Shirley Takes Mars Weekend Opener at Peoria

Shirley Takes Mars Weekend Opener at Peoria

Peoria, IL (August 20, 2021) – Round ten of the Mars Racing Series took place at the Peoria Speedway to kick off a double header weekend. Fourteen late models checked in for a shot at the $3,000 to win event.

In Allstar Performance qualifying Mike Chasteen Jr, the driver from Peoria, IL laid down the fastest lap with a time of 12.145 seconds. Qualifying set up two heat races that would determine the starting line up for the main event.

In Arizona Sport Shirts Heat Race #1 Ryan Unzicker took advantage of the outside front row starting spot and was able to get out front early. Ryan was able to then drive on to the heat race win. Mike Chasteen Jr, the nights fast qualifier came home runner up with Todd Bennett in third.

Heat Race #2, brought to you by Dirt Track Bank was dominated by the defending series champ Brian Shirley. He took the lead early and off he went. He checked out and won easily over Jason Feger who came home second. Jeremiah Hurst finished in the third spot.

The thirty-five lap $3,000 to win event would start out a fun one for the race fans. In the opening laps Ryan Unzicker was able to get out front and take the lead. Brian Shirley was right there with him as the two started to really battle for the race lead. Shirley was getting good runs off turn two on the high side and Unzicker was having to block the high line down the back straight away to try and keep Shirley at bay. On lap ten Shirley finally got the run he needed off turn two and was able to get alongside Brian and get around him.

The race would be slowed for one yellow flag with seven laps remaining as Mike Chasteen Jr made contact with the turn 2 wall. On the restart Shirley would keep the field behind him and drive on for the win. Jason Feger used the outside line to get around Unzicker on the final restart. Feger  would come home runner up with Unzicker rounding out the podium. In victory lane Shirley thanked his sponsors and crew for the win and said he had no ill feelings towards Unzicker after they made some brief contact during the early battle for the lead. Shirley chalked it up as good hard racing. 

The Mars Racing Series will be back in action on Saturday night for $5,000 to win for the 67th Annual Illinois State Championship event. Gates open at 5pm to the fans.

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Fast Time: Mike Chasteen Jr (12.145 seconds)

Arizona Sport Shirts Heat #1 – Ryan Unzicker, Mike Chasteen Jr, Todd Bennett, Bob Gardner, Jake Miller, Paul Parker. Jay Sparks

Dirt Track Bank Heat #2 – Brian Shirley, Jason Feger, Jeremiah Hurst, Rich Bell, Austin Simpson, Brayton Wallace, Russ Adams (DNS)

Feature (35 Laps) – Brian Shirley, Jason Feger, Ryan Unzicker, Rich Bell, Todd Bennett, Austin Simpson, Jeremiah Hurst, Mike Chasteen Jr. Bob Gardner, Paul Parker, Jake Miller, Brayton Wallace, Jay Sparks, Russ Adams (DNS)

Contingency Awards:

Allstar Performance Fast Time Award: Mike Chasteen Jr.

VP Fuel Award from Git Sideways: Brian Shirley

Swift Springs Opposing Fast Time Award: Brian Shirley

Keyser Manufacturing Hard Charger Award: Rich Bell

Wilwood Tough Brake Award: Mike Chasteen Jr.

Ultrashield Non-Transfer Award: Brayton Wallace

Auto Meter Non-Transfer Award: Jake Miller