by Rocky Ragusa
Following the 2012 race season at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway, track officials went to work on the racetrack. The top groove of the track seemed to be the fastest way around and officials wanted to make the bottom and middle work, as well. Drivers that normally ran the top in the early 2013 races had their problems making their cars work on the top. After a caution flag with six laps to go, Daren Friedman made the top groove work and won the $2,000 to win, Bob and Pappy Allen Memorial race for the UMP Dirt Car Late Models.
Pole sitter Derek Chandler took an early lead in the 30 lap contest, with Torin Mettille, Joe Harlan, Eric Smith, and Daren Friedman following. After back to back cautions on lap three, Chandler led, as Harlan raced with Mettille for second. Trailing several car lengths back, Smith running the bottom and Friedman at the top, ran side by side, in a battle for fourth. On the ninth circuit, Chandler encountered slower cars. Harlan had gotten by Mettille two laps prior and was able to claim the lead from Chandler. Chandler jumped the berm allowing Mettille and Smith to get by. Slower cars that were racing for position allowed Mettille and Smith to close the margin on Harlan. On lap 18, Mettille pulled alongside of Harlan, and on the next lap Mettille moved into the lead. Mettille led by 5 car lengths as Harlan and Smith raced side by side for second. Smith took the second position with 9 laps to go. Cars were running single file and with 7 laps left, Smith slowed in turn four, causing Friedman, Harlan, Chandler, and Donny Walden to make contact. The caution came out with six laps to go. With the track clean and green, Friedman made his move and ran the high side of the track. Taking the lead on the next lap, Friedman powered his way to a five car length lead and picked up his second win of the weekend. Mettille, Smith, Harlan, Mike Mullvain, Jay Morris, Walden, Aaron Ricketts, Bill Hough, and Kenny Adams took the top ten positions. Hough was the race’s hard charger. Chandler, Mettille, and Harlan were heat race victors. Chandler set fast time at a 12.987.
In the 15 lap, Street Stock feature, Rick Thomas led flag to flag to get his first win of the year at Fairbury. For Thomas, it was his 36th career win in the Street Stock class, and he tied his step son, Joel Funk, for his 51st career feature win. Thomas trails Roger Long by 10 wins, as the all-time feature winner. Following Thomas to the checkered flag were Matt Maier, Don Hilleary, Lukes Gash, A.J. Meiferdt, Terry Miller, Alex Clubb, Ron Donaldson, Gary Barnes, and Jeff Semmens. Hilleary took hard charger honors, while Nicholas Clubb and Miller won heat races.
Cautions plagued the early portion of the 20 lap Modified race. After the sixth caution on lap four, Jeff Curl raced out to a five car length lead, as Lance Dehm and Jim Farris battled for second. On the seventh lap, Farris moved into the second position coming off of turn two. As Curl held a five car length lead and Farris unable to make any ground, Dehm tried to making the high side work, going over the berm on several occasions. Jay Ledford was able to get by Dehm on lap 11, to move into third. Curl maintained his lead the remainder of the race to pick up his third win of the season. Farris, Ledford, Dehm, Dan Rork, Justin Delong, Collin Thirbly, Phil Line, Cory Schwengel, and Danny Councelman completed the top ten. Ledford took the hard charger of the race. Nick Wallrich was the fast qualifier at a 14.485. Curl and Dehm won heat races.
The racing concluded with a 15 lap Sportsman race. On the opening lap, Richie Rich spun in turn one. Behind him, the cars of Lake Nichoalds, Scott Williams, Jeffrey Ledford, and Michael Maestes made contact to bring out the caution flag. A complete restart had Jimmy Dehm taking the lead with Rich, Tim Bohm, Timmy Dick, and Chris Anderson in tow. Dehm was able to stretch his lead to a straight away by the halfway mark. Bohm moved to third and was closing up to Rich as a caution came out with five laps to go. As the green flag waved, Bohm got under Rich and ran side by side until Rich jumped the cushion on turn four and tagged the wall on the 13th lap. When the track was cleared, Dehm was able to hold on for his first win of the year at Fairbury and second of the weekend. Bohm ended up second, followed by Nichoalds, Jim Bailey, Dustin Mounce, Anderson, Paul Graf, Ron Bohm, Rich, and Dick. Rich and Dehm took heat wins.