by Rocky Ragusa
The 21st annual “Pappy and Bob Allen Memorial” race took place Saturday night at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway. Gracing victory lane were Ryan Unzicker (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), Lake Nichoalds (Sportsman), Andrew Funk (Street Stock), Mike Petersen (Hobby-Modified), and Dominic Mertzke (KidModz).
22 drivers took to the track for the 30-lap I Beam Sliding Doors Late Model race. After a brief battle for the lead, Ryan Unzicker survived through several caution periods and kept a 10 car length lead for the remainder of the race as he added his name to the list of “Pappy and Bob Allen Memorial” race winners, taking $2,000 to the bank. “It’s good to add my name to the trophy as a winner of the Allen Memorial race. I tried to hang on to the top side but it was getting a little rough. We appreciate the support Fairbury gives us racers on having these special races,” commented points leader, Unzicker. Kevin Weaver, Scott Bull, McKay Wenger, Steve Thorsten, Daniel Flessner, Jay Morris, Bill Hough, Matt Shannon, and Cole Swibold took the top ten positions. Bill Giannetti was the races hard charger as he finished 13th after starting 22nd. Wenger, Unzicker, and Jay Sparks were heat race winners. Weaver was quickest in qualifying with a 13.658 second lap.
20 Varsitee Screen Printing Modifieds checked in for their 20-lap race. Steven Brooks clipped a 14.406 for quick time honors. Brooks and Mike McKinney took heat race wins. McKinney got the jump on Brooks at the start of the feature and put his car on the top side. McKinney was the class of the field and stretched his lead to pick up his second win of the season. “Dad had the car hooked up tonight. We have been on a good roll the past few weeks,“ an exhausted McKinney spoke. “I feel we will have some momentum heading into the Summer Nationals.” Points leader, Jeff Curl, took second after a hard-fought battle with Jeffrey Ledford. Nick Clubb had a season best fourth, followed by Jimmy Dehm, Collin Alexander, Nick Lueth, 17th starter Jay Ledford, Billy Puckett, and Jeb Friedman.
10 CR Towing Sportsman cars lined up for their 15-lap race. Points leader, Lake Nichoalds, took the second position from Brandon Pralle with seven laps to go and pressured Amber Crouch for the lead. Running the top side, Nichoalds got by Crouch for the lead with four laps to go and hung on for his fourth win of the year. “Amber has been really good racing on the bottom,” commented Nichoalds. “I knew if I wanted to get by her I had to get up on the top and not mess up.” Trailing Nichoalds to the line were Crouch, seventh starter Dustin Mounce, Timmy Dick, Pralle, Steven Mattingly, Anthony Craven, Scott Williams, Tyler Roth, and Bub Cool. Mattingly was the night’s fast qualifier at a 14.904. Pralle won the heat race.
Michael Schomas bested 19 other Tool’s Auto Sales Street Stock drivers in time trials with a 15.414. AJ Meiferdt and Rick Thomas were the heat race victors. Defending UMP National Champion, Andrew Funk, overtook points leader Meiferdt on the fifth lap and took his first Fairbury win of the year. “After taking a couple weeks off, it’s good to be back here. The track was nice and smooth on the bottom and came in for me. AJ had to make me work for it,” spoke Funk. Curtis Radke, Meiferdt, Pete Odell, Luke Gash, Mounce, Matt Hammond, 16th starter Ed Janke, Joe Brown, and Tanner Sullivan completed the top ten.
Mike Petersen lined up on the pole position for the 12-lap Hobby-Modified race after taking the heat race win. Petersen led the race until a caution fell with three laps to go. On the restart, Brendan Patterson took the lead with Petersen on his bumper. On the final lap, Patterson lost the handle on his car allowing Petersen to regain the lead and take his first win of the year. Brian Deavers, Patterson, Graham Jackson, Makinzi Semmens, and Macy Vaughan followed.
The KidModz Series was on hand with a 10-lap race for the youngsters. After winning his heat race, Dominic Mertzke shook off an early challenge from Mikey Ledford to take the win. Following Mertzke to the flag were Ledford, Jerremy Sebens, Rayce Mullen, and Tanner King.