by Rocky Ragusa
Six feature races were held Saturday night at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway, highlighted by the American Late Model Series and the Summit Modified Nationals races.
Brandon Sheppard overtook Bobby Pierce on lap 17 and pulled away for the $2,000 to win American Late Model Series win. “The car was real good tonight. My grandpa made some changes and they seemed to help. I could race anywhere on the track, “said Sheppard. Pierce, Ryan Unzicker, Scott Bull, Scott Schmitt, Daren Friedman, Jay Sparks, Dan Flessner, Kevin Weaver, and Jay Morris took the top ten positions. In group qualifying, Friedman (12.621) and Bull (12.677) led each group. Pierce and Bull took heat wins.
In the $1,500 to win Summit Modified Nationals race originally scheduled for June 21, series champion Mike Harrison dominated the 30 lap race and took his seventh win on the tour. Completing the top ten were: Jeff Leka, Lance Dehm, Jay Ledford, Levi Kissinger, Mike McKinney, Dave Porth, Cory Schwengel, Jeb Friedman, and Jared Cagley. “Fairbury has a tough group of drivers. It’s always hard to get a win here," spoke Harrison.
Lance Dehm used slower traffic to his advantage in the regular Modified race. Dehm was behind race leader Mike Harrison when they came upon traffic with four laps to go in the 20 lap feature. Harrison, with nowhere to go, slowed and Dehm found a hole to squeeze by for the lead. Dehm pulled away and scored his fourth win of the year. A jubilant Dehm commented in victory lane, “I had to get up on the wheel. The horseshoe fits now and I’m ready to leave it there. I know lapped traffic played into it. I thought that was the only opportunity and you know what, win or wear it. I haven’t been this excited in a long time. It was a heck of a run.” Harrison, Jeb Friedman, Jeff Curl, Steven Brooks, Jay Ledford, Levi Kissinger, Jeff Leka, Mike McKinney, and Jared Cagley completed the top ten. Friedman took fast time honors at a 13.818. Friedman, Ledford, and Dehm won heat races.
The Street Stock class held two features including their June 21 make up race. In the regularly scheduled race, following a caution on the 13th lap, Matt Maier raced side by side for the lead with Rick Thomas. Maier was able to pull to a slight advantage and nip Thomas at the line for his second win of the year. “Those late race cautions killed me. I had harder tires on than Rick. He could run the bottom better,” said Maier. Jason Maier, Brandon Kessinger, Calvin Coleman, Andrew Funk, Terry Miller, Darrell Dick, Nick Clubb, and Eric Gaus completed the top ten. Coleman was the race’s fast qualifier at a 15.409. Jason Maier and Kessinger took heat race wins.
After a crash eliminated point contenders Jeffrey Ledford and Richard Craven and caused damage to Richie Rich’s car, Dustin Mounce running on the ragged edge took his first feature win of the season. A somber Mounce spoke following the win. “It’s awesome to get the win; unfortunately I do need to apologize. I did get loose coming off of the corner. It’s the last thing I wanted to do is tear anyone up. I apologize to all the drivers and fans. The high side was very hard to run tonight. I’m happy to get the win but it’s not the way I wanted to get it.” The remainder of the top ten were: Paul Graf, Rod Rusher, Scott Hatzer, Tyler Roth, Matt Mills, Anthony Craven, Eric Legner, Bryant Frechette, and Richie Rich. Ledford was the night’s fast qualifier at a 14.287 and was a heat race winner along with Mounce.
In the Street Stock make up race, Don Hilleary lived up to his nickname, “the Highside Hillbilly”. Starting in the fourth position, Hilleary moved by Lukes Gash on the second lap and used the top side to his advantage. Hilleary pulled away from the field to pick up his first win of the year. “We have been struggling this year after having a dominating season last year. We finally got it back to where it’s right,” spoke Hilleary. Thomas, Clubb, Funk, A.J. Meiferdt, Matt Maier, Jason Maier, Kessinger, Gaus, and Nathan Lyday rounded out the top ten.