by Rocky Ragusa
Racing action for the FALS Frenzy special lived up to its name. After the track prep crew reworked the track before the feature events, race fans were treated to multi-groove racing on the quarter-mile dirt oval. Picking up the checkered flags were Dennis Erb Jr. (Late Model), Timothy Culp (Modified), and Lake Nichoalds (Sportsman).
The I Beam Sliding Doors Late Model race drew 54 drivers for the $10,000 to win, 50-lap race that was co-sanctioned by the MARS and ALMS Racing Series. Arkansas’s Billy Moyer Jr. led group one qualifiers at a 13.478 and Kentucky’s Darrell Lanigan was quickest in group two qualifying at a 14.132. Dennis Erb Jr., Jason Feger, Timothy Culp, Lanigan, Indiana’s Don O’Neal, and North Carolina pilot Chris Ferguson won heat races, while Mason Zeigler and Tanner English took the semi-features. Chase Junghans from Kansas took the lead at the start and was followed by O’Neal, Feger, Ryan Unzicker, and Erb. Junghans held a commanding 10-car-length lead and soon encountered slower cars. O’Neal and Erb closed the margin on Junghans by the 20th circuit. The three drivers were racing three-wide for the lead, leaving race fans on their feet. Erb made his move for the lead just after a lap 24 caution period and was able to take over the point. Several cautions kept Erb in check as Junghans held off O’Neal for second. Erb was able to pull away from the field and withstand a late challenge from Junghans to pick up his first win at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway since 2010. “It feels good to come back to Fairbury and get a win”, stated Erb. “The car was working great. I just had to be patient working the slower cars.” Junghans, Unzicker, O’Neal, Ferguson, 21st starter Earl Pearson Jr. (hard charger), Bobby Pierce, Mike Marlar, Moyer Jr., and Scott Bull completed the top ten.
With $2,000 awaiting the race winner, 27 Varsitee Screen Printing Modifieds looked to pick up the check. Kentucky’s Josh Harris turned in the quickest time in qualifying with a 14.104. Jeffrey Ledford, Louisiana's Timothy Culp, and Mike McKinney won their respective heat races, while Michigan’s Chad Bauer took the semi-feature. Ledford took an early lead in the 30-lap sprint, before surrendering the top spot to Culp on the third lap. Culp had to contend with Ledford and Harris as the trio went three-wide for the lead. After the track was cleared for a caution on the ninth lap, Culp opened up a straightaway lead, as Harris moved by Ledford for second. While Culp was walking away from his competition running the top side, several other drivers followed Culp to the top as well. McKinney was joined by Jimmy Dehm, while Ledford and Jeff Curl managed the bottom side. With 12 laps to go, Curl moved to second, followed by McKinney, Harris, Ledford, and Dehm. McKinney got by Curl for second after a caution with nine laps remaining. McKinney made a game effort to close up on Culp, but on this night Culp reigned supreme. Culp, a Late Model driver, was given the chance to wheel a car owned by Lucas Lee the previous night at Farmer City. “Last night at Farmer City, we struggled a little bit. We made a few changes to the car and it paid off”, Culp said. McKinney, 10th starter Dehm (hard charger), Curl, Harris, Lee, Ledford, Ashley Newman, Kenny Wallace, and Bauer rounded out the top ten.
Eleven CR Towing Sportsman drivers signed in for their $400 to win, 15-lap race. During practice, Timmy Dick was involved in a wreck that ended his night. Bryant Frechette took quick time honors at a 15.180 and won a heat race, along with Lake Nichoalds. Frechette led the first five laps before Nichoalds went to the top side of the track and took the lead. Nichoalds was able to extend his lead over the field as he picked up his second win of the season and redeem himself after last week’s race. “After last week, my crew was ready to kick my butt,” laughed Nichoalds. “It happens. I got back to the top and got back at it.” Richard Craven, Frechette, 8th starter Rick Thomas (hard charger), Tyler Roth, Dustin Mounce, Amber Crouch, Brandon Pralle, Steven Mattingly, and Anthony Craven completed the running order.