McKinney Wins $2k Last-Lap Showcase vs. Weisser at FALS

Late Model Results | Modified Results | Story by Jordan DeLucia | Pictures by Jim DenHamer, Terry Page, & Brendon Bauman

gundaker babbIn one of the most exciting runs to the front seen all year in a DIRTcar Late Model, Gordy Gundaker dazzled the crowd Saturday night at Fairbury Speedway, coming all the way from 14th to score his fourth career Summer Nationals victory.

Defending tour champion Brian Shirley jetted out to a commanding lead in the early going, but company was coming fast behind him. Shannon Babb found the fast groove right through the middle and had taken second by Lap 13.

A caution on Lap 32 re-stacked the field and gave Babb the shot he needed to grab the lead, which he did, hammering the cushion in Turns 3-4 to Shirley’s outside.

By this time, Gundaker had just made the pass for sixth. With one of the smoothest lines of anyone on the very bottom of the track, G-Man advanced to fourth on Lap 40, third on Lap 42, second on Lap 44 and finally underneath Babb for the lead on Lap 46.

From seemingly out of nowhere, Gundaker had shocked the field and picked up the $10,000 payday from his 14th starting spot.

“We were so good, I was just kinda biding my time,” a pumped-up Gundaker said in Victory Lane. “I know last year, I felt like we gave this race away. We just got rolling and the yellow came out at a perfect time. It was awesome!”

Punctuated by an epic display of fence-climbing after his backwards parade lap around the track, the St. Charles, MO-pilot soon arrived in FALS Victory Lane to a sea of applause and gave this memorable quote to his fans and those watching on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.

“You fans are badass, I love every single one of you! Let’s party, let’s drink beer, we won, baby!”

Pennsylvanian Rick Eckert climbed from ninth to finish second – his second consecutive podium finish after a third-place result on Friday night. Shannon Babb was able to hold on for third while Shirley and Ryan Unzicker rounded out the top-five.

mckinney weisserJust when the Fairbury Speedway fans thought there wasn’t a way to top the excitement in the DIRTcar Late Model Feature they had just seen, the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds found a way to do exactly that.

Mike McKinney and Allen Weisser battled side-by-side for nearly every one of the 30 Feature laps Saturday night, putting on an exciting display of hard racing in the closing laps that ended with contact between the two out of Turn 4 and McKinney in Victory Lane for the second time in three races.

Weisser, of Peoria, IL, led the opening circuits using the bottom lane of the smooth Fairbury racing surface, while McKinney, of Plainfield, IL, rode the top side momentum to the lead on Lap 3. As the two dug into lapped traffic, the door opened back up for Weisser to slide by on the bottom as McKinney was pinned behind slower cars on Lap 12.

The battle raged on in lapped traffic as the laps wound down to just two to-go. McKinney threw a first slider for the lead in Turns 1-2, Weisser countered down low to deny him but McKinney did it again in Turns 3-4 and made it stick. He saw the white flag and charged into Turn 1 with a full head of steam, throwing it up top once more as Weisser crept down low.

McKinney moved down to the middle groove into Turn 3 and Weisser slid up towards him as they made contact coming out of Turn 4, banging wheels down the front stretch. Weisser’s momentum was slowed by the contact as McKinney bounced off the outside wall, giving him the boost he needed to cross the stripe ahead of Weisser by just .76 seconds.

The Sportsman feature was canceled due to an approaching severe storm.

McKay Wenger

McKay Wenger

Mike Harrison

Mike Harrison

Nick Seplak

Nick Seplak

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Thad Gee

Thad Gee

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

In addition to an Independence Day fireworks display during intermission at the Fairbury Speedway, race fans were treated to sliders of a different sort. Everyone stood on their feet witnessing the talent of the drivers in feature action. McKay Wenger (Late Model), Mike Harrison (Modified), Nick Seplak (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), and Thad Gee (Hobby-Modified) were first to the line during the FALS Cup weekly racing program.

wenger lm25 Late Model drivers made qualifying attempts for their 30-lap, $2,500 to win race. Mike Spatola turned a lap of 12.879 seconds for fast time. Spatola, McKay Wenger, and Eric Smith won heat races, while Jay Morris was the B-Main winner. Using his outside front row starting position, Wenger made short order of his competition and jumped out to an early lead. Accelerating around the ¼ dirt oval, Wenger caught up with the tail end of the field by lap seven. After two caution periods, Wenger pulled away from the field as Allen Weisser, Ryan Unzicker, and Spatola trailed. Spatola soon found himself in second and closed the margin on Wenger. The race's last caution fell with ten laps to go giving Spatola his opportunity to capitalize. On the restart, Wenger was shot out of cannon as he opened up a straightaway lead. Behind him, Spatola, Weisser, and Unzicker battled for the second position exchanging slide jobs to the delight of the crowd. At the checkered flag, Wenger returned to victory lane after going winless last season. “Oh man, what a 4th of July,” Wenger said. “We got home from West Burlington, Iowa (34 Raceway) at 3:00 a.m. this morning. We worked on the car all day to get ready for tonight. Man, this feels good.” The remainder of the top ten were Spatola, Unzicker, Jeffrey Ledford, Weisser, Smith, 17th starter Mike Provenzano, Derek Chandler, Scott Schmitt, and Mike Chasteen Jr.

harrison mdThe Modified race saw 40 drivers vie for a starting spot in their 20-lap, $1,500 to win race. Mike McKinney was the quickest in time trials with a lap of 14.025 seconds. Four heat races saw McKinney, Mike Harrison, Allen Weisser, and Jacob Rexing earning wins. Justin Gregory and Rich Dawson won the B-Mains. Harrison took the lead at the start with McKinney stuck to his bumper. The two wheelmen rode the top side of the track and frequently exchanged slide jobs on each other during the course of the race. Harrison was able to open up a small lead during the final five laps and took a hard-fought win. “McKinney has picked up his game the last few years,” spoke Harrison. “Anytime you can come to his home track and beat him, you have done something. Fairbury has been good to me in the past, but the local drivers here are tough.” McKinney settled for second, with Bradley Jameson, Weisser, and Michael Ledford following. The rest of the top ten were Steve Meyer Jr., 14th starter Jay Ledford, Willy Myers, Nick Clubb, and Rexing.

seplak scMatt Fabrizius clocked a time of 15.507 seconds to set fast time as 23 Stock Cars were in attendance. Andrew Funk, Nick Seplak, and Tanner Sullivan were the heat race winners. Sticking to the bottom groove of the track, Seplak was able to turn back savvy veterans Joe Brown and Rick Thomas for his first-ever Fairbury feature win. “Man, what a race,” an excited Seplak spoke. “Honestly, I didn’t think we could win it tonight. Dad and I have been going back and forth every week trying different things and it finally worked out.” Trailing the threesome were Cody Clubb, Fabrizius, Michael Schomas, 19th starter Justin VanDrunen, Eric Boudreau, Ryan Anderson, and Sullivan.

duncan spVeteran Macon Speedway driver Wes Odell was the Sportsman fast qualifier at 14.836 seconds over 15 other drivers. Lyndon Whitfill and Tommy Duncan won their respective heat races. After a caution with seven laps to go, Duncan pulled away from early contenders Odell and Anthony Craven for the win. “The track was good for our race,” explained Duncan. “The competition is getting really close. I am going to have to get to work.” Craven turned in another good finish with second, followed by Odell, Tyler Roth, Steve Mattingly, Blake Reid, 16th starter Alex Wilson, Phil Moreland, Makinzi Semmens, and Eric Saltzman.

gee hmThe night’s racing program ended with a 12-lap Hobby-Modified race. Heat race winners Thad Gee and Macy Vaughan started on the front row. Vaughan led for five laps before Gee was able to move to the front following a lap five caution. From there, Gee held a 10-car length lead over Vaughan and captured the win. “That was a fun race,” spoke Gee. “I really enjoy racing with Macy. She was worrying me, but I was able to get a good restart after that caution. Dustin Mounce, running the top, was able to sneak by Vaughan for second, with Caden McWhorter and Troy Ricketts completing the top five.

The first-ever $50,000 to win Prairie Dirt Classic, presented by the Bank of Pontiac, has been postponed until the summer of 2021 Fairbury Speedway officials announced today after ongoing meetings with the state and county officials.  “It’s disappointing, no doubt. However, I am very grateful for the support and guidance the Livingston County Health Department has played in allowing us to go back to racing the past couple of weeks,” says Matt Curl, owner and promoter of the Fairbury Speedway.  “In the end, it’s the right decision for our community and the long-term success and well-being of the Fairbury Speedway. I have no doubt in my mind that the 2021 PDC will be the biggest racing event in the history of FALS.”  The Prairie Dirt Classic was anticipating a record crowd of over 8,000 people in the facility in 2020.

Originally scheduled for July 31st & August 1st 2020, the Prairie Dirt Classic will continue its tradition in 2021 with all camping reservations and reserved tickets transferring over and good for the 2021 PDC weekend.  All reservations are locked, and reserved ticket vouchers will be sent in the mail this fall to those who purchased tickets to date.  Fairbury Speedway will be offering a refund to any reserved ticket or camping holder for the PDC. However, if a refund is requested, they will not be allowed to purchase those tickets in the future; and the tickets will be opened back up to the general public for purchase in 2021.  People requesting a refund for the Prairie Dirt Classic reservations need to send an email to falstickets@gmail.com.  The last date to request a refund will be Sunday, August 2nd 2020. 

With the news that the Prairie Dirt Classic would be postponed in 2020, Curl will be announcing details on Tuesday, July 7th of a two-day $25,000 to win event with the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series at the Kokomo Speedway in Kokomo, Indiana.  Scheduled for July 31st & August 1st, Curl will be promoting this mega event at one of Indiana’s most prestigious venues.  “I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to promote a race at Kokomo.  The O’Connor family has been great to work with and the combination of our teams will make for an amazing weekend.” All the details including ticketing, camping, and all race information will be released next week on the Fairbury Speedway and Kokomo Speedway websites. 

Speedway officials are excited to announce the new and updated schedule posted on the Fairbury Speedway website at www.fairburyspeedway.com.  Highlighted races coming to FALS in 2020 include the DIRTcar Summer Nationals, presented by Rhino Ag, on Saturday night, July 11th.  The $10,000 to win Late Model show will also include $2,000 to win for the DIRTcar Modifieds plus the Sportsman.   Reserved seating and camping will go back online this weekend for purchase.

September 5th will play host to the first-ever Twin 10’s FALS Super Nationals presented by New Solutions Ag and Casey’s.  The MARS series will sanction the $10,000 to win Late Model portion of the Super Nationals and the American Modified Series will sanction the 8th annual Modified Nationals paying $10,000 to win in 2020.  Reserved tickets and camping from the May 9th Spring Showcase MARS race will be moved to Saturday, September 5th.  Tickets and camping will go back on sale for this event this weekend.  Those people that had reservations for the original Casey’s Modified Nationals weekend will be getting a full refund in the mail this summer.

The annual FALS Frenzy will now be a Saturday only show on Saturday, October 10th paying $15,000 to the winner of the Late Model feature.  Presented by Edelman Electric Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling, the FALS Frenzy will also host $2,000 to win Modifieds, and $1,000 to win Pro (Crate) Late Models.  Reserved seating and camping for this event will open back up and be available for purchase this weekend.

Fairbury Speedway in conjunction with the Livingston County Health Department have worked diligently to make the speedway as safe as possible following the CDC & IDPH guidelines.  Attendance limits have been put into place for future events; however, with the amount of seating at the speedway, we don’t anticipate hitting those limits for any of the remaining races in 2020.

Fairbury Speedway will return to action this weekend, July 4th, for a regular FALS Cup night of racing including a full fireworks show for the fans.  Thank you to all the fans, drivers, sponsors, and crew for all their support during what has been an unparalleled summer.  We are excited for what the future holds at FALS!


Shannon Babb

Shannon Babb

Hunt Gossum

Hunt Gossum

Tyler Roth

Tyler Roth

Gossum, Roth also Victorious on Opening Night at FALS

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

The long-awaited season opener at the Fairbury Speedway was held on Wednesday night. Shannon Babb (Late Model), Hunt Gossum (Modified), and Tyler Roth (Sportsman) were the night’s feature winners in the “Summer Showcase”.

babb lm32 Late Model drivers took to the ¼ mile dirt oval for qualifying. McKay Wenger toured the speed plant at 12.507 seconds for fast time honors. Four heat races were held with Allen Weisser, Jason Feger, Shannon Babb, and Kevin Weaver taking the wins. Jeffrey Ledford was the B-Main winner. Babb, starting in the third position, quickly jumped to the lead in the 40-lap race. Babb contended with Wenger, Bobby Pierce, and Mike Spatola before the yellow flag waved with seven laps left. After the caution, Babb checked out on the field and picked up the $5,000 check. “Bobby had me sweating,” said Babb. “I knew a slide job would be coming. I thought I better do what I can do.” Following Babb to the line were 12th starter Pierce, Spatola, 16th starter Kent Robinson, Feger, Ryan Unzicker, Gordy Gundaker, Weaver, Derek Chandler, and Trevor Gundaker.

gossum mdCurt Spalding clipped a lap of 13.927 seconds in Modified time trials as 42 drivers were on hand for a 25-lap, $1,500 to win feature race. Spalding, Hunt Gossum, Allen Weisser, and Ian Keller were heat race victors. Kyle Hammer and Jake Little advanced to the main race with their B-Main wins. Gossum, hailing from Mayfield, Ky., dashed into the lead and never looked back in earning his first-ever FALS Cup feature win. 11th starter Michael Ledford made a dramatic charge and took second over Weisser, with Rich Dawson and Brad DeYoung completing the top five. Steven Brooks, 18th starter Austin Lynn, Tyler Weiss, Dylan Woodling, and Tommy Sheppard Jr. rounded out the top ten.

roth spFirst-year driver Austin Friedman earned fast time honors with a lap of 14.864 seconds over 16 other CR Towing Sportsman drivers for their 15-lap sprint. Friedman and defending track champion Tommy Duncan won their respective heat races. Tyler Roth made short order of his competition as he took the lead on lap two in winning the $400 first prize. Duncan, Brandon Pralle, Shaun WiltjerHunt, Lyndon Whitfill, Friedman, Steve Mattingly, Alex Wilson, Tanner Sullivan, and Blake Reid completed the top ten.

The state of Illinois currently is regarded as one of the most active for motorsports in the United States. The Illinois Motorsports Coalition (IMC), represents leading industry professionals at more than 50 venues, product manufacturers, parts distributors, and more than 1 million individual enthusiasts who are constituents of the state of Illinois. These events include road racing, oval tracks, drag racing venues, tractor pulls, and a variety of other forms of outdoor recreation. Our venues are not only outdoor and primarily located in rural/agricultural areas, but they cover large footprints of open space. The smallest racing venues in our state still are larger than other outdoor sporting venues. Our businesses are perfect for functional cells and compartmentalized fan groupings. The average ¼-mile short track occupies more real estate than a football, soccer, or baseball facility. The average drag racing or road racing venue occupies more real estate than the combined footprint of the state’s largest football, soccer, and baseball facilities combined. Our venues are working with the leading motorsports sanctioning bodies including the World Racing Group (WRG), National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), and others to develop industry standards to safely open our venues in gradual steps while protecting our participants, employees, and attendees from risk. The same safety standards that were developed by track operators here in Illinois have been adopted by several other states and are being implemented in a safe and effective manner.

While motorsports venues in the state of Illinois remain shuttered with no definitive date for reopening, we helplessly are watching as our participants and fans are looking to other states for options. Since May 1, we’ve watched our racers and fans take to the interstates to race in Oklahoma, Missouri, South Carolina, and Alabama...

IMC Proposed Reopening Steps

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