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Four First-Time Winners Emerge in FALS Cup Night of Racing

McKay Wenger

McKay Wenger

Michael Ledford

Michael Ledford

Joel Funk

Joel Funk

Austin Friedman

Austin Friedman

Lyndon Whitfill

Lyndon Whitfill

Troy Ricketts

Troy Ricketts

Ledford, Friedman, Whitfill, Ricketts Earn First Career Wins; Wenger, Funk Also Take Checkers

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

Race fans were treated to another exciting Saturday night of racing action at the Fairbury Speedway. Six feature races took place in five divisions and produced four first-time winners. McKay Wenger continued his march through July by winning the Late Model event. Joel Funk, competing on a semi-regular basis, won the Stock Car race. Carrying the checkered flag for their first time were Michael Ledford (Modified), Austin Friedman (Sportsman), Lyndon Whitfill (Sportsman), and Troy Ricketts (Hobby-Modified).

wenger lmFairbury’s McKay Wenger scorched the ¼ mile dirt oval with a time of 12.954 seconds over 14 other Late Model drivers for their $2,500 to win, 30-lap race. Heat races went to Jay Morris and Mike Glasscock. Morris led the first three laps before the caution flag was waved on lap three. On the restart, Wenger wasted little time and jumped out into the lead. Wenger put his car on the top side and built a commanding lead as he picked up his fourth win in his last five starts. “Our car was pretty good in the middle,” Wenger said. “Honestly, it was boring. I put it on the top…full send. I wore myself out and wanted to put on a show for the fans.” Kevin Weaver placed second, with 15th starter Billy Drake in third. The remainder of the top ten went to Morris, Donny Walden, Jeffrey Ledford, Jeff Curl, Glasscock, Glen Thompson, and Roben Huffman.

ledford mdA lap of 14.168 seconds gave Jason Hastings fast time over 19 competitors in the Modified division for their 25-lap race. Hastings and Allen Weisser won their respective heat races. In the race of the night, Weisser led the first 19 circuits before slowing momentarily. Michael Ledford and Nick Clubb were able to capitalize on Weisser’s misfortune to move ahead. Both drivers sought their first Modified victory. Clubb led, but Ledford shot by Clubb at the line for the lead. Clubb was able to pull alongside of Ledford, but on this night, the spoils of victory lane belonged to the 14-year-old Pontiac native. “We haven’t really struggled, but we have put ourselves in a hole starting so far back in the features,” explained Ledford. “Mark Bush has been a big help in turning us around. Nick has been a lifelong friend and it was fun racing with him.” Clubb settled for second, with Weisser, Steven Brooks, Kyle Hammer, Hastings, Dan Rork, Travis Kohler, Jim Farris, and Ethan Weber rounding out the top ten.

funk scA time of 15.936 seconds gave Kyle Anderson the fast time honors with 16 Stock Car drivers competing in a 15-lap race. Anderson and Joel Funk were the heat race winners. Funk led the feature race as Nick Seplak was stuck on Funk’s bumper. With two laps to go, a caution fell. Seplak was able to work over Funk and briefly claimed the lead. On the restart, Seplak slowed with ignition problems, as Funk returned to the lead and recorded the win. “There is a guy sitting at home now,” said Funk. “I don’t know if he will ever come back. This is for Rick. This track has meant a lot to Rick over the years. He never wanted to miss a Saturday night up until they buckled him up in his car last week. He gave it his all. He’s back home happy but on light duty and still kicking.” Josh Hetherington earned a career-best finish at Fairbury of second, along with Michael Schomas in third. Tanner Sullivan took fourth, with the rest of the top ten going to 16th starter Jeff Hartzell, Anderson, Eric Boudreau, Scott Schoener, Joe Brown, and Randy Schoener.

friedman sp12 Sportsman drivers lined up for the first of two feature races. Austin Friedman clipped a lap of 15.116 seconds for fast time honors. Two heat races saw Friedman and Tyler Roth taking the wins. Friedman took the lead on the start, as Steve Mattingly, Roth, and Tommy Duncan raced for second. Mattingly broke on the seventh lap for a caution. On the restart, Roth made several bids for the lead, but Friedman held his ground to take his first win of his career. “I can’t believe it actually happened,” an excited Friedman said. “Dad pointed to the top and that is where I put the car.” Following Friedman to the line were Roth, Lyndon Whitfill, 12th starter Duncan, Matt Ramer, Makinzi Semmens, Brendan Ramer, Dan Coit, Mattingly, and Eric Saltzman.

ricketts hmCody Wisher toured the track at 15.520 seconds for quick-time in the Hobby-Modified class as 13 cars qualified. Wisher and Graham Jackson won their respective heat races. Following a lap three caution, race leader Wisher, Ricketts, and Derrick DeFord went three-wide down the backstretch with Ricketts emerging as the race leader. The yellow flag fell with two laps to go as Wisher’s car came to a halt. On the restart, DeFord challenged Ricketts for the lead, but a determined Ricketts was not to be denied. “Our class isn’t a big one, but it has been competitive,” spoke Ricketts. “It’s been a long time coming. We have been creeping up to the front and finally made it.” DeFord crossed the line in second but was disqualified as his car was underweight. Justin Rutledge took second, followed by Jackson, Caden McWhorter, and Tyler Russell.

whitfill spThe night’s program ended with another Sportsman race. Tommy Duncan led the feature with Lyndon Whitfill following. Whitfill worked the cushion of the track over the final two laps and pulled alongside of Duncan. As the two came to the checkered flag, Whitfill pulled ahead and took his first-ever win at his home track. “I was biding my time on the bottom and with five to go, I had to go for it,” spoke Whitfill. “I couldn’t run second anymore. Even if I had not got it done, I was going to give it everything I had.” Duncan, Austin Friedman, Alex Wilson, Makinzi Semmens, Dan Coit, Tyler Roth, Steve Mattingly, and Blake Reid completed the running order.


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