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Robinson, McKinney, Funk, Roth, Duncan Take Wins in FALS Cup Opener

Kent Robinson

Kent Robinson

Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

Andrew Funk

Andrew Funk

Tyler Roth

Tyler Roth

Mason Duncan

Mason Duncan

Results

Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

When it was announced that the Fairbury Speedway was raising the race purses, race teams and fans eagerly anticipated opening night. 112 drivers from seven states looked to carry the checkered flag in the five FALS Cup weekly racing program main events. Kent Robinson (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), Andrew Funk (Stock Car), Tyler Roth (Sportsman), and Mason Duncan (Hobby Mod) came out victorious in a new era for the 1/4 mile dirt oval.

late modelDefending UMP DIRTcar Late Model champion Rusty Schlenk earned fast time honors for the 33 Late Models in attendance with a lap of 13.623 seconds for their 30-lap, $2,500 to win race. Kent Robinson, Ryan Unzicker, Jason Feger, and Chad Finley took heat race wins, while Michael Kloos and McKay Wenger advanced to the feature by winning B-Mains. Polesitter Robinson took the lead at the start with Unzicker, Scott Schmitt, Kyle Bronson, and Feger trailing. Bronson moved by Schmitt for third on the seventh lap and pressured Unzicker for second. Robinson, from Bloomington, Ind., ran the bottom groove and held a straightaway lead by the halfway mark. Bronson, a regular competitor on the Lucas Oil tour, pressured Unzicker for second before moving by with 10 laps to go. Robinson was able to slice his way thru lapped traffic in the closing laps and kept a safe margin as he recorded his first ever win at Fairbury. “In the past I was never a huge fan of the track,” said Robinson. “I think it’s because I never ran well here. I think my opinions changed tonight.” Bronson, from Brandon, Fla., took second after starting 10th. Unzicker, David Mielke, Schmitt, Feger, Schlenk, Scott James, Mike Spatola, and Brian Shirley placed in the top ten.

modifiedKentucky’s Tyler Nicely bested 26 other Modified drivers with a lap of 14.489 seconds in qualifying. Nicely, Mike McKinney, and Randy Shuman won heats. Steven Brooks was the B-Main victor. Nicely took the lead at the start of the 20-lap, $1,500 to win race, as McKinney pressured Nicely. McKinney went to the top side of the track and overtook Nicely for the lead on the fourth circuit. McKinney was able to hold a three car length lead over Nicely for the remainder of the race and earn a hard fought win. “We finished up the car this morning and to get the win on the first night is pretty cool,” commented Plainfield’s McKinney. “I saw the FALS Cup trophy at the drivers meeting and knew I had to get one.” Allen Weisser, Jeffrey Ledford, 12th starter Harrison, Shuman, Jay Ledford, Levi Kissinger, Nick Clubb, and Austin Lynn rounded out the top ten.

stock carThe 15-lap Stock Car race drew 25 racers for their race. Justin VanDrunen’s time of 15.832 seconds would take quick time honors. Zachary Zuberbier, Pete Odell, and Megan Erwin took the heat race wins. Outside front row starter Odell moved to the lead at the start as Zuberbier, Erwin, Andrew Funk, and Cody Clubb battled for second. After a caution on lap five, Funk and Zuberbier challenged Odell for the front position. On the eighth lap, Funk edged Odell for the lead as the two drivers exited turn two. Funk went the rest of the way uncontested to take the win. “It was a tough battle with our new car,” spoke Funk. “It kept getting faster and faster.” Odell, Erwin, Clubb, Jerrad Krick, Nick Seplak, Josh Griffith, Al Gray, Josh Hetherington, and Dustin Pruitt completed the top ten.

sportsmanThe 15-lap CR Towing Sportsman race was a wild affair. Quick time went to Steven Mattingly over 10 other drivers with a lap of 15.632 seconds. Mattingly and Amber Crouch won their heat races. On the restart after a caution flag, Crouch led Tommy Duncan, Mattingly, Mikey Ledford, and Tyler Roth. As Crouch held a five car length lead, Duncan slowly reeled in Crouch. Going down the backstretch Duncan moved to the inside of Crouch and the two drivers made contact, blocking the track. With nowhere to go, Mattingly and Ledford both became involved in the melee. Of the four cars, Crouch was the only one able to continue. Roth, being in the right spot at the right time, took over as the race leader and sped to a very popular and first career win. “This is a brand new car and I have to thank Jay Ledford for his help,” expressed a jubilant Roth. “Honestly, I had a fifth place car, but it is what it is.” The remainder of the top ten went to Matt Ramer, ninth starter Lyndon Whitfill, Crouch, Val Hurt, Duncan, Mattingly, Ledford, Scott Williams, and Anthony Craven.  

hobby modA large field of 16 Hobby Mod drivers were on hand for their 12-lap race. Mason Duncan claimed fast time at 15.249 seconds. Duncan and Troy Ricketts came out ahead in their heat races. Duncan, known as the “Mini Missile”, rocketed into the lead and was never threatened. Thad Gee, Macy Vaughan, Tyler Sebby, Makinzi Semmens, Ricketts, Chris Burton, Graham Jackson, Darren Kerrins, and Jason Brandt rounded out the top ten.


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