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Results | Points | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

97 cars in six classes signed in Saturday night at the Fairbury Speedway for the 23rd running of the Pappy and Bob Allen Memorial race. Mike Spatola (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), Matt Hammond (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), Thad Gee (Hobby-Modified), and Jerremy Sebens (KidModz) were all feature winners.

spatola lmA lap of 12.835 seconds by Fairbury’s McKay Wenger earned him fast time honors over 27 combatants. Wenger, Mike Spatola, and Scott Schmitt won their respective heat races. Derek Chandler was the winner of the B-Main. Starting on the front row, Manhattan’s Spatola jumped out into the lead for the 30-lap race. Facing constant pressure from Wenger and Ryan Unzicker, Spatola kept his poise while working lapped traffic. Spatola was able to pull away in the closing laps for his first win of the year and third Allen Memorial race win. “I am worn out now,” said Spatola. “The topside of the track was treacherous. I was being conservative and ran the middle groove when I could. We have been doing everything to get a win and finally got it.” Wenger settled for second, followed by points leader Unzicker, Kevin Weaver, Mike Glasscock, 16th starter Chandler, Donny Walden, Schmitt, Luke Goedert, and Steve Thorsten.

mckinney mdPeoria’s Allen Weisser toured the speedway at a lap of 13.985 seconds for quick time as 22 Modified drivers took time trials. Weisser, Mike Harrison, and McKinney won heat races. Weisser led early in the 25-lap race with Harrison, McKinney, and Jeffrey Ledford dueling for second. Weisser was slowed by a lapped car on the 14th lap, and McKinney took advantage, moving into the lead. Weisser’s night came to an end on the next lap when his left front caught a corner tire and ended his night. Following the yellow flag, Harrison ran the ragged edge looking to take the lead, but a slower car held up Harrison in the closing stages giving Plainfield’s McKinney his second win of the year. “This car is really finicky,” McKinney said. “We are just trying to figure where we need to be with it.” Harrison took second, with points leader Ledford in third, followed by Jim Farris, Steven Brooks, Jason Hastings, Mark Grosvenor, Jacob Steinkoenig, Dan Rork, and 19th starter Billy Puckett.

hammond scBourbonnais’s Matt Hammond clipped a lap of 16.136 seconds as 16 Stock Car drivers made qualifying runs. Cody Clubb and Tanner Sullivan earned heat race wins. While several of the early race leaders became impatient with each other in the 15-lap, caution-filled race, Hammond maintained his bearings and took the lead with two laps to go for his second straight feature win. “I knew the cars in front of me would be playing ping pong with each other,” Hammond spoke. “I was able to avoid the wrecks and it paid off.” Current points leader Nick Seplak was second, followed by Clubb, Justin VanDrunen, 13th starter Josh Hetherington, Don Hilleary, Bailey Aukland, Steven Lisewski, Zach Zuberbier, and Sullivan completed the top ten.

duncan spPontiac’s Michael Ledford clipped a lap of 15.081 seconds for fast time, as 12 Sportsman drivers made qualifying runs. Ledford and Metamora pilot Tommy Duncan were winners of their respective heat races. After an early race challenge from Ledford, points leader Duncan was able to pull away from the field in taking his third straight feature win. “Michael gave me a run for the money,” commented Duncan. “The track was a little dusty in the middle. I had to keep the car straight and try not to spin the wheels. I want to thank Roger Friedman for the power and the Craven’s for all they do for our class.” The remainder of the top ten were Ledford, Tyler Roth, Scott Williams, 12th starter Jeb Friedman, Matt Ramer, Steve Mattingly, Anthony Craven, Dan Coit, and Dustin Mounce.

gee hm16 Hobby-Modified drivers signed in for their 12-lap race. Metamora’s Mason Duncan was the night’s fast qualifier at 14.901 seconds. Duncan and Macy Vaughan claimed heat race wins. Mechanical problems on the pace lap ended Duncan’s night before the green flag waved. Brendan Ramer and Thad Gee put on a thrilling contest, racing side by side, as each driver looked to take the checkered flag. Gee was able to pull ahead in the final laps and pick up his first win of the year. “My car ran great on the outside,” stated Bloomington’s Gee. “Brendan gave me all I needed. It was a good, clean race.” Ramer, Travis Roe, Jason Brandt, Vaughan, Billy Shoemaker, Payton Semmens, Troy Ricketts, Graham Jackson, and Austin Lipe were the rest of the top ten.

Jerremy Sebens was the heat race winner and followed that up by winning the KidModz Series race. Audrey Gerberding and Ben Melcher completed the field.



All the stars were aligned leading up to the May 11th FALS Frenzy until lingering rain continued into the late afternoon which forced Fairbury Speedway officials to postpone the FALS Frenzy, setting up a huge two-day weekend which will see two complete shows of racing at the racy quarter-mile bullring on the weekend of October 11th and 12th.

Opening up the fall weekend on Friday, October 11th, will be a complete show of Late Models paying $5,000 to win, Modifieds ($1,500 to win), Pro (Crate) Late Models ($750 to win), and Stock Cars ($500 to win). Capping off the FALS Frenzy weekend on Saturday, October 12th, will be the make up $10,000 to win Late Model special along with Modifieds ($2,000 to win), Pro (Crate) Late Models ($1,000 to win), and Stock Cars ($750 to win).


Weisser Rolls to Fourth Straight Modified Victory

Results | Story by World of Outlaws

Your heart tried to explode. If you stopped to think you’d realize you weren’t breathing. But there was no time for that. Every lap, every corner, the potential for a new leader. A new reason to not blink. James McFadden? Brad Sweet? Kyle Larson? Your mind spun with the question of who will win, unable to find a clear answer as the three drivers dueled with the intensity of gladiators fighting to be the last man standing. Then the dust settled. A moment of quiet ease spread around the quarter-mile Fairbury Speedway arena. Climbing atop the wing of his No. 57 machine to thunderous applause and an explosion of confetti was Larson – claiming his eighth World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win Tuesday night. The win gives him back-to-back World of Outlaws victories, after winning his last Series race at Lawrenceburg Speedway on Memorial Day. “Cool to get a win back-to-back with the Outlaws, I’ve never done that before,” Larson said. The last time he won more than one World of Outlaws race in a season was back in 2013 – a year before he went full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing. Larson had to duel with fellow NASCAR competitor Christopher Bell and 10-time Series champion Donny Schatz to claim the win at Lawrenceburg.

This time around, he had to face the dominate Kasey Kahne Racing duo of McFadden and Sweet. The KKR teammates started the FVP Platinum Battery Showdown event going first and second in practice with Sweet pacing the field. The NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 car then backed up its speed in Qualifying by setting Quick Time. McFadden was third. Larson seventh. Sweet then won his Drydene Heat race with ease. Larson and McFadden dueled for the win in the third Drydene Heat race of the night with Larson dominating the field. McFadden came back with force, charging to the win in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. Sweet finished third, and Larson sixth – setting their starting position for the 40-lap Feature. McFadden wrestled with his 900hp machine, taming it like a wild stallion at the start of the Feature to take the early lead. His run was cut short by a red flag on the first lap for Dylan Tuxhorn rolling over in turn one. When the Feature went back green, heart rates amplified. Breaths were held. McFadden led, but Sweet was charging for a fight. The two teammates traded lanes lap after lap, corner after corner. Sweet could power his way to either the inside or outside of the Wicked Energy Gum No. 9 car into the turn, but McFadden could launch off the exit with the power of the gods.

While they dueled, Larson slayed the competition between him and the leaders with ease. By Lap 13, he gave the KKR duo something else to fear. Going into turn three he forced his car under Sweet, making it a three-wide battle through the corner – a common theme throughout the next several laps. Sweet built up a strong enough run to steal the lead from McFadden on Lap 17. He couldn’t shake him, though. McFadden and Larson stayed on his bumper and the next time around they both snuck by him. McFadden threw his car low in turn three, while Larson squeezed his car between the outside of Sweet and the wall. McFadden reclaimed the lead and now had a fierce Larson to contend with. The next lap, back in turns three and four, McFadden, again, went low and Larson high. The god-like launches McFadden could get exiting a corner were no match for the resilient throttle hungry Larson. The two traded the lead for the next couple of laps with Larson eventually prevailing. McFadden still had fight left in him, though. And not far behind was Sweet, lurking. Waiting for another opportunity to strike.

In the closing laps, with the leaders having to navigate lap traffic, Larson couldn’t lose McFadden. The Australian was building momentum lap after lap, inching closer and closer to Larson. But then, with eight laps to go, McFadden’s battle came to an end. While stuck behind a lap car through turns one and two, McFadden hit the corner tire and spun to a stop. “Really fun race track,” said McFadden, still with a smile, after the Feature. “It was awesome racing with Brad and Kyle. They’re obviously a couple of the best guys in the country. I don’t know if I just misjudged the lap car. He got the tractor tire I think and slowed him a bunch. I just got into the back of him and when I did that, the tractor tire came out, after he hit it, and I got it and that was that. At the end of the day, it was a positive step for the team.”

In the remaining eight laps, Larson now had to contest with a hard charging Sweet. Larson stuck to the bottom of the track – the least likely place for him to make a mistake, he said. Sweet took advantage of that, soaring around the outside of the speedway to find as much grip as he could to catch the Chevrolet Accessories No. 57 Silva Motorsports car. Coming to the checkered flag, Larson faltered. He slid off turn four, scrubbing speed and allowing Sweet the opportunity to strike one final time. The distance between the leaders was still too much for Sweet, though. Like a warrior on a steed signifying his victory, Larson sprinted to the checkered flag with his front two wheels off the ground. “That was just an exciting race from start to finish for me,” Larson said. “Shoot, 40 laps around this place was crazy. It felt like we swapped the lead a lot. Just an awesome race track. Short tracks are always a blast.”

Sweet’s runner-up finish helped him cut into Schatz’s points – now only 38 points behind the reigning champion. He said he felt like he had the better car, but probably got too timid in lap traffic, compared to Larson’s maneuvers. “He’s crazy,” Sweet said about Larson with a grin. “He was bouncing off the wall in (turn) one and bouncing off the wall in three and four.” Larson would agree with Sweet’s sentiment. “I’m always all out,” Larson said. “I don’t even know how I would be if I was running for points with the Outlaws. It would be hard for me to change my driving style. I’m just crazy, yeah.” That craziness makes speed though, he added.

The kind of speed that made your heart explode with excitement. Your breath run and hide. And your mind spin with questions. But there was no time to worry about that. Because every corner, every lap, there was the potential for a new leader. A new reason not to blink. 

World of Outlaws Sprint Cars FVP Platinum Battery Showdown Results

Feature (40 Laps) – 1. 57-Kyle Larson [6][$10,000]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [3][$5,500]; 3. 2M-Kerry Madsen [4][$3,200]; 4. 2-Carson Macedo [10][$2,800]; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser [12][$2,500]; 6. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [17][$2,300]; 7. 15-Donny Schatz [5][$2,200]; 8. 19-Brent Marks [9][$2,100]; 9. 5-Shane Stewart [22][$2,050]; 10. 21-Brian Brown [7][$2,000]; 11. 17B-Bill Balog [2][$1,500]; 12. 1S-Logan Schuchart [11][$1,200]; 13. 83-Daryn Pittman [13][$1,100]; 14. 41-David Gravel [24][$1,050]; 15. 18-Ian Madsen [23][$1,000]; 16. 9-James McFadden [1][$900]; 17. 41S-Dominic Scelzi [14][$800]; 18. 5X-Justin Peck [18][$800]; 19. 1A-Jacob Allen [15][$800]; 20. 70X-Spencer Bayston [21][$800]; 21. 7S-Jason Sides [16][$800]; 22. 96-Parker Price-Miller [8][$800]; 23. 4-Terry McCarl [19][$800]; 24. 9T-Dylan Tuxhorn [20][$800]

Lap Leaders: James McFadden 1-15, 19, 21; Brad Sweet 16-18; Kyle Larson 20, 22-40
Hard Charger Award: 5-Shane Stewart[+13]


Ryan Unzicker

Ryan Unzicker

Allen Weisser

Allen Weisser

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Matthew Hammond

Matthew Hammond

Mason Duncan

Mason Duncan

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

A near capacity crowd was on hand for Fan Appreciation Night at the Fairbury Speedway on Saturday night. 110 cars in six classes participated, which saw Ryan Unzicker (Late Model), Allen Weisser (Modified), Matt Hammond (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), Mason Duncan (Hobby-Modified), and Matt Ramer (Vintage) carrying the checkered flag.

unzicker lm26 Late Model drivers were on hand for their 30-lap feature race. Manhattan’s Mike Spatola turned a lap of 13.360 seconds for quick time. Ryan Unzicker, Myles Moos, and Scott Schmitt took heat race wins. Jason Feger advanced to the feature race by winning the B-Main. At the drop of the green flag, polesitter Unzicker took command while McKay Wenger and Schmitt had a see-saw battle for second. Following a caution on lap six for early contender Moos, Wenger made several bids for the lead before Unzicker went to the top side of the track and opened up a 10-car length lead. A caution fell with nine laps to go giving Wenger another chance to move to the front, but Unzicker proved to be much stronger on this night giving the El Paso native his first FALS Cup win of the year. “The track was racy on the top and bottom,” Unzicker spoke. “I am glad we were able to start on the front row because there was a lot of tough competition here tonight.” Wenger settled for second, followed by Kevin Weaver, Spatola, Schmitt, 16th starter Feger, Donny Walden, Derek Chandler, Mike Provenzano, and Spencer Diercks.

weisser mdIn Modified time trials, Peoria’s Allen Weisser paced the 27 drivers at 14.152 seconds. Weisser, Randy Shuman, and Steven Brooks claimed heat race wins. Nick Clubb was the winner of the B-Main. Polesitter Weisser got the jump on the field at the start of the 25-lap race. Weisser held a straightaway lead by the eighth lap, as Brooks and Jeffrey Ledford raced for the second position. Drivers had to pick their lines as a rut had developed at the bottom of the track in turn one. With tens laps to go, Ledford, running the top, overtook Brooks for second and began his chase of Weisser. A caution fell on the 22nd lap giving Ledford the chance to overtake Weisser. On the restart, Ledford made several attempts to take the lead, but Weisser held on and edged Ledford by a car length for his third straight win. “It’s always awesome to race against the Ledford’s, especially Jeffrey,” an excited Weisser spoke. “My crew guy told me he was coming so I had to go to the top in turns 1-2. You couldn’t ask for a better track.” Following Weisser and Ledford to the stripe were Shuman, Brooks, Devin Wright, Nick Neville, Trevor Neville, Mike Learman, Bradley Jameson, and Dan Rork.

hammond sc24 of the best Stock Car drivers in the region were signed in for their 15-lap feature race. A newcomer to Fairbury, Kingston’s Zachary Zuberbier took fast time at 15.584 seconds. Matt Hammond, Nick Seplak, and Justin VanDrunen took the wins in their respective heat races. Bourbonnais’s Hammond led the start of the caution-plagued race. VanDrunen, Seplak, and Tanner Sullivan put on a show in a race for second and each challenged Hammond for the lead, but this night belonged to Hammond after finally ending his long Fairbury drought and taking his first Fairbury win. “This year has been nothing but seconds and thirds,” an emotional Hammond said. “We have been so close and to get my first one here is awesome.” Seplak, Zuberbier, Sullivan, VanDrunen, 21st starter Kory Kohler, Eric Boudreau, Peter Argianas, Megan Erwin, and Kyle Miner took the top ten positions.

duncan spFairbury’s Tyler Roth earned his first fast time of the season with a lap of 15.357 seconds as nine CR Towing Sportsman drivers looked to take the trophy in their 15-lap race. Metamora’s Tommy Duncan was the heat race victor. Duncan led Amber Crouch, Michael Ledford, Anthony Craven, and Roth as the green flag waved. After a lap five caution, Ledford moved to the top side overtaking Crouch for second. Ledford made a game effort to catch the leader, but Duncan drove a smooth, steady line on the bottom for his second straight win. “I can’t talk enough about my crew,” said Duncan. “They are on it now. They know what we need and know what we need to do.” Ledford, Roth, Craven, Lyndon Whitfill, Steve Mattingly, Brian Albus, Crouch, and Matt Ramer completed the field.

duncan hmFairbury’s Mike Petersen topped 16 Hobby-Modified drivers in qualifying at 15.396 seconds. Mason Duncan and Tyler Sebby earned heat race wins. Not to be outdone by his father, Duncan put on a clinic in dominating the 12-lap feature race. Thad Gee, Austin Lipe, Troy Ricketts, Brendan Ramer, Albie Perez, Macy Vaughan, Petersen, Sebby, and Jake Green completed the top ten.

ramer vtMaking their lone appearance of the year, eight Vintage Racing of Illinois Series cars were in attendance. The 15-lap race saw plenty of side-by-side racing, as Matt Ramer was able to pull away at the halfway mark for the win. Ramer’s son Brandon was second, with Andy Thompson, Tyler Sebby, John Ryan, Kyle Davis, Mark Davis, and Jim Beaty completing the field. “I can’t believe I finally got a win here,” an excited Ramer commented. “The car was a handful. I would turn it one way and it would go the other. With five laps to go I could smell something burning, but just glad to hang on for the win.”


Brian Shirley

Brian Shirley

Allen Weisser

Allen Weisser

Jake Little

Jake Little

Owen Wells

Owen Wells

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

The Fairbury Speedway held a Memorial Day Weekend special on Saturday night. The track welcomed the American Modified Series for a 30-lap, $2,000 to win race. Making their first appearance were the Pro Late Models, and bonus money was up for grabs in the Late Model, Street Stock, and CR Towing Sportsman divisions.

shirley lm25 Late Model drivers took time trials for their 35-lap, $3,000 to win race. Washington’s Bob Gardner toured the ¼ mile dirt oval at 13.410 seconds for fast time. Allen Weisser, Brian Shirley, and Gordy Gundaker won heat races, while Jay Morris took the B-Main. At the drop of the green flag, Shirley and Weisser ran side by side for the lead before Shirley pulled ahead on the third lap. Behind the duo, Gundaker, Mike Spatola, and Kevin Weaver kept fans on their feet in an exciting battle for third. By the 10th lap, Shirley had lapped traffic in his path. Weisser was able to close in on Shirley. Once the leader cleared the slower cars, Shirley opened up his lead. Gundaker overtook Weisser in the closing laps for second, but ran out of laps as Shirley recorded his first win of the year at Fairbury. “We had a good car tonight and just had to bide our time,” said the Chatham resident. “The bottom wasn’t for me, so I stuck it on the Fairbury top side and we came out alright”. Gundaker took second, with track points leader Ryan Unzicker, Spatola, Weisser, Weaver, Jason Feger, McKay Wenger, Mike Glasscock, and Gardner completing the top ten.

weisser mdThe American Modified Series saw 30 cars vying for fast time honors and Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford upheld the honors for the home crowd with a lap of 14.394 seconds. Heats went to defending AMS champion Trent Young, Michael Long, Allen Weisser, and Mike McKinney. Jim Farris advanced to the 30-lap feature by taking the B-Main. McKinney led at the start, with Young, Weisser, Long, and Steven Brooks tucked behind. Weisser, running the bottom of the track, edged ahead of McKinney for the lead on lap two. On a restart after a caution on the 13th lap, Weisser led as Ledford, McKinney, and Young ran three wide for second. Always a threat for the win, Mike Harrison was on the move in fifth. Running the ragged edge at the top, he joined in the hunt for the top prize as he moved into second by the halfway point. After a caution on the 17th lap, Weisser and Harrison separated themselves from the competition. As Weisser had lap traffic ahead of him with 10 laps to go, he made the right moves in keeping Harrison at bay. Harrison made several attempts to move ahead of Weisser, but the driver known as “A-Dog” prevailed in winning his first career AMS race. “I knew Harrison would be better than me on the top,” Weisser stated. “Running the bottom, I had to go to the top with the lapped cars ahead. Everything just played out in our favor.” The remainder of the top ten went to Harrison, Ledford, Young, Long, McKinney, Ray Bollinger, Gabriel Kirtley, Brian Shaw, and Jay Ledford.

little plmShow-Me state driver Trevor Gundaker clipped the speedway at 14.688 seconds for quick time over 20 drivers in the $1,000 to win, 25-lap Pro Late Model contest. Gundaker and Springfield’s Jake Little won their respective heat races. After a caution on the first lap, Little went to the top side and got by Gundaker for the lead. Little wasted no time in quickly pulling away from the field. Bobby Richey Jr. took over second, as Gundaker, Logan Moody, and Dakota Ewing followed. Little held a straightaway lead before the yellow flag came out with five laps to go. On the restart, Little opened up the lead and was able to cruise to the win. “The car was really good tonight,” Little said. “I knew once I got to the top, I could drive my race and would be good to go.” Ewing, Mike Spatola, Brandon Eskew, Richey Jr., Moody, Gundaker, Roben Huffman, Shawn Diggs, and Dane Arvin took the top ten positions.

wells scBourbonnais’s Matt Hammond toured the speedway at 16.027 seconds for fast time as 21 drivers looked to take the $500 winner’s check. Hammond, Justin VanDrunen, and Nick Seplak took heat race wins. Making his first appearance at the track, Owen Wells of Monticello, Ind., saw his chance for the lead happen with five laps to go. Wells got by Darrell Dick for the top spot and had to survive a caution with two laps to go before taking the checkered flag. “We had bad luck during hot laps and our heat race, but made adjustments,” Wells commented. “We didn’t know how the car would do. It is just amazing to finally get a win.” The rest of the top ten went to Hammond, Dick, Zack Zuberbier, Cody Clubb, Josh Hetherington, Kraig Hughes, Seplak, Al Gray, and Roger Rickels.

duncan spNine Sportsman drivers looked to take the $500 to win feature race. Metamora’s Tommy Duncan was the lone heat race winner. Duncan, with a fast car in the early part of the year, was able to lead all 15 laps and take his first career feature race win at Fairbury. “I have to thank all my crew and my wife for putting up with all of this,” said Duncan. “We will see what the rest of the year brings us.” Tyler Roth, Michael Ledford, Amber Crouch, Anthony Craven, Val Hurt, Matt Ramer, Scott Williams, and Steve Mattingly completed the field.


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