by Darlene Miller
Scott Bull and Mike Harrison were big winners as the Fairbury American Legion Speedway came to an exciting end of its 2014 season on Saturday night with the Corn Belt Clash Late Model Series drivers, the American Late Model Series drivers, plus FALS regulars in a 40-lap feature.
Three-time defending FALS points champion Scott Bull picked up the victory to put an exclamation point on his outstanding season while also pocketing $3,000. Meanwhile, Highland’s Mike Harrison picked up the 2nd annual Casey’s American Modified Series Nationals race taking home $5,000. Richard Craven and Matt Maier were the winners of the Sportsman and Street stock features, respectively.
El Paso’s Ryan Unzicker and Dan Flessner of Roberts led the Late Models to the 40-lap feature and quickly set a fast pace. An early caution flag flew just one lap into the feature.
Unzicker led the group back to the flag bringing along Oakwood’s Bobby Pierce, Flessner, and New Berlin’s Brandon Sheppard. Four more caution flags flew before the group settled into some green flag racing with 33 laps to go. Pierce wrestled the lead away from Unzicker with 23 circuits to go. Pierce, on the bottom, Unzicker and Sheppard both running high, began to feel the presence of Bull charging forward from his seventh starting spot. A caution flag flew with seven laps to go, and on the restart Pierce jumped and was put in second place following Sheppard and one spot ahead of Bull, who was now in third place.
Bull of Fairbury grabbed the lead with six laps to go as another caution flag flew after Pierce and Sheppard made contact. Pierce was done for the evening. Bull continued showing the way and with four to go Sheppard pulled to the infield. Bull held off Unzicker and Daren Friedman of Forrest for the big win. “We’ve been working on our car and had been struggling a little,” Bull said. “Tonight the car felt good on the top or bottom. This is back where we need to be and I am looking forward to next year.” Rounding out the top 10 were Eric Smith, Jason Utter, Spencer Diercks, Mike Spatola, Joe Harlan, Ryan Vanderveen, and Jay Morris. Heat winners were Flessner, Unzicker, and Sheppard.
Points champion Jay Ledford of Pontiac and Chatsworth’s Lance Dehm sat up front for the 40-lap Modified feature. After a quick caution, Dehm took the lead while Ledford faced a tough challenge from Buffalo’s Jeff Leka. Dehm continued his domination of the field until a caution flag flew with 11 circuits to go. Harrison, after starting 17th, moved up quietly and rapidly through the field and grabbed the lead from Dehm with 10 trips remaining. Jeff Curl got around Dehm and made it a two-driver battle with four to go. Harrison held off Curl for the win.
“I broke a front end in the heat race and had to come back in the B-Main to get in the race. The guys got me back together. The car was fast and it was impressive and took me to the front” said Harrison. Leka was third followed by Dehm and Jay Ledford. Jimmy Dehm led the second five and was followed home by Steven Brooks, Devin Gilpin, Tanner Wilson, and Matt Mevert. Heat winners were Ledford, Leka, Dehm, and Curl. B-Main winners were Jim Farris of Odell and Harrison.