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Mike Spatola

Mike Spatola

Mike McKinney

Mike McKinney

Andrew Funk

Andrew Funk

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Michael Pockrus

Michael Pockrus

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

Saturday night’s action-packed racing program at the Fairbury Speedway saw Mike Spatola of Manhattan, Ill., end a long winless streak. Mike McKinney of Plainfield, Ill., returned to the winner’s circle. Tommy Duncan of Metamora, Ill., held off a bevy of contenders. Andrew Funk of Dwight, Ill., tuned up for next week's big event, and Michael Pockrus of Lowell, Ind., claimed his first-ever feature win on a night presented by the Illinois State Rifle Association.

spatola lmA field of 22 Late Model drivers were on hand for their 30-lap, $2,500 to win race. Mike Spatola’s lap of 12.781 seconds earned him fast time honors. Three heat races saw Jeffrey Ledford, Ryan Unzicker, and McKay Wenger taking the wins. A pileup at the start resulted in a caution and a complete restart. Unzicker took the lead with Spatola, Ledford, Wenger, and Rickey Frankel trailing. Two back-to-back yellow flags fell on lap 10 which saw Derek Chandler stalling on the track, and a frontstretch crash between Mike Provenzano and Dustin Vandermeir. Unzicker pulled away from the competition on the restart as Spatola looked for traction on the top side of the track. The caution flag again came out on lap 16, but on the restart, Unzicker dropped out with mechanical issues and third running Wenger pulled into the infield with suspected problems. Spatola inherited the lead with Ledford, Eric Smith, Donny Walden, and Frankel following. Ledford made several attempts to overtake Spatola for the lead, but Spatola proved to be too strong and took his 18th career Fairbury Late Model win, his first since August of 2019. “To win races it takes luck and we definitely had a ton of luck tonight,” said Spatola. “Those two restarts I lost second, but the cautions saved me and Ryan breaking. It was just pure luck that we got the win.” Ledford took second with 11th starter Smith in third. Wenger came back from deep in the field to finish fourth, followed by Walden, Dale Markham, Paul Parker, Jeff Curl, Frankel, and Bill Hough.

mckinney mdOaklawn’s Bob Pohlman Jr. turned a lap of 14.077 seconds to take quick time, as 20 Modified drivers made qualifying attempts. Pohlman and Mike McKinney were the heat race winners. McKinney jumped out to the lead in the 25-lap race, as Michael Ledford, Pohlman, Michael Long, and Steven Brooks followed. After the caution fell on lap four, McKinney led Ledford, as Long moved into third, and Pohlman, Brooks, and Nick Clubb put on a show in a race for the fourth position. Long moved into second after a lap 11 caution and moved in on race leader McKinney for the lead. Both drivers ran the top side of the track, with Long showing the nose of his car to McKinney several times in the closing stages. McKinney was able to take his first Fairbury win of the season and 34th of his career at FALS. He took home the $1,500 check by less than half of a second over Long. “We got embarrassed last week,” McKinney commented. “The car works really well when the track gets slicked off. We still have a lot of work to do. I am not necessarily happy with how we ran, but we are happy to get the win.” Long, Ledford, 9th starter Ryan Thomas, and Brooks completed the top five. The remainder of the top ten went to Clubb, Ethan Weber, Pohlman, Nick Seplak, and Mike Mosier.

funk sc29 Stock Cars were on hand to tune up for next week's $2,000 to win Hubert Memorial. Megan Erwin’s lap of 15.240 seconds gave her fast time honors. Erwin, Kyle Anderson, and Lance Evans won their respective heat races. Dave Rudisill was the B-Main winner. Erwin led at the start of the 15-lap race, as a caution fell on lap two. Caution again fell on the fourth lap. On the restart, Andrew Funk dove low as the cars exited turn two to move into the lead. Evans got by Erwin for second and made a bid for the lead, but Funk was able to hold him off. After a caution at the halfway mark, Funk pulled away from the competition to claim his first Fairbury win of the year and 14th career FALS Stock Car triumph. “It was a fun race,” Funk said. “I always enjoy racing here. We weren’t good in the heat race, but my crew made the adjustments and they paid off.” Evans held off Terry Reed and Michael Schomas for second, as Jesse Simmons, Shaun WiltjerHunt, Jim Ransom, Erwin, 18th starter Don Hilleary, and Cody Clubb completed the top ten.

duncan spTommy Duncan’s time of 14.750 seconds gave him fast time, with nine CR Towing Sportsman drivers on hand for their 15-lap race. Duncan was also the heat race winner. Duncan led at the start as Landen Miller soon passed Steve Mattingly for second. Miller quickly closed in on Duncan, but his night ended with four laps to go as he tagged the wall on the frontstretch. On the restart, Mattingly moved into second and stuck with Duncan, but the laps ran out, as Duncan took his second Fairbury win of the year and 12th career FALS Sportsman win. “I didn’t know if I was going to finish the race,” commented Duncan. “The car wouldn’t fire on the restart. It is something we will look into.” Mattingly, Lyndon Whitfill, Tyler Roth, Austin Friedman, Makinzi Semmens, Thad Gee, Miller, and Anthony Craven rounded out the field.

pockrus hmLuke Gebhardt’s lap of 15.314 seconds gave the young driver fast time in the 16-car Hobby Mod race. Gebhardt and Ty Stutzman won their respective heat races. Gebhardt led until spinning out on the fifth circuit. Michael Pockrus moved into the lead and held off Phil Earl for the win. “This is my fourth race in a dirt car and first-ever win,” Pockrus said. “I have to give my son credit for setting the car up.” Reid Gall finished second, followed by Jordan Walker, Earl, 13th starter Jake Green, Payton Semmens, Ryan Kohler, Scott Brown, Graham Jackson, and Gebhardt.



Tanner English

Tanner English

Mike Harrison

Mike Harrison

Harrison Cruises to $3,000 Modified Win

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

Saturday night’s “Spring Showcase'' at the Fairbury Speedway lived up to its billing. In the Late Model feature, Tanner English of Benton, Ky., had to hold off a late race charge from Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville for the win, while Highland’s Mike Harrison dominated the Modified race.

english lmA field of 35 Late Model competitors took time trials for their 50-lap MARS series race. St. Charles, Mo.'s Trevor Gundaker led the way in group one qualifiers with a lap of 12.796 seconds. El Paso’s Ryan Unzicker paced the way in group two with a lap of 12.965 seconds. Brian Shirley took the win in the first heat race, Brandon Sheppard picked up the win in the second heat, Unzicker edged Dennis Erb Jr. in a photo finish for the win in heat three, and Tanner English was the heat four victor. Justin Reed and Shannon Babb were the winners in the two semi-features. English took the lead as the green flag waved for the $15,000 to win special, as Shirley and Sheppard raced side by side for second. English was able to open a five-car length lead, as Shirley and Sheppard continued to go back and forth for second, as Unzicker and Erb followed. The caution flag fell on laps 11 and 14, as English ran the top and middle grooves of the track trying to separate himself from the field, but Shirley drove a smooth line on the bottom to stay with English. Shirley took the lead on lap 30 as Erb moved into third. English moved back to the front on lap 41, as Erb squeezed by Shirley for second. Shirley began to fade in the closing laps, as Erb hounded English for the lead. English changed his line, moving to the bottom of the speedway, halting Erb’s bid for the lead. At the end of the race, English was able to take the victory by a car length over Erb in winning the biggest race of his young career. “I felt like I had a pack of wolves behind me,” spoke English. “I could feel them get underneath me; I don’t know how many times. I saw the nose of Erb’s car on the bottom. When I saw him, I moved down. I don’t know if I took his line away, but this is an awesome win.” Erb settled for second with Shirley in third, while Sheppard and Unzicker completed the top five. Ryan Gustin finished in sixth, Donny Walden was seventh, followed by Babb, Billy Moyer Jr., and Chase Junghans.

harrison mdKewanee’s Brandon Bollinger turned a lap of 14.248 seconds as 22 Modified drivers looked to take the $3,000 to win special. Mike Harrison, Michael Long, and Ray Bollinger were the night’s heat race winners. Long took the lead on the start of the 30-lap race, with Harrison, Brandon Bollinger, Ray Bollinger, and Kyle Hammer following. On the seventh lap, as Long was working his way past slower traffic, Harrison was able to move into the lead and never looked back. Harrison commented in victory lane after his 22nd career Modified win at Fairbury which moved him into a tie with the late Gary Cook Jr. “We are still learning with this new car. I race with Michael Long a lot. He is a tough competitor. We both race hard and to win.” Long finished second, with Ray Bollinger, Bob Pohlman Jr., Kyle Hammer, Michael Ledford, Brandon Bollinger, Jason Hastings, Nick Clubb, and Nick Seplak completing the top ten.


Ryan Unzicker

Ryan Unzicker

Mike Harrison

Mike Harrison

Joel Funk

Joel Funk

Tommy Duncan

Tommy Duncan

Thad Gee

Thad Gee

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

The season opening race at the Fairbury Speedway drew 108 entries in five divisions looking to capture the checkered flag. Ryan Unzicker (Late Model), Mike Harrison (Modified), Joel Funk (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), and Thad Gee (Hobby Mod) each earned feature wins in their respective classes.

unzicker lmDefending track champion McKay Wenger turned a lap of 13.315 seconds to take fast time honors, as 25 drivers looked to grab a FALS Cup trophy in the Late Model class. Three heat races were held with Wenger, Mike Spatola, and Ryan Unzicker taking the wins. Derek Chandler advanced to the 30-lap race by winning the semi-feature. At the start, Spatola jumped out to a commanding lead as Wenger, Jeremiah Hurst, Unzicker, and Myles Moos dueled for second. Unzicker was able to take the position on lap six and methodically reeled in Spatola. As Spatola was working his way past slower traffic, Unzicker dove low in turn three to move into the lead with seven laps remaining. Spatola made several attempts to retake the lead, but Unzicker was able to hold off the challenge. After going winless in Late Model competition in 2020, El Paso’s Unzicker scored the win in his new MB Custom chassis. With a smile on his face extending from Fairbury to El Paso, Unzicker commented from victory lane. “It was an exciting race from my seat. I can’t imagine what it was like for the fans. Mike is a tough competitor. The car would work on the bottom and middle of the track.” Spatola took second, with Jason Feger, Garrett Alberson, and Eric Smith in the top five. The remainder of the top ten saw Myles Moos, Jeremiah Hurst, Wenger, Jeffrey Ledford, and Adam Tischhauser.

harrison mdHighland’s Mike Harrison toured the ¼ mile track at a time of 14.120 seconds to take quick time as 33 Modified drivers were on hand for their 25-lap, $1,500 to win race. Harrison, Will Krup, Bradley Jameson, and Nick Clubb won their respective heat races, while Levi Kissinger took the semi-feature. Harrison took the lead at the wave of the green flag as two cautions fell in the first ten laps. Behind Harrison, Allen Weisser, Mike McKinney, Krup, and Kyle Hammer had a fierce race for second. McKinney took over the second spot on lap 12, as he ran the top and bottom closing in on the race leader. Harrison proved to be too much for the competition as he took his 20th career feature win. “We have a new Hughes race car,” spoke Harrison. “It just keeps getting better and better. I love coming to Fairbury and putting on a show for the fans.” McKinney settled for the runner-up spot, followed by Krup, Hammer, Weisser, Steven Brooks, 17th starter Kissinger, Bradley Jameson, Travis Kohler, and Trevor Neville.

funk scA time of 15.540 seconds gave Andrew Funk fast time as 25 drivers vied for a starting position in the 15-lap Stock Car race. Kyle Anderson, Jim Ransom, and Justin VanDrunen won heat races. Anderson led the first 11 laps of the race before the yellow flag fell on the field. On the restart, Andrew and Joel Funk both got by Anderson, as his tires began to fade. Joel was able to hold off Andrew and take the race win. “Holy smoke. I didn’t know if I had enough in me after that,” Funk said. “The 23 car wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Rick Thomas.” Younger brother Andrew ended the race in second, with Anderson, Zach Zuberbier, Michael Schomas, Josh Hetherington, Pete Odell, Dustin Pruitt, Adam Williams, and 24th starter Brice Slavens completing the top ten.

duncan spDefending track champion Tommy Duncan’s lap of 14.827 seconds gave him fast time for the 15-lap, CR Towing Sportsman race. Two heat races saw Duncan and Tyler Roth taking the wins. Duncan proved to be the class of the field on this night as he led flag-to-flag for the win. “We have a good car to work with this year,” Duncan said. “It helped to start on the front row with the track being slick.” Fairbury’s 2020 rookie of the year Austin Friedman finished second, with Roth, Anthony Craven, Lyndon Whitfill, Matt Ramer, Landen Miller, Makinzi Semmens, Brendan Ramer, and Austin Lipe completing the field.

gee hmA field of 15 Hobby Mod drivers saw Bryce Cunningham and Thad Gee winning heat races for their 12-lap race. In a wild, caution-plagued race, Gee avoided the mishaps to take the win. Luke Gebhardt, Jordan Walker, Wes Ricketts, 15th starter Scott Brown, Jake Green, Reid Gall, Cunningham, Ryan Kohler, and Ty Stutzman rounded out the top ten.


The Fairbury Speedway is excited to announce the reserved seating and camping outline for the 2021 race season.  Please understand that 2020 was a very unique year and a number of things had to be moved around to accommodate as many fans as possible.  We are very dedicated to make the best possible events in which fans and drivers have the opportunity for reserved seating and camping.  Outlined below will be the process in which the Fairbury Speedway ticketing team will operate.  If you have questions regarding reserved seating and camping, please send an email to falstickets@gmail.com.

Prairie Dirt Classic Update

  • Fans that purchased PDC reserved tickets and camping in 2020 that did NOT request a refund will have those tickets honored for the 2021 event on July 30th/31st. You will have the option to pick up your tickets at any race prior to June 26th at the Fairbury Speedway.  A designated area to pick up the tickets will be announced prior to opening night.  All remaining tickets not picked up will be mailed after July 1st
  • ALL PDC reserved camping is sold out for 2021. Fairbury Speedway will have overflow camping at the school to the west of the speedway on a first come, first serve basis which will be outlined in the PDC information guide later this year.  We will soon be announcing a number of other options for camping within walking distance to the track at additional lots to the west of the speedway. 
  • Tent camping will be available for the weekend in designated areas only. Tent camping will be $20 per tent. More info to come on tent camping.
  • Any remaining reserved seats for the PDC weekend will go online for purchase on Tuesday, June 1st at 10:00 a.m.
  • General admission tickets and pit passes can only be purchased at the gate and not in advance.
  • The main covered grandstand will be general admission seating for the PDC.

Renewals

  • Reserved seating and camping for the (4) major events can be renewed starting today (March 10th) and ending Wednesday, April 7th at 5:00 p.m. NO EXCEPTIONS. 
  • Because we merged two events into one for last year’s FALS Super Nationals, only camping reservations for the September 4th race were preloaded into carts for 2021. If you paid for reserved seats in advance for the original Modified Nationals weekend, those seats will be in your cart ready for renewal.  (There will be a large number of reserved seats available for the September 4th Super Nationals event for purchase.)
  • Please note that once you drop something from your cart, you will not be able to get that back and it will go back into the general population for sale at a later date.

Reserved Seating & Camping On Sale Dates

You will have the first chance to purchase reserved seating and camping for Fairbury Speedway’s major events in 2021 on the following dates.  A reminder that no general admission tickets or pit passes will be sold in advance of the event…only reserved seating and camping.  The ticketing site can be found on the Fairbury Speedway website at www.fairburyspeedway.com

FALS Spring Showcase presented by Titan Industries and Mackinaw Valley Powder Coating (May 15)

  • On sale: Tuesday, April 13 – 10:00 a.m.

Prairie Dirt Classic (reserved two-day ticket & reserved seating ONLY) – presented by Bank of Pontiac & ISRA (July 30/31)

  • On sale: Tuesday, June 1 – 10:00 a.m.

DIRTcar Summer Nationals presented by Rhino Ag (June 19)

  • On sale: Tuesday, May 18 – 10:00 a.m.

FALS Super Nationals presented by New Solutions Ag & Casey’s (September 4)

  • On sale: Tuesday, August 3 – 10:00 a.m.

FALS Frenzy presented by Edelman Electric, Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Solar Energy (October 8/9)

  • On sale: Tuesday, September 7 – 10:00 a.m.

2021 Schedule of Events

It goes without saying that sometimes it’s better late than never.  That couldn’t be more true with the announcement today that the Fairbury Speedway is on track and planning for a full season of racing, including the running of the 31st edition of the Prairie Dirt Classic presented by the Bank of Pontiac and the Illinois State Rifle Association.  After ongoing meetings with local and state officials, the Fairbury Speedway is excited to announce a full lineup for the 2021 race season starting with opening night on Saturday, May 1st.

“I am extremely grateful for everyone involved in making the Fairbury Speedway what it is today,” says Fairbury Speedway owner and promoter Matt Curl.  “I would like to say ‘Thank You’ to all the fans, drivers, teams, sponsors and crews for what turned out to be a great season at FALS considering all we went through.  With so many unknowns throughout the last season, I am very proud of the way all the events were handled, including working with the local health officials that allowed us to race.  The FALS crew made that happen, and I am very lucky to have the best crew in the business.  With all of your support, we are able to do what we love to do and that is to entertain and provide all with a first-class racing facility.” 

fals cupBack for its third season, the FALS Cup Weekly Championship will take center stage for what is arguably one the best weekly race programs in the country.  The special series will continue to feature unprecedented payouts at all weekly shows for both DIRTcar Late Models ($2,500 to win and $300 to start from a total purse of over $10,000) and DIRTcar Modifieds ($1,500 to win and $175 to start from a purse exceeding $6,000).

Overall, more than $22,000 in purses will be distributed at Fairbury’s weekly shows, which will also include the DIRTcar Sportsman, DIRTcar Stock Cars, and Hobby Mods in 2021. And despite the incredible payouts, general admission and pit gate prices will stay the same at $10 and $30, respectively, during the upcoming season that kicks off on May 1.  Opening night will also pay tribute and recognize the champions from the 2020 race season.

After a couple weeks to shake the dust off, we will open up our season of special events on Saturday, May 15 with the FALS Spring Showcase, presented by Titan Industries & Mackinaw Valley Powder Coating. This Showcase will feature the MARS Late Model Series paying $15,000 to win, accompanied by the DIRTcar Modifieds paying $3,000 to win.  A big weekend, indeed, in central Illinois with the Farmer City 74 paying $10,000 to win the night before.

allstar sprintsComing back to the Fairbury Speedway in 2021, after a long anticipated wait, will be Tony Stewart’s Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series on Thursday night, June 3rd, as part of the Thursday Night Shootout. This event will also feature the ever-popular DIRTcar Late Models, which will race alongside the All-Star Sprints in this spectacular night of racing.  Both the All-Star Sprints (co-sanctioned with the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series) and the DIRTcar Late Models will be racing for $5,000 that night.

The annual DIRTcar Summer Nationals will roll into town as part of the opening weekend of the Hell Tour on Saturday, June 19th.  The $10,000-to-win Late Model special, presented by Rhino Ag, will also include the Summit Modified Nationals paying $2,000 to win and DIRTcar Sportsman $500 to win.  After damaging storms rolled through the speedway at the conclusion of last year’s race, we hope all the fireworks will be on the track this year for what typically is one of FALS best weekends of the year.


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