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McKay Wenger

McKay Wenger

Michael Long

Michael Long

Cody Clubb

Cody Clubb

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Kirby McCormick

Kirby McCormick

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

Perfect weather conditions for the large crowd on hand that saw an exciting Saturday night of racing action at the Fairbury Speedway. Five classes took to the ¼ mile dirt track with four first-time winners parked in victory lane. McKay Wenger (Late Model), Michael Long (Modified), Cody Clubb (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), and Kirby McCormick (Hobby-Modified) claimed feature wins in FALS Cup/Alkota racing presented by Watters Agriculture Heavy Equipment Washing and Wyffels Hybrids.

wenger lmDurham Electric and the Backstretch Bar and Grill, along with Bob and Connie Watters and Tim and Inga Harty helped to increase the top five finishers for the Late Models. $3,500 would go to the winner of the Bob Harty Memorial race. McKay Wenger topped 27 other drivers in qualifying with a time of 12.864 seconds. Wenger, Jake Little, and Bob Gardner won their respective heat races. Mike Mataragas was the victor in the semi-feature. Starting on the pole position, Fairbury’s Wenger raced out to a commanding lead. Although three caution periods kept the 20-car field in check, Wenger, running the top side to perfection, was never seriously threatened for the lead. Wenger was able to keep his distance to over a half straightaway lead and went on to win his first Fairbury win of the year. “That cushion was pretty narrow,” explained Wenger. “I felt like I had a right rear tire going down, but I thought it was just in my head. The tire is already sitting on the rim. It has been a tough start to the season, but if you are going to win, July is the time.” Mike Spatola was able to overtake Jake Little on the last lap for second. First-year Late Model driver Nick Allen finished in fourth. 13th starter Ryan Unzicker took the fifth position. Rich Bell posted a strong sixth position, followed by 19th starter Mike Chasteen Jr., Tommy Sheppard Jr., Derek Chandler, and Justin Duty.

long mdAn anonymous donor helped to boost the winner’s purse to $2,000 in the Modified feature. 44 drivers were on hand as Fowler’s Michael Long led group one qualifiers with a time of 13.971 seconds and Frank Marshall of Valparaiso, Ind., paced group two with a lap of 14.066 seconds. Long, Mark Anderson, Mike Brooks, Austin Friedman, Lyndon Whitfill, and Mike McKinney won their respective heat races. Two semi-features were held with Ethan Weber and Michael Ledford taking the wins. At the drop of the green flag, Long went to the top of the speedway, into the lead. McKinney tried the top and bottom of the track in his attempts to overtake Long for the lead, but Long proved to be too much and went on to take his first win of the season. “We have been decent here but never perfect,” Long commented. “Tonight was the easiest night. I was just able to drive around here. It’s over three hours from home, but I love coming here.” McKinney settled for second, with Kelly Kovski, 15th starter Allen Weisser, and Friedman trailing. Anderson finished in sixth and Marshall was seventh. 20th starter Ledford rebounded from a heat race incident to finish eighth, followed by Steven Brooks and Jacob Rexing.

clubb scIan Keller was the night’s fastest qualifier at 15.336 seconds in the Stock Car class that saw 16 drivers in attendance. Cody Clubb and Braiden Keller came out on top in their respective heat races. Clubb, starting on the pole position, led the first lap before Megan Erwin took over and led until lap five. Disaster struck on lap five as Erwin slowed on the track to bring out the caution flag. Clubb returned as the race leader with Jeff Hartzell right behind. The two wheelmen were able to race side-by-side with Clubb leading through lap 12 and Hartwell leading the 13th lap. Clubb went back to the lead on lap 14 as a caution fell on the white flag lap. With the checkered flag in sight, Clubb held off a determined bid by Hartzell and took his first-ever Stock Car win at Fairbury. A successful pavement racer, Clubb had previously won in the Hornet class. Breathing a sigh of relief after many years of waiting for his moment, Clubb spoke in victory lane. “I have been trying for so long to get a feature win here. I saw Hartzell sneaking up on me on the outside. I knew if I could hold my line, I could almost get him. If I screwed up, he was going to get me.” Hartzell settled for second, Braiden Keller, in his first year, finished in third. Tanner Sullivan wound up fourth, followed by Ian Keller, 12th starter Don Hilleary, Brandon Tracy, Devin Hoskins, Tim Loomis, and Vince Cooper.

duncan spTommy Duncan continued to run roughshod over his competition in the CR Towing Sportsman division. Turning in a time of 14.997 seconds, Duncan set quick time and also won his heat race. Steve Mattingly was the winner of the second heat race. Duncan paced the field for all 15 laps and took his fifth feature win of the year. Mattingly, after a spirited duel for second with Tyler Roth, broke away from Roth. Mattingly cut into Duncan’s lead but settled for second and Roth finished in third. Landen Miller was fourth and first-year driver Victor Strong finished in fifth. The second group of five was led by Makinzi Semmens, Doug Carls, Aaron Reid, Eric Saltzman, and Josh Hetherington.

mccormick hmRyan Kohler and Jeremy Sebens won their respective heat races for the 12-lap Hobby-Modified race. A field of 18 cars took the green flag. Kirby McCormick was able to turn back a late-race charge from Luke Gebhardt and take his first-ever feature race win. “I am at a loss for words,'' McCormick said. “I have never won a race before, so this is pretty exciting. I know we are in the Hobby-Modified class, but it feels good to get one under our belt and get the monkey off our back.” Gebhardt finished in second, Rick Thomas was third, followed by Sebens, Jake Green, Scott McDonald, Wes Ricketts, Payton Semmens, Frank Fatigatio, and Kohler.



Ryan Unzicker

Ryan Unzicker

Michael Ledford

Michael Ledford

Megan Erwin

Megan Erwin

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Brian Deavers

Brian Deavers

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

Following a weekend off due to rain, the Fairbury Speedway celebrated Independence Day with a FALS Cup/Alkota weekly program presented by Knapp Kitchens and CK Power. Action on the ¼ mile dirt track saw Ryan Unzicker (Late Model), Michael Ledford (Modified), Megan Erwin (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (CR Towing Sportsman), Brian Deavers (Hobby-Modified), and Gavyn Parmele (KidModz) cross the finish line first in their respective classes.

unzicker lmA time of 12.682 seconds gave Mike Mataragas fast time as 25 cars made qualifying attempts. McKay Wenger, Bob Gardner, and Ryan Unzicker were the heat race winners. Logan Moody advanced to the 30-lap feature by winning the semi-feature. After a caution on lap six, third-starting Unzicker and Wenger staged a spirited duel for the lead racing side by side without making contact. Unzicker was able to take the top position with ten laps to go and pulled away for his second Fairbury win of the year. “That was an awesome feature,” Unzicker said. “I was a little upset that they reworked the track. I love this place. The fans, the track staff, and the track are all awesome. It is just a blessing to come to a race track like this.” Wenger settled for second, followed by Tommy Sheppard Jr., Titus Sneed, and Mike Spatola. The remainder of the top ten saw 20th starter Dale Markham, Gardner, Kevin Weaver, Mataragas, and Jeffrey Ledford.

ledford md18 Modified drivers made qualifying runs that saw Austin Friedman turn a lap at 13.592 seconds for quick time. Two heat races were held with Michael Ledford and Mason Duncan taking the wins. Starting on the pole position, Ledford was able to turn back several bids for the lead by Duncan before running the top side of the track to perfection and record his second win of the weekend. Breaking out the notebook and guidance from his brother, Ledford spoke in the winner’s circle. “Duncan has been getting better and better each week. I kept seeing him down there. I knew as long as I made some smooth laps, I could hold him off.” Duncan took second, with Tanner Reed in third. Bob Pohlman Jr. was fourth and Ethan Weber finished in fifth. Friedman, Lyndon Whitfill, Caden McWhorter, 16th starter Alan Stipp, and Jim Farris Jr. completed the top ten.

erwin scA field of 16 Stock Cars made qualifying attempts that saw Ian Keller click off a time of 14.774 seconds for fast time. Keller and Megan Erwin were the heat race winners. At the start of the feature, Erwin got the jump on Keller for the lead and never looked back in taking her second Fairbury win and seventh overall. “After getting my first Fairbury win, I didn’t think I would ever get another one here,” spoke Erwin. “This is a great feeling.” Cody Clubb had a strong second, with Tim Loomis in third. Braiden Keller, Don Hilleary, Brandon Tracy, Jesse Simmons, RJ Akers, 14th starter Joe Spiewak, and Devin Hoskins rounded out the top ten.

duncan spLanden Miller took fast time honors with a lap of 14.416 seconds as 14 CR Towing Sportsman drivers were on hand for their 15-lap race. The two heat races went to Miller and Tommy Duncan. Miller led the opening lap before points leader Duncan used his vast experience to motor into the lead. Looking to add another track championship to his belt, Duncan took his fourth win of the year. “It has been a good year,” Duncan said. “The car is doing good. It is easy to drive and that makes it easy on me.” Steve Mattingly held off Josh Hetherington for second. First-year driver Victor Strong was fourth and Jim Farley finished in fifth. Rookie contender Doug Carls claimed sixth, followed by 12th starter Makinzi Semmens, Roy Magee, Eric Saltzman, and Miller.

deavers hmScott McDonald and Jason Vandermeir were the Hobby-Modified heat race winners with 17 cars on hand. McDonald led the first three laps of the 12-lap feature race before the smooth and consistent driving by Brian Deavers moved to the front. Deavers led the remaining laps and took his third win of the year. “I knew most of the guys would go to the bottom,” Deavers said. “I decided to try the top but couldn’t find anything up there. I went back to the bottom.” A good battle took place behind the race leader that saw Ryan Kohler take second. Trevor Ringle finished third, McDonald was fourth, and Wes Ricketts finished in fifth. Jake Green would finish sixth, followed by Vandermeir, Luke Gebhardt, Rick Thomas, and Kellen Arnold.

parnele kmGavyn Parnele, in his second year of racing, led flag-to-flag to garner the KidModz feature win. Hudson Dick finished in second, followed by Liam Gray, Brenden Heizer, Parker Ramer, Keatin Lyons, and Kaylynn Eskew.


Chris Simpson

Chris Simpson

Nick Hoffman

Nick Hoffman

Tanner Sullivan

Tanner Sullivan

Hoffman Scores $2,000 Summit Modified Nationals Victory

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

The Fairbury Speedway played host to the fifth stop on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals tour Saturday night. Oxford, Iowa’s Chris Simpson got his second win earning $10,000 in the featured race that was presented by Rhino Ag. Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., continued his domination by winning the Summit Modified Nationals race, and Pontiac’s Tanner Sullivan came out ahead in the Stock Car feature.

simpson lm49 drivers made qualifying attempts that saw Commerce, Georgia’s Payton Freeman blistering the track with a lap at 12.702 seconds to take overall quick time honors. Brian Shirley, Tanner English, Frank Heckenast Jr., Preston Luckman, and Chris Simpson topped their respective qualifying groups. Six heat races had first-year Late Model driver, Nick Allen, Shirley, English, Max Blair, Mike Mataragas, and Simpson taking the wins. Trevor Gundaker and Shannon Babb were the two consolation race winners. They earned a spot in the Last Chance Showdown that was won by Jason Feger. Allen got the jump on Simpson at the start of the 50-lap race as Simpson, English, Blair, and Shirley trailed. Allen was able to hold a half straightaway lead over the competition as English took over second. Tour points leader Bobby Pierce, who started in the 22nd position, charged through the field and was in fifth as the field slowed on a lap 23 yellow flag. On the restart, Simpson and English went three-wide with Allen on the frontstretch. Simpson emerged as the race leader as English and Dennis Erb Jr. followed. Simpson led for three laps before Erb took over to lead laps 28 and 29. Simpson and Erb raced side-by-side for the lead, while Pierce and English went toe-to-toe for third. Simpson, Erb, Pierce, and English began to distance themselves from fifth running Shirley. English’s night came to an end on lap 41 as he made contact with the backstretch wall. The restart had Simpson leading Pierce, Erb, Ryan Unzicker, and Blair. Simpson held a five-car length lead over Pierce during the waning laps and took his second Summer Nationals win of the week. “I knew Pierce would charge to the front,” Simpson said. “They said at Davenport that I didn’t earn that win. Tonight, I earned this one.” Pierce had to settle for second with Erb in third and Unzicker following in fourth. The remainder of the top ten saw Blair, Shirley, 21st starter Ryan Gustin, McKay Wenger, Derek Chandler, and Kevin Weaver finish in that order.

hoffman mdForrest driver Austin Friedman was the overall fastest qualifier for the 25-lap, $2,000 to win Summit Modified Nationals race with a time of 13.683 seconds. Kyle Steffens and Michael Long were quickest in their respective qualifying groups. The heat races saw Steffens, tour points leader Nick Hoffman, and Long taking the wins. Hoffman took the lead at the start as Long, Steffens, Michael Ledford, and Chad Bauer followed. Hoffman opened up a lead, but the caution flag would come out to erase his advantage. Following a lap 11 yellow, Long looked to the inside of Hoffman for the lead, but the defending Summit Modified Nationals champion closed the door and pulled away. Ethan Weber experienced mechanical problems in time trials and in his heat race that had him start last in the 22-car field. Weber had the fans cheering wildly, running the bottom of the track, and moved into the top five with ten laps to go. Hoffman went on to remain unbeaten on the tour to win the $2,000 prize. “The car was pretty good,” said Hoffman. “The track began to rubber up toward the end of the Late Model race. I started playing the lane where the rubber was at until it started to rinse off. Once it did, I was able to charge pretty hard.” Weber had a career-best finish in second. Steffens finished third with Ledford in fourth. Trevor Neville finished fifth. Friedman, Bauer, Bob Pohlman Jr., Alan Stipp, and Eric Vaughan completed the top ten.

sullivan scThe night ended with a 15-lap, $500 to win Stock Car feature. A time of 15.693 seconds gave Zane Reitz quick time honors. Reitz and Ian Keller won their respective heat races. Keller put his car in the lead for the first four laps before Tanner Sullivan took over and began to distance himself from the field. Sullivan went on to snap a long drought and take the win. “I have been struggling lately,” said Sullivan. “I like it when the track has a nice cushion and dry slick.” Reitz held off Braiden Keller for second. Ian Keller was fourth, with Devin Hoskins, Don Hilleary, Brice Slavens, Brandon Tracy, Eric Legner, and Jeff Czemske completing the top ten.


Joe B. Miller

Joe B. Miller

Tanner English

Tanner English

Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

Race fans were treated to a diverse group of race cars Saturday night at the Fairbury Speedway. Making their lone appearance of the season, the 410 Winged Sprint Car feature went to Millersville, Missouri driver Joe B. Miller. Taking the checkers in the Late Model race was World of Outlaws Series Rookie of the Year contender Tanner English of Benton, Kentucky. Making his first victory lane appearance of the season in the Modified division was defending track champion, Plainfield’s Mike McKinney.

miller sprThe Interstate Racing Association teamed up with the Midwest Open Wheel Association in presenting the 10th Annual Bill Waite Jr. Memorial race. A field of 36 racers were on hand for their 30-lap, $6,000 to win race. A time of 11.586 seconds gave Anthony D’Alessio of Apollo Beach, Fla., fast time honors. Oswego’s Blake Nimee, Kevin Thomas Jr. of Cullman, Ala., Scotty Thiel of Sheboygan, Wis., and Morton’s Ryan Bunton took the four heat race wins. Joe B. Miller was the winner of the B-main. Hanna City’s Jake Blackhurst and Thomas Jr. claimed the Dash wins. Starting in the 21st position, Miller found something running the Fairbury cushion. Miller was able to wrestle the lead away from Bunton with five laps remaining and pulled away to earn his first-ever IRA feature race win in the caution-plagued event. “The cautions fell our way,” commented Miller. “Those guys were committed to running the bottom. I thought it was slowing down. I started ripping it around the fence, and it got pretty good up there.” Thiel finished in second, followed by Zane Devault, Jake Neuman, and Bunton. The remainder of the top ten had Russel Borland, Scott Neitzel, D’Alessio, Jordan Goldesberry, and Dave Uttech finish in that order.

english lmThe Fairbury Speedway continued their tradition of remembering the legacy of Pappy and Bob Allen in the 26th Annual Allen Memorial race for the DIRTcar Late Models. Mike Spatola timed in with a lap of 13.049 seconds for quick time as 19 drivers looked to add their name to the list of Allen Memorial race winners. Two heat races saw Kevin Weaver and Derek Chandler coming out on top. As the green flag waved, Weaver took the lead with Tanner English moving into the second spot. After two lap four caution periods, English overtook Weaver for the lead and was able to open up a straightaway lead over the competition. Spatola moved into second and quickly cut into English’s lead. Spatola got within a car length of the Bluegrass chauffeur as a caution fell with five laps to go. Ryan Unzicker took over the second position on the restart and looked under English for the lead. English flexed his muscle and pulled out to a ten-car length lead as the checkered flag waved giving English the $5,000 first prize. Electing not to run Eldora’s Million and Dream races, English chose to prepare for the upcoming Summer Nationals and Prairie Dirt Classic events. “We had a free weekend, and I wanted to race at Fairbury,” English said. “The track was fast, which was expected with the rain we got tonight. This is usually a track that I am not good at. It’s a track that Spatola or someone that likes to bang the cushion does well at. I figured out a line where I could stay off the cushion and still take advantage of it.” Ninth-starter Unzicker settled for second. Spatola finished in third, Weaver was fourth, followed by Tommy Sheppard Jr. Rich Bell claimed sixth, with Justin Reed, Scott Schmitt, Jake Little, and Glen Thompson completing the top ten.

mckinney md18 DIRTcar Modified drivers were featured in their 20-lap, $1,500 to win race. A time of 14.020 seconds gave Mike McKinney fast time. McKinney and first-year Modified racer Lyndon Whitfill won their respective heat races. McKinney took the lead at the start, as Michael Ledford overtook Mason Duncan for second on the fourth lap. After two cautions on lap nine, McKinney raced out to the lead, as Ledford had to contend with Kyle Steffens and Trevor Neville in a battle for second. Ledford was able to break away from the duo and worked into McKinney’s lead. A yellow flag was displayed several times in the final five laps, but McKinney turned back the challenge from Ledford to record his first Fairbury feature win of the season. “First, hats off to the Fairbury staff for getting the track back into racing shape after that rain,” said McKinney. “Our car was a little tight in the feature. I changed my line to the bottom of turns one and two and ran the top in turns three and four. It allowed me to carry more speed in turn one, and it allowed me to free up my entry.” Ledford made a run at McKinney but fell just short and finished second. Steffens finished in third. Alan Stipp took the fourth spot with two laps to go, and Trevor Neville was fifth. The rest of the top ten saw Matt Mitchell, Whitfill, Jared Thomas, Eric Vaughan, and Dawson Cook finish in that order.


Ryan Unzicker

Ryan Unzicker

Michael Ledford

Michael Ledford

Ian Keller

Ian Keller

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Brian Deavers

Brian Deavers

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

Saturday night at the Fairbury Speedway saw racing action in five divisions presented by Gordon Electric Supply and Pontiac Electric Supply. Ryan Unzicker (Late Model), Michael Ledford (Modified), Ian Keller (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), and Brian Deavers (Hobby-Modified) were the victors at “America’s Dirt Track”.

unzicker lmA field of 20 Late Models, including two World of Outlaws Series regulars Shane Clanton and Max Blair, checked in for their 30-lap, $2,500 to win race. Clanton set fast time with a lap of 12.637 seconds. Kevin Weaver and McKay Wenger were the heat race winners. Wenger took the lead as the green flag waved before Unzicker moved ahead on lap two. The yellow flag came out on lap four as Wenger, running in the second position, stalled on the track with a flat tire. Wenger’s crew were able to change the tire but fell to the back of the field. On the restart, Mike Spatola, in the fourth spot, stopped on the track with a flat tire to bring out the caution. Spatola’s team made the change and dropped to the back of the 20-car field. As the green flag waved, Unzicker wasted little time in showing his strength as he drove a smooth line on the bottom of the track and opened a straightaway lead. Clanton and Blair swapped the second position several times but were unable to mount a threat to Unzicker. At the end of the race, Unzicker held a four-second lead and was able to capture his first win of the year. “We have had a good car all year but have been in some rough stuff,” explained Unzicker. “The car was on a rail. You never take winning as easy because it's hard to do. We won a lot of races back in the day, but they are tough to get nowadays.” Tuning up for next month's Prairie Dirt Classic, Clanton settled for second. Tommy Sheppard Jr. charged from the 18th position to take third. Blair was fourth, and Weaver finished in fifth. Wenger and Spatola rallied to finish in the sixth and seventh spots respectively. Jake Little, Derek Chandler, and Scott Schmitt completed the top ten.

ledford mdAustin Friedman was the Modified fast qualifier at a time of 13.773 seconds as 18 drivers made qualifying runs. The two heat races went to Friedman and Allen Weisser. Friedman held a narrow lead over Weisser before Friedman’s night ended with a flat tire. Michael Long had a 10-car length lead while Weisser, Michael Ledford, and Mason Duncan dueled for second. The caution came out on the ninth lap as Long’s night came to an end. The restart saw Duncan vault out to a commanding lead over Ledford, Weisser, Cole Falloway, and Allan Stipp. Ledford, running all out on the top side of the track, erased Duncan’s lead and moved to the front on the 15th lap. Ledford was able to win his first FALS Cup feature of the year on a night that saw the younger racers display their talents. “We started out the season rough,” Ledford said. “We had picked it up, but we weren’t where we wanted to be. My confidence as a driver wasn’t where it should be, but this will help.” Duncan had his best run to date and edged 12th starter Falloway for second. Stipp took fourth, while Weisser finished fifth. In his first season in the Modified, Lyndon Whitfill took sixth, followed by Caden McWhorter, Degan Dozard, Mark Rhoades, and Dustin Hume.

keller scTanner Sullivan’s time of 15.187 seconds gave him the night’s fast qualifier honors as 17 Stock Cars took time trials. Sullivan and Ian Keller won heat races. Sullivan led on the opening lap before Keller took the front spot. Keller put his car on the Fairbury cushion and was able to roll to his second straight win at Fairbury. “This FALS cushion came to life tonight,” the Hoosier state pilot said. “I had my hands full, but we got it done.” Joe Brown took the runner-up spot, and Sullivan was third. The remainder of the top ten were Don Hilleary, Cody Clubb, Jerrad Krick, Adam Williams, Calvin Peek Jr., Tim Loomis, and Andy Zahnd.

duncan sp10 CR Towing Sportsman racers made qualifying runs, and Steve Mattingly timed in at 14.494 seconds for the night's fast qualifier. Mattingly and Landen Miller won their respective heat races. Mattingly and Tommy Duncan exchanged the lead before Duncan moved ahead. Mattingly’s night came to an end on the fifth lap with mechanical issues. Miller made several bids for the lead, but the old pro Duncan kept Miller at bay and took his third win of the year. Miller and Duncan were involved in a skirmish in their heat race which saw Duncan turned into the backstretch wall. Duncan commented in victory lane. “I don’t know how they race, but I don’t beat on people to pass them. So, if that is how he wants to race, we can do that from now on. You can have this trophy if it means that much to him. I don’t race that way.” Miller finished in second, with Tyler Roth in third, followed by Eric Saltzman and Doug Carls. The rest of the top ten were Victor Strong, Makinzi Semmens, Aaron Reid, Mattingly, and Josh Hetherington.

deavers hmBrian Deavers completed his trifecta in setting fast time at 14.873 seconds, winning his heat race, and taking his second Hobby-Modified feature win of the year. Kirby McCormick led the first six laps of the 12-lap race before Deavers moved to the front. Luke Gebhardt made a late race charge but fell short in his bid for the win. “Kirby got by me on the bottom,” Deavers said. “I didn’t have enough to get off the corner. So, I said, it ain’t working out here. I tried the cushion and it was “buh-bye Kirby”. Following Deavers and Gebhardt to the line were McCormick, Jason Vandermeir, Darren Kerrins, Mike Petersen, Ryan Kohler, Scott McDonald, Trevor Ringle, and Payton Semmens.


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