Shannon Babb making big changes to get back on top

Shannon Babb

Shannon Babb is not only one of the most popular drivers in Dirt Late Model racing but he is also one of the most accomplished. The 48-year-old racer has won some of the sport’s biggest events. The Moweaqua, Illinois veteran has won the Prairie Dirt Classic three times, the Dirt Track World Championship and the Topless 100 twice each as well as a single triumph in the Illini 100.

But like all racers, this accomplished star is looking to improve after getting his season starting in a way he wasn’t necessarily pleased with. Recently, Babb’s team added a new car to its stable and he has been working to learn the nuances of that new ride. To help with that task, Babb entered the North-South 100 at Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky for the first time in a while.

Although he did win $10,000 in a DIRTcar Summer Nationals feature earlier this season at the Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, Illinois, Babb decided it was time for his team to make some changes. As a result, he recently acquired a Longhorn Chassis and has begun to expand his racing efforts further away from home.

His hope is to become fully acclimated to the new car by the time the Dirt Late Model world heads back to the Eldora Speedway to complete the rain interrupted Dirt Late Model Dream along with the regularly scheduled World 100.

“We’re real pleased with it,” Babb said to of his Longhorn. “We got over the hump in the middle of the summer and I’ve been wanting to get one and get some time in it. There’s still a lot of big races to come. I can still win the Dream and the World right now. We hadn’t been over here to Florence for a long time and we’re getting some laps in, it’s been twelve years since I’ve been here. I’m trying to get as many nights in as I can and learn as quick as I can. I’m real comfortable right now and I’m just real happy with it.”

Babb had driven a Rocket Chassis a few years ago then switched to a Team Zero Race Car. He pointed out that the differences among the brands is more than meets the eye.

“No, it’s as different as night and day, all of them are,” the four-time Summer Nationals champion explained. “They all look real similar but it’s like hopping on another kid’s bicycle, you know, when you’ve been riding yours all day long and you get on somebody else’s there’s a big difference. It’s real comfortable, it’s got everything I’m looking for so I’m pleased with that.”

For the past few seasons, Babb had stayed close to home with so many opportunities to race on the bullrings in his home region.

“There’s a lot of racing around us,” the Illinois resident said. “We’re real lucky on that side of it. But at the same time, it’s all sort of the same style of racing. To get on some bigger race tracks other than a quarter-mile you’ve got to kind of move around a little bit. This past weekend we had a good time running up at Cedar Lake and Superior, those are a couple of really nice tracks, and was able to come right here after that and didn’t have to work much on our car at all.”

Babb’s new Longhorn Chassis

But the winner of 100 Summer Nationals features realizes that staying close to home may not always be the way to stay on top of the highly competitive world of dirt racing.

“If you’re going to run with these guys you’re going to have to get out there and get in the game with them,” he declared. “We’ve always raced around 50 nights a year. You know, running up and down the road all the time wears you out. But like I said, if you’re going to keep up with these guys you’re going to have to get out there. We had a really slow beginning and I wasn’t happy with that at all. If I’m going to get going fast again, I’m going to have to get out here and get my nose to the grindstone and try to figure something out.”

There have been 25 races so far in 2022 that have paid $25,000-to-win or more. Babb says that kind of money can’t be ignored.

“You just nailed it, that’s another reason why we’re racing here. Everybody’s going to go to the races when they’re $5,000-to-win but you can’t hardly afford to. This year, there’s so much money out there it gets you off the couch and makes you want to go race again. You can actually pay the bills with the car if you do good. Anytime there’s an opportunity to make some money, you want to go racing.”

Please consider also reading:

Turn 2 Blog: Would you take Davenport & Madden vs the Field?

Respond to this post on Twitter by following @RichardAllenIDR and @MichaelRMoats or by liking the Facebook page.

Also, NASCAR and pavement racing fans can check out InsideCircleTrack.

Comments are closed.