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Harrison Banks $20,000 With Illinois Dirt Shootout MARS Victory

Feger Edges Weisser To Win $5,000 MARS Late Model Special

Results | Points | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

The Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500, and the Coca-Cola 600 all on the same weekend is called “the best weekend of racing" by race fans across the country. The Fairbury Speedway might want to add their name to the list, as the track held the inaugural “Illinois Dirt Shootout” for the MARS Racing Series Modifieds. Saturday’s finale of the scheduled three-day show (reduced to two after Friday’s rainout) had C-Mains, Last Chance Showdowns, a 60-lap Modified race, and, as an added bonus, a 40-lap MARS Racing Series Late Model race.

The night’s festivities began with four 12-lap C-Mains, where the first two finishers moved into one of four Last Chance Showdowns. Kenny Johnson, Danny Smith, Mike Vanderiet Jr., and Zach Hawk crossed the finish line first in their respective races. Austen Becerra, Derek Losh, Curt Spalding, and Lyndon Whitfill took the wins in the four Last Chance races, which had the top three advance into the 60-lap feature. Kyle Strickler, Brad DeYoung, Dean Hoffman, and Dylan Woodling finished fourth in their respective races and were rewarded with a check for $1,000.

long harrisonA redraw involving the top 12 drivers (by points) in Thursday’s preliminaries saw first-year Modified driver Landen Miller starting on the pole position alongside veteran driver Josh Harris. Harris took the lead at the start of the 60-lap race and wasted little time in opening a straightaway lead over the 24-car starting field. Miller, Mike McKinney, Mike Harrison, and Mike Chasteen Jr. ran in single-file formation, looking to keep “the Kentuckian” within sight. Harrison, racing the top groove, moved into second by the 12th lap. After a caution on laps 17 and 18, Harrison executed a slide job on Harris as the pair exited turn two and took over the top spot on lap 22, with McKinney and 12th starter Michael Long following. Harrison began to distance himself from his competition as McKinney had to fend off the challenges from Long. With the aid of slower traffic, McKinney and Long were able to reel in Harrison. McKinney was able to get under Harrison, but with the help of the lappers, Harrison put some breathing room on the pair. After a red flag on lap 50, Long overtook McKinney for the second position. The caution came out on lap 53, and on the restart, Long pulled alongside Harrison. But Harrison stood his ground as he opened up a 10-car length lead and went on to win the $20,000. “I was sitting in the stands earlier and my wife told me, ‘You have to wait. You cannot go right away. You cannot beat off the wall for 60 laps’,” explained Harrison. “I looked at her and said, ‘OK.’ She said to wait for at least 10 laps or so. I waited 10 laps and said it was time to go.” MARS Modified points leader Long had to settle for second, with McKinney taking third. Tyler Nicely finished in fourth and Michael Ledford was fifth. The remainder of the top ten saw Zeke McKenzie, Frank Marshall, Spalding, Harris, and Austin Friedman.

feger weisserThe night of racing ended with a 40-lap, $5,000-to-win Late Model race. Defending series champion Jason Feger turned in a time of 13.017 seconds in qualifying to lead the way as 31 drivers were in attendance. Feger, McKay Wenger, and Justin Duty won their respective heat races. Jeffrey Ledford was the B-Main winner. Outside front-row starter, and MARS points leader, Allen Weisser took the lead for the first 25 laps before slipping in turn one. Feger executed a slide job on Weisser and went on to his second series win of the season and 25th of his career. “We have been really fast on the MARS deal,” Feger said. “We have had bad luck with flats for a couple of nights. Allen messed up. The track was cleaning up and he took a push there.” Weisser finished in second, with Ryan Unzicker in third. Wenger, Bob Gardner, Justin Duty, Kye Blight, Donny Walden, Myles Moos, and Jake Little completed the top ten.

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