By Terry Young
“The Mowequa Missile” Shannon Babb continued his hot streak of late, visiting victory lane at the Madison County Fairgrounds in Highland, Illinois to become the 10th different winner on the Challenge of Champions tour for 2004. by virtue of his win, Babb is now qualified for the season ending $15,000.00 finale which will take place at the I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Missouri. As any contestant wishes to do, Babb would leave the county fair with the coveted blue ribbon award and a chance to kiss the fair queen! Babb was driving the CAR CITY, Watters Autoland, Out-Pace Products, Arkansas Motors, Outlawd Motorsports, Wick Racing, Sunoco Fuels, Simpson Safety Products, J&J Steel, Petersen Fuel Systems, WELD Wheel, Jay Dickens powered C.J. Rayburn Race Cars #18 with Hoosiers by Smash for the win in the 40 lap event.
Babb rolled into victory lane winded after a hard drive on the slick track and thanked his crew for giving him a perfect race car, as Babb was able to roll the racetrack high or low when the need arose to overcome lapped traffic.
Babb rolled into Highland after a brief hiatus at the conclusion of the UMP Summer Nationals where he took 5 victories in the grueling month long trek across the Midwest.
A strong field of cars visited the small Midwest Illinois race track for the evenings events, the highlight of the county fair!
Steve Sheppard, Jr. recorded the evenings fast lap in qualifying with a time of 13.965.
The dash was won by local favorite Randy Korte with a last lap maneuver that jolted him past Babb who had led most of the event. Following the duo was Billy Faust, Sheppard, Rodney Melvin, Kevin Weaver, Mark Faust, Chad Zobrist and Brian Wolfmeier.
The heat races were topped by Faust over Mark Gansmann and Michael Kloos, Ed Dixon over Zobrist and Matt Taylor, Mark Voigt over Wolfmeier and Duke Whiseant and Frankie Martin over Clay Baumann and Brian Collins.
Brent Kreke claimed the consi for the transfer position and Tom Carson was added as a track provisional to complete the field.
The feature got underway with Babb bolting to the lead from his outside front row starting spot ahead of Sheppard, Korte, Weaver, Billy Faust and Ed Dixon. With the high side being the preferred groove Babb coasted without serious challenge despite Sheppard making strides on the hub. Frankie Martin made early moves to put himself into the 4th position by lap 7 from his 10th place starting berth.
Lap 13 seen Babb begin to lap traffic, putting some breathing room between himself and Sheppard, Korte, Weaver and Martin.
On lap 24 the only caution of the event would fall over the field and bunch the cars back together as Mark Faust exited the track with a flat.
Korte would move into second on lap 26, while lap 33 would see Zobrist slide Sheppard for the third position.
When the checkers fell over the field it was Babb followed by Korte, Zobrist, Sheppard, Weaver, Martin, Whiseant, Wolfmeier, Faust, Voigt, Collins, Baumann and Kreke.
With the season finale qualifying win Babb joins Tony Albright, Dennis Erb with 3 qualifying wins, Randy Korte, Don O’Neal, Frankie Martin, Kevin Weaver, Rodney Melvin with 2 wins, Matt Taylor and Eric Smith as drivers who are pre-qualified for the $15,000.00 to win finale.
Remaining races on the UMP Challenge of Champions schedule for 2004 are Mt. Vernon Raceway Saturday July 31, Paducah International Raceway on Friday August 6 and the season ending finale at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. which will take place on October 2, 2004.
Complete Results From Jack Pugh
UMP Late Models – 35 cars
Fast time – Steve Sheppard – 13.965
Dash: Randy Korte(00), Shannon Babb(18), Billy Faust(26), Steve Sheppard(5s), Rodney Melvin(27), Kevin Weaver(b12), Mark Faust(51), Chad Zobrist(78), Brian Wolfmeier(441)
(Top 3 transfer to feature)
Heat 1: M. Faust, Mark Gansmann(20), Micheal Kloos(6), Kenny Rumble(87), Tom Carson(30), Butch Kruckeberg(76), Dan Jacober(22), Barry Quade(19)
Heat 2: Ed Dixon(50), Zobrist, Matt Taylor(3L), Brent Kreke(54), Guy Taylor(44t), Brent Helmkamp(31), Billy Drake(9)(DNF)
Heat 3: Mark Voigt(30), Wolfmeier(441), Duke Whiseant(a1), Rick Salter(1s), Dick Taylor(24), Mike Schulte(27), Randy Bingham(b1)
Heat 4: Frankie Martin(25), Clay Baumann(77), Brian Collins(11z), Mike Hammerle(16), Dewayne Kiefer(13), Lenny Garson(25L), John Paule(22)
Semi: (Winner transfers to feature)
Kreke, Rumble, Hammerle, G. Taylor, Salter, Carson, D. Taylor, Schulte, Kiefer, Jacober, Helmkamp, Bingham, Quade, Garson(DNF), Kruckeberg(DNF)
Feature: Babb, Korte, Zobrist, Sheppard, Weaver, Martin, Whiseant, Wolfmeier, B. Faust, Voigt, Collins, Carson, Baumann, Kreke, Gansmann(DNF), Kloos(DNF), M. Taylor(DNF), Dixon(DNF), M. Faust(DNF), Melvin(DNF)
UMP Modifieds – 35 Cars
Fast time – Ryan Driemeyer
Heat 1: Matt Weidner(18), Driemeyer(66m), Scott Weber(4j), Bobby Bittle(89), Mark Clary(94), Mark Gansmann(7), Scott Sugg(69), Ted Klaus(95), Newberry(20n)
Heat 2: Stephenson(57), Marty Smith Jr.(55), Matt Goulden(11g), Tom Seets(16), Dave Thornton(56), Chris Smith(5), Chad Sellers(e55), Josh Carroll(59), Bob Geaschel(4)
Heat 3: Mike Harrison(24), Rusty Griffraw(16), Tim Hancock(44), Dean Hoffman(1d), Brian Bielong(0), Steve Ellison(40), 39b, John Cambell(29)
Heat 4: Jim Shereck(17), Jeff Leka(3L), Kent Schoeck(31), Billy Faust(31), Roger Fohne(29), Steve Gardner(15), Dave McDougal(97), Bobby Martintoni(48), Matt Verbeck(17v)
Dash: Harrison, Wiedner, Shereck, Dreimeyer, Leka, Stephenson, M. Smith, Griffraw
Semi 1: Bielond, Gansmann, Sugg, Ellison, Newberry, Clary, Klaus, 39b, Cambell
Semi 2: Thornton, Fohne, Sellers, C. Smith, Carroll, Geaschel, McDougal, Verbeck
Feature: Harrison, Wiedner, Shereck, Driemeyer, Leka, Weber, Griffraw, M. Smith, Hancock, Hoffman, Bittle, Goulden, Stephenson, Thornton, Seets, Bielong, Faust, Schoeck