by Rocky Ragusa
Fourth starting Torin Mettille took the lead from Eric Smith on the ninth lap after Smith jumped the cushion in turn four to take the win in the 30 lap UMP Late Model feature. Dustin Griffin led the field to the green flag and paced the field until a caution came out on lap five. Smith got by Griffin on lap six, with Mettille following. After Mettille took the lead, Griffin and Smith battled for second, while Daren Friedman, Scott Bull, Kevin Weaver, and McKay Wenger dueled for fourth. With drivers behind him racing for position, Mettille opened up a 10 car length lead by the halfway mark. As Smith began to fade, Bull moved into the third position and along with Weaver closed the gap on Griffin, but laps ran out and Mettille had a straight away lead at the checker flag, picking up his first career Fairbury win. Mettile, in his third year of late model racing, spoke in victory lane, “The more comfortable you are in the car the more consistent you will be. The last four weeks I have made the wrong tire choices and tonight I think I nailed it. It’s unbelievable all the help and support we have gotten. My family has been involved in racing a long time and it’s good to finally get a win at my home track.” Griffin, Bull, Weaver (hard charger), Scott Schmitt, Smith, Friedman, Wenger, Joe Harlan, and Jason Jaggers completed the top 10. Griffin topped 28 other competitors in time trials with a 12.770. Griffin, Smith, and Jay Morris took heat wins, while Mike Mullvain won the semi.
Lance Dehm normally prefers to run the top side of the track, but the team worked all year to get the car to work on the bottom. Saturday night Dehm kept his car on the bottom and led flag to flag to record his fifth win of the season in the 20 lap UMP Modified race. Jeff Curl kept Dehm in sight but with both drivers racing on the bottom couldn’t find any room to make a bid for the lead. Dehm commented following his win, “We have been working all year to get this car to work on the bottom. Sometimes I think it was me. I tried not to jab the brakes to hard going into the corners because I am use to running the top. This Dargie motor has a lot of power. We have had a good year.” Dave Porth got by Jim Farris for third in the closing laps. Completing the top ten were Jeb Friedman, Scott Bull, Vince Cooper, Kevin Hastings, David Shain (hard charger), and Jay Ledford. Dehm, winner of the first heat, also turned back 21 other drivers in qualifying at a 14.035. Bull and Curl also won heat races. With his second place finish, Curl secured the Alkota mini-series championship and the $3,100 hot water pressure washer.
Jimmy Dehm battled with Richie Rich for the first seven laps before taking command of the 15 lap UMP Sportsman feature. A caution with two laps remaining gave Rich another chance to take the lead but Dehm pulled away and took his ninth feature win of the year. “That was a fun race with Richie. The top side was treacherous so I had to minimize my mistakes. I appreciate Alkota for sponsoring our car and being a part of Fairbury this year”, a calm Dehm spoke in the winner’s circle. Dustin Mounce (hard charger), Jerry Cremeens, Jeffrey Ledford, Jim Bailey, Amber Crouch, Scott Williams, Anthony Craven, and Gregg Paul rounded out the field. Dehm took the lone heat race.
Rick Thomas took the lead from A.J. Meiferdt after the first lap and led the remaining laps to record his fifth win of the year in the 15 lap UMP Street Stock race. Meiferdt and Matt Maier ran single file behind Thomas, with Justin Nelson, Billy Wicker (hard charger), Don Hilleary, Jeff Semmens, Jason Maier, Lee Hall, and Axle Wicker taking the top ten positions. Nelson and Meiferdt took heat race wins.