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Dennis Erb Jr.

Dennis Erb Jr.

Spencer Hughes

Spencer Hughes

Tanner Sullivan

Tanner Sullivan

Steven Mattingly

Steven Mattingly

Mike Petersen

Mike Petersen

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

Despite unruly weather conditions at race time, Mother Nature played kind in the end, allowing the Fairbury Speedway to complete another Saturday night of racing. Dennis Erb Jr. (Late Model), Spencer Hughes (Modified), Tanner Sullivan (Stock Car), Steve Mattingly (Sportsman), and Mike Petersen (Hobby-Modified) were the big winners of their respective class.

erb lmWith the World of Outlaws Late Model Series having a rare Saturday off, several of the traveling stars checked in at Fairbury to gear up for the upcoming Prairie Dirt Classic. 24 Late Models were on hand for their 30-lap, $2,500 to win race. Tonica’s Scott Schmitt clipped a lap at 13.267 seconds for fast time. Two heat races saw Schmitt and Canada’s Ricky Weiss earning their way into the feature. Early in the feature race, race leader Weiss led Mike Spatola and Dennis Erb Jr. The trio, running bumper to bumper, distanced themselves from fourth place Kevin Weaver and Ryan Unzicker in fifth. On the 18th lap as Weiss approached lapped traffic, the leader went to the top of the track. Spatola was on the bottom and made contact with the slower car and Weiss got into both cars. Weaver had nowhere to go and was also involved. The wreck knocked out Weiss, Weaver, and Brandon Pralle. Spatola moved into the lead with Erb, Chase Junghans, Unzicker, and Mike Glasscock following. After a caution on lap 22, Erb was able to pull alongside of Spatola for the lead. Both drivers ran side by side before Erb inched ahead on the white flag lap and hung on for the win. “The car was working good on the bottom,” said Erb. “Once I stuck my nose under Mike, he started driving me and I was able to sneak by.” The rest of the top ten went to Spatola, Junghans, Unzicker, Donny Walden, 16th starter Bill Hough, Glasscock, Jeff Curl, Lyle Zanker, and Greg Wagner.

hughes md27 Modified drivers made qualifying runs for their 25-lap, $1,500 to win race. Peoria’s Allen Weisser turned a lap at 14.642 seconds for fast time. Making his first-ever appearance to the track, Meridian Mississippi’s Spencer Hughes took the first heat race. Odell’s Jim Farris and Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford were the other heat winners. Farris led the first lap before Hughes pulled ahead. Ledford got by Farris on the eighth lap and cut into Hughes’s lead. Mike McKinney quickly charged through the field and followed Ledford. Ledford got by Hughes to lead lap 12, before Hughes reclaimed the lead. Hughes began to distance himself from the field as Ledford had to contend with McKinney. McKinney overtook Ledford on the 21st lap. McKinney tried several slide jobs in the closing laps, but Hughes was able to upset the Fairbury regulars and earned a FALS Cup trophy. “It’s been an amazing opportunity for our team this week,” Hughes said. “We have been on the road all week. I can’t thank David Stremme enough for building such an awesome race car.” McKinney, Ledford, Steven Brooks, Farris, Nick Clubb, Nick Lueth, Mark Grosvenor, 21st starter Steve Jones, and Travis Kohler completed the top ten.

sullivan scPontiac’s Tanner Sullivan and Bourbonnais’s Matt Hammond took heat race wins for the 15-lap Stock Car race, as 20 entries were on hand. Sullivan was able to lead the distance and earn his first feature win of the year. Becoming choked up in victory lane, Sullivan spoke, “This has been a tough year for our team. My high school wrestling coach always fight thru adversity. Tonight our team showed it.”

mattingly spTwo heats were held for the 13 Sportsman drivers for their 15-lap race. Chenoa’s Steven Mattingly and rookie Lyndon Whitfill of Fairbury took the heat wins. Mattingly led early with Tommy Duncan, Whitfill, Anthony Craven, and Michael Ledford following. Ledford was on the move and soon overtook Duncan for second on the 11th lap. While running the top, Ledford tagged the wall causing damage to his car, ending his night. After a caution with two laps to go, Duncan challenged Mattingly for the lead. Duncan was able to lead the white flag lap, but as the two looked to take the checkered flag, Mattingly (on the bottom) and Duncan (on the top) made contact at the finish line sending Duncan’s car end-over-end. Mattingly took his first win of the year, while Duncan emerged dejected, but uninjured in third. Whitfill took second, Craven in fourth, followed by Blake Reid, Dan Coit, Ledford, Amber Crouch, Matt Ramer, and Tyler Roth.

petersen hmMetamora’s Mason Duncan earned fast time honors at 17.207 seconds for the 16 Hobby-Modified drivers on hand. Duncan and Cropsey’s Mike Petersen won heat races. Duncan looked to be on his way to another feature win until four laps to go when his car suffered mechanical problems and his race came to an end. Petersen led the remaining four laps to take his first win of the year. “It’s great to be back in victory lane,” spoke Petersen. “If the guys at Petersen’s can get me here, just think what they can do for your car.” Thad Gee, Macy Vaughan, Troy Ricketts, Austin Lipe, Tyler Sebby, Graham Jackson, Makinzi Semmens, Brendan Ramer, and Duncan completed the top ten.



Brian Shirley

Brian Shirley

Mike Harrison

Mike Harrison

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Harrison Rides Cushion to $2,000 DIRTcar Summit Modified Nationals Victory

Results | Story by Ruben Mireles/DIRTcar & Rocky Ragusa | Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

shirley lmTwo-time and defending DIRTcar Summer Nationals Champion Brian Shirley is on a roll, but Saturday night in the 30th Summer Nationals event at Fairbury Speedway Frank Heckenast Jr. kept the pressure on him. Shirley, of Chatham, IL, was able to fend off Heckenast to win his 22nd all-time DIRTcar Summer Nationals feature and get his second win at Fairbury Speedway in tour history, this one worth $10,000.

The 50-lap feature started with outside pole sitter Kyle Bronson leading early as Shirley gave chase. Bronson surged to a straightaway lead until he jumped the cushion in turn four on Lap 13. Bronson had a big enough lead to remain out front, but Shirley closed the gap, trying every groove on the speedway to get around Bronson. Their battle for the lead allowed Gordy Gundaker to inch closer and make it a three-car battle for the lead. Eventually, on Lap 18, Shirley went to the top to get around Bronson, then Gundaker went to the bottom to slide past Bronson into second. As Shirley continued to pound the cushion, Gundaker was fast on the bottom and it looked as if he would get Shirley, but a lapped car held him up. Once a caution flew, it cleared the traffic and Gundaker couldn't capitalize on the restart with Shirley proving the top was fastest.

Frank Heckenast Jr. later jumped to second after getting around Shannon Babb, Tanner English and Gundaker. Shirley continued his march on the top, but left the door open a couple times as he moved to the bottom. Heckenast ramped up the pressure and caught Shirley’s #3s machine and attempted slide jobs in turns three and four in the closing laps, but it wasn't enough as Shirley took the checkers for his third DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature victory this season. “My crew told me to run the bottom the last 15 laps,” an exhausted Shirley said. “I tried to run it after that caution. Frankie was good on the bottom and about got me. I just put it to the floor and do what I did on the highside and we were able to come out on top.”

harrison mdDIRTcar UMP Modified legend Mike Harrison started fourth on Saturday night in Fairbury Speedway’s DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Feature, fought his way to the front in the 30-lap race and held off Nick Hoffman down the stretch for the $2,000 checkered flag.

Early on it looked like the battle to win would be between Mike McKinney and Nick Hoffman, who looked untouchable in the opening stages of the race before a caution erased his lead. Hoffman ran the bottom all night allowing McKinney to get by on the top, but Hoffman didn't surrender the lead easily. Finally, Harrison joined the party to make it three-wide for the top spot. Harrison grabbed the lead on the top while Hoffman continued to roll the bottom, where he drove to a runner-up finish. Tyler Nicely made a late surge for a top-three finish but faded just a bit after his rear quarter panel rubbed on his tire. Harrison, the six time and defending DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Champion, won for the first time on tour in 2019, making it the fourth different winner through four races. “We come out and focus on our equipment, our night, and let the finishes fall into place with the points,” said Harrison, of Highland, IL. “Fairbury, you have to live or die by the cushion and nine times out of ten, I live by it. We have been struggling with this car. We have been working and working on it and hopefully, I think we have found something. The Modified class is tough. Every win you have to cherish like it could be your last win. You just never know."

duncan spThe 15-lap CR Towing Sportsman race drew 15 entries for their $400 to win special. Points leader Tommy Duncan toured the track at 15.052 seconds for fast time. Michael Ledford and Tyler Roth won their respective heat races. Polesitter Ledford took the lead at the drop of the green flag, followed by Roth, Duncan, Wes Odell, and Brian Albus. After a caution on the third lap, Duncan showed his muscle on the restart and quickly wrestled the lead away from Ledford. Duncan wasted little time and pulled away from the field. With four laps to go, Roth overtook Ledford for second and was able to gain on the race leader. As Jim Whittington waved the checkered flag, Duncan secured his fourth straight feature win. “My car has been great all year and I can’t thank my crew and sponsors enough. We have gotten lucky a few times, but it’s been a good year,” said Duncan. Following Duncan to the line were Roth, Ledford, Albus, Steve Mattingly, Amber Crouch, Lyndon Whitfill, Odell, Matt Ramer, and Scott Williams.


Mike Spatola

Mike Spatola

Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

Matthew Hammond

Matthew Hammond

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Thad Gee

Thad Gee

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

97 cars in six classes signed in Saturday night at the Fairbury Speedway for the 23rd running of the Pappy and Bob Allen Memorial race. Mike Spatola (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), Matt Hammond (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), Thad Gee (Hobby-Modified), and Jerremy Sebens (KidModz) were all feature winners.

spatola lmA lap of 12.835 seconds by Fairbury’s McKay Wenger earned him fast time honors over 27 combatants. Wenger, Mike Spatola, and Scott Schmitt won their respective heat races. Derek Chandler was the winner of the B-Main. Starting on the front row, Manhattan’s Spatola jumped out into the lead for the 30-lap race. Facing constant pressure from Wenger and Ryan Unzicker, Spatola kept his poise while working lapped traffic. Spatola was able to pull away in the closing laps for his first win of the year and third Allen Memorial race win. “I am worn out now,” said Spatola. “The topside of the track was treacherous. I was being conservative and ran the middle groove when I could. We have been doing everything to get a win and finally got it.” Wenger settled for second, followed by points leader Unzicker, Kevin Weaver, Mike Glasscock, 16th starter Chandler, Donny Walden, Schmitt, Luke Goedert, and Steve Thorsten.

mckinney mdPeoria’s Allen Weisser toured the speedway at a lap of 13.985 seconds for quick time as 22 Modified drivers took time trials. Weisser, Mike Harrison, and McKinney won heat races. Weisser led early in the 25-lap race with Harrison, McKinney, and Jeffrey Ledford dueling for second. Weisser was slowed by a lapped car on the 14th lap, and McKinney took advantage, moving into the lead. Weisser’s night came to an end on the next lap when his left front caught a corner tire and ended his night. Following the yellow flag, Harrison ran the ragged edge looking to take the lead, but a slower car held up Harrison in the closing stages giving Plainfield’s McKinney his second win of the year. “This car is really finicky,” McKinney said. “We are just trying to figure where we need to be with it.” Harrison took second, with points leader Ledford in third, followed by Jim Farris, Steven Brooks, Jason Hastings, Mark Grosvenor, Jacob Steinkoenig, Dan Rork, and 19th starter Billy Puckett.

hammond scBourbonnais’s Matt Hammond clipped a lap of 16.136 seconds as 16 Stock Car drivers made qualifying runs. Cody Clubb and Tanner Sullivan earned heat race wins. While several of the early race leaders became impatient with each other in the 15-lap, caution-filled race, Hammond maintained his bearings and took the lead with two laps to go for his second straight feature win. “I knew the cars in front of me would be playing ping pong with each other,” Hammond spoke. “I was able to avoid the wrecks and it paid off.” Current points leader Nick Seplak was second, followed by Clubb, Justin VanDrunen, 13th starter Josh Hetherington, Don Hilleary, Bailey Aukland, Steven Lisewski, Zach Zuberbier, and Sullivan completed the top ten.

duncan spPontiac’s Michael Ledford clipped a lap of 15.081 seconds for fast time, as 12 Sportsman drivers made qualifying runs. Ledford and Metamora pilot Tommy Duncan were winners of their respective heat races. After an early race challenge from Ledford, points leader Duncan was able to pull away from the field in taking his third straight feature win. “Michael gave me a run for the money,” commented Duncan. “The track was a little dusty in the middle. I had to keep the car straight and try not to spin the wheels. I want to thank Roger Friedman for the power and the Craven’s for all they do for our class.” The remainder of the top ten were Ledford, Tyler Roth, Scott Williams, 12th starter Jeb Friedman, Matt Ramer, Steve Mattingly, Anthony Craven, Dan Coit, and Dustin Mounce.

gee hm16 Hobby-Modified drivers signed in for their 12-lap race. Metamora’s Mason Duncan was the night’s fast qualifier at 14.901 seconds. Duncan and Macy Vaughan claimed heat race wins. Mechanical problems on the pace lap ended Duncan’s night before the green flag waved. Brendan Ramer and Thad Gee put on a thrilling contest, racing side by side, as each driver looked to take the checkered flag. Gee was able to pull ahead in the final laps and pick up his first win of the year. “My car ran great on the outside,” stated Bloomington’s Gee. “Brendan gave me all I needed. It was a good, clean race.” Ramer, Travis Roe, Jason Brandt, Vaughan, Billy Shoemaker, Payton Semmens, Troy Ricketts, Graham Jackson, and Austin Lipe were the rest of the top ten.

Jerremy Sebens was the heat race winner and followed that up by winning the KidModz Series race. Audrey Gerberding and Ben Melcher completed the field.


All the stars were aligned leading up to the May 11th FALS Frenzy until lingering rain continued into the late afternoon which forced Fairbury Speedway officials to postpone the FALS Frenzy, setting up a huge two-day weekend which will see two complete shows of racing at the racy quarter-mile bullring on the weekend of October 11th and 12th.

Opening up the fall weekend on Friday, October 11th, will be a complete show of Late Models paying $5,000 to win, Modifieds ($1,500 to win), Pro (Crate) Late Models ($750 to win), and Stock Cars ($500 to win). Capping off the FALS Frenzy weekend on Saturday, October 12th, will be the make up $10,000 to win Late Model special along with Modifieds ($2,000 to win), Pro (Crate) Late Models ($1,000 to win), and Stock Cars ($750 to win).

The new two-day October race weekend presented by Edelman Electric will sure to give fans one last racing fix for the season that has opened up very strong for new track owner Matt Curl with the inaugural FALS Cup weekly championship. “We had such a great weekend planned for the FALS Frenzy that I felt we needed to find a special weekend for teams and fans to enjoy what FALS has to offer,” says Curl. “The way the weather has been this year, October might be the best month of the year to race.”

Fans that purchased general admission bands ($25) and teams that purchased pit passes ($40) that weekend will be able to use them for face value at any event on the 2019 race schedule, except the WoO Sprint show on June 4th.

Fans that purchased reserved seating and camping for the original FALS Frenzy weekend will have their reservations moved to the October weekend or be able to request a refund. Fans will have until Sunday night, June 23rd, to request a refund by sending an email to falstickets@gmail.com. Beginning Monday, July 1st at 10:00 a.m., reserved seating and camping will resume for the new October 11th & 12th FALS Frenzy weekend. Camping and reserved seating costs will remain the same…$35 for camping and $5 for a seat reservation for the entire weekend (which includes both days). Event details with specific instructions are located on the FALS Frenzy event sheet.

Event Information | Payouts


Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson

Allen Weisser

Allen Weisser

Weisser Rolls to Fourth Straight Modified Victory

Results | Story by World of Outlaws & Rocky Ragusa | Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

larson sprYour heart tried to explode. If you stopped to think you’d realize you weren’t breathing. But there was no time for that. Every lap, every corner, the potential for a new leader. A new reason to not blink. James McFadden? Brad Sweet? Kyle Larson? Your mind spun with the question of who will win, unable to find a clear answer as the three drivers dueled with the intensity of gladiators fighting to be the last man standing. Then the dust settled. A moment of quiet ease spread around the quarter-mile Fairbury Speedway arena. Climbing atop the wing of his No. 57 machine to thunderous applause and an explosion of confetti was Larson – claiming his eighth World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win Tuesday night. The win gives him back-to-back World of Outlaws victories, after winning his last Series race at Lawrenceburg Speedway on Memorial Day. “Cool to get a win back-to-back with the Outlaws, I’ve never done that before,” Larson said. The last time he won more than one World of Outlaws race in a season was back in 2013 – a year before he went full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing. Larson had to duel with fellow NASCAR competitor Christopher Bell and 10-time Series champion Donny Schatz to claim the win at Lawrenceburg.

This time around, he had to face the dominate Kasey Kahne Racing duo of McFadden and Sweet. The KKR teammates started the FVP Platinum Battery Showdown event going first and second in practice with Sweet pacing the field. The NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 car then backed up its speed in Qualifying by setting Quick Time. McFadden was third. Larson seventh. Sweet then won his Drydene Heat race with ease. Larson and McFadden dueled for the win in the third Drydene Heat race of the night with Larson dominating the field. McFadden came back with force, charging to the win in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. Sweet finished third, and Larson sixth – setting their starting position for the 40-lap Feature. McFadden wrestled with his 900hp machine, taming it like a wild stallion at the start of the Feature to take the early lead. His run was cut short by a red flag on the first lap for Dylan Tuxhorn rolling over in turn one. When the Feature went back green, heart rates amplified. Breaths were held. McFadden led, but Sweet was charging for a fight. The two teammates traded lanes lap after lap, corner after corner. Sweet could power his way to either the inside or outside of the Wicked Energy Gum No. 9 car into the turn, but McFadden could launch off the exit with the power of the gods.

While they dueled, Larson slayed the competition between him and the leaders with ease. By Lap 13, he gave the KKR duo something else to fear. Going into turn three he forced his car under Sweet, making it a three-wide battle through the corner – a common theme throughout the next several laps. Sweet built up a strong enough run to steal the lead from McFadden on Lap 17. He couldn’t shake him, though. McFadden and Larson stayed on his bumper and the next time around they both snuck by him. McFadden threw his car low in turn three, while Larson squeezed his car between the outside of Sweet and the wall. McFadden reclaimed the lead and now had a fierce Larson to contend with. The next lap, back in turns three and four, McFadden, again, went low and Larson high. The god-like launches McFadden could get exiting a corner were no match for the resilient throttle hungry Larson. The two traded the lead for the next couple of laps with Larson eventually prevailing. McFadden still had fight left in him, though. And not far behind was Sweet, lurking. Waiting for another opportunity to strike.

In the closing laps, with the leaders having to navigate lap traffic, Larson couldn’t lose McFadden. The Australian was building momentum lap after lap, inching closer and closer to Larson. But then, with eight laps to go, McFadden’s battle came to an end. While stuck behind a lap car through turns one and two, McFadden hit the corner tire and spun to a stop. “Really fun race track,” said McFadden, still with a smile, after the Feature. “It was awesome racing with Brad and Kyle. They’re obviously a couple of the best guys in the country. I don’t know if I just misjudged the lap car. He got the tractor tire I think and slowed him a bunch. I just got into the back of him and when I did that, the tractor tire came out, after he hit it, and I got it and that was that. At the end of the day, it was a positive step for the team.”

In the remaining eight laps, Larson now had to contest with a hard charging Sweet. Larson stuck to the bottom of the track – the least likely place for him to make a mistake, he said. Sweet took advantage of that, soaring around the outside of the speedway to find as much grip as he could to catch the Chevrolet Accessories No. 57 Silva Motorsports car. Coming to the checkered flag, Larson faltered. He slid off turn four, scrubbing speed and allowing Sweet the opportunity to strike one final time. The distance between the leaders was still too much for Sweet, though. Like a warrior on a steed signifying his victory, Larson sprinted to the checkered flag with his front two wheels off the ground. “That was just an exciting race from start to finish for me,” Larson said. “Shoot, 40 laps around this place was crazy. It felt like we swapped the lead a lot. Just an awesome race track. Short tracks are always a blast.”

Sweet’s runner-up finish helped him cut into Schatz’s points – now only 38 points behind the reigning champion. He said he felt like he had the better car, but probably got too timid in lap traffic, compared to Larson’s maneuvers. “He’s crazy,” Sweet said about Larson with a grin. “He was bouncing off the wall in (turn) one and bouncing off the wall in three and four.” Larson would agree with Sweet’s sentiment. “I’m always all out,” Larson said. “I don’t even know how I would be if I was running for points with the Outlaws. It would be hard for me to change my driving style. I’m just crazy, yeah.” That craziness makes speed though, he added.

The kind of speed that made your heart explode with excitement. Your breath run and hide. And your mind spin with questions. But there was no time to worry about that. Because every corner, every lap, there was the potential for a new leader. A new reason not to blink. 

weisser mdThe Modified class was the co-feature of the night in a 25-lap, $1,500 to win race. Plainfield’s Mike McKinney bested 17 drivers in time trials with a lap of 13.938 seconds. McKinney and Peoria’s Allen Weisser won heat races. A slight bobble on the start by McKinney gave Weisser the lead that he never surrendered in winning his fourth straight feature at Fairbury. “I can’t thank David Stremme, Lethal Chassis, and all my crew for what they have done,” spoke Weisser. “We have got the car dialed in.” Ray Bollinger, Mark Anderson, Jeffrey Ledford, McKinney, Dan Rork, Tommy Sheppard Jr., Jim Farris, Mike Learman, and Troy Dodson rounded out the top ten.

World of Outlaws Sprint Cars FVP Platinum Battery Showdown Results

Feature (40 Laps) – 1. 57-Kyle Larson [6][$10,000]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [3][$5,500]; 3. 2M-Kerry Madsen [4][$3,200]; 4. 2-Carson Macedo [10][$2,800]; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser [12][$2,500]; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [17][$2,300]; 7. 15-Donny Schatz [5][$2,200]; 8. 19-Brent Marks [9][$2,100]; 9. 5-Shane Stewart [22][$2,050]; 10. 21-Brian Brown [7][$2,000]; 11. 17B-Bill Balog [2][$1,500]; 12. 1S-Logan Schuchart [11][$1,200]; 13. 83-Daryn Pittman [13][$1,100]; 14. 41-David Gravel [24][$1,050]; 15. 18-Ian Madsen [23][$1,000]; 16. 9-James McFadden [1][$900]; 17. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [14][$800]; 18. 5X-Justin Peck [18][$800]; 19. 1A-Jacob Allen [15][$800]; 20. 70X-Spencer Bayston [21][$800]; 21. 7S-Jason Sides [16][$800]; 22. 96-Parker Price-Miller [8][$800]; 23. 4-Terry McCarl [19][$800]; 24. 9T-Dylan Tuxhorn [20][$800]

Lap Leaders: James McFadden 1-15, 19, 21; Brad Sweet 16-18; Kyle Larson 20, 22-40
Hard Charger Award: 5-Shane Stewart[+13]


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