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McKinney, Ewing also Victorious in Season Finale

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

A big payday and the prestige of winning a feature race at the Fairbury Speedway drew 107 cars, representing 11 states, for the final races of the year. World of Outlaws points leader Brandon Sheppard (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), and Dakota Ewing (Pro Late Model) each picked up the win in their respective classes.

sheppard lmFor the Late Models, Billy Moyer (12.567) and Billy Drake (12.624) led in group qualifying for the 39 entries on hand. Moyer, McKay Wenger, Shannon Babb, and Mike Spatola won heat races. Dennis Erb Jr. and Jason Feger advanced to the 60-lap feature by winning their respective B-Mains. Front row starters Moyer and Babb led the field to the green. Babb led the first seven laps before Moyer was credited with leading lap eight. Moyer and Babb swapped the lead for the next eight laps. Moyer took over on lap 16 with Babb, Wenger, World of Outlaws regular Shane Clanton, and Sheppard in check. Sheppard moved by Clanton on lap 18, and three laps later, overtook Wenger for third. Moyer expanded his lead as Babb began to fade. After a lap 41 caution for Brian Shirley, Sheppard worked on Babb before taking second on lap 47. Running the top side of the track, Sheppard quickly ran down Moyer and made the winning pass for the win with five laps to go. Moyer took second, with Clanton in third, Wenger fourth, and Babb hung on for fifth. Erb, who started 17th, took sixth, followed by Scott James, Scott Schmitt, Drake, and Tim Manville. Taking the $15,000 win in the family-owned Rocket chassis, Sheppard commented in victory lane. “The track was crazy tonight. That was the best it’s been in a long time. With 35 laps to go, I lost the brakes. The last 30 laps I didn’t touch the brakes and I think that made me faster. I was leery about running the top because I couldn’t slow down getting into the corners. I was backing up the corners good enough and the car was good enough to get it done.”

mckinney md$2,000 to win the 30-lap Modified race drew 31 teams to the ¼ mile. A lap of 14.050 seconds by Mike McKinney and a time of 13.915 seconds by Jeffrey Ledford paced group time trials. McKinney, Jason Hastings, Ledford, and AJ May were the heat race winners. Michael Wesselman was the winner of the B-Main. Starting on the outside of the front row, Ledford led the first lap. McKinney moved by Ledford to take the lead on lap two. Ledford was able to pull a crossover move on McKinney, but McKinney was able to move back into the lead. After a lap seven caution, track champion Allen Weisser ran side by side with Ledford for second before moving ahead on lap 11. Josh Harris closely followed in fourth and Hastings in fifth. Weisser slipped by McKinney for the lead on lap 13, but McKinney, running the top, came back on the next lap to take the lead. As the leader overtook lapped cars, Ledford got by Weisser for second. Two laps later, Ledford was boxed in by slower cars, and Weisser reclaimed second. Two late race cautions, and Weisser and Ledford dueling for second, could not stop McKinney as he picked up his seventh Fairbury win of the year. Weisser, Harris, Ledford, Brad DeYoung, Hastings, Randy Shuman, Alan Stipp, Michael Ledford, and Nick Neville completed the top ten.

ewing plm37 Pro Late Model drivers were looking for the $1,000 top prize in their 25-lap feature race. Dakota Ewing, with a time of 13.801 seconds, led group one qualifying, while Chase Osterhoff’s time of 13.881 seconds was fast enough to lead group two. Ewing, Mike McKinney, Osterhoff, and Brandon Eskew were heat race winners. Two B-Mains saw Matt Hammond and Dane Arvin taking the checkers. Polesitter Ewing took the lead at the start. Eighth starter Torin Mettille worked his way through the pack. With the help of a lap 12 caution, Mettille took the second position, and the race for the lead began. Mettille tried repeatedly to overtake Ewing for the lead, but he had to contend with Brandon Eskew who was on his bumper. Ewing, after two second place finishes at Fairbury this year, would not be denied and held on for the win. “There is so much pressure racing here at Fairbury,” said Ewing. “It is awesome that we get to race here. Torin was right there on me. I was just giving it all I had to hang on.” The remainder of the top ten went to Mettille, Eskew, Logan Moody, Osterhoff, Tom Knippenberg, Roben Huffman, Arvin, McKinney, and Kyle Cooper.



Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

Nick Hoffman

Nick Hoffman

Frank Heckenast Jr.

Frank Heckenast Jr.

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

The Fairbury Speedway welcomed the American Modified Series and the American Ethanol Late Model Tour for three 40-lap, $5,000 to win feature races on Saturday night. Picking up the big checks were Mike McKinney and Nick Hoffman in the Modified class, while Frank Heckenast Jr. took the Late Model win.

65 Modified teams were broken up into two groups for their time trials, heat races, semi-features, and feature races. Curt Spalding led group one qualifiers, while Nick Hoffman paced the field in group two. Frank Marshall, Victor Lee, Rodney Standerfer, Kyle Hammer, Hoffman, Tyler Nicely, Michael Long, and track points champion Allen Weisser were the heat race winners. A pair of semi-features saw Ryan Ayers and Brandon Roberts earning their way into the feature races.

hoffman mdIn the first main event of the night, outside front row starter Nick Hoffman took a commanding lead at the start, as Frank Marshall, Michael Long, Trent Young, and Rodney Standerfer trailed. After a lap nine caution, Long and Young moved into the second and third positions, while Curt Spalding charged into the fourth spot. Hoffman sliced his way past the slower traffic at the halfway mark keeping a straightaway lead over his competitors. Hoffman’s lead evaporated as a caution flag fell with three laps to go. On the restart, Hoffman was able to pull away from the field and pick up his second AMS win of the year. 10th starter Young rebounded from Friday night’s DNF at Farmer City to take second, while Josh Harris made a late race charge for third. The remainder of the top ten were Long, David Stremme, Spalding, Danny Schwartz, Derek Losh, Marshall, and Standerfer.

mckinney mdIn the second race, Tyler Nicely and Victor Lee raced for the lead before a caution fell on the fourth circuit. Nicely took the front position on the restart, with Lee, Allen Weisser, Mike McKinney, and Kenny Wallace following. Holding a ten-car length lead, Nicely soon encountered lapped traffic. McKinney had made his way into second and began to reel the race leader in. McKinney was able to catch Nicely and took over the front position. After three straight yellow flags and with McKinney leading, Nicely and Lee made repeated bids to move into the lead, but McKinney was able to pull away in the closing laps to take his first AMS win of the season. Series points leader Nicely held off Lee for second, with Jeffrey Ledford in fourth. Weisser finished fifth, followed by Wallace, Steven Brooks, Jeff Leka, Kyle Hammer, and Brody Pompe.

heckenast lmA field of 37 Late Model drivers were on hand for their feature race. Frank Heckenast Jr. was the fast qualifier for the night. Travis Stemler, Brian Shirley, Mike Spatola, and Heckenast Jr. were the heat race winners. A pair of semi-features had Mike Mataragas and Allen Weisser advancing into the feature. Heckenast Jr. took over the lead on lap 11 after a back and forth duel with Shirley for the first 10 laps. The caution flag was displayed on lap 12 as a light rain began to fall. Cars circled the track in an attempt to dry the speedway out. After a 10 minute delay, racing resumed. Heckenast led as Jimmy Mars moved into the second position. Last week’s race winner Tim Manville brought out a caution on lap 15 and dropped out of the race. Heckenast held a commanding lead on the restart before the yellow flag came out for the third place running car of Shirley. Heckenast once again built a large lead over the field on the restart, as Mars and Jason Feger attempted to keep pace. Heckenast was able to cruise to his second feature win of the year at Fairbury. After finishing second the previous night at Farmer City, Mars was once again the bridesmaid, with Feger in third. 15th starter Bobby Pierce rallied to take fourth in the closing laps. Donny Walden finished fifth, with Weisser, Brandon Thirlby, Rich Bell, Jay Morris, and Stemler completing the top ten.


Tim Manville

Tim Manville

Allen Weisser

Allen Weisser

Zachary Zuberbier

Zachary Zuberbier

Jeremy Nichols

Jeremy Nichols

Mason Duncan

Mason Duncan

Results | Final Points | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

A FALS Cup weekly race program was held this past Saturday night. In addition, track champions were crowned in four divisions. Ryan Unzicker (Late Model), Allen Weisser (Modified), Nick Seplak (Stock Car), and Tommy Duncan (Sportsman) claimed track titles in their respective divisions.

manville lmA strong field of 33 Late Model drivers registered for their 30-lap, $2,500 to win race. McKay Wenger recorded the fast time with a lap of 12.578 seconds. Kevin Weaver, Bob Gardner, Ryan Unzicker, and Tim Manville won heat races. Two semi-features were held with the wins going to Paul Stubber and Mike Spatola. Polesitter Weaver led the first two laps before Manville took over on lap three. Manville treaded his way to a five-car length lead while working the cushion. Weaver was able to stay within striking distance on the bottom, with Jay Morris, Gardner, and Unzicker following. Allen Weisser tagged the wall on the frontstretch with two laps to go bringing out the caution flag. On the restart, Manville turned back the challengers and took his first ever Fairbury feature win. “This is a huge win,” said Manville. “Getting a win here has been on my bucket list. Fairbury is a tricky racetrack, but that is what makes it awesome. Anytime we come here the competition is tough and that is why it is special to win here.” The remainder of the top ten were Weaver, Unzicker, Wenger, Gardner, Morris, Rich Bell, Scott Schmitt, Spatola, and Myles Moos.

weisser md24 Modified drivers were on hand for their 25-lap, $1,500 to win race. Jeffrey Ledford led in qualifying with a time of 13.873. Dan Rork, Allen Weisser, and Michael Ledford were the heat race victors. At the wave of the green flag, Weisser went to the top of the track and quickly established a sizeable lead. The yellow flag was waved four times in the first ten laps of the feature, with Rork, Nick Clubb, and the Ledford brothers trailing Weisser. After a lap 18 yellow flag, Weisser distanced himself from his competitors and was able to lock up his track championship and add the eighth win to his resume. “The track has been great all year,” Weisser said. “I can’t thank Matt Curl, his crew, and all the fans enough. This Lethal chassis has been good all season.” Clubb, Rork, Jeffrey Ledford, Rich Dawson, Steven Brooks, Michael Ledford, Jason Hastings, Steve Jones, and Billy Puckett rounded out the top ten.

zuberbier scDominating the competition at Sycamore Speedway last year, Zachary Zuberbier made the decision to hit the road, visiting many tracks in the region for the first time. On Saturday, Zuberbier fulfilled a dream by winning his first-ever feature race at Fairbury in the Stock Car class. In the 15-lap race, Tanner Sullivan took the lead from Zuberbier on the second lap. Zuberbier stayed glued to Sullivan’s bumper until Zuberbier moved to the lead with four laps remaining. Zuberbier opened a five-car length lead and earned his first ever Fairbury feature win. “It has been a dream of mine to get a feature win here,” an excited Zuberbier spoke. “Our crew really enjoys coming down here.” Sullivan took second, with Pete Odell, Michael Schomas, and Nick Seplak completing the top five. The rest of the top ten went to Don Hilleary, Ethan Sims, Cody Clubb, Rick Thomas, and Justin VanDrunen. Zuberbier paced the 17 entries in time trials with a lap of 15.661 seconds and took the win in the first heat race. Schomas was the winner of the second heat race.

nichols spThe 15-lap CR Towing Sportsman race was a wild one. As Tommy Duncan led Amber Crouch and Jeremy Nichols, Steve Mattingly made a late race charge. With the checkered flag in sight, Duncan (top), Crouch (middle), and Nichols (bottom) entered turns three and four. Mattingly got into the back of Duncan. Crouch, looking for her first win of the year, got loose and Nichols moved ahead. Nichols, Crouch, and Mattingly went three-wide to the finish line as Nichols took the win by a bumper. “I got lucky on that one. We still had our Springfield setup on the car,” said Nichols. “It was loose so I had to stay as smooth as I could.” Crouch settled for second, Mattingly finished third, followed by Duncan, Lyndon Whitfill, Matt Ramer, Val Hurt, Blake Reid, Anthony Craven, and Dan Coit. Michael Ledford led the 15 cars in qualifying with a lap of 14.720. The two heat races went to Crouch and Duncan.

duncan hmMason Duncan led from start to finish in winning his eighth Hobby-Modified feature race of the year. The win didn’t come as easy as past races though. Troy Ricketts was able to stay with Duncan until Duncan pulled away with three laps to go. Makinzi Semmens, Macy Vaughan, and Kyle Davis took the top five positions. The remainder of the top ten went to Travis Roe, Brian Kidder, Tyler Russell, John Brammer, and Payton Semmens. Duncan was the event's fast qualifier at a 14.917. Roe and Austin Lipe were heat race winners.


Zeb Wise

Zeb Wise

Zeb Wise

Zeb Wise

Allen Weisser

Allen Weisser

Aaron Heck

Aaron Heck

Weisser Collects Seventh Modified Victory; Heck Triumphs in Pro Late Models

Results | Story and Pictures by POWRi & Rocky Ragusa

wise powri by powriAdding his second-career POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League victory on Thursday night, Zeb Wise of Angola, Ind. wheeled the Clauson-Marshall Racing, Driven 2 Save Lives, Spike/SR-11 No. 39BC to the win on Thursday night at Fairbury American Legion Speedway.

Starting from the outside pole, Wise took the green flag alongside PAC Racing Springs High Point Man, Thomas Meseraull. Sliding across turns one and two in front of Wise, Meseraull made an immediate bid for control of the lead, but Wise was too quick with the crossover as he snuck down and drove back by the No. 7X to lead the opening circuit.

Heading straight for the cushion, Wise rocketed away in the early stages as his Clauson-Marshall teammate, Tyler Courtney, made his way into the second spot with a pass on Meseraull. While Courtney set his sights on Wise out front, Logan Seavey of Sutter, Calif. was the hard charger storming through the field aboard his Keith Kunz-Curb Agajanian Motorsports, Mobil 1, Bullet/Toyota No. 67.

Catching Wise with six laps left, Courtney was within striking distance and set himself up to attack his teammate for command of the top spot. Tossing a slider as they came to the five to go signal, Courtney cleared Wise, but was quickly relegated back to second as the caution flew for Thomas Meseraull.

Restarting with six to go, Wise led the field back to green fully aware of Courtney’s presence behind him. Another caution on the 27th circuit for Maria Cofer lined the field up for one final restart as Wise led Courtney and a rocket-fast Seavey.

Expecting a challenge for the lead, Wise received nothing in the final three laps as Courtney’s hands were too full with an exchange of sliders from Seavey. While those two fought head-to-head, Wise snuck away and drove the No. 39BC to victory, marking his second-career POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League win.

Logan Seavey chased Wise to the line, capping an impressive 14th-to-second charge aboard his No. 67. Tyler Courtney rounded out the podium in third with Tanner Thorson and Zach Daum closing out the top five. Finishing inside the top ten was Robert Dalby in sixth, Tucker Klaasmeyer in seventh, Jesse Colwell in eighth, Tanner Carrick in ninth and Cannon McIntosh.

weisser mdThe 25-lap DIRTcar Modified race attracted 23 entries for their $1,500 to win contest. Track points leader Allen Weisser earned fast time honors with a lap of 13.951 seconds. Weisser, Danny Schwartz, and Jeffrey Ledford took the wins in their respective heat races, while Jay Ledford advanced to the feature by winning the semi. Polesitter Weisser used the bottom of the track to his advantage by leading on the start. On the trail to unseat Weisser, Mike Harrison, Schwartz, and Jeffrey Ledford gave all that Weisser could handle in looking to make their way to the front. On a lap 14 caution, Harrison had a left front tire go flat ending his night. Schwartz and Ledford put up a fight for the lead, before Weisser was able to pull away in the closing laps to take his seventh Fairbury win of the year. Schwartz, Ledford, Steven Brooks, Jim Farris, Kyle Hammer, Austin Lynn, Michael Ledford, Nick Clubb, and Dan Rork rounded out the top ten.

heck plmA field of 24 DIRTcar Pro Late Models signed in for their $500 to win, 20-lap special. Jose Parga claimed quick time at a lap of 13.701 seconds. Parga, Dakota Ewing, and Torin Mettille were the heat race winners, while Tony Thoennes won the semi winner. Tied for the lead in the DIRTcar national points, Aaron Heck and Ewing challenged each other till the last lap of the feature race. In his first-ever appearance to Fairbury, Heck was able to hold off Ewing and take a hard fought win. The remainder of the top ten were Parga, Mettille, Bobby Richey, Chris Dick, Blaze Burwell, Roben Huffman, Michael Marden, and Sam Halstead.


Mike Spatola

Mike Spatola

Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Jim Ransom

Jim Ransom

Mason Duncan

Mason Duncan

Results | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

The Fairbury Speedway returned to action on Saturday night with a FALS Cup weekly program. Mike Spatola (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), Jim Ransom (Stock Car), and Mason Duncan (Hobby-Modified) each carried the checkered flag in their respective classes.

spatola lmWith a weekend off from the World of Outlaws, Carpentersville’s Dennis Erb Jr. made the trek to Fairbury, setting fast time at 12.905 seconds over 23 other Late Models, and winning his heat race. Taylor Scheffler and Mike Spatola were the other heat race winners, while Dale Markham advanced to the 30-lap feature by winning the semi-feature. Starting on the inside front row, Erb quickly jumped out into the lead as Scheffler and Spatola raced for second. Hugging the bottom of the track, Erb held a ten- car length lead over Scheffler, Spatola, track points leader Ryan Unzicker, and Allen Weisser. After a caution on lap 10, the battle for second was intense as Spatola, Unzicker, and Scott Schmitt exchanged the position lap after lap. Two straight lap 19 cautions had Spatola on Erb’s bumper for the restart. Spatola was able to make the top side work and took the lead on lap 21. Erb came back to take the lead on lap 27, but a determined Spatola reclaimed the lead on the next lap and pulled away for his third win at Fairbury. “Dennis is the best Illinois driver to run the bottom,” Spatola said. “I knew that at some point I was going to try and figure out how to get him on the top.” Erb took second, as Unzicker, Donny Walden, 13th starter Jason Feger, McKay Wenger, Weisser, Jay Sparks, Derek Chandler, and Rich Bell completed the top ten.

mckinney mdIt was another night of fierce competition in the Modified division between Allen Weisser and Mike McKinney. Each took their respective heat race wins and Weisser captured quick time at 13.964 seconds. Four cautions and a red flag kept any rhythm from developing through the first five laps. The bottom of the track was the preferred line during the race as Weisser led McKinney, Missouri’s Rick Stevenson, who also won a heat race, Jeffrey Ledford, and Nick Clubb. Ledford went to the top, moving into third, and gave McKinney a race for second before falling back. A rising star in the Modified, Michael Ledford was shuffled back to 10th before charging back to fifth on the eighth lap. Threading their way through lapped traffic, McKinney was able to sneak by Weisser with seven laps to go and take his fifth win. “I have a ton of respect for Allen. We have been battling each other all season,” an exhausted McKinney spoke. “We got behind the slower cars and I was able to get by him. Sometimes it pays to be running in second.” Track points leader Weisser took the second position, with Jeffrey Ledford, Stevenson, Michael Ledford, Clubb, Rich Dawson, Billy Puckett, Steve Jones, and Eric Vaughan in the first 10 positions.

duncan spThe CR Towing Sportsman class was scheduled for a 15-lap race. 11 drivers signed in with Michael Ledford touring the track at 14.654 seconds for fast time. Two heat races saw Ledford and Amber Crouch coming out on top. On the opening lap, Ledford, Crouch, and Lyndon Whitfill went three wide looking to take the lead. Track points leader Tommy Duncan found an opening and took command. Looking for his first track championship, Duncan led all the way for his sixth win of the year. “We have the car back to where it was at the start of the year and have been making the smart choices,” Duncan said. Following Duncan to the stripe were Ledford, Steve Mattingly, Whitfill, Matt Ramer, Val Hurt, Brendan Ramer, Crouch, Blake Reid, and Dan Coit.

ransom scMatt Hammond paced the 18 Stock Cars with a time of 15.624 seconds. Indiana’s Jim Ransom and Matt Shannon won heat races. Debuting a new car, Ransom went to the lead at the beginning of the 15-lap race. Holding off a brief challenge from track points leader Nick Seplak, and surviving several cautions, Ransom was able to take his first Fairbury feature win. “I have to thank my car owner, Mike Allsop, and the crew for their hard work,” Ransom spoke. “I was getting nervous with those cautions, but the car was working good.”

duncan hmSetting fast time at 15.006 seconds and winning his heat race, Mason Duncan continued his dominance in the Hobby-Modified division. Making quick work of the competition, Duncan was able to outdistance his foes and pick up his seventh win. “The car has been absolutely perfect all season long,” Duncan said. “I can’t thank my crew and sponsors for all they have done.” Thad Gee, Troy Ricketts, Macy Vaughan, heat race winner Darren Kerrins, Devin Burton, Tyler Sebby, Makinzi Semmens, Jake Green, and Darren Christensen rounded out the top ten.


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