header

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.



McKay Wenger

McKay Wenger

Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

Terry Reed

Terry Reed

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Cody Wisher

Cody Wisher

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

A beautiful Saturday night at the Fairbury Speedway drew a well-attended crowd and 105 race teams for another FALS Cup weekly program. Fairbury’s McKay Wenger (Late Model), Plainfield’s Mike McKinney (Modified), Cerro Gordo’s Terry Reed (Stock Car), Metamora’s Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), and Peoria’s Cody Wisher (Hobby-Modified) each earned feature race wins in their respective classes.

wenger lmA field of 23 Late Models took time trials for their 30-lap, $2,500 to win race. Scott James turned a lap of 12.582 seconds to set fast time. Three heat races were held with Kevin Weaver, Taylor Scheffler, and McKay Wenger taking the wins. Bill Giannetti took the Semi-Feature victory. Five caution flags fell in the first two laps of the feature race due to accidents and part failures, reducing the field to 12 drivers out of the 20 that started the race. Weaver held the lead over Wenger, Jeffrey Ledford, James, and Jay Morris for the first five laps. On lap six, with Weaver pounding the Fairbury cushion and Wenger uncharacteristically on the bottom, Wenger made the pass for the lead and checked out on the field. By the end of the race, Wenger held a seven-second lead over Weaver. Winning his fourth Fairbury feature of the year, Wenger commented in victory lane. “The last six Late Model and Modified features, the races have been won on the bottom. When we unloaded, the plan was to run the bottom. It paid off good.” Weaver held off Ledford for second with James in fourth. 13th starter Dale Markham took fifth. The rest of the top ten went to Morris, Mike Provenzano, Jeff Curl, Glen Thompson, and Brandon Pralle.

mckinney mdA time of 13.984 seconds earned Allen Weisser quick time honors as 28 drivers made qualifying attempts. Weisser, Jason Hastings, and Mike McKinney took heat race wins. Michael Ledford was the B-Main winner. Weisser and McKinney went toe-to-toe for the first three laps of the $1,500 to win, 25-lap race before McKinney took command. Several mid-race cautions would not deny McKinney on this night as he quickly opened up a ten-car length lead on each restart. Weisser had his hands full as Nick Clubb offered a challenge until Weisser got a good restart after a lap 17 caution to hold second. As the checkered flag was waved, McKinney was able to pick up his third win of the year at Fairbury. “We are trying to get the car better on the bottom,” said McKinney. “It seems like we are getting things back to where we were at the start.” Weisser settled for second, with Dan Rork in third. Clubb ended in fourth, while 16th starter Ledford took fifth. Hastings, Kyle Hammer, Bobby Stremme, Jim Farris, and Austin Lynn rounded out the top ten.

reed sc27 Stock Cars vied for a starting position for their 15-lap race. Farmer City regular Lance Evans, with a lap of 15.333 seconds, took fast time. Kevin Kerlin, Andy Zahnd, and Matt Fabrizius were heat race winners. The B-Main went to Kraig Hughes. In a wild feature race that saw four different leaders, it wasn’t until the last lap that the race winner was decided. Current DIRTcar National Points leader Terry Reed got by Fabrizius to take his first-ever Fairbury win. “We started eighth and weren't sure if we had anything,” spoke Reed. “The car was on a rail tonight. I didn’t want to race on the top, but we made it work.” 14th starter Pete Odell was third, Josh Hetherington placed fourth, and RJ Akers claimed fifth. Joe Brown, Kerlin, Scott Hufford, Evans, and Jeff Hartzell completed the top ten.

duncan spAustin Friedman was the Sportsman division fast qualifier with a time of 14.726 seconds as 15 drivers signed in. Heat races went to Steve Mattingly and Tommy Duncan. Mattingly led for three laps before defending track champion Duncan moved to the front. Mattingly’s bid for the win ended on the seventh lap as he stopped on the track with mechanical problems and brought out the yellow flag. On the restart, Friedman challenged for the lead, but Duncan was not to be denied on this night as he took his third win of the season. “The car was good in the beginning,” spoke an exhausted Duncan. “The track was getting rough on the top and was messing up my line.” The remainder of the top ten went to Friedman, Lyndon Whitfill, Anthony Craven, Matt Ramer, Wes Odell, Dan Coit, Robert Saltzman, Makinzi Semmens, and Mattingly.

wisher hmRacing ended with a 12-lap Hobby-Modified race. Cody Wisher and Phil Earl were the heat race winners. Wisher led from flag-to-flag to take his second straight feature race win. “The car drove like a Cadillac,” Wisher said. “I want to thank Tommy Duncan for letting me drive his car and setting the car up.” Troy Ricketts, Clay Wisher, Macy Vaughan, and Caden McWhorter completed the top five.


Brian Shirley

Brian Shirley

Will Krup

Will Krup

Krup Holds Off Hoffman to Score Modified Nationals Victory

Story by Jordan DeLucia | Pictures by Rocky Ragusa and Jim DenHamer

shirley lmThere’s one constant about Fairbury Speedway. The racing never disappoints.

Brian Shirley, Brandon Sheppard and Frank Heckenast Jr. put on an instant DIRTcar Summer Nationals classic Wednesday night, battling it out with the rest of the field over 40 laps that ended with Shirley’s fifth Hell Tour win of the season by .090 seconds over Sheppard.

Heckenast led the opening laps before outside polesitter Ryan Unzicker cracked the whip to his outside and swiped the lead away on Lap 3, but held it only briefly as Heckenast came back at him on the bottom on Lap 5.

Sheppard climbed aboard his horse on a restart after the caution on Lap 8, throwing a slide job on Unzicker for second as they sailed through Turns 1-2. He was able to track Heckenast down in just two laps and made the move for the top spot on Lap 11.

Sheppard took command out front for the next 11 laps before facing another strong challenge from Heckenast, who took the lead again briefly on Laps 22-23. Sheppard got a better run on the top side to take the lead back, which he held all the way until the final 10 laps.

Shirley had silently been keeping pace all throughout the race behind the leaders and saw the chance to dig-in for the lead on Lap 31. He nearly threaded the Sheppard-Heckenast needle going into Turn 3, but instead was able to get Heckenast to his outside as he steered his Bob Cullen Racing #3s back to the inside to get a run on Sheppard.

Squeezing Sheppard in behind a lapped car, Shirley found some traction down low and grabbed the spot with just eight laps remaining. Sheppard tried to return the favor on the cushion, but to no avail. He got one final push on the final lap, heading way up the banking in each corner, but Shirley was just too strong down low. He crossed the line by a mere .090 seconds over Sheppard to collect his 5th Summer Nationals Feature win of 2020.

“I was just lucky the lapped cars kinda fell my way, Shirley said in Victory Lane. “I knew where [Sheppard] was, and he was right there on my ass, so I just tried to do the best I could and was able to get the win.”

Unzicker and Weisser completed the top-five, while the former Summer Nationals champions of Shannon Babb, Dennis Erb Jr. and Jason Feger finished 6-7-8.

Krup Holds Off Hoffman to Score Modified Nationals Victory

krup mdThe JHA Motorsports team opted out of coming to Fairbury Speedway for the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals’ most recent visit last month. This time around, they’re walking out as Feature winners.

Will Krup took the lead from Jeff Leka on Lap 17 and never looked back, scoring the $1,500 check and his third career Summit Modifieds victory at a track that’s presented him challenges in the past.

“This track’s always been kinda rude to me, but to end up here in Victory Lane, that’s huge,” Krup said. “We’ve kinda had some bad luck here in the last couple weeks, but this feels good to finally put one together and actually end up in Victory Lane.”

Leka shot out to the race lead in the opening laps before receiving a big challenge down low by Krup. The lead changed hands once, then back again between the two before Krup was able to maintain his pass for the lead on Lap 17.

Using the very bottom of the track, Krup was able to hold the great speed and control and actually open up a bit of a gap in the closing laps on fellow Elite Chassis pilot Nick Hoffman and six-time Summit Modified champion Mike Harrison.

Hoffman crossed the line in second, coming all the way from his 10th-place starting spot to keep his streak going of finishes no worse than second throughout the tour. Mike Harrison rounded out the podium while Tyler Peterson and Mike McKinney capped-off the top-five.


Billy Drake

Billy Drake

Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

Zach Zuberbier

Zach Zuberbier

Austin Friedman

Austin Friedman

Cody Wisher

Cody Wisher

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

A large crowd of spectators on Fan Appreciation Night witnessed another thrilling night of racing at the Fairbury Speedway. Carrying the checkered flag on Saturday were Billy Drake (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), Zach Zuberbier (Stock Car), Austin Friedman (Sportsman), Cody Wisher (Hobby-Modified), and Brendan Ramer (Vintage).

drake lm29 Late Model drivers were on hand vying for a spot in their 30-lap feature. Mike Spatola earned fast time honors with a lap of 12.808 seconds. Three heat races saw McKay Wenger, Jeffrey Ledford, and Kevin Weaver emerging as winners. Jeff Curl was the night’s winner in the B-Main. Wenger, looking to continue his winning ways, pounded the cushion in leading the first 17 laps of the race. Billy Drake, using the bottom of the track, reeled in Wenger to take the lead on lap 18. As Drake was attempting to overtake a slower car, he made a move to go to the top of the track. Drake, not knowing Wenger was there, made contact and ended Wenger’s night. Weaver moved to second on the restart and began to track down Drake. Weaver climbed the wall on the backstretch and brought out the caution with five laps to go. Drake, safely in the lead, took his first win of the year. As the crowd cheered and jeered for Drake, he spoke apologetically in victory lane. “I feel bad. McKay is such a good dude. I was trying to get around that lapped car and zipped it to the top. I didn’t know he was there. If I would have known that, I never would have tried that. I don’t want to win a race like that. I would have rather raced him for it. It would have been good. I guess that happens. I hate it and I stand that way.” Mike Mataragas, Rickey Frankel, 18th starter Tim Manville, Mike Glasscock, Jay Morris, Jeff Herzog, Adan Tischhauser, Brent McKinnon, and Titus Sneed claimed the top ten positions.

mckinney md14.457 seconds was quick time set by Mike McKinney as 22 Modified drivers toured the track. Levi Kissinger, Allen Weisser, and Michael Ledford won their respective heat races. Although eight caution flags waved in the 25-lap race, McKinney was the dominating force on this night. Running the top side of the track, McKinney bolted out to a commanding lead as early race leader Weisser tried to keep pace. With the track cleared after a lap 15 caution, McKinney moved to the bottom and Weisser kept pace. Michael Ledford, running in third, brought out a caution with six laps to go as he slowed with a tire going flat. On the restart, McKinney flexed his muscle and closed this chapter in the season long battle with Weisser for supremacy in the big picture of the national championship title. “We tried something different on the car tonight,” said McKinney. “I was running the top and I saw Allen on the bottom, so I had to try it out.” Weisser, Nick Clubb, Kissinger, Jim Farris, Dan Rork, Nick Seplak, Mark Grosvenor, 21st starter Kyle Laughlin, and Justin White took the top ten spots.

zuberbier scA time of 16.573 seconds earned Zach Zuberbier quick time in the Stock Car class. With 19 cars on hand, Zuberbier and Joe Brown were the heat race winners. Zuberbier led the first seven circuits before Michael Schomas took over for the next two laps. Zuberbier, Schomas, Cody Clubb, and Brown battled tooth and nail for the race win throughout the race. All four drivers used the entire width of the speedway and never touched one another. Zuberbier was able to hold off the trio and took the race win. “I knew I had some fast cars behind me,” commented Zuberbier. “I just had to hang on and not use up my equipment. We won last night, but tonight is way better.” Schomas, Clubb, Brown, and Kevin Kerlin took the first five positions as Eric Boudreau, Don Hilleary, Josh Hetherington, Kraig Hughes, and Randy Schoener completed the top ten.

friedman spOf the 15 Sportsman drivers on hand, Lyndon Whitfill was the fast qualifier at 15.845 seconds. Two heat races saw Austin Friedman and Steve Mattingly taking the wins. Rookie driver Friedman and old veteran Mattingly battled for the lead in the first five laps before Friedman was able to use lapped traffic to take the lead. After a caution on lap 11 of the 15-lap race, Mattingly, looking for his first win of the year, had to contend with Tommy Duncan. As the checkered flag waved for Friedman, Duncan was able to get by Mattingly for second. Picking up his second straight win, Friedman commented in victory lane. “The track was really demanding tonight, but it was a fun race.” Anthony Craven, Whitfill, Tyler Roth, Matt Ramer, Dan Coit, Brendan Ramer, and Austin Lipe rounded out the top ten.

wisher hm11 cars were on hand in the Hobby-Modified class. Cody Wisher turned a lap of 15.742 seconds for fast time and also took the win in the first heat race. Caden McWhorter claimed the win in the second heat race. A caution flag with one lap remaining gave last week’s winner Troy Ricketts an opportunity to repeat. Wisher, with a tire losing air, was able to hang on for his first win of the year. “I couldn’t keep the rear end under the car in the closing laps, especially in turn four,” spoke Wisher. Ricketts settled for second, with McWhorter, Clay Wisher, and Ty Stutzman completing the top five.

The Vintage Racing of Illinois Series held a special 10-lap exhibition race with Brendan Ramer turning back his father Matt for his first ever win in the series. “That was a lot of fun. I got to race my dad pretty hard there,” said Ramer.


Jimmy Owens

Jimmy Owens

Brandon Sheppard

Brandon Sheppard

Zeke McKenzie

Zeke McKenzie

Nick Hoffman

Nick Hoffman

Derek Losh

Derek Losh

Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

McKenzie, Hoffman, Losh, and McKinney Earn Friday Prelim Modified Victories

Story by Brian Walker

lm showdown1It’s been Brandon Sheppard this and Jimmy Owens that for as long as fans can remember in the year 2020.

On Friday night at Kokomo Speedway, it was no different; as both drivers scored convincing Showdown Feature wins and punched their tickets into tomorrow’s $25,000-to-win Hoosier Dirt Shootout.

In all, 18 drivers are locked-in to the 75-lap feature with six of those superstars set to participate in the Morton Buildings redraw with a chance at the pole position. Included in tomorrow’s redraw is Sheppard & Owens along with Shane Clanton, Ricky Thornton Jr., Cade Dillard, and Chase Junghans.

Starting the night with group qualifying, Shane Clanton claimed his 39th career Fast Time Award with the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series by clocking a lap of 13.413 seconds around the Kokomo 1/4-mile. The Zebulon, Ga. native topped Group A ahead of Jimmy Owens, Jason Feger, Derek Chandler and Scott Bloomquist. In Group B, Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. set the pace with a session-best 13.456 over McKay Wenger, Brandon Sheppard, Chase Junghans & Ricky Thornton Jr.

Come time for the 25-lap Showdown Features, the narrative quickly flipped from pole-sitters Clanton and Lanigan to the dominance of Owens and Sheppard.

Darting straight to the cushion at the drop of the green flag, Owens pointed his Ramirez Motorsports No. 20 Rocket Chassis around the outside of Clanton’s Skyline Motorsports No. 25 and assumed control of a lead he would never relinquish in Showdown #1. Never seriously challenged, even after two stoppages, “The Newport Nightmare” took off for a .856-second victory at the checkered flag.

“The car was just really great again,” Owens noted in victory lane. “I think we had an issue right when we crossed the finish line because I saw something fly out. It’s great if we’re gonna tear something up to do it at the checkered flag. I’m happy to be locked-in to the redraw this mean we can watch the track tomorrow night and make the right changes we need to this Ramirez Motorsports ride. Hopefully we get a good redraw pill, but most importantly we’re in the show.”

Owens assured his spot in the Morton Buildings Redraw alongside fellow podium finishers Clanton and Louisiana’s Cade Dillard in the MB Customs No. 97. Taking transfers and earning a spot in Saturday’s Hoosier Dirt Shootout feature was also “The High Side Hustler” Jason Feger in fourth, “The Killer” Kyle Bronson in fifth, “The Smooth Operator” Bobby Pierce in sixth,”Black Sunshine” Scott Bloomquist in seventh, and the iconic Billy Moyer in eighth.

lm showdown2In the second Showdown, Lanigan paced the opening two circuits aboard his Viper Motorsports No. 29V Barry Wright Icon Race Car before Sheppard sneakily struck and stole the lead on the bottom. Rolling the low line in the Rocket1 Racing No. 1, B-Shepp meticulously worked the inside of the Kokomo 1/4-mile, and like Owens, checked out for a 1.675-second victory.

“I didn’t want to get up there and use my stuff up, I know I can get around a cushion pretty good,” Sheppard said on his decision avoiding the treacherous outside groove. “I got a great feel for this car down low, through the middle, and I had to move up a few times in traffic. There’s so much competition out here on the road with the World of Outlaws, plus the regional guys and Lucas Oil drivers come over to race with us. You don’t wanna start any farther back than you need to. I’m happy to be starting up front tomorrow.”

Sheppard joins Owens, Clanton & Dillard in the Feature Redraw and brings SSI Motorsports ace Ricky Thornton Jr. and Kansas native Chase Junghans along with him. Claiming transfer positions in the second Showdown was Tyler Erb finishing fourth in the BEST Performance Motorsports No. 1T, 2018 World of Outlaws champion Mike Marlar in fifth, early leader Darrell Lanigan in sixth, Daryn Klein in seventh, and Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill. in the eighth spot.

McKenzie, Hoffman, Losh, and McKinney Earn Friday Prelim Modified Victories

Story by Jordan DeLucia

Friday night’s debut for the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals at Kokomo Speedway had a little bit of everything in it. Some new faces in Victory Lane, some quite familiar ones, and some very satisfied race fans by the end of the four preliminary Showdown Features as part of the World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series’ Hoosier Dirt Shootout.

After the giant field of 64 Summit Modifieds completed their Hot Lap/Qualifying sessions, topped by Jeff Leka and Derek Losh, four preliminary Showdown Features were spawned to lock-in the first sixteen cars for Saturday night’s $5,000-to-win main event.

Showdown #1 – Zeke McKenzie
mod showdown1With the way The Zekester was driving the cushion and throwing slide jobs for the lead around Kokomo Speedway, it looked as though he had won every UMP Modified race ever held at Indiana’s Baddest Bullring. But it was the heart of a competitor and some abundant driving talent that got Zeke McKenzie his first Feature win in Summit Modifieds competition on Friday night, and the emotions were already sinking in as he pulled his Vanquish Race Cars #24 into Victory Lane.

“This is the best of the best in this Summit Modifieds deal,” a very happy McKenzie told pit reporter Mike Norris in Victory Lane. “We’ve been traveling through the whole series and haven’t missed a race. It’s great to be here.”

As the only Summit Modified driver on the roster this year attempting to start every show on the schedule, McKenzie’s experience behind the wheel shined bright throughout the entire 20-lap contest. He put the pressure on polesitter Jeff Leka in the early going and made the pass on him for the lead after a big run on the bottom out of Turn 2.

McKenzie held the top spot through a few restarts before having to deal with the wrath of Tyler Nicely, who dealt McKenzie a slider of his own on a Lap 9 restart. McKenzie came right back at him in Turns 3-4 and got underneath Nicely’s #25, clearing him as they came back around and exited Turn 2.

Nicely kept digging down low over the remaining laps and stayed right with McKenzie, but it was not enough to catch the native Indianan as he crossed the stripe first to score one of the proudest moments of his career.

“I’m just… flabbergasted,” he said. “It’s great to be here at home and get one in front of all these great people. We went from almost flipping at LaSalle to winning, I can’t believe it.”

Showdown #2 – Nick Hoffman
mod showdown2If there were a single 20-lap stretch of racing to describe Nick Hoffman’s Summit Modified season to this point, it was his dominating victory in Showdown Feature #2.

The two-time and defending tour champion put a hurting on his competition Friday night, leading flag-to-flag for the fourth time in four races and the $500 preliminary Feature prize.

Truth be told, Hoffman was untouchable, despite runner-up David Stremme and Adam Stricker’s best efforts to catch him. Nobody was able to get close enough to attempt a pass, as Hoffman ran away with it and a spot in the ever-important redraw for Saturday night’s finale.

“I was just kinda hanging on, it felt a little loose there at the end, but this thing’s pretty good. Just to be able to momentum around here right through the middle like that,” Hoffman said in Victory Lane.

“Happy to be here; I’ve never been here before, but I’ve watched a lot of open-wheel races here and it was a hell of a place.”

Showdown #3 – Derek Losh
mod showdown3Much like the winner before him, Derek Losh dominated Showdown #3, running away from Danny Schwartz and Nick Allen in lapped traffic to collect $500 and a spot in Saturday’s redraw.

Simply put, there was no catching Losh’s #21. He rode the cushion with skill and maintained the gap he opened up earlier in the race through lapped traffic, pulling away as the laps clicked off. Come the checkered flag, Losh had roughly a 10-car-length advantage over runner-up Schwartz in a Feature that went caution-free.

Losh has been terrific on the Indiana bullrings this season, with several wins already at Gas City I-69 Speedway, Lincoln Park Speedway, and even one at Kokomo on July 3.

“Every chance we get to come to Kokomo, we eat it up. This place is so badass,” Losh said in Victory Lane.

Showdown #4 – Mike McKinney
mod showdown4With three Summit Modified Showdowns already in the books, the Kokomo Speedway surface had developed quite a sizable cushion – the perfect setting for a battle between two of Illinois’ best UMP Modified racers named Mike.

Mike McKinney and Mike Harrison took to the topside of the fast quarter-mile and engaged in an exciting chase through lapped traffic throughout most of the race, ending with McKinney in Victory Lane and a spot for both of them in Saturday’s redraw.

“I knew when I saw me and [Harrison] in the same lineup, it was gonna be a hell of a show,” McKinney said in Victory Lane. “There’s only one place to be when he’s behind you, and that’s up on the fence, putting on a show.”

McKinney took the early lead from Curt Spalding and opened up a gap that Harrison was able to limit through the later stages of the race, chasing him down for several laps under green with plenty of slower cars to maneuver through.

A caution flag with two laps remaining stacked up the field and gave Harrison one final shot at McKinney, but Harrison bounced his #24 hard off the cushion/wall once more, scrubbing off enough momentum to allow The Magic Man the room he needed to bring home the win.


Page 2 of 5

copyright trans