Shirley Nips Gustin in Thriller at Peoria

Shirley Nips Gustin in Thriller at Peoria

Burbank, IL (August 28, 2020) – Friday night the Mars Racing Series presented by Rip It Energy Fuel invaded the Peoria Speedway for round three of the 2020 season with the make-up of the Steve Lance Sr Memorial race.

33 cars checked in for Friday night action at the Peoria Speedway. Headed into the nights event Frank Heckenast Jr held the series points leader over Lee County winner Bobby Pierce. In heat group qualifying it was Garrett Alberson who set overall quick time with a lap of 12.154 seconds. This set the heat races that would determine the starting lineup for the nights 50 lap feature event.
In heat race one Mike Spatola was able to pick up the heat race win over Allen Weisser. Peoria defending track champion Mike Chasteen Jr came home third with Missouri driver Jeff Herzog getting the final transfer spot.

Heat race two went to Frankfort, IL driver Frank Heckenast Jr. He held off California native Jason Papich for the win. Shannon Babb and local favorite Billy Drake also moved on to the feature event.

The third heat race of the night saw Carpentersville, IL driver Dennis Erb Jr take the checkered flag first over Marshalltown, IA Ryan Gustin. Peoria Speedway regular Roger Rebholz and Jason Feger picked up the third and fourth transfers into the main event.

The final heat race Jeremiah Hurst put on a clinic and held off Dirtcar Summer Nationals Champion Brian Shirley who finished second. Ryan Unzicker and Rich Bell were the final transfers from heat race action.

The top 8 drivers came to the front stretch for the redraw for the nights feature event. Frank Heckenast Jr. & Jeremiah Hurst got the one and two and started on the front row.
Frank Heckenast Jr and Jeremiah Hurst battled for the race lead in the early laps of the fifty-lap event. Jeremiah Hurst took over the race lead on lap 4 and paced the field until lap 17 when it became a three-car battle for the race lead in lap traffic. Frank Heckenast Jr was on the top and Brain Shirley was able to shoot through on the bottom using a lap car as a pick on Heckenast to capture the race lead.

Ryan Gustin came home second by only 0.114 seconds. (Mike Ruefer Photo)

After Shirley took the lead on lap 18 he never looked back building up an over three second lead on second place car of Ryan Gustin with ten laps to go. In the final ten laps Gustin was able to cut down the three second advantage every lap. With two laps to go Ryan was right on the back bumper of Shirley. Ryan, who was trying to diamond the corner in three and four to try and take the top spot away from Brian in the closing laps. They got nearly side by side down the back straight away. Coming off turn four Ryan was on the top and Brian on the bottom as they passed the start finish line with Shirley winning by a slim 0.114 seconds. Mars points leader Frank Heckenast Jr came home on the podium with his third-place finish after starting on the pole. Illinois drivers Dennis Erb Jr and Ryan Unzicker rounded out the top five.

Brian Shirley poses in victory lane Friday night. (Kevin Zambory Photo)

Feature Finish (50 laps)
1 Brian Shirley (3s)
2 Ryan Gustin(r) (19R)
3 Frank Heckenast Jr (99jr)
4 Dennis Erb Jr (28)
5 Ryan Unzicker (24)
6 Jeremiah Hurst (58)
7 Allen Weisser (25w)
8 Mike Spatola (89)
9 Mike Chasteen Jr (2)
10 Jason Feger (25F)
11 Jason Papich (91P)
12 Todd Bennett (T2)
13 Rich Bell (28M)
14 Roger Rebholz (10)
15 Bob Gardner (4G)
16 Blaze Burwell (44)
17 Myles Moos (84)
18 Jon Brauns (22B)
19 Shannon Babb (18)
20 Billy Drake (75)
21 Jeff Herzog (11)
22 Brayton Wallace(r) (B6)
23 Curtis Radke(r) (61)

Heat #1: 1) #89 Mike Spatola 2) #25w Allen Weisser 3) #2 Mike Chasteen Jr 4) #11 Jeff Herzog 5) #T2 Todd Bennett 6) #40 Charles Hess 7) #61 Curtis Radke 8) #35 Austin Simpson 9) #59 Garrett Alberson

Heat #2: 1) #99jr Frank Heckenast Jr 2) #91P Jason Papich 3) #18 Shannon Babb 4) #75 Billy Drake 5) #98 Cole Swibold 6) #B6 Brayton Wallace 7) #48L Tim Lance Sr 8) #44 Blaze Burwell

Heat #3: 1) #28 Dennis Erb Jr 2) #19R Ryan Gustin 3) #10 Roger Rebholz 4) #25F Jason Feger 5) #4G Bob Gardner 6) #33H Roben Huffman 7) #48B Brandon Lance

Heat #4: 1) #58 Jeremiah Hurst 2) #3s Brian Shirley 3) #24 Ryan Unzicker 4) #28M Rich Bell 5) #84 Myles Moos 6) #22B Jon Brauns 7) #74 Russ Adams 8) #48 Tim Lance Jr

B-Main: 1) #T2 Todd Bennett 2) #22B Jon Brauns 3) #84 Myles Moos 4) #4G Bob Gardner 5) #B6 Brayton Wallace 6) #44 Blaze Burwell 7) #98 Cole Swibold 8) #40 Charles Hess 9) #33H Roben Huffman 10) #35 Austin Simpson 11) #61 Curtis Radke 12) #48L Tim Lance Sr 13) #48 Tim Lance Jr 14) #74 Russ Adams 15) #48B Brandon Lance

Overall Fast Qualifier: Garrett Alberson (12.154 seconds)

The Mars Racing Series presented by Rip It Energy Fuel will continue the two day show at Peoria Speedway Saturday night for round four of the 2020 Season. Hot laps are slated to kick off at 6pm.

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