by Rocky Ragusa
The Fairbury American Legion Speedway ended the 2013 season with a regular night of racing on Saturday.
Following a caution on the fourth lap, Jimmy Dehm pulled away from his competition and won the 15 lap UMP Sportsman feature. The 2013 sportsman track champion, Dehm earned his 10th feature win of the year at Fairbury. Dehm spoke after the race, “It’s been a great year and nice to win the last race of the year. I will be moving up to a modified next year so it is nice to get my last sportsman win. We are shooting for a national championship in the sportsman class. We will go to Macon next Saturday and see how it falls.” Dustin Mounce battled with Richard Craven for second before settling in with five laps remaining. Matt Mills survived a bevy of contenders to take fourth over Tim Bohm (hard charger), Jeffrey Ledford, Amber Crouch, and Jim Bailey. After experiencing mechanical problems during his heat race, Richie Rich finished in ninth and Ron Bohm completed the top ten. Dehm and Mounce won the heat races.
Rick Thomas, the 2013 track champion in the street stock class, took the lead on the ninth lap after leader Nick Clubb spun out in turn two. Thomas then had to hold off the challenges from Matt Maier and Jeff Semmens before taking his sixth win of the year in the 15 lap UMP Street Stock race. “Thanks to all the fans for coming out tonight. That was a tough race. Matt and Jeff made me work for that one. I do appreciate them for racing me clean,” said Thomas in victory lane. Jason Maier, Darrin Kohler, A.J. Meiferdt (hard charger), Justin Nelson, Axle Wicker, Paul Westermeyer, and Lon Franks rounded out the top ten positions. Lukes Gash, Nick Clubb, and Joel Funk took heat race wins.
Jeb Friedman took advantage of race leader Mike McKinney’s miscue and capitalized to win the 20 lap UMP Modified race. McKinney jumped out to an early lead running on the ragged edge of the top. McKinney and Friedman broke away from the field with Friedman pulling alongside of McKinney. After a caution on lap 17, McKinney jumped the cushion allowing Friedman to strike, take the lead, and hang on for his second win of the year.
“Tonight is a special night. My wife Niki is here along with all our kids. Tomorrow is our first anniversary so this win makes it a little more special. Thanks to my sponsors and all the fans for coming out tonight. We look forward to seeing everyone next year,” the jubilant victor spoke. Lance Dehm made a late race charge to take second, with Scott Bull, driving for Kevin Myszkiewicz, in third. Dave Porth, McKinney, Vince Cooper, Sam Ball, Dan Rork (hard charger), Kevin Hastings, and Chad Osterhoff rounded out the top ten. Dehm was the fast qualifier among the 22 drivers at a 13.938. Travis Kohler, Cooper, and Andrew Funk won their respective heat races. 2013 track champion Jeff Curl had motor problems in his heat race and failed to make the feature race.
By the time the UMP Late Model feature took the green flag the track became lightning fast for their 30 lap feature race. 2013 track champion Scott Bull contended with McKay Wenger for the first six laps before Wenger dropped out with engine failure. Daren Friedman moved into the second position and contended for the lead for the remainder of the race but Bull proved to be the car to beat on this night. “We have been working on some things for the left rear. It’s a little late but it gives us a good start for next year. Thanks to all my sponsors for their support. I have to thank Chuck Bull, Rob Kemmer, Mark Earney Jr., and Duct Tape for all the hard work at the track and shop," Bull said as he scored his fourth win. Friedman, Scott Schmitt, Kevin Weaver, Donny Walden, Joe Harlan, Mike Mullvain, Shawn Diggs (hard charger), and Tom Smith completed the top ten. Friedman was the fast qualifier at a 12.642. Bull, Eric Smith, Wenger, and Weaver won heat races. Mike Glynn and Tom Smith took semi feature wins.
by Rocky Ragusa
Fourth starting Torin Mettille took the lead from Eric Smith on the ninth lap after Smith jumped the cushion in turn four to take the win in the 30 lap UMP Late Model feature. Dustin Griffin led the field to the green flag and paced the field until a caution came out on lap five. Smith got by Griffin on lap six, with Mettille following. After Mettille took the lead, Griffin and Smith battled for second, while Daren Friedman, Scott Bull, Kevin Weaver, and McKay Wenger dueled for fourth. With drivers behind him racing for position, Mettille opened up a 10 car length lead by the halfway mark. As Smith began to fade, Bull moved into the third position and along with Weaver closed the gap on Griffin, but laps ran out and Mettille had a straight away lead at the checker flag, picking up his first career Fairbury win. Mettile, in his third year of late model racing, spoke in victory lane, “The more comfortable you are in the car the more consistent you will be. The last four weeks I have made the wrong tire choices and tonight I think I nailed it. It’s unbelievable all the help and support we have gotten. My family has been involved in racing a long time and it’s good to finally get a win at my home track.” Griffin, Bull, Weaver (hard charger), Scott Schmitt, Smith, Friedman, Wenger, Joe Harlan, and Jason Jaggers completed the top 10. Griffin topped 28 other competitors in time trials with a 12.770. Griffin, Smith, and Jay Morris took heat wins, while Mike Mullvain won the semi.