by Darlene Miller
Starting first proved to be a big advantage for three feature winners in Saturday night’s racing at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. Although they won their races they had to hold off stiff competition from the other drivers that were ready to take them on.
Fairbury’s Scott Bull began his feature from the pole position in the Late Model race but quickly realized he faced other drivers breathing down his neck from Fairbury’s McKay Wenger and Gibson City’s Kevin Weaver. A caution flag came out with 23 laps to go in the 30-lap feature for debris in turns 3 and 4, another one came out again on the restart, but that did not deter Bull. Riding the high side, Bull continued to hold off the pair but soon found more competition coming from Daren Friedman and Torin Mettille who worked their way up to fourth and fifth. Eight laps remained in the race when the caution flag flew again for a crash in turn three which gathered up Friedman and Mettille. In turn four on the final lap, Wenger tried to slide around in front of Bull but the defending FALS champion held him off for his first win of the season. “It was a real close race tonight. We have a new car and we are working it out,” said Bull.
Rounding out the top ten were Wenger, Weaver, Dan Flessner, Scott Schmitt, hard charger Jay Sparks, Jay Morris, Joe Harlan, Tom Smith, and Bill Hough. Heat winners were Bull, Wenger, and Mettille.
The first night of racing with a new car was not good for Chatsworth’s Lance Dehm as he failed to finish that Modified feature. That was not to be the case for this second race as Dehm found himself on the pole for the 20-lap feature. Defending champ Jeff Curl and Josh Ferguson found themselves to be tough for Dehm at the start of the race. With just five laps in, Jacob Poel who started sixth put himself in the second spot. Caution flags slowed the field and Poel was now nipping at the heels of Dehm but Dehm was able to hold on for the victory. “It’s been a tough year so far; we are trying stuff early and it had not been working so far. This was a great start for the rest of the season,” said Dehm.
Second went to Poel, followed by Curl, Ferguson, Jim Farris, Jay Ledford, Jeb Friedman, Dan Rork, Tommy Duncan, and Jared Cagley. Heat winners were Dehm, Curl, and Dave Porth.
Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford found himself on the pole for the start of the 15-lap Sportsman race. After finishing second the first race of the season to Richard Craven, Ledford had to hold off R. Craven for his first feature win of the season (and second at FALS). Anthony Craven led a few early laps in the feature but with six laps to go he spun in turn two and the 15-year-old Ledford was now on top of the leaderboard. He won by three car lengths over R. Craven. “We have had our ups and downs, but we got lucky,” said Ledford. Flanagan’s Dustin Mounce finished third followed by Tyler Roth, Paul Graf, Chris Anderson, A. Craven, Eric Legner, Michael Maestes, and Matt Mills. Ledford and Mounce were heat winners.
In the first feature race of the evening, Pontiac’s Jeff Semmens led the Street Stock drivers to the green flag. Semmens soon found himself in a battle with second place starter, Dwight’s Rick Thomas. The pair put on a good show, going neck and neck at different times during the race. Thomas took the lead and held on with 8 to go for the win. Brandon Kessinger was third followed by Matt Maier, Darrell Dick, A.J. Meiferdt, Jason Maier, Nick Clubb, Justin Nelson, and Don Hilleary. Thomas and Semmens were heat winners. “We put on a good show,” said Thomas. “He (Semmens) was there, then he wasn’t, then he was, but it worked out.”