Spatola, McKinney, Duncan, Ransom, Duncan Take FALS Cup Checkers

Results | Points | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

The Fairbury Speedway returned to action on Saturday night with a FALS Cup weekly program. Mike Spatola (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), Jim Ransom (Stock Car), and Mason Duncan (Hobby-Modified) each carried the checkered flag in their respective classes.

spatola lmWith a weekend off from the World of Outlaws, Carpentersville’s Dennis Erb Jr. made the trek to Fairbury, setting fast time at 12.905 seconds over 23 other Late Models, and winning his heat race. Taylor Scheffler and Mike Spatola were the other heat race winners, while Dale Markham advanced to the 30-lap feature by winning the semi-feature. Starting on the inside front row, Erb quickly jumped out into the lead as Scheffler and Spatola raced for second. Hugging the bottom of the track, Erb held a ten- car length lead over Scheffler, Spatola, track points leader Ryan Unzicker, and Allen Weisser. After a caution on lap 10, the battle for second was intense as Spatola, Unzicker, and Scott Schmitt exchanged the position lap after lap. Two straight lap 19 cautions had Spatola on Erb’s bumper for the restart. Spatola was able to make the top side work and took the lead on lap 21. Erb came back to take the lead on lap 27, but a determined Spatola reclaimed the lead on the next lap and pulled away for his third win at Fairbury. “Dennis is the best Illinois driver to run the bottom,” Spatola said. “I knew that at some point I was going to try and figure out how to get him on the top.” Erb took second, as Unzicker, Donny Walden, 13th starter Jason Feger, McKay Wenger, Weisser, Jay Sparks, Derek Chandler, and Rich Bell completed the top ten.

mckinney mdIt was another night of fierce competition in the Modified division between Allen Weisser and Mike McKinney. Each took their respective heat race wins and Weisser captured quick time at 13.964 seconds. Four cautions and a red flag kept any rhythm from developing through the first five laps. The bottom of the track was the preferred line during the race as Weisser led McKinney, Missouri’s Rick Stevenson, who also won a heat race, Jeffrey Ledford, and Nick Clubb. Ledford went to the top, moving into third, and gave McKinney a race for second before falling back. A rising star in the Modified, Michael Ledford was shuffled back to 10th before charging back to fifth on the eighth lap. Threading their way through lapped traffic, McKinney was able to sneak by Weisser with seven laps to go and take his fifth win. “I have a ton of respect for Allen. We have been battling each other all season,” an exhausted McKinney spoke. “We got behind the slower cars and I was able to get by him. Sometimes it pays to be running in second.” Track points leader Weisser took the second position, with Jeffrey Ledford, Stevenson, Michael Ledford, Clubb, Rich Dawson, Billy Puckett, Steve Jones, and Eric Vaughan in the first 10 positions.

duncan spThe CR Towing Sportsman class was scheduled for a 15-lap race. 11 drivers signed in with Michael Ledford touring the track at 14.654 seconds for fast time. Two heat races saw Ledford and Amber Crouch coming out on top. On the opening lap, Ledford, Crouch, and Lyndon Whitfill went three wide looking to take the lead. Track points leader Tommy Duncan found an opening and took command. Looking for his first track championship, Duncan led all the way for his sixth win of the year. “We have the car back to where it was at the start of the year and have been making the smart choices,” Duncan said. Following Duncan to the stripe were Ledford, Steve Mattingly, Whitfill, Matt Ramer, Val Hurt, Brendan Ramer, Crouch, Blake Reid, and Dan Coit.

ransom scMatt Hammond paced the 18 Stock Cars with a time of 15.624 seconds. Indiana’s Jim Ransom and Matt Shannon won heat races. Debuting a new car, Ransom went to the lead at the beginning of the 15-lap race. Holding off a brief challenge from track points leader Nick Seplak, and surviving several cautions, Ransom was able to take his first Fairbury feature win. “I have to thank my car owner, Mike Allsop, and the crew for their hard work,” Ransom spoke. “I was getting nervous with those cautions, but the car was working good.”

duncan hmSetting fast time at 15.006 seconds and winning his heat race, Mason Duncan continued his dominance in the Hobby-Modified division. Making quick work of the competition, Duncan was able to outdistance his foes and pick up his seventh win. “The car has been absolutely perfect all season long,” Duncan said. “I can’t thank my crew and sponsors for all they have done.” Thad Gee, Troy Ricketts, Macy Vaughan, heat race winner Darren Kerrins, Devin Burton, Tyler Sebby, Makinzi Semmens, Jake Green, and Darren Christensen rounded out the top ten.

copyright trans