Unzicker Scores Summer Shootout Win

Late Model Results | Modified Results | Sportsman Results | Street Stock Results

by Rocky Ragusa

The Fairbury American Legion Speedway played host for the second time this year to the MARS/ALMS co-sanctioned Late Model series. Track points leader, Ryan Unzicker, took the feature win. Mike McKinney (Modified), AJ Meiferdt (Street Stock), Richard Craven (Sportsman), Mike Petersen and Brendan Patterson (Hobby-Modified) also graced victory lane.

aug12-lm23 I Beam Sliding Doors Late Models took time trials with Jason Feger leading the way at a 12.864. Feger, Mike Mataragas, and Tony Jackson Jr. picked up heat race wins. Outside front row starter and current points leader for the MARS series, Jackson Jr., took the lead with Mataragas on his heels, followed by Feger, Unzicker, and Derek Chandler. Mataragas led the next lap before Jackson led for two laps. Jackson pounded the infamous Fairbury cushion looking to extend his lead but Mataragas hung tough. The duo swapped the lead as Feger and Unzicker followed closely, with Scott Bull leading a host of drivers in fifth. At the halfway mark of the 40-lap race a four car pileup brought out the caution. On the restart, Unzicker, running the bottom of the track, was able to move into the lead. Two laps later, another yellow flag fell for Jackson who was bitten by the cushion. On the restart, Unzicker stuck to the bottom groove and was able to pull away from the field. Mataragas, Chandler, and Bull waged a furious battle for second, followed by Joe Godsey and Kevin Weaver. Jackson was able to rally to seventh before pulling off the track with ten laps to go. Unzicker went uncontested for the remainder of the race and took $3,000 for his third win at Fairbury. Mataragas, Bull, Godsey, Weaver, 19th starter Jeff Roth, Chandler, Mason Oberkramer, Donny Walden, and Jay Sparks completed the top ten. “The track was pretty good tonight, maybe a little bottom dominate but that’s the way I like it,” said Unzicker. “When the track slows down my car seems to come alive. My guys have worked hard on the car. It’s all a team effort.”

aug12-mdJason Hastings led 30 other Varsitee Screen Printing Modified drivers in qualifying at a 13.894. Nick Lueth, Jeffrey Ledford, Nick Clubb, and Jeff Curl won their respective heat races, while Brent Gregory took the semi feature. In the 20-lap feature, Jeffrey Ledford led as eighth starter, Mike McKinney, quickly moved into the second position. Trailing the two “young guns”, Travis Kohler and Curl raced for third, with Lueth hanging on to fifth. McKinney was able to take the top position on the 10th lap, as Ledford tried to reclaim the lead. McKinney was able to hold on for his fifth win of the season. Ledford, Curl, Kohler, Hastings, Clubb, 14th starter Jay Ledford, Lueth, Dave Lilja, and 18th starter Logan Rogers rounded out the top ten. “With Jeffrey starting second I knew he was going to be tough. On the opening laps everyone was running on the bottom,” commented McKinney. “I went to the top and had to wait for my tires to heat up. It was a good race.”

aug12-spSteven Mattingly was the fast qualifier at a 14.778 in the CR Towing Sportsman class. Richard Craven was the heat race winner. Track champion, Lake Nichoalds, and Craven had their own personal battle in the 15-lap contest. Craven took the lead from Nichoalds with six laps left and scored his first win of the year. Nichoalds, Brandon Pralle, Mattingly, Eric Saltzman, Anthony Craven, and Amber Crouch completed the running order. “It was a fun race. The only thing we changed was my wife. She hadn’t been to the races in about a year. I told her she had to go to the races with us,” laughed Craven.

aug12-ssIan Keller was the night’s fast qualifier among the 24 Tool’s Auto Sales Street Stock drivers with a 15.601 second lap. Keller, track champion AJ Meiferdt, and Joe Brown won heat races, with Cody Clubb earning the semi-feature win. Meiferdt held a 10 car length lead early in the 15-lap feature, as Keller, Brown, Rick Thomas, and Pete Odell followed. Odell was on the move, picking off cars until a caution came out on the seventh lap. Odell took second as Keller dropped out. A caution with four laps to go gave Odell an opportunity to unseat Meiferdt, but Meiferdt had a little too much, taking his eighth Fairbury win and helping his cause in the national points race. Odell, Curtis Radke, Don Hilleary, Thomas, 13th starter Dane Arvin, Brown, Kyle Anderson, Michael Schomas, and Clubb completed the top ten. “This is our 12th win of the year,” an excited Meiferdt spoke. “Now we have to focus on the national points. We have to replace all the bad nights and keep doing what we are doing.”

aug12-hmThe Hobby-Modified class held two feature races with the second race a makeup from June 17th. In the opener, Jason Brandt, who was the heat race winner, and Mike Petersen pulled away from their competitors while the rest of the field had their own race for third. Brandt led until the seventh lap, surrendering the lead to Petersen. Brandt continued to hound Petersen but Petersen was able to pick up the win. Brandt, Tim McGuire, Macy Vaughan, Bryan Saner, Haley Jones, Thad Gee, Brendan Patterson, and Makinzi Semmens rounded out the field. Gee led the first seven laps of the second race before tagging the wall on the front stretch. After the caution, Patterson took the lead from Petersen and pulled away for his second win of the year. Petersen, Saner, Vaughan, Gee, and Semmens completed the running order.

Schmitt, Spatola, McKinney, Nichoalds, Thomas, Gee grab checkers

by Darlene Miller

Yellow caution flags and a full moon made for an interesting racing combination on Saturday night at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. Enjoying the conditions was the quintet of Scott Schmitt, Mike Spatola, Mike McKinney, Lake Nichoalds, and Rick Thomas who all found victory lane.

aug05-lmIn the first Late Model feature of the night, Fairbury’s McKay Wenger and Gibson City’s Kevin Weaver led the field to the green flag. Four caution flags in the early laps of the 30-lap feature made the racers and crowd anxious to get this one going. Weaver held a slight lead over Wenger and Spatola in the early going. With 18 laps to go, Wenger got past Weaver and was trying to hold off a charging Schmitt, who had started fifth in the 20-car field. A battle then ensued as both kept switching leads with each one of them leading a lap with under four to go. Schmitt pulled off the win by two car lengths over Wenger for his first win of the 2017 season. “With four to go, I got lucky and got past Wenger,” said Schmitt. El Paso’s Ryan Unzicker came in third with Weaver and Fairbury’s Scott Bull making up the rest of the top five. Spatola led the second five with Jeremy Conaway, Dan Flessner, Bill Hough, and 16th starter Doug Hammer in tow. Spatola, Weaver, and Wenger were heat winners, while Hammer won the semi feature. Flessner set fast time with 12.747 seconds around the quarter-mile track.

aug05-lm2In the 30-lap Late Model make-up feature from June 17, Weaver started on the pole flanked by Flessner. They exchanged the lead for a few laps before Spatola came into the picture and got around Flessner with 21 circuits to go. A caution flag flew with 19 to go as Flessner spun in turn 2 in front of the field. Luckily, all drivers were able to get around him. Two more caution flags flew before Spatola was able to find himself in the lead. Spatola and Wenger showed the way until another caution flag flew for a turn three incident with nine laps to go. As Spatola started pulling away, a three-pack of drivers — Wenger, Bull, and Weaver — were fighting for the second spot. Spatola was able to hold off the group for the win. “This is for all the teamwork we did. We did a lot of replacement parts and worked hard. It was nice to come back and win,” Spatola said. It was the third win for Spatola this season. Schmitt, who in hot laps for this race on June 17 rolled his car, started 13th and finished fifth. Jay Morris, Steve Thorsten, Glen Thompson, Flessner, and Ron Donaldson rounded out the top 10.

aug05-mdPlainfield's McKinney and Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford were in the top two starting positions in the Modified race. Four caution flags flew before three laps were completed in the 20-lap feature. McKinney and Ledford battled constantly for the lead with McKinney holding a slight advantage in the waning laps. McKinney held off Ledford by a car length for his fourth win of the 2017 season. “It was fun running against Jeffrey. I can’t count him out. It was a fun night of racing,” McKinney stated. Finishing third was Coal City’s Nick Clubb with Scott Heeren of Forreston in fourth and Fairbury’s Jeff Curl taking fifth place. Fairbury’s Jimmy Dehm led the second five with Bob Pohlman Jr., Jason Hastings, Dave Lilja, and Billy Puckett following. Heat winners were Clubb, Ledford, and McKinney. Ledford had fast time of the evening for the Modifieds with 13.741 seconds. Alex Graf won the semi feature.

aug05-spAlthough there were only seven cars for the Sportsman division, there was still some great racing despite four caution flags in the 15-lap feature. Onarga’s Nichoalds captured his eight win in the 2017 campaign and his sixth in a row. Chenoa’s Steve Mattingly and Nichoalds started with a one-two punch. Mattingly held a lead with 13 to go but soon found himself spinning in turn two and relinquished the lead to Nichoalds. Three more cautions didn’t phase the winner as he won by three car lengths over Brandon Pralle, Amber Crouch, Anthony Craven, Mattingly, Dustin Mounce, and Scott Williams. “It has been an unbelievable season” Nichoalds commented.

aug05-ssDwight’s Rick Thomas returned to victory lane for his 65th win of his career and his first win this season in the Street Stock group. Thomas took the lead from Curtis Radke and Joe Brown on the first lap but a caution flag would fly with just one lap into the 15-lap feature. Radke and Brown did not let Thomas get away and Radke took the lead from Thomas on the second lap before Thomas took it back with eight to go. Another caution flag drew the field closer to Thomas, but he took off from the group and won by a car length. Radke was second and following were Brown, Dane Arvin, Don Hilleary, Cody Clubb, Andy Thompson, 20th starter Michael Schomas, Matt Cleary, and Nick Seplak. “It just feels good to be here,” the 60-year old Thomas said. Brown, Matt Hammond, and Thomas were heat winners. Valerie Hurt won the semi feature, while Brown set fast time with 15.521 seconds.

aug05-hmThad Gee of Bloomington started on the pole and went on to score the Hobby Mod feature win. Mike Petersen was second, Brendan Patterson third, Makinzi Semmens fourth, and Haley Jones fifth. Macy Vaughan, Aaron Murphy, Jason Brandt, and Bryan Saner completed the field. Gee also took the heat race win.

Sheppard Cashes in on $3O,OOO Payday as he picks up his first PDC Victory; Harrison Rallies from 17th to win Modified Nationals Finale and Championship

pdc-logo17Late Model Results | Modified Results

by Darlene Miller

Consistency and patience were the big keys as 29 drivers took to the Fairbury American Legion Speedway for the 28th Annual Prairie Dirt Classic Saturday night. Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin used these traits to capture the $30,000 in the 100-lap feature and keep the big money in Illinois. The last Illinois driver to do this was in 2013 when Shannon Babb of Moweaqua took the prize. The World Of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series and DIRTcar Summit Modified Nationals drivers also did not disappoint the overflow crowd. Mike Harrison, the “Highland Hornet,” won the $5,000 purse in the Summit Racing Equipment Modified feature that also secured the championship of the SRE Nationals tour.

The top two finishers out of Friday night's Showdown races redrew for starting positions before the Late Model feature on Saturday. The “Georgia Bulldog” Shane Clanton, who started third, grabbed the quick lead over pole-sitter Devin Moran of Dresden Ohio when the green flag dropped. The first caution flag did not take long to come out as eight drivers were caught up in a crash just one lap in. Collected in the melee were Oakwood driver Bobby Pierce, Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., and Fairbury’s Scott Bull.

jul29-lmClanton grabbed the top spot again when the green flag waved again, followed closely by El Paso's Ryan Unzicker, Sheppard, and Moran. The foursome quickly encountered lapped traffic on the 10th lap. The crowd went crazy when Unzicker muscled into the lead from Clanton with 79 laps to go. Unzicker and Sheppard began to switch up the lead with 63 trips to go and Sheppard, riding the top side, finally got around Unzicker for the top spot. A caution flag came out with 57 laps to go slowed the field. Pierce and Owens had worked their way back up after the first lap incident to 11th and 12th.

Bloomington driver Jason Feger, who started fifth, made his presence felt as he got around Unzicker with 55 laps to go for the second spot. Three more cautions scrambled the field and new player Chris Simpson of Oxford, Ia., was now sitting in second. With 28 circuits remaining, the leaderboard showed Sheppard, Simpson, Feger, Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., and Unzicker in the top five. Then, with 25 laps to go, Moran who had faded back to the sixth spot, was back on the move. Moran, getting stronger with every lap, put his machine in second with 16 to go. The wild scramble was on with five laps to go as Unzicker was back up to third. With just under four to go, Unzicker, on the low side, was sitting in second behind Sheppard. Sheppard was able to hold off the tough competitors by two car lengths for the win.

“This car is ready to go when we take it out of the box,” said a happy Sheppard. “We have been consistent all year, this was an awesome race. My crew keeps working hard every night. I knew if we stayed consistent and do our job every night, the wins would come.” Unzicker, who finished second said, “Even though we were running second, it felt like a win tonight with these guys. I am thankful to be up front.” Third-place finisher Moran added, “We were not patient enough. We were playing catch up. It is our first time at FALS, and we’re proud of our car.”

Feger brought home fourth followed by Brian Shirley of Chatham, Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., Simpson, Clanton, Marlar, and Pierce. Martinsville, Ind., driver Don O’Neal won the $2,000-to-win Prairie Dirt Shootout and turned down the money “to race in the PDC.” O’Neal finished 18th in the big race. Semi-Feature wins went to Rick Eckert, Cody Mahoney, and Frank Heckenast Jr.

jul29-mdBefore the Modified feature, the top two finishers from Friday night redrew for position. Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford and Steven Brooks of New Lenox led the 26 drivers to the green flag in the 40-lap race. Ledford quickly established the top spot followed closely by fifth-place starter Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C. Caution flags were flying with just over 30 laps in the race as Harrison, who started 17th, had moved up to eighth place. Harrison then found himself in the fourth spot with 20 circuits to go as Hoffman took the lead from Ledford. Harrison got around Ledford with 17 laps to go and was in a clear battle with Hoffman. The pair were even with 12 trips to make and Harrison moved into the lead with 11 to go, holding off another charger in 10th starter Mike McKinney of Plainfield to take the win and tour title.

“We had a hard night (Friday) night and had to run the last-chance race,” said Harrison. “Give me little high side and I will make it work. I knew if I stayed out of trouble and bided my time, the win would come.” McKinney took second, Hoffman was third, with Brooks and 21st starter Ashley Newman of Ripley, Tenn. completing the top five. Josh Rice of Verona, Ky., led the second five with Ashmore's Danny Schwartz, Jacob Poel of Spring Lake Mich., Fairbury’s Jeff Curl, and Tyler Nicely of Owensboro, Ky., in tow. Harrison, Lucas Lee of Paris, Tenn., and Buffalo's Jeff Leka were semi-feature winners.


Sheppard Tops Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury

LM Story by WoO

The World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series and the team at Fairbury American Legion Speedway made history on Saturday night during the 28th annual Prairie Dirt Classic as the highest paying race to ever take place in the state of Illinois with a $30,000 payout. Brandon Sheppard wheeled his way to victory on Saturday night ultimately breaking a three-year winless streak for Illinois-drivers at the event.

The two-day show saw 65 of the nation’s best Dirt Late Model drivers compete on the Fairbury, Ill stage. The standing room only crowd nearly tripled the size of the all-American city as fans traveled from far and wide to experience one of the most anticipated Dirt Late Model events of the year.

The 28th annual Prairie Dirt Classic did not disappoint as the semi-banked quarter-mile dirt oval produced multiple lanes of racing every time cars hit the track. The 100-lap feature event was no exception, as three different drivers took command of the lead during the race including Shane Clanton, Ryan Unzicker, and eventual winner, Brandon Sheppard.

“This car is awesome every night we take it out of the box,” said Sheppard on his 11th win with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series. “I have to thank my crew Dan, Austin, Joel, Mark, little Brian, everyone at Keyser Manufacturing, Durham Racing Engines they all keep this thing going night in and night out. I have to also thank my Dad and my Grandpa. I wouldn’t have a racing career if it wasn’t for them.”

Sheppard led 69 laps of the 100-lap event, taking total control over the lead on lap 40. He was even able to defend his lead after three restarts.

Several cars juggled positions behind the Rocket1 often battling four-wide for the final two podium positions including Unzicker, Clanton, Devin Moran, Jason Feger, Chris Simpson, Brian Shirley, and Mike Marlar.

The fight for second and third came down to the last lap as Unzicker passed Moran on lap 99 to finish second in the 29-car feature.

“I tell you what, this feels freaking awesome running second to these guys,” said Unzicker. “It feels like I’m winning a million.”

Earlier in the day during the redraw, Unzicker was explaining to Series Announcer, Rick Eshelman, that he would be satisfied with a top-five finish because he had not made the show the past three years he entered into the Prairie Dirt Classic.

“This thing ran great tonight,” said Unzicker. “I was just thankful to be up there and running with these guys. Our car was pretty decent but these guys are damn good. It was a hell of a racetrack and it was ‘falsy’.

Devin Moran finished two spots shy of sweeping the weekend. On Friday, Moran turned the fastest lap during qualifying with a 12.627-second lap. The Rookie of the Year Contender then went on to lead every lap of the first of four Showdown Features to claim the win, ultimately placing him in the redraw for the 100-lap main event. Moran’s luck continued on Saturday as he pulled the no. one wrench from the Craftsman tool box putting him on the pole for his first time at the Prairie Dirt Classic.

Moran was passed on the first lap by Clanton who started directly behind him in third. Clanton led the first 23-laps of the 100-lap feature before getting passed by relentless track-regular, Unzicker. Within the first six-laps Moran had fallen outside of the top-five but the long-distance race granted him time to find his way back to the front of the pack.

“I wasn’t quite patient enough,” said Moran. “I kind of blew the deck out of it there at the end but congrats to [Sheppard and his crew] they’ve been on their own speed level this year and we are still just trying to play catch up. We got close there tonight but we just fell back too far early in the race and that just killed us. It’s our first time at FALS so we will definitely take a third-place finish.”

Highland's Mike Harrison rallied from deep in the field to capture the $5,000 DIRTcar Summit Modified Nationals finale. With the win, Harrison overtook Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., to claim the Modified Nationals title by three points. Mike McKinney of Plainfield was second, Hoffman third, New Lenox's Steven Brooks fourth, and 21st starter Ashley Newman of Ripley, Tenn., rounded out the top five.

Moran, Clanton, Sheppard, Marlar Capture Showdown Wins on Opening Night of PDC; Davenport, Miller, Bollinger, Hoffman Take Modified Nationals Victories

LM Story by WoO

pdc-logo17Late Model Results | Modified Results

One of the most anticipated Late Model events in the country kicked off Friday evening at Fairbury American Legion Speedway with the running of the 28th annual Prairie Dirt Classic. Friday’s portion of the two-day show topped the charts of the 2017 season with the most cars entered in a World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series event with 65 Late Models in attendance. Late Model drivers from across the nation collided on the Fairbury, IL stage in hopes of walking away with a portion of the $93,000 purse. Friday’s portion of the two-day show set the stage for the 100-lap main event on Saturday with four showdown features taking place. The top four drivers from each showdown secured their position in the Prairie Dirt Classic with the top two finishers headed to the redraw. On Saturday, two Last Chance Showdowns will take place allowing six additional drivers to fight for their spot in the main event alongside four provisional positions to create a 26-car field for the 100-lap program.

Dyer's Top Rods Showdown Feature No. 1

jul28-lm1Devin Moran was a man on a mission during the first of four showdown features. He led every lap of the 25-lap feature over Jason Feger who was relentlessly trying to reel the Rookie of the Year contender in. By the time the checker flag fell, Moran had created 4.703-seconds between him and the rest of the field. Moran’s dominating performance proved he remained the fastest car on the track after grabbing quick-time earlier in the day. “Tomorrow night is going to be a long race and I’m not sure they will have the track the same,” said Moran. “I think we have to get a little better but I was pretty decent. We’ll just go back there and keep working on it.” McKay Wenger and Michael Kloos finished third and fourth respectively to secure the final transfer spots from the Dyer’s Top Rods sponsored Showdown.

Pontiac RV Showdown Feature No. 2

jul28-lm2Shane Clanton and Shannon Babb started in the front row of the Pontiac RV showdown where they ran side-by-side around the track in what looked like was going to shape up to a great battle for 25-laps. Unfortunately for Babb, he climbed the wall in turn two on lap two and was forced to retire from the race. Tyler Erb was next to battle Clanton before he followed in Babb’s misfortune ultimately leaving the race due to mechanical failures. Clanton then controlled the feature for the remainder of the event over a battle for second between Ryan Unzicker and Brian Shirley. “That was a work out right there,” said Clanton. “Our car is as good as it is … I hope tomorrow night we have a good enough car to last 100 laps here. 100 laps is a long time around here.” Dennis Erb Jr. wheeled his way from a 10th place start to claim the final transfer position from the second 25-lap feature.

FK Rod Ends Showdown Feature No. 3

jul28-lm3Chris Madden led the way for the first 17-laps of the 25-lap feature over a juggling match between five cars for the remaining three transfer spots involving Chris Simpson, Gordy Gundaker, Brandon Sheppard, Bobby Pierce, and Frank Heckenast Jr. Sheppard patiently waited to make his move on Madden and on lap-18 he saw the opportunity to slide pass the race long leader on the high side of the track nearly clipping the nose of the no. 44 machine in the process. “The track was a little bit treacherous up there but you know it’s FALS, if you can get up there to make it happen, you can make it happen.” said Sheppard. “Hats off to both Chris’ they did a good job and had some smooth lines running. They also probably don’t have as much stuff tore up as I do but we got it done and we got in the redraw. That’s the biggest thing. Getting in the redraw.” With only four laps remaining, Pierce was able to pass Madden for the final spot in the redraw. Madden ended up finishing third and Simpson fourth.

WEHRS Machine Showdown Feature No. 4

jul28-lm4Mike Marlar led all 25-laps of the qualifying feature despite one mistake that almost cost him his victory. On lap 17, Marlar jumped the cushion ultimately losing his momentum on the backstretch. It was then Don O’Neal who paid the price as he was hit from behind bringing out the caution on the same lap. “I really got lucky there,” said Marlar. “I don’t know how everyone didn’t pass me. It looks like it cost O’Neal to get his car tore up and I hate that but I just got over that edge… We have a stellar field here with some of the best guys in the country so it’s a tough deal to get in from the heat race. We should have an awesome race tomorrow.” Rick Eckert had been steadily running second behind Marlar while fending off multiple charges from Tim McCreadie. On lap 20, McCreadie was able to pass Eckert followed by Jimmy Owens and Chris Ferguson who also found their way around the no. 7 by the time the checkers fell.


72 DIRTcar Summit Modified drivers were on hand hoping to grab one of the four transfer spots in four 20-lap Showdown Features and lock themselves into Saturday night's $5,000 championship finale. In the first showdown, Tait Davenport of Paducah, Ky., took the win and was followed by group fast qualifier Steven Brooks of New Lenox, Tyler Nicely of Owensboro, Ky., and Jacob Poel of Spring Lake, Mich. Davenport told the crowd he enjoyed the atmosphere at the Fairbury track and was glad to hang on to his top finish.

Clayton Miller of Elkton, Ky., was victorious by seven car-lengths in the second showdown. Derrick Ramey of Huntersville, N.C., Brian Shaw of Robinson, and Josh Harris of Utica, Ky., also advanced. Miller was skeptical of the topside, but “I made it stick,” he said.

Kewanee's Ray Bollinger started on the pole of the third showdown by virtue of his overall fastest qualifying lap. He took the lead with six laps to go and went on to score the win. He was followed by Jeffrey Ledford of Pontiac, Mike McKinney of Plainfield, and David Stremme of Mooresville, N.C. “This track is awesome,” Bollinger said, adding he knew the top was the place to be during the race.

The final showdown featured the top two in Modified Nationals points and it was current points leader Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C. capturing the flag-to-flag victory. Josh Rice of Verona, Ky., 18th starter Levi Kissinger of Mount Vernon, Ind., and Danny Schwartz of Ashmore also transferred. Highland's Mike Harrison, who trails Hoffman by 17 points, limped to a fifth place finish after mechanical trouble late forcing him to one of the last chance races on Saturday. “This was my first win at FALS, which was pretty cool,” Hoffman said.

Macedo Sweeps Land of Lincoln Trek

by Rocky Ragusa

Winged 410 Sprint Cars made their first appearance to the Fairbury American Legion Speedway Saturday night in nearly 15 years. A large crowd was on hand as California’s Carson Macedo (Sprint Car), Frank Heckenast Jr. (Late Model), and Mike McKinney (Modified) grabbed the hardware.

jul15-sprThe Interstate Racing Association and Midwest Open Wheel co-sanctioned Sprint Car race drew 39 drivers to the 1/4-mile dirt oval. Twelve drivers broke the old track record in qualifying as Carson Macedo turned a 11.219 to earn fast time honors. Four heat races were held as Macedo, Kody Kinser, Dave Uttech, and Jeremy Schultz advanced to the 30-lap feature. Bret Tripplett was the winner of the B-Main. In the $3,000 to win race, Schultz took an early lead with Tayler Malsam and Scotty Thiel following. Macedo started fifth and was on the move. He quickly moved in to second and executed a slide job on Schultz to take the top position on the 11th lap, as Thiel followed. In the waning laps, Bill Balog looked to have the fastest car on the track. Using slower traffic, Balog worked his way by Thiel but ran out of laps in his bid to catch Macedo. After taking the win the previous night at Lincoln, Macedo commented in victory lane. “This track reminds me of one back home. You have to get up there on the curb and let it rip around there. I can’t say enough about my team. They give me a car that can win about every single night. It’s all I can ask for.” Following Macedo to the line were Balog, Thiel, Paul Nienhiser, Schultz, Malsam, Blake Nimee, Tripplett, Kinser, and Kris Spitz.

jul15-lmAfter the World of Outlaws race was rained out in Brainerd, Minnesota, Frankfort’s Frank Heckenast Jr. made the journey to Fairbury to tune up for the upcoming Prairie Dirt Classic. Engaging in a see-saw battle with his cousin, Mike Spatola, Heckenast was able to capitalize on Spatola’s misfortune on the last lap of the 30-lap, I Beam Sliding Door Late Model $2,000 to win race. With the checkered flag in sight, Spatola cut a tire down as the two roared down the backstretch giving Heckenast the lead and his first career win at Fairbury. “This place is awesome,” spoke Heckenast. “I always enjoy racing here when I can. Mike definitely had the better car. Running with the World of Outlaws I have learned you have to be there at the end and stay up on the wheel.” Spatola hung on for second, followed by Daniel Flessner, McKay Wenger, Mike Mataragas, 11th starter Jay Morris, Donny Walden, Kevin Weaver, Rickey Frankel, and Mike Glasscock. Heckenast was the night’s fast qualifier and took one heat race, while Mataragas was the other heat race winner.

jul15-mdIn the Varsitee Screen Printing 25-lap $1,000 to win Modified race, Plainfield’s Mike McKinney found a groove that worked for his car and was able to pick up his third win of the year. In a race-long battle with Steven Brooks and Jeffrey Ledford that saw the trio use every inch of the track, McKinney was able to open up a ten car length lead after a caution with eight laps to go, holding off Ledford and Brooks for the win. Logan Rogers, Jeff Curl, Derick Doerr, Jimmy Dehm, Alan Stipp, Michael Mennel, and Dave Lilja completed the top ten. “I had to work for that one,” said McKinney. “It wore me out racing with Jeffrey and Steven. In these conditions, it was pretty tough, but I stuck to the middle groove and the car worked.”