CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Brian Shirley took the lead late during a three-wide fight then survived two final restarts to conquer the super late model portion of Plunger Night during the 15th annual Tuckasee Toilet Bowl Friday at Clarksville Speedway.
Allen Weisser, who had just won the open-wheel modified feature moments before the start of the 30-lap super late model race, started from the pole and took the lead at the start of the feature as fast qualifier Josh Putnam faded through the field.
Shirley, meanwhile, started fifth and quickly moved his way into third behind Weisser and fourth-starting Robby Moses. Moses hounded Weisser through the opening dozen laps, peaking under Weisser in turn one on the ninth circuit before falling back into second.
With 15 laps in the books and Weisser starting to fight lapped traffic, Shirley began to make his move. He went high to the outside of Moses down the backstretch, throwing sparks as he made contact with the outside wall.
The two battled for the next few laps as Weisser struggled to find a way through traffic. On lap 18 Moses and Shirley each took a shot at the lead, with Shirley going high and Moses going low as Weisser found himself in the middle of the three-wide sandwich.
Moses emerged from the three-wide battle with the lead and Shirley moved into second as Weisser faded to third. Shirley didn’t let Moses get away, staying right with him as the laps clicked off.
With four laps left, Shirley found himself back on the top and challenging Moses for the race lead. Weisser was also in the hunt as he looked low to try and pass Moses and Shirley going into turn three.
Moses tried to defend, but entering turn three Weisser appeared to make contact with Moses’ left rear, causing Moses to spin to the bottom of the track to bring out the first caution of the race. Shirley and Weisser drove by to move into first and second, respectively.
Two attempts to restart the race resulted in backmarkers spinning to bring the caution flag back out before a lap could be completed. On the third attempt Shirley got the jump on Weisser, leading the last four laps to pick up the victory and the $3,000 payday.
“We came up a little short in qualifying. Obviously we had to start fifth in the race, we had a battery go bad in hot laps so kind of at first everything was going a little backwards,” Shirley explained. “Once we got into the race I felt like we were pretty good. I just kept my grounds on the race track and knew what I needed to do with lapped traffic and we were fortunate to be in the right spot at the right time.”
Shirley added that he was waiting for Weisser to get into lapped traffic before he made his move on the outside.
“I was waiting for us to catch lapped traffic because I didn’t think those guys would go around them on the outside,” Shirley said. “I went up there earlier and felt that there was just a little bit. It was going to be really hard, but when we got to lapped traffic they were just going so slow that I felt like I could just barely creep around there.”
Weisser nearly earned his second feature victory of the night, but had to settle for second.
“The car was really good, I just didn’t know those guys were coming right there behind me,” Weisser said. “I kind of got stuck in some lapped traffic there so I moved up the track a little bit and it was just enough to get by. We’ll go on to tomorrow. We definitely learned some stuff tonight.”
He said he wasn’t sure if he made contact with Moses late in the race that led to the spin and caution with four laps left.
“As far as I know I didn’t get into him, if I did I apologize,” Weisser said. “It was just a racing deal man. I don’t know, I think he just got into the corner a little bit too hard. We were all battling for the lead right there, plus going into lapped traffic. You can hardly even see with three or four cars in front of you. It was probably just a racing deal.”
Putnam ended up third in the event that was sanctioned by the Schaeffer’s Oil MARS Racing Series, followed by Dennis Erb Jr. and David Seibers.
Brian Shirley, Allen Weisser, Josh Putnam, Dennis Erb Jr., David Seibers, Jose Parga, Mike Vandermark, Christian Hanger, Richard Frost, Caleb Ashby, Matt Shannon, Dean Carpenter, Joseph Faulkner, Drew Wilkerson, Robby Moses, Oakley Johns, Joey Standridge, Larry Barber Jr., Gavin Schmidt, Roben Huttman, Myles Moos, Levi Ashby, Dewayne Kiefer.