by Rocky Ragusa
With all the rain in the area it has been a tough time for the Fairbury American Legion Speedway to get their first race in. The third time proved to be the charm as the speedway finally got the first race in Saturday night.
In the 30-lap, UMP Late Model feature, Daren Friedman and Derek Chandler led the field to the green flag. Friedman jumped to the top of the track to take an early lead, with Chandler, Joe Harlan, Torin Mettille, and McKay Wenger following. Friedman and Chandler were able to pull away to a ten car length lead. On the fourth lap, Wenger moved to third and closed up on the leaders. Chandler was able to lead lap seven, but Friedman came back to reclaim the lead on the following circuit. After a caution on lap nine for debris, Friedman led Chandler, Wenger, Eric Smith, and Harlan in a tight formation. Chandler took the lead on lap 16 and began to separate himself from the field. Friedman had to contend with Smith and Harlan, with Wenger, Donny Walden, Scott Bull, and Mike Glasscock trailing. Back to back cautions on lap 24 bunched the field and gave Friedman an opportunity to retake the lead. Chandler was able to hold off Friedman as a caution flag came out with two laps remaining. When the green flag fell, Chandler motored away from the contenders and picked up a hard earned victory. In a mad scramble for second, Harlan edged Smith, followed by Bull, Friedman, Wenger, Walden, Matt Furman, Mike Mullvain, and Jay Morris. Kevin Weaver set fast time at a 13.04. Chandler, Friedman, and Wenger took heats; while Mullvain won the semi feature.
Jeff Curl started on the pole position for the 20-lap, UMP Modified race, with Joel Funk alongside. Curl took a commanding lead at the start, with Funk holding off the challenge from Lance Dehm for second, with Tommy Duncan, Justin Delong, and Jeb Friedman trailing. After a caution on lap three, Dehm had a good run coming off of turn two and got by Funk for second. By the sixth lap, Curl held a straight away lead over the field. Dehm and Funk ran side by side for six laps, before a caution fell on lap 12. Following the caution, Dehm tried the top of the track to take the lead, but Curl, running the bottom, proved to be too much. Funk got by Dehm, briefly, for second, with Duncan and Jim Farris in hot pursuit. With three laps remaining and Curl in full control, Dehm got along side of Funk before taking over the position with one to go. Curl picked up the win, with Dehm, Funk, Duncan, Farris, Delong, Gary Turpin, Jeb Friedman, Jared Cagley, and Dan Rork completing the top ten. Dehm was the fast qualifier at a 14.04. Funk, Curl, and Duncan won heat races.
The 15-lap, UMP Sportsman race was a caution marred event. Before a lap was completed, the yellow flag came out twice. With the track cleared, third starting Dustin Mounce shot into the lead with Jimmy Dehm, Chris Anderson, Tim Bohm, and Michael Maestes following. Drivers were only able to complete a single lap, as four caution periods for spin outs and a wreck eliminated drivers from the race and only six cars were left on the track. After the last caution, Mounce and Dehm had their private battle for the lead, leaving the remaining cars behind. Dehm tried several times to wrestle the lead away, but Mounce was able to hold off Dehm and took the checkered flag. Jim Bailey, Anderson, Matt Mills, and Jeffrey Ledford took the first six positions. Richie Rich and Mills won their respective heat races.
The first race of the night was a 15-lap, UMP Street Stock contest. Polesitter Alex Clubb took the lead with Lee Hall, Rick Thomas, Lon Franks, and Matt Maier following. A six car pileup in turn two eliminated Maier and forced Hall, Thomas, Franks, and several other top contenders to the rear of the field. When the green flag fell, Clubb held a five car length lead over Chuck Barnes, as Terry Miller, Jeff Semmens, and Terry Simmons had a battle for third. Miller took the third position, as Semmens moved into fourth and had to deal with a hard charging Thomas and A.J. Meiferdt. Clubb held a ten car length lead before caution on lap ten dropped Simmons out of the race. When the green flag came out, Clubb pulled away from the contenders and took the win. Miller, Thomas, Barnes Jr, Meiferdt, Darrell Dick, Semmens, Hall, Greg Osman, and Justin Nelson took the top ten positions. Clubb, Franks, and Hall won heat races; while Eric Gaus won the semi feature.