Lone Star 100 brings racers, crowds to Battleground

HIGHLANDS – Mike Wallings, owner of Battleground Speedway says he could not be more thrilled with the crowd and the racing quality exhibited on his track last Friday and Saturday.

He has invited back everyone that held on to their Saturday tickets to come see next Saturday’s action for free.

Shannon Babb rode the outside of the track to a $20,100 victory in Saturday night’s inaugural World of Outlaws Late Model Series ‘Lone Star 100’ at Battleground Speedway. He then kissed and rode Hondo – a 1,300-pound Texas Longhorn – in Victory Lane.

Babb, 35, of Moweaqua, Ill., celebrated his hard-fought triumph in style, donning a cowboy hat and climbing on the back of the brown-and-white steer that was brought in from a local ranch to lend a Texas accent to the post-race ceremonies. He responded to the cheers of the three-eighths-mile track’s near-capacity crowd with a wave of his hat.

Babb drove his heart out before meeting up with Hondo, taming the outside groove to score his first victory since starting his own team this season with the help of Sheltra Motorsports, Petroff Towing and Donley Trucking. He inherited the lead when defending WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., slowed with a flat right-rear tire on lap 40 and held off repeated challenges from Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, en route to the checkered flag.

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The lead changed six times among four drivers and stretched over an hour in length from nine caution flags, Babb steered his Dargie-powered Rocket car across the finish line 1.285 seconds ahead of Lanigan, who rallied from the rear of the field after pitting for a new tire on his Fusion Energy Rocket.

Birkhofer nosed in front of Babb to lead laps 56 and 71, but he couldn’t complete a pass and settled for third place in his Birkhofer-Mars Chassis.

Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., finished fourth in his Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket after climbing as high as second from the 15th starting spot. With Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., who entered the Lone Star 100 as the WoO LMS points leader, finishing 23rd after he spun off turn two on lap 17 and was clipped by several cars, Richards moved to the top of the standings after four events.

Babb, who started third, flashed his vintage cushion-pounding form in rolling to his first WoO LMS triumph since July 18, 2008, at Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen, S.D. Babb found that the extreme outside of the high-banked track was prime real estate for him following a lap-36 incident involving polesitter Rick Eckert of York, Pa., and Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y.

Birkhofer, 37, became Babb’s toughest challenger. After slipping as far back as eighth from the fourth starting spot, Birkhofer moved back to second on lap 53 and made several attempts to run the inside lane past Babb.

Race Results Lone Star 100
1. (3) Shannon Babb/100 $20,100
2.(6)Darrell Lanigan/100 $10,600
3. (4) Brian Birkhofer/100 $6,050
4. (15) Josh Richards/100 $5,500
5. (10) Chub Frank/100 $4,500
6. (14) Tim Fuller/100 $3,500
7. (12) Clint Smith/100 $3,250
8. (23) Shane Clanton/100 $3,000
9. (16) Ray Moore/100 $2,800
10. (11) Brady Smith/100 $2,200
11. (13) Al Purkey/99 $1,900
12. (21) Jordan Bland/99 $1,800
13. (17) Russell King/98 $1,950
14. (24) Dustin Hapka/95 $1,650
15. (5) Chris Wall/68 $1,600
16. (2) Jimmy Mars/65 $1,580
17. (20) Duke Whiseant/51 $1,560
18. (19) Robbie Stuart/47 $1,540
19. (1) Rick Eckert/42 $2,020
20. (9) Howard Willis/40 $1,500
21. (8) Vic Coffey/36 $2,000
22. (18) Kevin Sitton/30 $1,500
23. (7) Steve Francis/17 $2,100
24. (22) James Ward/16 $1,500