FAIRBURY, Ill. — In one of the most exciting runs to the front seen all year in a DIRTcar late model, Gordy Gundaker dazzled the crowd Saturday night at Fairbury Speedway, coming all the way from 14th to score his fourth career Summer Nationals victory.
Defending tour champion Brian Shirley jetted out to a commanding lead in the early going, but company was coming fast behind him. Shannon Babb found the fast groove right through the middle and had taken second by lap 13.
A caution on lap 32 re-stacked the field and gave Babb the shot he needed to grab the lead, which he did, hammering the cushion in turns three and four to Shirley’s outside.
By this time, Gundaker had just made the pass for sixth. With one of the smoothest lines of anyone on the very bottom of the track, G-Man advanced to fourth on lap 40, third on lap 42, second on lap 44 and finally underneath Babb for the lead on lap 46.
From seemingly out of nowhere, Gundaker had shocked the field and picked up the $10,000 payday from his 14th starting spot.
“We were so good, I was just kinda biding my time,” Gundaker said. “I know last year, I felt like we gave this race away. We just got rolling and the yellow came out at a perfect time. It was awesome!”
Pennsylvanian Rick Eckert climbed from ninth to finish second – his second consecutive podium finish after a third-place result on Friday night. Shannon Babb was able to hold on for third while Shirley and Ryan Unzicker rounded out the top five.
Feature (50 Laps): 1. 11-Gordy Gundaker ; 2. O-Rick Eckert ; 3. 18-Shannon Babb ; 4. 3S-Brian Shirley ; 5. 24-Ryan Unzicker ; 6. 25-Jason Feger ; 7. 99JR-Frank Heckenast, Jr. ; 8. 32-Bobby Pierce ; 9. 28-Tyler Carpenter ; 10. 1ST-Johnny Scott ; 11. 25W-Allen Weisser ; 12. 4G-Bob Gardner ; 13. 48-Tim Lance ; 14. 30-Mike Glasscock ; 15. 6-Daryn Klein ; 16. 89-Mike Spatola ; 17. 10S-Scott Schmitt ; 18. 18L-Jeffrey Ledford ; 19. 19R-Ryan Gustin ; 20. 42-McKay Wenger ; 21. 21-Billy Moyer ; 22. 111L-Matt Lux ; 23. T4-Adam Tischhauser ; 24. 9-Eric Smith  Hard Charger: 11-Gordy Gundaker[+13]