Shirley Beats Freeman, Lee Outduels Young in Summer Nationals at Clarksville

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Josh James Artwork Photo

Contact: Jordan DeLucia, DIRTcar Racing PR Coordinator

Credit: DIRTcar Racing or

LAPPED TRAFFIC SHUFFLE: Shirley Passes Leader Freeman Late to Win at Clarksville

Freeman leads 33 of 40 laps en route to best career Hell Tour finish

CLARKSVILLE, TN – July 2, 2022 – Leading since the green dropped with a fast car on the top and a full-second lead. Payton Freeman was seven laps away from his first career DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature win.

And then, a similar scenario reared its ugly head again.

After losing the lead in traffic after starting on the pole at Sycamore Speedway two weeks ago, Freeman was staring down lapped traffic again with Brian Shirley hot on his tail Saturday night at Clarksville Speedway. Determined to get by and hold onto the lead, Freeman stuck his nose to the inside, but the #38 of Thomas Hunziker did not yield.

The very next corner, Freeman got off the top again and hung it to the inside of Hunziker through Turns 1-2. But again, he could not make the pass. Behind him, Shirley had closed the gap completely and had no plans of waiting.

“I showed [Hunziker] that I was there two or three times,” Freeman said. “I figured he would move out of the way. I guess he didn’t get the point.”

Down the backstretch Shirley poked his nose to Freeman’s inside in a strong bid for the lead and made it stick in Turns 3-4 with a big slide job to get by both Freeman and Hunziker.

“[Freeman] whoa-ed up getting into Turn 1 behind [Hunziker] and didn’t get a good run,” Shirley said. “I went to the bottom and got a really good run.”

As Freeman cleared Hunziker behind him, Shirley took the lead and bolted down the front straightaway, opening up an advantage that Freeman could not overcome by the checkered. Shirley had swiped the lead, the win, and the $10,000 check out of the Hell Tour rookie’s grasp and cruised across the finish line for his third Summer Nationals win of the season.

“I got all the way to [Freeman] to where I knew I was gonna bump him a little bit, but not enough to take him out of the race or anything stupid,” Shirley said of his move for the lead. “Just one of those things where timing worked out for us and we were able to get the job done.”

Back in the pits, Freeman was understandably downcast, still digesting the events that cost him the biggest win of his career.

“I try to race everybody with respect, regardless of if we’re lapping or passing for position,” Freeman said on his approach to getting by slower cars. “But there’s no use going out there and tearing up a bunch of stuff and taking yourself out to win the race.”

Freeman took the green right to Shirley’s inside on Lap 1 and got the jump, which enabled him to lead the first 33 laps around the red clay quarter-mile. Turns out, that may have been part of Shirley’s plan the whole time.

“On the start, I wasn’t super worried even if [Freeman] got me because lapped traffic here is so hectic,” Shirley said. “I knew that, so I was like, ‘Even if he gets you on the start, just get in behind him and try and make sure you can be there to capitalize on something like that.’

“I’ve been to quite a few races here, and I’m sure you can also see that lapped traffic always comes into [play].”

Though it may have been one of the most bitter runner-up finishes of his young career, Freeman did something few other Summer Nationals rookies have in their first attempts at this grueling summer stretch. He knows it, and is going to build on it as the second half of the tour begins next week.

“As frustrating as it is, we’ve got speed,” Freeman said. “We’re getting better and we’re getting closer. We’re gonna keep our heads up and keep going and we’re gonna win one of these races before it’s over with.”


The DIRTcar Summer Nationals Late Models are back in action Sunday night, July 3, at Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, IL, to cap-off Multi-State Week. If you can’t be at the track, watch every lap live on DIRTVision.

ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)

Feature 50 Laps | 00:47:52.244

1. 3S-Brian Shirley[2]; 2. F1-Payton Freeman[1]; 3. 212-Josh Putnam[7]; 4. 32-Bobby Pierce[3]; 5. 15-Christian Hanger[4]; 6. 25-Jason Feger[8]; 7. 14G-Joe Godsey[5]; 8. 81E-Tanner English[9]; 9. 18-David Seibers[11]; 10. 30-Mark Voigt[17]; 11. 14R-Jeff Roth[16]; 12. 31AUS-Paul Stubber[15]; 13. 38-Thomas Hunziker[14]; 14. J8-Jadon Frame[6]; 15. 26M-Brent McKinnon[13]; 16. 27-Joe Denby[12]; 17. 18C-Matt Cooper[18]; 18. 16-Brandon Tibaldi[21]; 19. 15F-Richard Frost[20]; 20. 21-Billy Moyer Jr[10]; 21. 4D-Doug Tye[19]; 22. 23NZ-Mick Quin[22]

TUCKASSEE TUSSLE: Lee Gets Redemption, Outduels Young at Clarksville

Lucas Lee knew he let one get away from him Friday night in Paducah. But Saturday night at Clarksville Speedway, he was not going to let rival Trent Young deny him a trip to DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Victory Lane again.

In a near mirror image of Friday, Young started on the pole with Lee right behind him. The green dropped and Young took off, but his jumps were dampened by two quick cautions.

On the next restart, Lee chose one lane higher than Young, moving up to his outside in a strong bid for the lead on Lap 3. Lee nearly pulled even with Young as they crossed the stripe the next time by and used the high-side momentum to float around Young’s outside to take the lead as they raced out of Turn 2.

“As soon as I got that outside cleared, I knew I was going to be set sailing,” Lee said. “I knew if I could get a run off of Turn 2, I was gonna be alright.”

Lee poured it on over the next 15 laps, stretching his lead over 1.5 seconds at one point, until Young spotted an opportunity in the closing laps.

As Lee approached traffic with less than five-to-go, Young closed the gap rapidly.

“My sticks were getting smaller, so I knew I had to go,” Lee said. “Trent’s good here. Trent’s hard to beat here. He got me last night.”

Try as he may, however, Young was unable to get close enough to make the move, and Lee crossed the stripe for his second Summit Modified win of the season.

“This is [Young’s] track, he runs here all the time, he’s got tons of laps here and so do I,” Lee said. “I felt like what’s what it was going to come down to anyways – me and him.”


The DIRTcar Summit Modifieds are back in action Sunday night, July 3, at Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, IL, to cap-off Multi-State Week. If you can’t be at the track, watch every lap live on DIRTVision.

ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)

Feature 20 Laps | 00:17:18.440

1. 12L-Lucas Lee[3]; 2. 10Y-Trent Young[1]; 3. 188-Jeremy Sneed[5]; 4. 121-Caleb Slaughter[2]; 5. 7D-Pete Sabatino[4]; 6. 96-Curtis Rodenhaber[6]; 7. 8-Jake Scogin[9]; 8. 98-Zac Harris[7]; 9. 91-Carl Thomas[8]; 10. 12W-Hunter Willbanks[11]; 11. 45-Troy Collings[10]; 12. 11-Brian Ashby[12]