SPOON RIVER, Ill. – With a pass on the final lap, Kent Robinson outdueled three-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion Brian Shirley to win Thursday night’s Hell Tour stop at Spoon River Speedway.
Robinson, from Bloomington, Ind., came from ninth to get the job done and edged out Shirley by .326 seconds at the end of the 40-lapper.
Worth $5,000, Thursday was Robinson’s third career Hell Tour win.
“I’ve never been here, so I didn’t really know what to expect as far as tire wear,” said Robinson in victory lane. “I knew I had to go, though. I didn’t want to give up, there. It’s just a testament to this car. It was a little rough, you know, but hopefully it put on a good show for the fans.
“I didn’t want to get into Brian like that,” he added, referencing contact off the exit of turn two with Shirley, “but once I had a door on him I couldn’t lift. He was on my door. Otherwise we both would have gotten passed. I’ll go apologize to him, but I’m pretty happy.”
Robinson came calling late, mastering the inside lane of the three-eighths-mile dirt track in the second half of the race and overhauling two-time season winner Tyler Erb for second with 12 to go.
From there, it was a game of chase before the driver known as “K-Rob” got to Shirley’s bumper and made the winning move in dramatic fashion in turns one and two on the last lap.
Thursday night also marked Robinson’s first Hell Tour win at a track other than Ohio’s Oakshade Raceway, the site of his first two victories in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
Shirley hung on for second, followed by Tyler Carpenter, Billy Drake and Erb.
Frank Heckenast Jr., Devin Moran, Johnny Scott, Taylor Scheffler and Bobby Pierce filled out the top 10.
Pierce ran second to Shirley for the first 16 laps of the feature before he slowed with issues and brought out a caution on lap 19. After going to the work area and changing a left-rear tire, Pierce fought his way back through the field to his 10th-place finish.
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals schedule continues July 17 at Farmer City (Ill.) Raceway with a $10,000 to win late model event.
1. Kent Robinson, 2. Brian Shirley, 3. Tyler Carpenter, 4. Billy Drake, 5. Tyler Erb, 6. Frank Heckenast Jr., 7. Devin Moran, 8. Johnny Scott, 9. Taylor Scheffler, 10. Bobby Pierce, 11. Rick Eckert, 12. Tim Manville, 13. Bob Gardner, 14. Kolby Vandenbergh, 15. Chris Simpson, 16. Jason Feger, 17. Tim Lance, 18. Kyle Bronson, 19. Shannon Babb, 20. Stormy Scott, 21. Allen Weisser, 22. Britan Godsey, 23. Ryan Unzicker.