer said of his difficulties in the 100-lapper. "I overcut my tires, and after looking back at what we ran last year (he led 93 laps of the 100) we made a few changes that I thought would make us better but they didn't work out."
No repeat for Clanton
Shane Clanton's hopes of winning the Illini 100 for a second straight year took a major hit when he failed to qualify through a Friday heat (he was shuffled back on a restart) or a Saturday consolation race, forcing him to use a provisional starting spot.
But the Locust Grove, Ga., driver made a nice recovery in the 100-lapper to at least head home with a smile — although he still was a bit disappointed with an eighth-place finish.
Clanton, who started last in the 25-car field, actually closely followed third-finishing Tim McCreadie forward through the pack. When the race's first caution flag flew on lap 46, Clanton sat in 11th place right behind McCreadie. But moments before that caution flag flew,� Clanton's RSD Enterprises No. 25 was struck by a broken dummy shock — the second shock positioned in front of the rear end on the left-rear of the car — and spent the remainder of the distance hampered by a bouncing wheel.
"I think I could run with McCreadie," Clanton said, "so if that shock doesn't break I think we could've been right there at the end."
No victory for Feger Nation
Illinois standout Jason Feger wanted to give his home-track fans — including the group that displayed a huge Feger Nation banner from their perch in the drive-in section outside turn two — something to cheer about in the Illini 100.
But after winning a heat race on Friday in impressive fashion, Feger drew the eighth starting spot and never really got rolling during the 100-lap affair. He was solid but not spectacular, climbing as high as fifth before settling for a personal-best Illini 100 finish of sixth.
"It seemed like we didn't have any doors open up for us," Feger said. "But I think we were too tight. We couldn't rotate like we needed to."
Odds and ends
Defending series champion Josh Richards left a racetrack without the tour's points lead for the just the second time in seven events this season, ceding it to McCreadie after finishing 10th. He trails T-Mac by 10 points after running in the top five for the first third of the event but then fading with a car that wasn't properly balanced. ... Rick Eckert absorbed a rare DNF, retiring after 45 laps with terminal engine woes. He appeared on the verge of cracking the top 10 before his powerplant went south, leaving him with a last-place finish (25th) and dropping him from fifth to seventh in the WoO points. ... Brady Smith, a former UMP DIRTcar Summernationals winner at Farmer City, appeared to be in position to challenge for Illini 100 glory when he ended up with the pole. But he was outgunned immediately at the green flag and never summoned enough speed to challenge for the lead, running third for the first third of the race before fading to seventh in a loose-handling car. ... A huge two-week stretch for the WoO continues this Friday and Saturday (April 16-17) with the inaugural running of the Commonwealth 100 at Virginia Motor Speedway in Jamaica, Va. The two-day spectacular offers a $25,000 top prize from a total weekend payout of nearly $125,000.