Thursday, August 17th
UMP Late Models $1,500 to win
UMP Modifieds $750 to win
UMP Pro (Crate) Late Models $500 to win
Pit gates open at 3:00 p.m. (use Third Street Gate)
General admission stands open at 5:00 p.m.
Fair Admission: $3.00, General Admission: $10.00, Kids 12 & under free with paid adult
Pit Passes: $25.00, Kids 12 & under: $15.00
Drivers meeting: 5:30 p.m. (draw closes at 5:30 p.m.), Hot laps/Qualifying: 6:00 p.m., Racing to follow
LM Tire Rule: LF, RF, LR Hoosier LM 20 or LM 30, RR Hoosier LM 30 or LM 40, Grooving & siping allowed on all tires
by Rocky Ragusa
The Fairbury American Legion Speedway played host for the second time this year to the MARS/ALMS co-sanctioned Late Model series. Track points leader, Ryan Unzicker, took the feature win. Mike McKinney (Modified), AJ Meiferdt (Street Stock), Richard Craven (Sportsman), Mike Petersen and Brendan Patterson (Hobby-Modified) also graced victory lane.
23 I Beam Sliding Doors Late Models took time trials with Jason Feger leading the way at a 12.864. Feger, Mike Mataragas, and Tony Jackson Jr. picked up heat race wins. Outside front row starter and current points leader for the MARS series, Jackson Jr., took the lead with Mataragas on his heels, followed by Feger, Unzicker, and Derek Chandler. Mataragas led the next lap before Jackson led for two laps. Jackson pounded the infamous Fairbury cushion looking to extend his lead but Mataragas hung tough. The duo swapped the lead as Feger and Unzicker followed closely, with Scott Bull leading a host of drivers in fifth. At the halfway mark of the 40-lap race a four car pileup brought out the caution. On the restart, Unzicker, running the bottom of the track, was able to move into the lead. Two laps later, another yellow flag fell for Jackson who was bitten by the cushion. On the restart, Unzicker stuck to the bottom groove and was able to pull away from the field. Mataragas, Chandler, and Bull waged a furious battle for second, followed by Joe Godsey and Kevin Weaver. Jackson was able to rally to seventh before pulling off the track with ten laps to go. Unzicker went uncontested for the remainder of the race and took $3,000 for his third win at Fairbury. Mataragas, Bull, Godsey, Weaver, 19th starter Jeff Roth, Chandler, Mason Oberkramer, Donny Walden, and Jay Sparks completed the top ten. “The track was pretty good tonight, maybe a little bottom dominate but that’s the way I like it,” said Unzicker. “When the track slows down my car seems to come alive. My guys have worked hard on the car. It’s all a team effort.”
Jason Hastings led 30 other Varsitee Screen Printing Modified drivers in qualifying at a 13.894. Nick Lueth, Jeffrey Ledford, Nick Clubb, and Jeff Curl won their respective heat races, while Brent Gregory took the semi feature. In the 20-lap feature, Jeffrey Ledford led as eighth starter, Mike McKinney, quickly moved into the second position. Trailing the two “young guns”, Travis Kohler and Curl raced for third, with Lueth hanging on to fifth. McKinney was able to take the top position on the 10th lap, as Ledford tried to reclaim the lead. McKinney was able to hold on for his fifth win of the season. Ledford, Curl, Kohler, Hastings, Clubb, 14th starter Jay Ledford, Lueth, Dave Lilja, and 18th starter Logan Rogers rounded out the top ten. “With Jeffrey starting second I knew he was going to be tough. On the opening laps everyone was running on the bottom,” commented McKinney. “I went to the top and had to wait for my tires to heat up. It was a good race.”
by Darlene Miller
Yellow caution flags and a full moon made for an interesting racing combination on Saturday night at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. Enjoying the conditions was the quintet of Scott Schmitt, Mike Spatola, Mike McKinney, Lake Nichoalds, and Rick Thomas who all found victory lane.
In the first Late Model feature of the night, Fairbury’s McKay Wenger and Gibson City’s Kevin Weaver led the field to the green flag. Four caution flags in the early laps of the 30-lap feature made the racers and crowd anxious to get this one going. Weaver held a slight lead over Wenger and Spatola in the early going. With 18 laps to go, Wenger got past Weaver and was trying to hold off a charging Schmitt, who had started fifth in the 20-car field. A battle then ensued as both kept switching leads with each one of them leading a lap with under four to go. Schmitt pulled off the win by two car lengths over Wenger for his first win of the 2017 season. “With four to go, I got lucky and got past Wenger,” said Schmitt. El Paso’s Ryan Unzicker came in third with Weaver and Fairbury’s Scott Bull making up the rest of the top five. Spatola led the second five with Jeremy Conaway, Dan Flessner, Bill Hough, and 16th starter Doug Hammer in tow. Spatola, Weaver, and Wenger were heat winners, while Hammer won the semi feature. Flessner set fast time with 12.747 seconds around the quarter-mile track.
In the 30-lap Late Model make-up feature from June 17, Weaver started on the pole flanked by Flessner. They exchanged the lead for a few laps before Spatola came into the picture and got around Flessner with 21 circuits to go. A caution flag flew with 19 to go as Flessner spun in turn 2 in front of the field. Luckily, all drivers were able to get around him. Two more caution flags flew before Spatola was able to find himself in the lead. Spatola and Wenger showed the way until another caution flag flew for a turn three incident with nine laps to go. As Spatola started pulling away, a three-pack of drivers — Wenger, Bull, and Weaver — were fighting for the second spot. Spatola was able to hold off the group for the win. “This is for all the teamwork we did. We did a lot of replacement parts and worked hard. It was nice to come back and win,” Spatola said. It was the third win for Spatola this season. Schmitt, who in hot laps for this race on June 17 rolled his car, started 13th and finished fifth. Jay Morris, Steve Thorsten, Glen Thompson, Flessner, and Ron Donaldson rounded out the top 10.
Plainfield's McKinney and Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford were in the top two starting positions in the Modified race. Four caution flags flew before three laps were completed in the 20-lap feature. McKinney and Ledford battled constantly for the lead with McKinney holding a slight advantage in the waning laps. McKinney held off Ledford by a car length for his fourth win of the 2017 season. “It was fun running against Jeffrey. I can’t count him out. It was a fun night of racing,” McKinney stated. Finishing third was Coal City’s Nick Clubb with Scott Heeren of Forreston in fourth and Fairbury’s Jeff Curl taking fifth place. Fairbury’s Jimmy Dehm led the second five with Bob Pohlman Jr., Jason Hastings, Dave Lilja, and Billy Puckett following. Heat winners were Clubb, Ledford, and McKinney. Ledford had fast time of the evening for the Modifieds with 13.741 seconds. Alex Graf won the semi feature.