The Sprint Mania FALS Classic is set to take center stage on October 6th & 7th for what will be an unforgettable weekend of Sprint Car racing at the legendary Fairbury American Legion Speedway. FALS and POWRi officials are excited to announce all the event details for the Sprint Mania Weekend!
by Rocky Ragusa
Highland’s Mike Harrison held off a stout field of Modified competitors to win the Fifth Annual Casey’s Modified Nationals race Saturday night at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway. Lucas Lee of Paris, Tenn., was the winner of the Mullins Race Engines Non-Qualifiers Shootout, while Bloomington veteran racer Billy Drake took the Late Model feature.
67 Modified drivers representing 10 states were on hand for the $10,000 to win American Modified Series race featuring some of the top open wheel drivers in the country. Qualifying was broken down into two groups that saw Buffalo’s Jeff Leka earning fast time honors at a 13.646 in group one, while Lucas Lee was quickest in the second group with a 13.755. Six heat races were held that saw the top two finishers advancing to the feature race. Ray Bollinger (Kewanee), Mike McKinney (Plainfield), Mike Harrison, Brian Shaw (Robinson), Danny Schwartz (Ashmore), and Dylan Woodling (Warsaw, Ind.) taking the wins. Four B-Mains gave drivers one last chance to move into the prestigious event. Ryan Unzicker (El Paso), David Stremme (Mooresville, N.C.), Tyler Deibert (Highland), and Zach Hoffman (Troy) earned their way into the 50-lap main event.
Bollinger and Harrison led the 24-car field to the green flag. Harrison led with Bollinger, Schwartz, Allen Weisser, and Brent Mullins following. Bollinger was able to keep pace with Harrison as the top two drivers in the national points held nothing back. Bollinger, running the bottom groove, took over the front position on lap nine. Harrison came back at Bollinger to lead on laps 14 and 15, while Weisser joined the mix for the lead. Weisser was able to take the lead on lap 16 and opened a 10 car length lead as Harrison and Bollinger battled for second, followed by Schwartz and McKinney. Bollinger’s race came to an end on the 23rd lap as he dropped out with suspension problems, drawing the first caution of the night. Weisser led on the restart, but on lap 28 a light rain began to fall. After a 10 minute delay, track crews went to work and soon had the track ready to race. Weisser lost his lead to Harrison on the restart, but Weisser was relentless in his bid to reclaim the lead. Behind the duo, four cars put on a show as Schwartz, Mullins, Unzicker, and McKinney swapped the third spot. Cautions fell on lap 34 and 35 with Weisser taking over on the 35th circuit. Weisser’s car began to misfire and his dreams of taking the big check vanished as he had to park his car in the infield with motor problems. Harrison moved back into the lead and after another brief rain delay, and Mullins’s attempt to take over the lead, Harrison pulled away to claim his third Casey’s Modified race, fourth A.M.S. race of the year, and 32nd feature win of the season. Mullins, Unzicker, 19th starter Devin Gilpin, 18th starter Levi Kissinger, McKinney, 23rd starter Jeff Curl, Michael Long, Stremme, and Schwartz completed the top ten in a race that saw six lead changes among three drivers. A jubilant Harrison commented after the race. “I ran as hard as I had to. Allen started to pull away and I had to get back at it. I hated it for Ray and Allen’s misfortune. I felt the rain showers benefited me, but those guys were still tough on the bottom. The last 20 laps I drove my heart out for my team and the fans.”
by Rocky Ragusa
On Driver Appreciation Night, where the Fairbury American Legion Speedway recognized the top ten drivers in each class, the racers returned the favor by presenting an intense night of racing on the 1/4 mile, dirt oval. Ryan Unzicker (Late Model), Jay Ledford (Modified), Brandon Pralle (Sportsman), AJ Meiferdt (Street Stock), and Jason Brandt (Hobby-Modified) wheeled their machines to victory lane.
22 I Beam Sliding Doors Late Models qualified for their 30-lap feature and Ryan Unzicker was the quickest at a 12.474. Unzicker, Scott Schmitt, and McKay Wenger won their respective heat races. Polesitter Unzicker took the lead on the start, as fifth starter Mike Spatola quickly moved into second, with Wenger, Schmitt, and Bill Hough following. The drivers set a lightning quick pace and were lapping traffic by the fifth circuit. By the halfway point of the race the top four drivers separated themselves from the competition running the top side of the track. On the restart after a lap 20 caution, Spatola slowed on the speedway for another caution. Unzicker led on the ensuing restart as Wenger got by Schmitt for second. Wenger attempted several times to overtake Unzicker, but Unzicker held his ground. Another caution fell on lap 25 for an incident with Donny Walden and Cole Swibold. On the restart, Schmitt took over second. Schmitt tried to slide job Unzicker, but Unzicker was too strong on this night and took his fourth straight win at Fairbury. “Behind me was a good show,” said Unzicker. “I could see someone on my inside and I was waiting for a slide job. We were just a tic good enough to stay upfront.” Schmitt, Jay Morris, Wenger, Kevin Weaver, Glen Thompson, Paul Stubber, 14th starter Scott Bull, Walden, and Swibold rounded out the top ten.
Bradley Braves freshman, Jeffrey Ledford, topped 29 other Varsitee Screen Printing Modified drivers in time trials with a 13.660. Ledford, Jay Ledford, and Jeff Curl earned heat race wins. Jimmy Dehm advanced to the 20-lap feature by claiming the semi-feature. Caution fell on the initial start of the race as Nick Lueth was hit from behind causing his car to become airborne. Lueth lost control of his car and Billy Puckett, Joey Iliff, and Mark Grosvenor got caught up in the accident. After the track was cleared, Jeffrey Ledford held a slight lead over his father, Jay, Steven Brooks, Curl, and Mike McKinney. The elder Ledford schooled the younger Ledford on the fourth lap for the lead, with Brooks, McKinney, and Josh Allen moving into fifth. Brooks slowed on the eighth lap to bring out a caution. Jeffrey Ledford looked under Jay for the lead but the ole man stood tough. McKinney began making noise and joined the Ledford’s in a race for first. McKinney took the second spot on lap 11 and immediately made Ledford aware of his presence. Caution fell on the 13th lap setting up an exciting finish. Ledford led, running the top, with McKinney following. McKinney tried setting Ledford up for a slide job in the waning laps but Ledford had enough to take his second straight feature win. “I have to thank Mike for running me clean,” spoke Ledford. “My car was a little tight on entry into the turns and I had to run a different line.” Following Ledford to the checkered flag were McKinney, Jeffrey Ledford, Curl, Allen, Travis Kohler, Dehm, 18th starter Grosvenor, Vince Cooper, and Jimmy Farris Jr.