Richards Sweeps Prairie Dirt Classic Weekend

by World of Outlaws

Josh Richards completed the “Prairie Dirt Classic” sweep Saturday night in front of a packed house, winning the 100-lap finale at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. The victory was Richards’ 11th of the season and his 69th of his career in the series.

“To win this race at Fairbury, it’s one I’ve always looked forward to,” Richards said. “It’s cool to finally get one.”

Richards, starting 11th in the feature, worked his way to the top gradually. While he was in the pursuit of the podium, race leader Steve Casebolt – who led the field into the green flag – established himself on the top cushion of the 1/4-mile oval.

In the opening laps, Casebolt extended his lead to nearly four seconds, while the trio of drivers behind him spanned three-wide among the width of the track. On lap 15, Casebolt broke into lapped traffic – using the nose of his car to wedge himself through the field. Don O’Neal capitalized on the three-way battle, side-skirting the completion into second position. O’Neal used the bottom of the track for the majority of the race.

Tim McCreadie, who was one of the players in the three-car shootout, was able to break away from the other two. He challenged O’Neal for the runner-up spot. O’Neal had nothing for McCreadie, losing the battle. All the while, Richards gained enough momentum to challenge a fading O’Neal for the third spot; Richards eventually won the battle. Back-to-back cautions not only instantly diminished Casebolt’s 3.664-second lead, but his car experienced mechanical problems prompting the second caution. It took him out of contention as he could not finish the race.

Richards used the top groove as his route to the top, though in the process his No. 1 Valvoline/ Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket car suffered some minor left-rear body damage. Illinois-native Bobby Pierce followed suit, riding the cushion with Richards. The nose of Pierce’s car ended up pitching the car airborne, causing another caution to regroup the field.

On the restart, Richards secured the top of the track, and McCreadie and O’Neal soon revisited their battle below him. Shane Clanton and his No. 25 Weldbank Energy/ Coopers Meat Packers Capital car entered the battle three laps into the halfway point of the race. Again, a three-way battle was to determine who would take second position. The battle lasted nearly 10 laps, but Clanton came out on top.

Following the battle, McCreadie fell back into fourth position with Dennis Erb Jr.’s No. 28E J.R. McBride Leasing/ McBride Mack Black Diamond nipping at his heels. With 40 laps remaining, Erb overtook McCreadie for third position; O’Neal lost enough momentum battling Richards, which left the door open for Erb and Clanton to pass him from both sides of the track. Erb was next to challenge Richards following the race’s final caution with 26 laps remaining, but he came up short.

“We just had one heck of a race at the end,” Erb said. “I have a lot of respect for [Josh] and these other guys out here. We all wanted to race hard, and we all want to win. But we have to go out there and respect each other, too. It could have went either way. We’re just happy to come home with second.”

Richards relived a similar fight for first from earlier this season at “The Dream.” Erb ended up passing Richards that night, winning the event. Richards evened-up the score at Fairbury.

“I’ll tell you, [Dennis] is one of the best guys in the country with these long races,” Richards said. “He paced himself around the bottom and I saw him a couple of times. The top was good early, and when you’re leading you’re sometimes a sitting duck. This track had not one preferred groove.”

Though Richards did not build a comfort zone between Erb and Clanton for the next 30 laps, the closest the two ever got to him was 0.498 of a second. Erb and Clanton battled briefly for the second spot, but Erb was able to keep Clanton at bay. From there, the podium did not change.

“The outside was treacherous,” said Clanton, who could not overtake Erb in the final laps. “It was overall a good weekend. Hopefully we can keep running consistent top five finishes, and the wins will take care of themselves.”

Jonathan Davenport, who won the non-qualifier, opted to forfeit the $2,000 purse to be added to the 100-lap feature. Dvenport finished 28th.

27th Annual Prairie Dirt Classic (100 laps): 1. 1- Josh Richards [11] [$32,850]; 2. 28E- Dennis Erb Jr. [16] [$10,600]; 3. 25- Shane Clanton [5] [$7,300]; 4. 5- Don O’Neal [8] [$5,500]; 5. 18b- Shannon Babb [9] [$4,050]; 6. 7- Rick Eckert [17] [$4,300]; 7. 39- Tim McCreadie [4] [$5,350]; 8. 3s- Brian Shirley [21] [$3,250]; 9. 18- Eric Wells [24] [$3,050]; 10. 99jr- Frank Heckenast Jr. [7] [$2,650]; 11.15L- Darrell Lanigan [15] [$2,050]; 12. 0- Jake O’Neil [20] [$1,800]; 13. 15- Steve Francis [12] [$1,800]; 14. 14m- Morgan Bagley [27] [$700]; 15. 21JR- Billy Moyer Jr. [13] [$2,500]; 16. 15v- Kolby Vanderbergh [26] [$2,130]; 17. 76- Brandon Overton [25] [$2,110]; 18. B12- Kevin Weaver [10] [$2,040]; 19. 35- Derek Chandler [6] [$2,720]; 20. 1*- Chub Frank [19] [$2,050]; 21. Z- Joe Harlan [14] [$3,500]; 22. 99B- Boom Briggs [28] [$475]; 23. 32- Bobby Pierce [22] [$2,200]; 24. 6k- Michael Kloos [18] [$1,500]; 25. 83- Scott Bull [25] [$2,100]; 26. c9- Steve Casebolt [1] [$2,550]; 27. 89- Mike Spatola [2] [$2,400]; 28. 6- Jonathan Davenport [28] [$1,500]; 29. 10- Scott Schmitt [26] [$1,500]

7th Annual Prairie Dirt Shootout $2,000 Non-Qualifiers' Race (25 laps - Winner Takes Money or Transfers to PDC): 1. 6- Jonathan Davenport, 2. 18c- Chase Junghans; 3. 21- Billy Moyer; 4. 1P- Earl Pearson Jr.; 5.77M- Jay Morris; 6. 2c- Joey Coulter; 7. 99B- Boom Briggs; 8. 4- Bob Gardner; 9. 7T- Steve Thorsten; 10. 33- Billy Hough; 11. 14- Glen Thompson; 12. 24- Ryan Unzicker; 13. 91- Tyler Erb; 14. 25F- Jason Feger; 15. 11- Austin Smith; 16. 12- Jason Jameson; 17. 25z- Mason Zeigler; 18. 9D- Daniel Flessner; 19. 98- Cole Swibold; 20. 45- Don Hammer

Last-Chance Showdown No. 1 (20 laps - Top 2 Transfer): 1. 1*- Chub Frank; 2. 3s- Brian Shirley; 3. 6- Jonathan Davenport; 4. 24- Ryan Unzicker; 5. 12- Jason Jameson; 6. 99B- Boom Briggs; 7. 91- Tyler Erb; 8. 77M- Jay Morris; 9. 25F- Jason Feger; 10. 18- Eric Wells; 11. 98- Cole Swibold; 12. 14m- Morgan Bagley; 13. 33- Billy Hough; 14. 14- Glen Thompson; 15. 9- Lyle Zanker; 17. 22- Chris Ferguson; 18. 10- Scott Schmitt; 19. 76-Brandon Overton (DNS)

Last-Chance Showdown No. 2 (20 laps - Top 2 Transfer): 1. 0- Jake O’Neil; 2. 32- Bobby Pierce; 3. 1P- Earl Pearson Jr.; 4. 18c- Chase Junghans; 5. 11- Austin Smith; 6. 4- Bob Gardner; 7. 25z- Mason Zeigler; 8. 21- Billy Moyer Jr.; 9. 2c- Joey Coulter; 10. 9D- Daniel Flessner; 11. 45- Don Hammer; 12. 7T- Steve Thorsten; 13. 38c- John Gardner Jr.; 14. 11G- Gordy Gundaker; 15. 2M- Allen Murray; 16. 75- Gary Turpin; 17. D2- Snookie Dehm; 18. R1- Riley Hickman; 19. 83- Scott Bull

Kissinger Scores Modified Nationals Championship Race Win; Hoffman Crowned Champion

by DIRTcar

The 2016 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals went out with a bang on Saturday night at Fairbury American Legion Speedway as Levi Kissinger scored a birthday win at the Prairie Dirt Classic and Nick Hoffman claimed the series championship, his first.

Kissinger, who started the night’s feature in third, hung tough throughout much of the 40 laps, biding his time to take on Jeff Leka who led through much of the FALS feature. Through the closing laps, Kissinger took over the top spot and celebrated his 29th birthday with a $5,000 victory. Kissinger joined a stout field of competitors who stood in victory lane throughout the season, in capturing his first Modified Nationals victory of the year.

Joining in the festivities on Saturday night was Mooresville, N.C.’s Nick Hoffman who continued his phenomenal season by holding off the reigning champion Mike Harrison to score his first ever Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals championship. Hoffman shot out of the gate on the rain-delayed opening night at Kankakee and despite being challenged late by Harrison, was the class of the field through the month-long stretch.

Hoffman, who won six times throughout the grueling summer season finished 13th on Saturday night. The accolades add to a year that has included numerous wins and a DIRTcar Nationals title and the coveted ‘Big Gator’ trophy.

Qualifying Group A: 1-Jeff Leka 13.697

Qualifying Group B: 1-Tyler Nicely 13.934

Heat 1 (Top 2 Transfer): 1-Jeff Leka, 2-Josh Harris

Heat 2 (Top 2 Transfer): 1-Levi Kissinger, 2-Matt Cooper

Heat 3 (Top 2 Transfer): 1-Brent Mullins, 2-Jeffrey Ledford

Heat 4 (Top 2 Transfer): 1-Tyler Nicely, 2-Chad Kinder

Heat 5 (Top 2 Transfer): 1-Cory Daugherty, 2-Jay Ledford

Heat 6 (Top 2 Transfer): 1-Ray Bollinger, 2-David Stremme

Semi Feature 1 (Top 3 Transfer): 1-Rodney Standerfer, 2-Steven Brooks, 3-Trent Young

Semi Feature 2 (Top 3 Transfer): 1-Nick Hoffman, 2-Mike Harrison, 3-Curt Spalding

Scramble 1: 1-Brandon McDowell

Scramble 2: 1-Danny Schwartz

Modified Nationals Championship Race (40 laps): 1. 8K-Levi Kissinger; 2. 16C-Josh Harris; 3. 3L-Jeff Leka; 4. 25-Tyler Nicely; 5. 41M-Brent Mullins; 6. 18C-Matt Cooper; 7. 24H-Mike Harrison; 8. 22S-Chad Kinder; 9. 96M-Mike McKinney; 10. 77-Ray Bollinger; 11. 18L-Jeffery Ledford; 12. 35S-David Stremme; 13. 2-Nick Hoffman; 14. 10Y-Trent Young; 15. 7L-Jay Ledford; 16. 28-Rodney Standerfer; 17. 12-Jeff Curl; 18. 96-Cory Daugherty; 19. 13-Luke Gash; 20. 5-Steven Brooks; 21. 12LL-Lucas Lee; 22. 83-Nathan Balensiefen; 23. 111-Curt Spalding; 24. D1-Lance Dehm

Richards Races His Way from 1Oth to Win #FALS Draw

by World of Outlaws

Josh Richards successfully made a late-dash for the lead Friday night, winning the second annual #FALS Draw Shootout. The preliminary was a part of the “Prairie Dirt Classic” at Fairbury American Legion Speedway, which is wholly a two-day program ending with a World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series sanctioned 100-lap feature.

“It sure feels good to be in victory lane,” Richards said. “I know tomorrow is really when it counts, but these guys are all extremely tough. This is probably the toughest local crowd you can ever come to. We gambled on tires a little bit, and the car was great. It worked. We have 100 laps tomorrow, and that’s a big difference.”

The 25-lap feature began in a deficit for Richards, who started 10th in an 18-car field. Local favorite Kevin Weaver led the group into the green flag. Weaver, lacking the gusto he needed to ride the top cushion effectively, began to lose his grip on the lead within the first five laps.

El Paso, Ill. native Joe Harlan took three shots at the lead with his No. Z Dyers Top Rods/ Clark Farms Longhorn machine following the race’s first of two cautions on the second lap. Though the first two attempts fell short – Harlan tried to muscle his way under Weaver both times entering turn three – his final effort was enough in turn two to make the pass. Harlan took sole possession of the lead after Weaver skimmed the wall.

While Harlan made the jump for first, Richards was on all 800-plus horses in his No. 1 Valvoline/ Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket car, charging toward the front. Richards kept his car in the lowest groove, inches away from the inside tire barriers scattered in each turn. Richards filed behind Pontiac, Ill. driver Derek Chandler in this sequence; the duo pushed the surrounding field into the higher grooves, gaining positions on Harlan with 14 laps remaining.

Weaver left room for Richards to capitalize on second position with 10 laps remaining; Weaver tapped the wall in turn two again, breaking his momentum. From there, Richards readjusted to the middle groove, where he was able to pick up more speed than Harlan. Three laps later, Richards closed within 0.188 seconds of Harlan. He eventually took the top spot with six laps to go, carrying more speed than Harlan exiting turn four with six laps left in the feature.

Richards was not challenged for the lead from thereon out; it seemed Harlan would have to settle for a runner-up finish. But Tim McCreadie, who made his way up from a 12th place start, was able to reel-in Harlan in the final laps with his No. 39 Sweeteners Plus/ F.K. Rod Ends Longhorn car.

“I think we got Josh a little better, but I feel like we have some things to work on,” said McCreadie, looking forward to Saturday’s 100-lapper. “The middle [groove] lays down a little more dirt and Josh was running the middle. So I figured, ‘Well it must be decent enough.’ I went there the next couple of laps, felt good and it got us all the way to second. I have no complaints. It was a good night.”

Harlan said throughout the race, dropping back to a third place finish was not because his car was fading. Rather, the other two cars became quicker as the race progressed.

“We got a good draw,” said Harlan, who started the race in fourth position. “The car rotated well around the bottom, but we ended up getting the lead when we went to the high-side. I just tried to run good, consistent laps. But, Josh moved to the middle groove and got around us. We didn’t slow down too much throughout the race. They just got a little faster.”

#FALS Draw (25 laps): 1. 1- Josh Richards [10] [$5,000]; 2. 39- Tim McCreadie [12] [$2,500]; 3. Z- Joe Harlan [4] [$1,500]; 4. 35- Derek Chandler [6] [$1,200]; 5. 21- Billy Moyer [16] [$1,000]; 6. 89- Mike Spatola [2] [$900]; 7. 25F- Jason Feger [3] [$800]; 8. 32- Bobby Pierce [11] [$700]; 9. 83- Scott Bull [7] [$600]; 10. c9- Steve Casebolt [14] [$500]; 11. 7T- Steve Thorsten [5] [$500]; 12. 25- Shane Clanton [9] [$500]; 13. 6- Jonathan Davenport [8] [$500]; 14. B12- Kevin Weaver [1] [$500]; 15. 7- Rick Eckert [13] [$500]; 16. 28E- Dennis Erb Jr. [18] [$500]; 17. 15v- Kolby Vanderbergh [17] [$500]; 18. 22- Chris Ferguson [16] [$500]

Prairie Dirt Classic Friday Results

Qualifying Group A: 1. 15v- Kolby Vanderbergh, 12.932; 2. 5- Don O’Neal, 13.008; 3. 18- Eric Wells, 13.058; 4. 1*- Chub Frank, 13.060; 5. c9- Steve Casebolt, 13.068; 6. 18b- Shannon Babb, 13.093; 7. 10- Scott Schmitt, 13.105; 8. 1m- Mike Mataragas, 13.116; 9. 77M- Jay Morris, 13.145; 10. 99jr- Frank Heckenast Jr., 13.146; 11. 2c- Joey Coulter, 13.166; 12. 15L- Darrell Lanigan, 13.188; 13. 21JR- Billy Moyer Jr., 13.209; 14. 32- Bobby Pierce, 13.214; 15. 12- Jason Jameson, 13.224; 16. 22- Chris Ferguson, 13.253; 17. Z- Joe Harlan, 13.297; 18. 99B- Boom Briggs, 13.391; 19. 91- Tyler Erb, 13.393; 20. 83- Scott Bull, 13.394; 21. 22*- G.R. Smith, 13.395; 22. 6- Jonathan Davenport, 13.484; 23. 7s- Jay Sparks, 13.508; 24. R1- Riley Hickman, 13.513; 25. 33- Billy Hough, 13.545; 26. 7T- Steve Thorsten, 13.990; 27. 98- Cole Swibold, 14.026; 28. 14- Glen Thompson, 14.154; 29. 4- Bob Gardner, 14.154; 30. 25-Shane Clanton (DNS)

Qualifying Group B: 1. B12- Kevin Weaver, 12.837; 2. 1- Josh Richards, 12.920; 3. 39- Tim McCreadie, 12.996; 4. 89- Mike Spatola, 13.023; 5. 76- Brandon Overton, 13.081; 6. 6K- Michael Kloos, 13.104; 7. 28E- Dennis Erb Jr., 13.111; 8. 35- Derek Chandler, 13.146; 9. 11G- Gordy Gundaker, 13.159; 10. 18c- Chase Junghans, 13.204; 11. 3s- Brian Shirley, 13.214; 12. 9D- Daniel Flessner, 13.231; 13. 0- Jake O’Neal, 13.260; 14. 7- Rick Eckert, 13.286; 15. 15- Steve Francis, 13.287; 16. 21- Billy Moyer, 13.306; 17. 25F- Jason Feger, 13.355; 18. 25z- Mason Zeigler, 13.366; 19. 2M- Allen Murray, 13.420; 20. 24- Ryan Unzicker, 13.436; 21. 1P- Earl Pearson Jr., 13.437; 22. 45- Don Hammer, 13.461; 23. 4G- Kody Evans, 13.481; 24. 11- Austin Smith, 13.491; 25. 9- Lyle Zanker, 13.542; 26. 14M- Morgan Bagley, 13.571; 27. D2- Snooky Dehm, 13.649; 28. 38c- John Gardner Jr., 13.719; 29. 75- Gary Turpin, 14.162

Heat No. 1 (15 laps- Top 3 Transfer): 1. 15v- Kolby Vanderbergh; 2. 99jr- Frank Heckenast Jr.; 3. 21JR- Billy Moyer Jr.; 4. 1*- Chub Frank; 5. 6- Jonathan Davenport; 6. 10- Scott Schmitt; 7. 22- Chris Ferguson; 8. 91- Tyler Erb; 9. 33- Billy Hough; 10. 14- Glen Thompson

Heat No. 2 (15 laps- Top 3 Transfer): 1. c9- Steve Casebolt; 2. 5- Don O’Neal; 3. Z- Joe Harlan; 4. 32- Bobby Pierce; 5. 4- Bob Gardner; 6. 83- Scott Bull; 7. 7T- Steve Thorsten; 8. 1m- Mike Mataragas; 9. 2c- Joey Coulter; 10. 7s- Jay Sparks

Heat No. 3 (15 laps- Top 3 Transfer): 1. 25- Shane Clanton; 2. 18b- Shannon Babb; 3. 15L- Darrell Lanigan; 4. 12- Jason Jameson; 5. 99B- Boom Briggs; 6. 98- Cole Swibold; 7. 77M- Jay Morris; 8. 22*- G.R. Smith; 9. 18- Eric Wells; R1- Riley Hickman (DNS)

Heat No. 4 (15 laps- Top 3 Transfer): 1. 89- Mike Spatola; 2. B12- Kevin Weaver; 3. 28E- Dennis Erb Jr.; 4. 0- Jake O’Neal; 5. 18c- Chase Junghans; 6. 2M- Allen Murray; 7. 21- Billy Moyer; 8. 45- Don Hammer; 9. 38c- John Gardner Jr.; 10. 9- Lyle Zanker

Heat No. 5 (15 laps- Top 3 Transfer): 1. 35- Derek Chandler; 2. 1- Josh Richards; 3. 7- Rick Eckert; 4. 3s- Brian Shirley; 5. 24- Ryan Unzicker; 6. 25F- Jason Feger; 7. 14M- Morgan Bagley; 8. 76- Brandon Overton; 9. 4G- Kody Evans; 10. 75- Gary Turpin

Heat No. 6 (15 laps- Top 3 Transfer): 1. 39- Tim McCreadie; 2. 15- Steve Francis; 3. 6K- Michael Kloos; 4. 1P- Earl Pearson Jr.; 5. 25z- Mason Zeigler; 6. 9D- Daniel Flessner; 7. 11- Austin Smith; 8. D2- Snooky Dehm; 9. 11G- Gordy Gundaker

Young Captures AMS All-Star Shootout

by American Modified Series

The Summit Racing Equipment American Modified Series returned to Fairbury’s American Legion Speedway on Saturday evening for the AMS All-Star Shootout that was postponed due to rain on May 28 after the heats and first B-Main and Trent Young of Hopkinsville, KY would score his fifth series win of the season. The win would be worth $2,000.

Ray Bollinger and Jay Ledford would battle for the lead on the opening two circuits before taking command on lap 3 as the first of eight cautions waved. Bollinger would again be pressured by Ledford until Ledford would take the lead on a restart on lap 10. Ledford would keep command of the lead, while Bollinger and 7th place starting Mike Harrison would engage in an entertaining battle for second and would close in on Ledford by lap 20. However, disaster would strike for Bollinger and Harrison as the duo would tangle in turn one on lap 25 and Mike McKinney would also be collected, with his mount flipping to trigger a red flag situation. The restart would now see 6th place starter Trent Young now be in second and as the pair battled for the lead, contact occurred between the duo exiting turn two on lap 26 and Young would take lead, with Ledford pulling to the infield with a flat right-front tire. Young would lead the way to the checkered flag, with hard charger Jeff Curl advancing from 18th to finish second, while Josh Harris would claim third. Matt Cooper and Lance Dehm would complete the top five.

The remainder of the top ten at the completion of the AMS All-Star Shootout A-Main would be Steven Brooks, Brian Shaw, Jeffrey Ledford, Bollinger, and Luke Gash. The event would slowed by eight caution periods, one of which resulted in a red flag.

In preliminary action, Jay Ledford was the top qualifier among 41 entries at 14.148 seconds. Heat one went to Ray Bollinger, while Jeffrey Ledford scored the win in heat two. Heat three went to Jay Ledford, with Tait Davenport winning heat four. The B-Mains were won by Jeff Leka and Tyler Nicely, while Mark Lamont and John Clippinger would be the series provisional starters.

Heat #1 (top 4 transfer): Ray Bollinger, Steven Brooks, Levi Kissinger, Lance Dehm, Jeff Leka, Brandon Roberts, Ryan Thomas, Dave Mitchell, Lucas Lee, John Clippinger, Jeff Winterland

Heat #2 (top 4 transfer): Jeffrey Ledford, Mike Harrison, Mike McKinney, Josh Harris, Nick Clubb, Brian Lynn, Chris Gaither, Mark Lamont, T.D. Burger, Jimmy Farris, Jr.

Heat #3 (top 4 transfer): Jay Ledford, Matt Cooper, Brian Shaw, Luke Gash, Tyler Nicely, Austin Lynn, Dave Dulceak, Dustin Mounce, Collin Thirlby, Darren Christensen

Heat #4 (top 4 transfer): Tait Davenport, Trent Young, Vince Cooper, Nathan Balenstien, Josh Allen, Rodney Bowman, Jeff Curl, Jared Cagley, Joseph Gillespie, Chad Kinder

B-Main #1 (top 2 transfer): Jeff Leka, Brandon Roberts, Brian Lynn, Nick Clubb, Lucas Lee, Dave Mitchell, Jimmy Farris, Jr., Mark Lamont, Jeff Winterland, Ryan Thomas, T.D. Burger, Chris Gaither, John Clippinger

B-Main #2 (top 2 transfer): Tyler Nicely, Jeff Curl, Josh Allen, Jared Cagley, Joseph Gillespie, Dave Dulceak, Dustin Mounce, Darren Christensen (DNS: Austin Lynn, Rodney Bowman, Collin Thirlby, Chad Kinder)

AMS All-Star Shootout: Trent Young, Jeff Curl, Josh Harris, Matt Cooper, Lance Dehm, Steven Brooks, Brian Shaw, Jeffrey Ledford, Ray Bollinger, Luke Gash, Brandon Roberts, John Clippinger, Jay Ledford, Mike Harrison, Mike McKinney, Nathan Balenstien, Levi Kissinger, Mark Lamont, Jeff Leka, Tyler Nicely (DNS: Tait Davenport, Vince Cooper)

Race Leaders: 3 (Ray Bollinger 1-9, Jay Ledford 10-25, Trent Young 26-30)

Albus Prevails in Photo Finish to Win Eden-Piercy Memorial

by Darlene Miller

Track officials tried to combat oppressively high temperatures by starting races one hour later, but there was still plenty of heat with some photo finishes at Fairbury American Legion Speedway Saturday night. Along with the later start, officials also eliminated qualifying runs, with racers drawing numbers for their heat race positions and then using the passing points format during the heats to set the feature lineups.

may28-spFans of the Sportsman class were treated to two close features, one a makeup of the Eden-Piercy Memorial from the May 28th rainout. In the regular night feature, Lake Nichoalds and Steve Mattingly led the field to the green flag. Mattingly took an early lead in the 15-lap feature. A caution came out with just two laps in as current points leader Richie Rich pulled off into the infield. Another caution flew with 10 laps to go and at that time Nichoalds and Mattingly were still even. Late in the race Nichoalds began putting distance between himself and Mattingly, who eventually brought out a final caution as he stopped in turn one. This proved beneficial to Bryant Frechette in the second spot who put the challenge to Nichoalds in the final laps but lost by inches. “I usually run the top line but it felt good on the bottom. I knew he (Frechette) was coming,” said Nichoalds. Rounding out the top ten were Brandon Pralle, Scott Williams, 11th starter Eric Legner, Tyler Roth, Anthony Craven, Blake Reid, Eric Saltzman, and Mattingly. Nichoalds and Rich were heat winners. Brian Albus captured the top prize of $500 in the highly contested Eden-Piercy Memorial 20-lap race by holding off a tough Nichoalds in a photo finish. “I got to thank my crew. It was my best race of the year,” said Albus. Frechette, Rich, Legner, Williams, Pralle, Craven, Amber Crouch, Reid, and Mattingly rounded out the field. Heat winners were Albus and Frechette.

jul23-lmFairbury’s Scott Bull and Jay Morris led the Late Model field to the green flag in the 30-lap feature that saw tight racing until the final laps. Bull quickly grabbed the lead on the first lap but with five laps under their belts, Morris claimed the lead and began pulling away. Current points leader Gibson City’s Kevin Weaver broke and pulled into the infield with 21 laps to go. Mike Spatola and Gordy Gundaker were soon on Morris’ rear bumper with 11 to go. Lapped traffic slowed the trio down and Spatola took advantage on the top side to take the lead over Morris with eight to go. Gundaker dropped back and Tonica’s Scott Schmitt made a charge to take the third spot. The field slowed with six laps to go with Morris in the lead. With the restart, Spatola took the lead in turn two over Morris and held on to win by four car lengths. “We needed this (win) because we had hit a rough patch and I was not on top of my game. I have finally got it back together,” said Spatola. Tenth starter Steve Thorsten was fourth followed by Joe Harlan, Bull, Mike Mullvain, Cole Swibold, Snooky Dehm, and Alan Stipp. Bull and Morris were heat winners.

jul23-mdIn the 20-lap Modified feature, Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford was the class of the field as he won by seven car lengths over polesitter Steven Brooks. “It has not been our summer, but we keep on digging. It was the longest 20 laps ever” said Ledford about the caution-free race. Kelly Kovski, Lance Dehm, Tommy Duncan, Nick Lueth, Jeff Leka, Brandon Roberts, Nick Clubb, and Kevin Weaver rounded out the top ten. Heat winners were Duncan, Jeffrey Ledford, and Lueth.

jul23-ssDwight’s Andrew Funk took his 20th feature win overall and sixth at FALS in the Street Stock division. It was not easy for Funk as he had to hold off A.J. Meiferdt and Rick Thomas at the beginning and a hard charging Don Hilleary at the end of the race. “The car was real tight and this is a tough track to win at.” said Funk. He also won the heat race. Hilleary moved up from his seventh starting position to bring home second followed by Darrell Dick, Kyle Anderson, Valerie Hurt, Mieferdt, Thomas, Ed Janke, Curtis Radke, and Josh Hetherington.

Mike Petersen captured the Hobby Mod feature win from his pole starting spot. Mason Duncan, Tim McGuire, Macy Vaughan, Brendan Patterson, Makinzi Semmens, and Thad Gee rounded out the field. Petersen took the heat race victory.