header

Mike Spatola

Mike Spatola

Michael Ledford

Michael Ledford

Austin Hubbard

Austin Hubbard

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Luke Gebhardt

Luke Gebhardt

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

Race teams and fans were able to spend part of their Independence Day weekend on Saturday night as the Fairbury Speedway featured a FALS Cup weekly program with track and Alkota points up for grabs. Mike Spatola, Michael Ledford, Austin Hubbard, Tommy Duncan, and Luke Gebhardt were the race winners in their respective classes.

spatola lmKevin Weaver’s time of 12.749 seconds gave the Hall of Fame driver fast time with 23 Late Model drivers on hand. Myles Moos, McKay Wenger, and Mike Spatola won their respective heat races. Bill Hough took the semi-feature. Wenger and Spatola had the large crowd on their feet as the two wheelmen swapped the top spot. Wenger was credited for leading the first five laps, before Spatola moved into the lead on lap six. Spatola kicked it up on the 10th circuit and began to pull away from his competition. Spatola’s pace was too much as he lapped up to the eighth-place driver. The current track points leader was able to take his third win of the year. “It’s always awesome to come to FALS and get a win,” said Spatola. “We have been running some Summer National races and getting our butts kicked. You have to do that if you want to get your program right. There were some things we learned and that helped us here.” Wenger finished as the runner-up, followed by Eric Smith, Moos, Jeffrey Ledford, Mike Mataragas, Weaver, Donny Walden, Torin Mettille, and Dale Markham.

ledford mdBob Pohlman Jr. led the 28 Modified drivers in qualifying with a lap of 13.991 seconds. Steven Brooks, Nick Clubb, and Dawson Cook won their respective heat races. Tanner Reed advanced to the 25-lap feature by winning the b-main. Brooks led for the first 13 laps as four cautions fell on the speedway. Clubb, Pohlman, Cook, and Ethan Weber battled back and forth looking to keep pace. Michael Ledford had started in the sixth position and fell back to 11th. Ledford began his march to the front and was in fourth by the 10th lap. The final ten laps saw Pohlman leading on the 15th lap before Brooks took over leading laps 16 to 19. Brooks was caught in the cushion and surrendered the lead to Ledford. Ledford was able to earn a hard-fought win and earn his first FALS Cup trophy of the year. “Those first five laps I put myself in a hole,” explained Ledford. “It was a fun race with Brooks, and I was able to take Pohlman’s line to get by him.” Pohlman finished second with Cook in third, and Brooks fell to fourth. David Shain, Alan Stipp, Matt Mitchell, Tom Pasek, Andrew Hamburg, and Caden McWhorter rounded out the top ten.

hubbard sc26 Stock Car drivers went under the clock and defending DIRTcar national champion Lance Evans took fast time with a lap of 15.373 seconds. Evans, Adam Williams, and Tanner Sullivan were heat race winners. Josh Hetherington took the b-main. On the green flag, the first four drivers went four wide for the lead. Fourth starter Cody Clubb found himself in the lead before the yellow flag came out. On the restart as Clubb dove into turn three, Sullivan got into Clubb causing Clubb’s car to roll and bring out the red flag. Both drivers, along with Hetherington, were done for the night. Kyle Anderson moved into the lead, but it was short lived. On the fifth lap, his car began to misfire and he was forced to drop out. Williams moved into the lead, but Austin Hubbard began to reel him in. With five laps to go, Hubbard was on Williams' bumper trying the top and bottom of the track to move into the lead. As the white flag was displayed, Hubbard overtook Williams and took his first Fairbury win. “This is our second time at Fairbury,” Hubbard said. “The track was really good. I did get into Adam a couple of times, but that is racing. We were able to get this win.” Williams settled for second, with Ryen Johnson, Pete Odell, Michael Schomas, Andrew Short, Jesse Simmons, Don Hilleary, Kraig Hughes, and 20th starter Benjamin Odell completing the top ten.

duncan spAustin Friedman posted a time of 14.729 seconds to lead the 10 CR Towing Sportsman drivers in time trials. Tommy Duncan won the lone heat race. Polesitter Duncan took the lead at the start of the 15-lap race with Friedman following. On the second lap, Friedman was grabbed by the infamous Fairbury cushion, tagged the wall in turn one, and saw his race end on the next lap. Anthony Craven, Landen Miller, and Lyndon Whitfill kept the fans entertained with an exciting duel for second swapping the position back and forth. As Duncan sprinted out to a large lead, Whitfill took ownership of second on the fourth lap. Whitfill was able to cut into Duncan’s lead as a caution fell with one lap to go. On the restart, Whitfill gave it his all but fell short as Duncan took his fourth win. “People were saying that the track had character tonight. I thought it was good,” spoke Duncan. “I like to see these young drivers that are coming up and challenging like that.” Miller finished in the third position, with Craven in fourth, and Thad Gee posted a season best finish in fifth. Wes Odell, Roy Magee, Makinzi Semmens, Jim Farley, and Friedman completed the finish.

gebhardt hmBrian Deavers and Tim Mullins were the Hobby-Mod heat race winners. Luke Gebhardt moved past Deavers on the white flag lap and took his second straight feature win. “Dad told me before the race to run the top and middle of the track, but just take my time. So, I did that and here we are,” Gebhardt said. Deavers finished in second, with Mullins, Jeff King, Reid Gall, Jordan Walker, Jake Green, Darren Kerrins, Madison Walker, and Scott Brown completing the top ten.



Shannon Babb

Shannon Babb

Nick Hoffman

Nick Hoffman

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Hoffman Rolls to Flag-to-Flag Win in $2,000 Modified Nationals

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

A packed house was on hand Saturday night at the Fairbury Speedway. The track joined forces with Rhino Ag to host the fifth stop on the DIRTcar Summer Nationals tour. Shannon Babb (Late Model), Nick Hoffman (Modified), and Tommy Duncan (Sportsman) topped the field of cars in each class to emerge as feature race winners.

babb lm46 DIRTcar Late Model drivers were on hand for the $10,000 to win, 50-lap race. Group one qualifying saw Bobby Pierce lead the way with a lap of 12.939 seconds, and Shannon Babb’s time of 13.089 seconds paced group two. Tanner English, Brian Shirley, Frank Heckenast Jr., and Devin Moran won their respective heat races. Mike Spatola advanced to the main event by winning the Last Chance Showdown, and Kolby Vandenbergh was the consolation race winner. 22 drivers lined up for the start of the race led by Shirley and Moran. On the green flag, Shirley took a five car length lead over English as Babb and Heckenast dueled for third, and Moran dropped to fifth. Shirley approached slower cars by the 10th lap allowing English to close in on Shirley's bumper. Heckenast broke away from Babb and moved in on the race leaders. English made several attempts to move into the lead, but Shirley was able to withstand English’s bids. As the leaders were overtaking lapped traffic on the backstretch, English made his move and took over the top spot on lap 29. Caution fell on the 30th lap with English leading Shirley, Moran, Babb, and Ashton Winger. On the restart, Babb began to flex his muscles and took over the second position. English’s lead quickly evaporated and Babb moved to the front on lap 36. Babb led English by a car length as the two ran the bottom and Heckenast, looking for grip on the track, running the top. With under 10 laps to go, Babb kicked it up and began to distance himself from his contenders. With the checkered flag waving, Babb was able to take his first win on the tour. “The track was impressive,” commented Babb who also claimed his 99th career Summer National win. “Tanner and Brian had checked out. The top of the track was good at the beginning. I didn’t want to abuse my tires. I ran on the bottom before the groove came in.” English came in second as Moran nipped Heckenast for third on the last lap. Tour points leader Pierce was fifth, followed by McKay Wenger, Shirley, Dona Marcoullier, Spatola, and Winger.

hoffman mdA check for $2,000 awaited the winner of the Summit Modified Nationals winner. 39 competitors were on hand. Current tour points leader Nick Hoffman’s time of 14.063 seconds led group one qualifiers, and Curt Spalding turned a lap of 13.892 seconds to lead group two. Four heat races saw Hoffman, Tommy Sheppard Jr., Nick Allen, and Mike Harrison taking the wins. Ethan Weber and Dawson Cook were the winners of the two Last Chance Showdowns. Hoffman took the lead at the start as Harrison and Allen battled for second. Harrison soon took over second and pulled to within a car length of Hoffman. Laps 16 and 17 brought out the yellow flag. On the restart, fans anticipated an exciting finish in the 30-lap race, but Harrison suddenly slowed on the track with 11 laps remaining drawing a caution. Hoffman led Spalding and Allen on the restart as a caution fell with nine laps to go. The restart had Hoffman pulling away, and at the race’s end, taking his fifth consecutive tour win. Spalding settled for second, followed by Allen, Sheppard, Allen Weisser, Bob Pohlman Jr., John DeMoss, Travis Kohler, Zeke McKenzie, and Kyle Hammer.

duncan spAustin Friedman’s time of 14.843 seconds gave the young chauffeur fast time in the CR Towing Sportsman race. Friedman came back later to win the lone heat race. Friedman led the 10 car field on the start with Tommy Duncan on his bumper. Duncan took the lead on lap two and pulled away from his competition, as he scored his third win of the year at Fairbury and fifth overall. “The track was great,” Duncan said. “My car was good and I could go anywhere I wanted.” Friedman settled for second, as last week’s winner Landen Miller took third. Anthony Craven was fourth, followed by Lyndon Whitfill, Wes Odell, Jim Farley, Makinzi Semmens, Roy Magee, and Bruce Malone.

Babb Scores Career Win 99 With Low-Side Speed at Fairbury

Story by Jordan DeLucia

The quest for 100 DIRTcar Summer Nationals wins just got one race closer for Shannon Babb. Babb, of Moweaqua, IL, found a sudden burst of speed late in the race around the bottom lane of Fairbury Speedway Saturday night and blew by his opponents for a $10,000 grand prize and his 99th career DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature win. “It’s special right here at Fairbury. $10,000-to-win Summer Nationals always meant a lot to us. Growing up, it was everything. These are big races,” Babb said. While it was a big win at a big race, it was also special to Babb on a personal note. Six years ago, he came into Fairbury after the birth of his daughter Finnlee and captured his 90th career Hell Tour victory. His 99th victory Friday night came six years to that date, at the very same track. Babb’s second appearance of the season with the tour put him in a similar situation to the previous night at Tri-City Speedway – starting the 50-lap Feature from the third row. But it didn’t all play out in exactly the same way.

Babb quickly made his way up to third from sixth but decided to switch lanes en route to catch the leaders, which ended up sending him all the way back to eighth. He rode there several laps, just before the halfway mark, when his car came to life. “I was the first one to hit the bottom, and when I hit the bottom, I ran back about eighth or ninth… But it came in for us,” Babb said. Indeed, his Team Zero Race Cars chassis #18 did come in. It only took 11 laps for the four-time Summer Nationals champion to pass every car ahead of him. Like his nicknamesake, The Moweaqua Missile launched off the bottom lane of the quarter-mile and made the move underneath Tanner English for the lead on Lap 35. Within 10 laps, Babb had opened up a gap of over two seconds and pushed it to over three seconds by the time he took the checkered. English held off Devin Moran for second while Frank Heckenast Jr. and Bobby Pierce completed the top-five. Defending Summer Nationals champion Brian Shirley started on the pole but slipped back to seventh by the race’s end. Local favorite Mike Spatola arrived late to the track and was forced to start at the tail of a Heat Race, but made good on the night by transferring in through the Last Chance Showdown to finish ninth.

Now with $10,000 in his pocket, Babb’s already looking forward to Fairbury’s biggest event of the season – the Prairie Dirt Classic. “This is the highlight of our season coming here. We can’t wait to get here at the end of July, they’re really coughing up some money for that race,” Babb said.

Hoffman Wins at Fairbury for Fifth Consecutive Feature Triumph

Story by Jordan DeLucia

Five nights, five races, five wins. Nick Hoffman is on one of the most dominant winning streaks in DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals history. Through those five races, there’s been 130 total Feature laps contested. Hoffman has led every single one. Even with the tough competition on the roster for Saturday night’s race at Fairbury Speedway, nothing could shake his concentration. “I had a memory pop up on my Facebook today of two years ago [during] Summer Nationals, and it was a quote that I was off to a rough start to Summer Nationals, and man, this is the total opposite,” Hoffman said in Victory Lane.

The one and only six-time Summit Modified champion Mike Harrison, of Highland, IL, made the trip to Fairbury and initially looked to be a serious threat to Hoffman’s win streak, winning his Heat Race and lining up fourth for the start of the Feature. Harrison jumped right into second on Lap 3 of the 30-lap event, pounding the cushion very aggressively, engine wound-up as he went in hot pursuit of leader Hoffman. But it didn’t last him the whole race. With 11 laps remaining, having already scraped the outside wall several times, Harrison’s right-front tire gave out and sent him into the Turn 1 wall, ending his night early. “He gets away with it a lot of times running up there, and sometimes it’ll bite ya,” Hoffman said of the incident. “Right before that happened, I found a ton of grip about a lane off the cushion. I felt like it would’ve been a pretty good race there because I picked up a bunch of pace.” Curt Spalding inherited the runner-up spot for the restart but did not have anything for the three-time and defending champ Hoffman, who drove away with the $2,000 winner’s check. Nick Allen, Tommy Sheppard Jr. and Allen Weisser completed the top-five.


Mike Spatola

Mike Spatola

Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

Tanner Sullivan

Tanner Sullivan

Landen Miller

Landen Miller

Luke Gebhardt

Luke Gebhardt

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

On Fan Appreciation Night presented by Popejoy Inc., patrons to the speedway witnessed another action packed night of racing. Displaying a refuse to lose mentality, Mike Spatola (Late Model) and Mike McKinney (Modified) scored their respective feature wins. Landen Miller (CR Towing Sportsman) and Luke Gebhardt (Hobby Mod) claimed their first career wins, while Tanner Sullivan (Stock Cars) shook the monkey off his back in picking up his win.

spatola lmMcKay Wenger’s lap at 13.144 seconds gave him fast time with 21 Late Models on the grounds. Wenger, Mike Provenzano, and Jeffrey Ledford were heat race winners. Wenger led early in the race, while Provenzano, Spatola, Ledford, and Eric Smith diced for second. After a lap seven caution flag, Spatola was able to take the second position as Wenger held a straightaway lead. Smith fell from contention with a flat tire as the yellow flag came out on lap 12. Spatola was able to stay with Wenger on the restart as both drivers maneuvered the Fairbury cushion. On the restart after a caution with three laps to go, Spatola dove under Wenger for the lead as they entered turn one. Spatola’s lead stuck and he claimed his second win of the season at Fairbury. “That was one of the most treacherous cushions that I have ever raced,” commented Spatola. “I hope that slider on McKay wasn’t too dirty. He’s a hell of a wheelman on a cushion like this. I knew he would be the driver to beat. I am just fortunate that caution came out and we were able to capitalize on that.” A dejected Wenger settled for second with Ledford, Kevin Weaver, and Provenzano in the first five positions. 16th starter Ryan Unzicker, Jay Sparks, Smith, Donny Walden, and Torin Mettille completed the top ten.

mckinney mdEric Vaughan and Mike McKinney recorded the same time at 14.350 seconds to lead the 15 Modified drivers on hand. Two heat races saw Nick Clubb and Michael Ledford come out on top. The 25-lap feature race was a wild and wooly affair. Ledford raced out to a commanding lead as Allen Weisser, Steven Brooks, and Clubb had a fierce battle for second. Running the top side of the track, Ledford began picking his way through slower traffic by lap eight. 12th starter McKinney worked his way to the front, and by the 14th lap, he was racing in the second position. The cushion took its toll on the cars as sheet metal was frailing from the Ledford machine. McKinney caught a break as a caution fell with four laps remaining for debris on the track. McKinney dove under Ledford on the restart to take the lead. Ledford got caught in the cushion allowing Weisser to sneak past. McKinney was able to open a three second lead in the final circuits and take his second win of the year at Fairbury. For McKinney, it was his 35th career win at “America’s Dirt Track” with 34 of his wins coming in the last five seasons. “We had a poor performance in the heat race,” McKinney explained. “I told Dad I was going to knock the rear clip off the car to win this race.” The remaining top ten positions saw Weisser, Ledford, Clubb, Brooks, Nick Seplak, Alan Stipp, Vaughan, Mike Mosier, and Mark Brucker finish in that order.

sullivan scA time of 15.634 seconds gave Tanner Sullivan fast time with 14 Stock Cars in attendance for their 15-lap tussle. Sullivan and Eric Boudreau were the heat race winners. Sullivan and Adam Williams swapped the lead before Sullivan took command on the third circuit. After two back-to-back cautions on lap three, Sullivan pulled away to take the win. It was Sullivan’s first win of the year at Fairbury and third career feature victory. “We have battled all sorts of issues this year,” Sullivan said. “The last couple of races things are falling into place. I can’t thank Cody Roberts at Bullet Chassis enough. He built me a heck of a car. I could put it anywhere on the track.” Williams emerged ahead of Terry Reed in a battle for second, with Cody Clubb, Zane Reitz, Josh Hetherington, Michael Schomas, James Williams, Don Hilleary, and Boudreau completing the top ten.

miller spThe CR Towing Sportsman class saw first year driver and former area kart racer Landen Miller taking fast time with a lap of 15.309 seconds. Tommy Duncan was the heat race winner. Looking to pick up his first win of the year, Steven Mattingly took the lead at the start as Duncan contended with Anthony Craven for second. Last week’s winner Austin Friedman dropped out on the second lap to bring out the yellow flag. As Mattingly raced to a 10 car length lead, Miller turned up the wick and took the third spot on lap seven. Miller got by Duncan for second on lap 12, and as the white flag was unfurled, overtook Mattingly for the lead. An exciting finish saw Miller take the first win of his young career. “Being in victory lane here is better than I can imagine,” Miller said. “After the way I ran in the heat race, I decided I was going to win the race or wreck trying, so I went out there and let it rip.” Mattingly, Duncan, Lyndon Whitfill, Tyler Roth, Craven, Makinzi Semmens, Friedman, and Thad Gee rounded out the field.

gebhardt hmA time of 16.070 seconds gave Luke Gebhardt fast time of the 12 Hobby Mods on hand for their 12-lap race. Gebhart and Ty Stutzman claimed heat race wins. Once the track was cleared after two consecutive red flag situations, Gebhardt drove like a season pro leading flag-to-flag in winning his first career feature. Gebhardt, who cut his teeth at the area kart tracks, had a smile on his face from ear to ear in the winner’s circle. “This is only my fifth race in the big cars,” Gebhardt said. “I thought the track was good. We went out there and were able to get the job done.” Kirby McCormick raced back and forth with Jordan Walker before McCormick took the second position. Walker, Mike Petersen, and Jake Green took the first five positions. The remainder of the top ten were Ryan Kohler, Darren Kerrins, Brian Deavers, Bryce Cunningham, and Stutzman.


Tyler Courtney

Tyler Courtney

Frank Heckenast Jr.

Frank Heckenast Jr.

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

The Fairbury Speedway had a Thursday night special with Late Models and a combined All Star Circuit of Champions / Interstate Racing Association Winged Sprint Car race. Both races paid $5,000 to the winner. Tyler Courtney of Indianapolis, Ind., led flag-to-flag in netting the Sprint Car feature, and Frank Heckenast Jr. of Frankfort, Ill., rallied for the Late Model win.

courtney sprThe All Stars made their first Fairbury appearance since 1995 and saw 32 drivers in attendance for their 30-lap feature race. Scotty Thiel laid down a lap of 11.310 seconds for quick time. Ian Madsen, Travis Philo, Tyler Courtney, and Parker Price-Miller took heat race wins. Cap Henry was the winner of the B-Main. Courtney and Paul McMahan won their respective dash races to determine the first 10 starting positions. Nicknamed “Sunshine”, Courtney established himself as the driver to beat. Courtney led with Bill Balog and Rico Abreu keeping pace. As Courtney weaved his way past slower traffic, he was able to distance himself from his competition. A caution with two laps to go set up a wild finish. Balog’s failed slide job to take the lead allowed Abreu to sneak by for second. Courtney, the All Stars points leader, was able to pick up his fourth win of the year. “I should have started a little lower on that last restart,” explained Courtney. “I was expecting a slider, but Balog left me just enough room so I had to go for it. We just needed to be a little better on that restart and not give the guy a chance, but I led the lap that counts.” Abreu and Balog joined Courtney on the podium with Madsen, Giovanni Scelzi, Thiel, Hunter Schuerenberg, Henry, Spencer Bayston, and McMahan completing the top ten.

heckenast lmKevin Weaver’s time of 13.004 seconds gave him fast time as 20 Late Model drivers made qualifying attempts for their 40-lap race. Three heat races were held with Weaver, Shannon Babb, and Ryan Unzicker winning their respective races. Weaver took the lead at the start with Babb, Dennis Erb Jr., Unzicker, and Eric Smith following. After two cautions on lap two, Babb went to the top side of the track and took the lead from Weaver on the frontstretch on lap nine. Unzicker moved by Weaver on lap 16 and began to run Babb down. Unzicker went to the top of the track and closed in on Babb. As Unzicker was looking to move into the lead, he slipped in turn one, giving Babb the opportunity to extend his lead. McKay Wenger tagged the wall for a caution with 11 laps to go. On the restart, Unzicker had to contend with Frank Heckenast Jr. Running side by side with Unzicker, Heckenast moved into second with seven laps to go. With three laps remaining, Heckenast tried a slide job and made contact with Babb. Babb slowed enough to allow Heckenast to take over the lead and capture the win. An apologetic Heckenast commented in victory lane after his fifth career Fairbury win. “I feel terrible for Babb. He has been my hero growing up and I would never race him like that. I had Babb set up and he pushed really hard in three and four and stopped. It killed my momentum and I thought this is it right here. We were going to lose the race or go for it.” A dejected Babb settled for second, with Smith, Unzicker, Weaver, Rich Bell, Gordy Gundaker, Trevor Gundaker, Jeffrey Ledford, and Mike Provenzano rounding out the top ten.

Tyler Courtney survives a frenzy at Fairbury for fourth All Star win of 2021

Story by Tyler Altmeyer

For the fourth time of his career - for the fourth time this season - “Sunshine” Tyler Courtney is a FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 main event winner, securing his fourth check in the victory column in a wire-to-wire display at the almost legendary Fairbury Speedway in Fairbury, Illinois, on Thursday, June 3. Starting from the pole position by way of dash victory, Courtney’s campaign at the front of the field was far from a cake walk, as the former USAC champion was forced to slice and dice through wave after wave of slower traffic, all before fending off a wild, last-ditch effort slider from the “North Pole Nightmare” Bill Balog. Adding some extra depth to the stat sheet, the All Star visit to Fairbury, which also featured the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series, was the first appearance by the All Star Circuit of Champions since 1995. “This has been a great last few weeks for this NOS Energy Drink/Turbo car. The guys have been busting their butts back at the shop to keep this thing fast,” Tyler Courtney said in Fairbury victory lane, driver of the Clauson Marshall Racing/NOS Energy Drink/Turbo/No. 7BC sprint car. “I’m having a blast right now. This is a good time of year to get going. We still have three more nights this weekend and a big week next week.”

Although the first five laps were relatively uneventful, a caution on lap six would essentially clump the field back together, eventually leading to an incredible three-car battle in traffic between Courtney, Bill Balog, and West Coast heavy hitter, Rico Abreu. By lap 13, slower cars were stacked up two and three wide in front of the leaders, and although Courtney was all but stuck, the Indianapolis, Indiana-native was successful in slowly maneuvering through the mess, simultaneously keeping Balog in his back seat with Abreu also in tow. Lap after lap, traffic maintained its relentlessness, not allowing Courtney to find any breathing room, stretching his legs to a near-straightaway command, until lap 25. Just as Courtney thought his troubles were over, the caution flags would reappear on lap 28 setting up what would be a three-lap dash to the finish. As mentioned, the ensuing restart led to a wicked, turn four slide job attempt by Bill Balog, barely leaving Courtney enough room to get by. Suffice it to say, Courtney squeezed through and held on to secure the $5,000 payday. Rico Abreu, who got by Balog after his failed slide job attempt, finished second at Fairbury, followed by Balog, Ian Madsen, and Gio Scelzi. “I should have started a little lower on that last restart,” Courtney said when discussing the last restart and Bill Balog’s slider. “I was expecting it, but he left me just enough room so I had to go for it. We just needed to be a little better on that restart and not give the guy a chance. But we led the lap that counts.”


Lance Evans

Lance Evans

Jeffrey Ledford

Jeffrey Ledford

Kyle Hammer

Kyle Hammer

Austin Friedman

Austin Friedman

Matt Hammond

Matt Hammond

Ledford, Hammer, Friedman, Hammond also Victorious

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

A new car count record was established Saturday night at the Fairbury Speedway with a total of 164 cars in five divisions as well as a night of many firsts. Lance Evans (Westville), Jeffrey Ledford (Pontiac), Kyle Hammer (Clinton), Austin Friedman (Forrest), and Matt Hammond (Bourbonnais) were the Memorial Day weekend feature race winners.

evans scThe Earl J. Hubert Memorial race for the Stock Car class saw 56 drivers vie for a starting position in the $2,000 to win, 43-lap event. Two-time race winner Jeremy Nichols’ lap of 15.172 seconds paced the first group of qualifiers, while Megan Erwin had the quickest time of the second group at 15.272 seconds. Six heat races had Lance Evans, Tanner Sullivan, Jerrad Krick, Erwin, Adam Williams, and Joe Hillman advancing. Andrew Funk, Zach Taylor, and Zane Reitz took the B-Mains. Evans was able to hold off the pressure from Adam Williams for 30 laps before Williams dropped out of the race on lap 35. Evans was able to cruise the remaining laps in winning his first-ever feature race at Fairbury. Hillman, Jordan Smith, Cody Clubb, Jim Ransom, Erwin, Josh Hetherington, James Williams, Krick, and Dave Rudisill complete the top ten. A non-qualifiers race had Jesse Simmons leading in the 15-lap race to collect the $350 first prize. Don Hilleary, Scott Schoener, Braden Johnson, and Tyler Holloway completed the top five.

ledford lmA field of 25 Late Models took time trials for their 30-lap, FALS Cup race in memory of Randy Courtney. A time of 13.155 seconds gave points leader Mike Spatola quick time. Jeffrey Ledford, Jeff Curl, and Torin Mettille won their respective heat races. Ryan Weistart was the winner of the B-Main. On a night where passing was at a premium, Ledford took advantage of starting on the inside of the front row and sped to his first career FALS Cup Late Model feature win. “We had a pretty stacked heat race and managed to win it,” Ledford said. “That gave us the track position to take advantage of the way the track was. I had to run smooth laps out front. We have been running good, and it feels good to get a FALS Cup.” Mettile took second, with Jake Little in third, followed by Curl, and Eric Smith. Donny Walden, Kevin Weaver, Tim Simpson, Bill Hough, and McKay Wenger completed the top ten.

hammer mdGroup qualifying was held for the 36 Modified racers on hand for their 25-lap, FALS Cup race. Kyle Hammer’s time of 14.527 seconds led the first group. Points leader Mike McKinney led the way in the second group with a lap of 14.488 seconds. Four heat races were held as Hammer, Nick Allen, McKinney, and Jason Hastings led the way. Michael Ledford and Alan Stipp were the B-Main winners. Hammer started on the outside of the front row and got the jump on McKinney for the lead. Running a steady line, Hammer was able to take the checkered flag in recording his first Fairbury career feature win. McKinney rallied late in the race to finish second, followed by Allen, Ray Bollinger, Hastings, Steven Brooks, Brandon Bollinger, Nick Clubb, Bradley Jameson, and Levi Kissinger.

friedman spAnthony Craven and Austin Friedman were the heat race winners for their 15-lap, CR Towing Sportsman race. Friedman took the lead on the start as Lyndon Whitfill and Tommy Duncan stuck with the race leader. Whitfill made a bid for the lead in the closing laps but bobbled in turn one and Duncan was able to capitalize. Friedman held Duncan in check and won his first feature race of the year and a $500 check. “It is special to get this win on a night we remember Randy Courtney,” said Friedman. “Randy met so much to our family. We got this win for him.” The remainder of the top ten saw Duncan, Whitfill, Jim Farley, Troy Taylor, Craven, Roy Magee, Makinzi Semmens, Landen Miller, and Bruce Malone.

hammond plmChase Osterhoff turned a lap of 13.892 seconds to lead in group one qualifying, while Billy Knippenberg’s lap of 13.824 seconds led group two. With 34 Pro Late Model drivers on hand for their Big 10 Series race, four heat races were held. Matt Hammond, Jake Little, Aaron Heck, and series points leader Jose Parga won their respective races. Cody Maguire was the winner of the B-Main. Hammond turned back the repeated challenges from Parga and Heck in winning the $1,000 race. For Hammond, it was his first Big 10 win and first Fairbury feature win since moving into the Pro Late Model class. Parga was second, with Little, Osterhoff, and Braden Johnson following. Blaise Baker, Colby Sheppard, Brandon Eskew, Amber Crouch, and Heck rounded out the top ten.


Page 3 of 5

copyright trans