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James Captures Allen Memorial with Last Lap Pass; McKinney Holds Off Ledford for Modified Win

Scott James

Scott James

Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

Zach Zuberbier

Zach Zuberbier

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Jared Cagley

Jared Cagley

Brenden Heizer

Brenden Heizer

Zuberbier, Duncan, Cagley, Heizer also Victorious

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

With a big Labor Day weekend for racers and fans in Central Illinois on the horizon, 120 race teams from five states journeyed to the Fairbury Speedway Saturday night in preparation. The track played host to the 24th edition of the “Pappy and Bob Allen Memorial”. Scott James (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), Zach Zuberbier (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), Jared Cagley (Hobby-Modified), and Brenden Heizer (KidModz) all earned feature race wins.

james lmA time of 12.846 seconds gave Jay Morris quick time as 25 Late Models made qualifying runs. Allen Weisser, Scott Schmitt, and Scott James were the night’s heat race winners. The semi-feature went to Jeffrey Ledford. On the green flag, Weisser and Schmitt raced side-by-side before Weisser led the first two circuits. Schmitt, running the top side, moved ahead to take over as Weisser, James, Eric Smith, and Mike Spatola followed. Weisser, looking for his first Fairbury Late Model win of the year, reclaimed the lead on lap 12. Weisser began to work his way by lapped traffic, while James got by Schmitt for second. Once Weisser and James had a clear track, James quickly closed in on Weisser. With the checkered flag in sight, James was able to pull beside Weisser and edge ahead to win the race by .040 seconds at the finish. “I have been racing for 25 years,” spoke the driver known as the “Silver Shark”. “To win here is a feather in my cap. We got rained out today and decided to come back to Fairbury. I committed to the bottom. Weisser moved up to the top and stalled in the lapped traffic. It has been a dream to win at this track.” The rest of the top ten went to Schmitt, Spatola, Smith, 15th starter Mike Provenzano, McKay Wenger, Kevin Weaver, Mike Mataragas, and Rickey Frankel.

mckinney md42 Modified drivers were in attendance for their 25-lap race. Mike McKinney toured the speedway with a lap of 13.662 seconds to take quick time. McKinney, Nick Allen, Michael Ledford, and Tyler Nicely won heat races. Chris Smith and Dave Lilja advanced to the feature by winning their respective b-mains. McKinney took the lead at the drop of the green flag as Allen Weisser and Ledford dueled for second. On a slick race track, many of the drivers settled on running the bottom and middle grooves, while 15-year-old Ledford threw his machine on the top side. After a caution flag fell with five laps to go, Ledford made the cushion work and overtook Weisser for second. Ledford challenged McKinney for the lead and showed the nose of his machine. Another caution fell with three laps remaining, and the field went to a single file restart. As the two gladiators took the white flag, McKinney went to the top in turns three and four hoping to slow Ledford. Ledford went to the bottom and pulled alongside of McKinney, but as flagman Jim Whittington waved the checkered flag, McKinney was able to hang on and nip Ledford by .018 seconds at the line. As the crowd cheered and jeered their approval of the race, McKinney commented in victory lane. “Mikey stole the show there. I started off good and the car began to tighten up. Allen started to drive by me and Mikey showed me his nose on the last restart. It’s really a huge win for our team. We are doing everything we can to battle for the national championship.” Weisser finished in the third position, followed by Dan Rork, Bobby Stremme, Bob Pohlman, 19th starter Kyle Hammer, Brad DeYoung, Dillon Nusbaum, and Dave Lilja.

zuberbier scThe speedway welcomed 27 Stock Car drivers with current national points leader Terry Reed turning a lap of 15.352 seconds to take fast time. Zach Zuberbier, Andy Zahnd, and Cody Clubb won their respective heat races, while Reed took the b-main. Zuberbier was able to lead the entire 15 laps, but he had to contend with RJ Akers and Matt Fabrizius in the final laps. At the finish, Zuberbier won by .050 in another exciting finish. “I wasn’t the best, but we made it work,” Zuberbier said after winning his second feature of the season. “I saw Matt and was able to get back by him. It’s good to race with him.” Akers, Fabrizius , Eric Boudreau, Matt Maier, Don Hilleary, 17th starter Pete Odell, Kory Kohler, Michael Schomas, and Brandon Tracy completed the top ten.

duncan spAustin Friedman turned a lap of 14.819 seconds for fast time with 12 Sportsman drivers in attendance. Tommy Duncan and Brandon Pralle, subbing for Anthony Craven, were the heat race victors. In the 15-lap feature, Duncan was able to lead flag-to-flag in picking up his fourth win of the year. “Those young drivers are good and they race with respect,” Duncan said. “It has been a lot of fun racing with them.” Pralle took second, with Friedman in third. After experiencing mechanical problems in hot laps and his heat race, Lyndon Whitfill charged through the field to take fourth. Jim Farley lll, Matt Ramer, Brendan Ramer, Makinzi Semmens, Steve Mattingly, and Alex Wilson completed the top ten.

cagley hmAfter having ear surgery, Jake Green called upon Jared Cagley to take over his ride in the Hobby-Modified class this week. Cagley was able to respond by placing Green’s car in victory lane for Cagley’s first-ever Fairbury feature win. “I have to thank the Green’s for letting me drive their car,” Cagley said. “I went to the bottom and wasn’t going anywhere, so I went to the middle. It’s pretty cool to be in victory lane.” The win didn’t come easy for Cagley as he had to hold off Caden McWhorter. Clay Wisher, Macy Vaughan, and Kellen Arnold completed the top five. Graham Jackson and McWhorter were the heat race winners.

Brenden Heizer won the KidModz heat race and the 10-lap feature, as he claimed his seventh win of the year with Audrey Gerberding in second.


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