Race teams and fans withstood the hot days of summer and were treated to another outstanding night of racing on Saturday night at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway. Scott Schmitt (Late Model), McKay Wenger (Modified), Tanner Sullivan (Street Stock), Steve Mattingly (Sportsman), and Bryon Ray (Hobby Modified) took feature wins in their respective classes.
Mike Spatola, at a 12.510, was the Late Model fast qualifier as 16 drivers were seeking to carry the checkered flag in their 30 lap race. Scott Schmitt and Jay Sparks were the heat race winners. Schmitt led on the start with Ryan Unzicker, Spatola, Steve Thorsten, and Sparks in tow. The top side was the preferred line as the top three drivers were able to pull away from the rest of the field. Unzicker changed his line and went to the bottom groove at the halfway mark. Unzicker slowly reeled in Schmitt and took the lead on lap 24. Caution fell with four laps to go. On the restart, Schmitt put his car on the cushion, moved back into the lead, and earned a hard fought win. “We weren’t sure if we made the right choice on the right rear tire,” Schmitt said. “That caution at the end saved us. We weren’t very good at LaSalle on Thursday. We took the car to the shop and found a few things wrong.” Unzicker settled for second, with Spatola, Kevin Weaver, Sparks, Chris Osborne Jr., Dan Flessner, Bill Hough, Freddie Carpenter, and Glen Thompson rounding out the top ten.
15 Modified drivers qualified for their 20 lap race. Steven Brooks posted fast time at a 14.371. Derick Doerr and Jay Ledford took the heat race wins. A caution waved on the initial start for an accident on the track. When the green flag waved, Ledford took the lead as Doerr and McKay Wenger raced for second. Wenger was able to break free from Doerr and tracked Ledford down. Wenger got under Ledford on the frontstretch to take command on the 10th lap. Wenger quickly pulled away and opened a 10-car-length lead over the field before a caution fell with two laps to go. Wenger, looking for his first win at FALS in two years, jumped out to the lead and took his second win of the weekend. “It has been so hard for us to win a race here,” Wenger said. “It feels good to finally get that monkey off our back.” Completing the top ten were Ledford, Brooks, Doerr, Nick Lueth, Jason Hastings, Jeffrey Ledford, Alan Stipp, Garrett Jameson, and Neil Martin.
Due to a special race at Shadyhill Speedway in Indiana, the Street Stock class drew six entries. Tanner Sullivan set quick time at 16.539. The heat race went to Don Hilleary. Sullivan got the jump on Hilleary to take the lead at the start of the 15 lap race. While Sullivan was able to build his lead to a straightaway, the battle was behind him. A blanket could have been thrown over the quartet of Hilleary, Nick Seplak, Pete Odell, and Al Gray as they fought for position in hopes of tracking down Sullivan. Hilleary broke away in the closing laps but the laps had ran out as Sullivan nabbed his first Fairbury feature win. “I am glad to finally get my first win at Fairbury,” Sullivan said. “This has been my most accomplished win to date.” Hilleary, Odell, Gray, Seplak, and Sean Leatherman completed the finish.
10 CR Towing Sportsman drivers were on hand tuning up for the upcoming Eden-Piercy race. Points leader Steve Mattingly turned a lap of 14.815 for fast time. Mattingly and Amber Crouch took heat race wins. After a lap three caution, Mattingly fended off a brief challenge from Brandon Pralle before pulling away and taking his fifth win of the year. “This has been an unbelievable year for our team,” spoke Mattingly. “Getting that first win was special but I would not have thought I would have five now.” Pralle took second, with Amber Crouch, Dustin Mounce, Tyler Roth, Michael Ledford, Matt Ramer, Anthony Craven, Valerie Hurt, and Eric Saltzman following.
First time visitor Bryon Ray was the fast qualifier over 12 other Hobby Modified drivers in attendance at a 15.990. Ray and Brendan Ramer won their respective heat races. In the 12 lap feature race, Roy took the lead with Bryan Saner, Thad Gee, Macy Vaughan, and Darren Kerrins following. The caution flag waved on lap four and saw contender Gee parking his car. On the restart, Roy was able to pull away from the field and held a straightaway lead at the finish. Saner held off the challenge from Vaughan for second, with Makinzi Semmens, Justin White, Austin Lipe, Graham Jackson, Mike Petersen, Kerrins, and Cathy Crego the remainder of the top ten.
With the night’s racing program sponsored by Rhino Ag of Gibson City, the annual DIRTcar Summer National event took place Saturday night at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway before some 3,000 race fans. Earning feature wins were Billy Moyer (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), and Rick Thomas (Street Stock).
32 Late Model teams representing seven states and Australia looked to take the $10,000 first place check in the 50 lap race. Brian Shirley led group one qualifying with a time of 12.610 and Kevin Weaver posted a time of 12.785 to head the pack for group two. Shannon Babb, Dennis Erb Jr., Bobby Pierce, and Scott Schmitt won their respective heat races, while the Semi Feature went to Daryn Klein. 22 cars started the feature race with polesitter Pierce taking a commanding lead over Erb Jr, while Babb had to contend with Shirley and Moyer for third. Pierce, running the top side, was able to extend his lead as he maneuvered through lapped traffic by the 13th lap. After a caution on lap 19, Babb got by Erb Jr. for second and offered a brief challenge to Pierce for the lead. Suddenly on lap 27, Pierce slowed on the frontstretch to bring out the caution as the fan blade in his car broke and went through the radiator. Babb led on the restart with Moyer set to challenge for the lead. Moyer led the 30th lap but jumped the cushion and gave Babb the lead back. Moyer regrouped and reclaimed the top spot on the 35th lap. Moyer, known as “Mr. Smooth”, drove a smooth line on the top side for the remainder of the race and notched his second win on the tour and 98th career Summer National win. Running the bottom and then going to the top side at the midpoint of the race, Moyer explained his strategy for the win. “I just went where everyone else was. I expected Shannon to be up there. I just shot it from the hip on what to do. The car was able to run wherever I wanted to go.” Shirley got by Babb for second with four laps to go, with Chris Simpson, Timothy Culp, Kyle Bronson, Erb Jr., Ryan Unzicker, Nick Hoffman, and Allen Weisser completing the top ten.
The Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals saw 32 teams taking time trials for their 30 lap, $1,500 to win contest. Steven Brooks turned a time of 13.684 to lead group one, while Jeffrey Ledford clocked a time of 13.807 to pace group two. Ledford, Mike McKinney, Bobby Stremme, and Allen Weisser won heat races, with Jay Ledford taking the Semi Feature. McKinney got the jump on Jeffrey Ledford to take the lead at the start with Stremme, Brooks, Levi Kissinger, and Weisser trying to hang tight with the leader. McKinney held a ten-car-length lead over Ledford before a caution fell on the 14th lap. On the restart, Kissinger and Stremme got by Ledford to take second and third position as McKinney continued to stretch his lead. After another caution on lap 16, Stremme was able to pull alongside of McKinney, but “Magic Mike” withstood the challenge and changed to the bottom groove. Kissinger overtook Stremme for second and looked to battle McKinney for the lead, but a yellow flag waved with five laps to go. On the restart, Stremme and Kissinger made several slide job attempts for the lead, but McKinney stood firm and took his fourth Modified National win and fifth at Fairbury. “The track was fast tonight,” said McKinney. “I had to stay up on the wheel all night. I wasn’t sure whether to be on the top or bottom. I felt we were faster on the top. Levi threw that slider there. I was going to drive thru him or around him.” Stremme edged Kissinger for second, as Mike Harrison charged from 15th to fourth. Brooks, Jeff Leka, Nick Allen, Phil Dixon, Lucas Lee, and Donovan Lodge rounded out the top ten.
The program ended with the Street Stock class in a $800 to win, 20 lap feature. Jeremy Nichols topped 21 competitors setting a new track record of 14.833 in time trials. Joe Brown, Nichols, and Tanner Sullivan won their respective heat races. Nichols led at the start with Brown, Matt Maier, Matt Hammond, and Jerrad Krick following. After two early cautions, Nichols continued to hold a five-car-length lead over Brown as Krick moved into third. Nichols took a straightaway lead while the battle took place for second. The field was bunched back up for a lap 14 caution. The restart had Maier overtake Krick for second followed by AJ Meiferdt and Thomas. The yellow flag was thrown twice with two laps to go. On the second caution, as Nichols exited turn two, his left rear wheel broke ending his bid for the win. On the restart, Maier led Meiferdt into turns one and two. As Meiferdt drove down the backstretch he pulled alongside of Maier and led as the drivers took the white flag. Maier bumped Meiferdt exiting turn two trying to cause Meiferdt’s car to get squirrelly. Entering turns three and four, Maier dove under Meiferdt as he looked to take the lead. As the two drivers continued to make contact, Thomas was able to sneak by and take the win. “Those two guys wanted to mess around out there,” Thomas said. “I knew what was going to happen. I will take that win.” Meiferdt settled for second, followed by Maier, Megan Erwin, Andy Thompson, Cody Clubb, Pete Odell, Brown, Kory Kohler, and Michael Schomas.
With sweltering temperatures in the air, hot racing action was also found at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway on Saturday night. A regular race night in five classes saw Jeff Curl (Late Model), Allen Weisser (Modified), Jason Maier (Street Stock), Steve Mattingly (Sportsman), and Brendan Patterson (Hobby-Modified) making a trip to the winner's circle.
19 Late Models tuned up for next week’s big Summer Nationals race. Kevin Weaver was the night’s top qualifier at a 12.938. Allen Murray and Allen Weisser claimed heat race wins. In the 30 lap race, Weisser led the first lap. Following a caution on lap one, Weisser’s car bobbled enough for Scott Schmitt to move out front. Caution fell on lap three with Schmitt, Weisser, Jeff Curl, Weaver, and Steve Thorsten in the top five. Curl was on the move and took second on lap six. Schmitt slowed on the backstretch for a caution on lap eight giving Curl the lead. Thorsten, on the top side, got by the bottom running Curl to lead laps 12 and 13 but Curl retook the lead on lap 14. Curl was able to pull out to a ten-car-length lead as Thorsten made a determined bid to retake first. Behind the duo, Weaver, Weisser, and Myles Moos had their own race for the third position. Debris on the track brought out a caution on lap 19. Weaver saw an opening on the restart but got into the back of Thorsten, and Weisser was collected in the mayhem to end his night. The field went single file for the remaining 11 laps. Curl stuck to the bottom, led the wall banging Thorsten, with Moos, Weaver, and Bill Hough in tow. Thorsten and Moos went back and forth for second, exchanging several slide jobs, before Thorsten took second back with three to go. As the race for second was unraveling, Curl was able to jump out to a straightaway lead and the Late Model rookie captured his first ever Late Model trophy. An excited Curl commented following his win, “I am way ahead of where I thought I would be after eight nights in a Late Model. We have tried different things each week and I have to thank Mike Spatola and the Friedman’s for their advice. We had not planned to race the Late Model next week, but it looks like we will be here for the Summer National race.” Following Curl to the line were Thorsten, Moos, Weaver, 15th starter Hough, Collin Alexander, Cole Swibold, Curtis Radke, Austin McCarty, and Weisser.
With 12 Modified drivers on hand for their 20 lap race, Jeffrey Ledford paced the competition in qualifying with a 14.060. Ledford and Allen Weisser were the winners of their respective heat races. Weisser led the start followed by Ledford, McKay Wenger, Chevy Miller, and Alan Stipp. Weisser pulled out to a 10-car-length lead as Ledford and Wenger battled for second. Wenger moved by Ledford for second at the halfway mark and moved to the top side in an effort to run down Weisser. Weisser proved to be the dominate force on this night and earned his first ever win at Fairbury. “We have raced here a few times, had our share of bad luck, along with some seconds. It is nice to finally get a win here,” spoke Weisser. Wenger, Ledford, Stipp, Austin Lynn, Jay Ledford, Miller, Vince Cooper, Eric Vaughan, and Logan Rogers took the top ten positions.
Veteran wheelman Rick Thomas led in time trials at a 15.681 over 14 other Street Stock drivers. Heat races were won by Jason Maier and AJ Meiferdt. Meiferdt took the lead at the start of the 15 lap race with Jason Maier, Thomas, Matt Maier, and Cody Clubb in pursuit. After a lap five caution, Jason Maier, running the top side, overtook Meiferdt for the lead. Meiferdt held on to second as Thomas, Matt Maier, and Clubb followed. On the restart after a caution on lap eight, Matt Maier squeezed by Meiferdt for second while Jason checked out to a ten-car-length lead. In the closing laps, Meiferdt moved back into second as Jason Maier gained redemption from last week’s race and took the win. “I went to the high side of the track because AJ is always tough on the bottom,” Maier said. The rest of the top ten were Matt Maier, Thomas, Clubb, Al Gray, Nick Seplak, Justin Van Drunen, Andrew Alwood, and Michael Schomas.
Steve Mattingly set quick time at a 14.747 of the 11 CR Towing Sportsman drivers on hand for their 15 lap race. Mattingly and Amber Crouch took heat race wins. Mattingly led at the start, but a caution fell after the end of lap one as contender Bryant Frechette dropped out with mechanical problems. On the restart, Mattingly stuck his car to the top side, with Crouch and Brandon Pralle in a heated battle for second followed by Matt Ramer and Anthony Craven. Laps five and six had the yellow flag waving, but on the restart, Mattingly ran the top groove to perfection and extended his lead. Crouch and Pralle went tooth and nail for second, but both drivers had their night cut short as Pralle got into the backstretch wall and Crouch cut a tire down. For the final six circuits Mattingly was able to pull away from the field and take his fourth win of the season. With the absence of points leader Richard Craven, Mattingly took over in the standings for the track championship. “The top side was a little rough but we were able to make it work out for us,” commented Mattingly. Following Mattingly to the stripe were Ramer, Eric Saltzman, Tyler Roth, Michael Ledford, Valerie Hurt, Craven, Crouch, Pralle, and Robert Saltzman.
12 Hobby-Modified drivers looked to carry the checkered flag at the end of their night. Darren Kerrins was the fast qualifier at a 15.497, while Brendan Patterson and Makinzi Semmens won their respective heat races. Patterson took the lead at the start of the 12 lap feature, but due to numerous cautions and a time limit, the race was stopped at three laps. Taking his fourth win of the year, Patterson was happy, but dejected, "We had a good car but I wish we could have gotten all the race in.” Mike Petersen, Terry Bolen, Thad Gee, Kerrins, Semmens, Austin Lipe, TJ Bolen, Bryan Saner, and Travis Roe completed the top ten.
Racing returned to the Fairbury American Legion Speedway on Saturday night with the 22nd annual “Pappy and Bob Allen Memorial”. The race for the Late Model class paid $2,000 to the winner. Also on the program were the Modified, Street Stock, Sportsman, and Hobby-Modified divisions, along with a special appearance by the KidModz Racing Series.
14 Late Model drivers qualified for the 35 lap Allen Memorial. Myles Moos turned heads by posting fast time at a 13.153. Mike Spatola and Kevin Weaver won their respective heat races. Spatola took a healthy lead at the start with Scott Schmitt, Weaver, Billy Drake, and Derek Chandler trying to keep up with the race leader. After an early caution period, Spatola led as Weaver took second from Schmitt and Chandler got by Drake for fourth. As the track began to take rubber, drivers ran single file on the top. The caution fell on lap 21. With Spatola safely in the lead, Schmitt snuck by Weaver for second. Debris caused another yellow flag on lap 24. The restart saw Weaver reclaim second from Schmitt and Moos take fifth from Chandler. After a final caution on lap 29, Spatola left his competition and took his third win of the year at Fairbury and second Allen Memorial race. “We didn’t expect the track to rubber up like it did,” spoke Spatola. “The car was a little free. I think we made the wrong call on tires but it was still good. This car is amazing. No matter where I want to go I am able to put it there. The car is everything I could hope for.” The remainder of the top ten were Weaver, Schmitt, Drake, Moos, Bill Hough, Steve Thorsten, Chandler, Jeff Curl, and Glen Thompson.
Nick Clubb led the eight Modified drivers in time trials with a lap of 14.191. McKay Wenger was the heat race winner. McKinney took the lead at the wave of the green flag in the 20 lap feature and never looked back in taking his fourth win of the year. Wenger, Jamie Lomax, Clubb, Alan Stipp, Dave Lilja, and Eric Vaughan completed the finish. Jay Ledford dropped out in the heat race with a broken driveshaft and was finished for the night. “We had a good car tonight,” said McKinney. “We plan to run the Summer Nationals this week and see how it goes.”
The race of the night had to be the Street Stock feature. 16 drivers toured the speedway with Lance Evans setting quick time with a 16.196. Jason Maier and Justin Van Drunen took heat race wins. Jason Maier put his hot rod on the top side of track and built a commanding lead. Behind him, Matt Maier, Evans, AJ Meiferdt, and Rick Thomas had the fans on their feet in a race for second. Thomas and Matt Maier broke away from the field and began to close in on Jason Maier. Matt Maier took second from Thomas with two laps to go and began to reel in his older brother. A caution dropped with one lap left in the 15 lap race bunching up the field for a green, white, and checker finish. On the restart, Matt Maier showed the nose of his car to older brother Jason. As the Maier brothers entered turns three and four, both drivers were side by side. Jason, on the top side, bobbled his car enough for Matt to edge ahead and take the win by a car length. “I hated it for Jason,” Matt Maier said. “We will have all week to talk about it in the shop. The track was in great shape. Our car could run anywhere.” The rest of the top ten were Thomas, Meiferdt, Joe Brown, Evans, Tanner Sullivan, Don Hilleary, Nick Seplak, and Cody Clubb.
Amber Crouch took fast time honors over 14 other Sportsman drivers at a 15.253. Richard Craven and Timmy Dick were the winners of their heat races. Following two caution periods on the opening lap, Dick got the jump on Craven for the lead with Brandon Pralle in third. The trio quickly separated themselves from their competitors. The yellow flag came out with five laps to go. On the restart, Dick pulled away from the field for his first ever Fairbury win. Craven held off Pralle for second, with AJ Meiferdt, Bryant Frechette, Crouch, Michael Ledford, Anthony Craven, Steve Mattingly, and Matt Ramer in the top ten. “We finally made it 15 laps here at Fairbury,” an excited Dick spoke. “The cushion was real smooth at the start but it did start breaking up. This is the only track we have raced at and hadn’t won a feature so we had a good night.”
Mike Petersen had the quickest lap in qualifying for the Hobby-Modified division at 15.440 seconds. Petersen and Brendan Ramer were the heat race winners. Travis Roe held off Petersen in the feature to score the victory. Macy Vaughan, Ramer, Makinzi Semmens, Austin Lipe, Cathy Crego, Darren Kerrins, Thad Gee, and Bryan Saner followed.
Four KidModz drivers took part in their 10 lap race. Dominic Mertzke won the lone heat race. Starting third in the feature, the 15 year old Mertzke went to the front at the wave of the green flag and never looked back in taking the win. Jeremy Sebens, Rayce Mullen, and Ben Melchers completed the finish.
Sheldon Haudenschild took the lead on a Lap 3 restart and never looked back, scoring his fourth World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series victory of the season in the Series inaugural visit to Fairbury American Legion Speedway in the FVP Platinum Battery Showdown. Jacob Allen matched his career-best with a runner-up finish with Kyle Larson completing the podium.
The night didn’t start off as planned for Haudenschild, as Sheldon was just 21st quick in Qualifying and started seventh in his Heat. Haudenschild, in true Haudenschild fashion, charged from seventh to second in his Heat to secure a spot in the Sears Craftsman Dash.
Sheldon Haudenschild went on to win the Dash, earning the pole for the 40-lap Feature but it was fellow front row starter Hunter Schuerenburg getting the jump at the drop of the Green. Schuerenburg, in search of his first career Outlaw triumph, paced the field, pounding the cushion before a caution on Lap 3 for a backwards Shane Stewart halted action.
Schuerenburg elected the top on the double-file restart, but his No.20 machine stumbled on the restart as Haudenschild, who restarted alongside him, powered to the lead. Schuerenburg drastically fell to the back of the field with a flat tire. Things went from bad to worse as Tanner Thorson jumped Schuerenburg’s rear tire and went for a tumble. Thorson was uninjured in the accident and the Red Flag allowed Schuerenburg to change his tire and restart at the rear of the field.
When action resumed, Haudenschild motored away from the field and reached lapped traffic quickly around the bullring. Jacob Allen, who shattered the FALS track record in Qualifying, moved into second with his Shark Racing teammate, Logan Schuchart in tow running third. Haudenschild put on a lapped traffic clinic, slicing and dicing his way through the field.
A hellacious battle between Kyle Larson and Brent Marks for fifth was momentarily halted when a lapped car got loose and forced both Larson and Marks to take evasive action with 17 laps remaining. The duo did synchronized 360’s, but kept going, in turn two, forcing the rest of the field to check up. Greg Wilson had nowhere to go and got upside down. Gio Scelzi and Paul Nienhiser’s top-ten runs also came to an end in the accident. Wilson was uninjured but done for the evening while both Scelzi and Nienhiser tagged the rear.
With rubber prominent on the high line, World of Outlaws officials ruled single-file restarts for the remainder of the evening. Haudenschild continued to show the way as he reached traffic with the rest of the field directly on his tail.
With eight laps remaining, Schuchart pulled a slider on his teammate Allen to secure second and set his sights on Haudenschild. Haudenschild remained locked down in the rubber as Schuchart looked for a way to steal the lead. Schuchart peeked a car-length higher than Haudenschild in turn two with three laps remaining, but that was the end of Schuchart’s night as a flat tire on the No.1S brought out the final caution of the evening.
Haudenschild distanced himself from Allen, who was in search of his first career Outlaw win, on the late restart while Larson and Cory Eliason waged war for third. The pair of Californian’s exchanged sliders back and forth with Larson grabbing the final podium spot.
Sheldon Haudenschild went on to win his fourth Feature of the year aboard the NOS Energy Drink sponsored Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall No.17.
“My car was really good early and really good in the rubber,” Haudenschild said with a smile in Victory Lane. “I was able to get good drive on the early restart, grab the lead and get to the top. Other than a couple of times where I tagged the wall, I felt really good and felt like I was making good laps in traffic,” the Wooster, OH native added.
Allen’s second-place finish tied a career-best and was his first top-ten finish of 2018. “My team has worked really hard. Sheldon’s been one of my best friends for a long time, obviously I would have liked to get my first Outlaw win, but I’m extremely happy with second,” Allen said. When asked about racing with his teammate and relative Schuchart, Allen explained, “We’ll race each other hard, but clean. We both want to win, it’s unfortunate he got a flat tire ending his night. It’s always fun running up front with Logan.”
Kyle Larson, who slipped out of the top ten early, was pleased to get back to the podium. “I was pretty good as the race went on. I’m really loose until the fuel burns off, I was happy to get back to third after our start,” Larson said. Cory Eliason settled for fourth with Saturday’s winner in Wisconsin Brent Marks coming from 14th to fifth. The finish was Marks’ third consecutive top-five finish. KSE Hard Charger honors went to David Gravel and CJB Motorsports, as they came from 22nd to complete the top ten.
Last Chance Showdown (12 Laps) - Top 6 Transfer: 1. 3C-Tanner Thorson [-]; 2. W20-Greg Wilson [-]; 3. 21X-Carson Short [-]; 4. 5-David Gravel [-]; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser [-]; 6. 18-Ian Madsen [-]; 7. 21-Brian Brown [$300]; 8. 13-Clyde Knipp [$250]; 9. 98-Clinton Boyles [$225]
Simon Wins Late-Race Thriller at Fairbury
Landon Simon was the victor Tuesday night at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway in Fairbury, Illinois with the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Wildcard Sprint League. It was his first WAR win of the 2018 season as he won multiple WAR races in 2017. Thomas Meseraull (2nd) and Mitch Wissmiller (3rd) completed the podium.
After earning the LRB Inc. “High Point Man” award from his stellar heat race performance, Simon pulled the ace for the redraw which left him to start on the pole of the 25-lap feature event. Once the green flag dropped at “FALS” for the WAR Sprints, Mitch Wissmiller would assume the lead by utilizing the bottom groove. He would remain in a comfortable lead until halfway through the race when the top groove started to come in and Landon Simon would take over the lead railing around the top of the high banked, ¼ mile track. Meseraull would also get around Wissmiller on the high side.
The final laps left Simon and Meseraull banging the cushion fighting for the $2,000 payday, but Simon would prevail as he rocketed toward his 3rd WAR win of his career.