by Darlene Miller
Kevin Weaver and Rick Thomas inched ever closer to the top in career wins on a full moon Saturday night at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. Fithian’s Roger Long currently holds the top spot with 66 victories. Dwight’s Thomas notched No. 64 and Gibson City’s Weaver won his 62nd feature on a beautiful night for racing.
Jay Morris grabbed an early lead over the pack in the 30-lap Late Model feature. Just two laps into the race, McKay Wenger and Weaver were even at the stripe for first place. Weaver took the slight lead with 26 laps to go followed closely by Wenger and Mike Spatola. Weaver and Wenger kept the battle brewing when both of them edged each other at the line several times. Wenger kissed the wall in turn two with 11 to go and was passed by a hard charging Scott Bull and Spatola. A caution flag flew for debris in turn four and bunched the field with five circuits to go. Weaver jumped to the top side while Bull stayed low battling back and forth. Weaver held on to win the race by a car length. Bull, Spatola, Wenger, and Mike Glasscock completed the top five. Joe Godsey, Joe Harlan, Dan Flessner, Brian Lynn, and Steve Thorsten followed in the next group of five to the finish line. “It was a fun race and exciting. I went up to the top, but wished I would have stayed at the bottom,” said Weaver, who seemed to have his car hooked up for the bottom of the track. Weaver, Harlan, and Morris were heat winners and Morris also had fast time with a 13.314 second trip.
In the Modified feature, it was an eye-blink finish between Steven Brooks and Jay Ledford. The pair started on the front row and after several cautions, the two began to pull away from the pack. Several drivers tried the top shelf to try and catch the leaders but no one could make a serious challenge. Brooks led the entire race until the lap that counts most - the last one - as Ledford went to the top side in the last turn and edged Brooks at the line.
“It was exciting following Brooks. He slowed a little and I went to the top and held him off and caught him at the line. It was a lot of fun,” said Ledford. Mike McKinney took third, followed by Brian Lynn and hard charger Jeff Curl, who started 13th. Vince Cooper, Tommy Duncan, Lance Dehm, Jeffrey Ledford, and Lukes Gash completed the top 10. Heat winners were Brooks, Cooper, and Jay Ledford. Brooks set fast time at 14.120 seconds.
The caution plagued Sportsman feature saw Lake Nichoalds bring home his second feature win of the season. Bryant Frechette and Steve Mattingly began on the front row but Nichoalds soon took the lead and won by a car length. “I want to thank everyone. It was a fun race,” said the winner. Frechette, Tim Dick, 11th starting Richard Craven, and Rod Rusher made up the rest of the top five. Mattingly, Brian Albus, Scott Williams, Richie Rich, and Brandon Pralle rounded out the top 10. Frechette and Mattingly were heat winners.
Thomas began the night of features in the Street Stock division by starting on the pole next to Barry Sauder and established an early lead over his competitors. Sauder dropped back to third when A.J. Meiferdt grabbed the second spot and began to challenge Thomas but could not make pass attempts stick. Thomas held on for a two-car length win. Sauder finished third, followed by Curtis Radke and Eric Gaus. The second five was comprised of Kyle Anderson, Josh Hetherington, Valerie Hurt, Kraig Hughes, and Robert Turner. “I want to thank everyone and especially the fans. I appreciate everybody,” said Thomas. Thomas and Sauder were heat winners and Thomas had the fast time at 15.903 seconds.
By virtue of his heat race win, Mason Duncan started on the pole and held off his competitors to win the Hobby Mod feature. He was followed by Tim McGuire, Mike Petersen, Jason Brandt, Gregg Pierce, and Makinzi Semmens.