Spatola Collects Third Allen Memorial Win; McKinney, Hammond, Duncan, Gee also Victorious

Results | Points | Story and Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

97 cars in six classes signed in Saturday night at the Fairbury Speedway for the 23rd running of the Pappy and Bob Allen Memorial race. Mike Spatola (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), Matt Hammond (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), Thad Gee (Hobby-Modified), and Jerremy Sebens (KidModz) were all feature winners.

spatola lmA lap of 12.835 seconds by Fairbury’s McKay Wenger earned him fast time honors over 27 combatants. Wenger, Mike Spatola, and Scott Schmitt won their respective heat races. Derek Chandler was the winner of the B-Main. Starting on the front row, Manhattan’s Spatola jumped out into the lead for the 30-lap race. Facing constant pressure from Wenger and Ryan Unzicker, Spatola kept his poise while working lapped traffic. Spatola was able to pull away in the closing laps for his first win of the year and third Allen Memorial race win. “I am worn out now,” said Spatola. “The topside of the track was treacherous. I was being conservative and ran the middle groove when I could. We have been doing everything to get a win and finally got it.” Wenger settled for second, followed by points leader Unzicker, Kevin Weaver, Mike Glasscock, 16th starter Chandler, Donny Walden, Schmitt, Luke Goedert, and Steve Thorsten.

mckinney mdPeoria’s Allen Weisser toured the speedway at a lap of 13.985 seconds for quick time as 22 Modified drivers took time trials. Weisser, Mike Harrison, and McKinney won heat races. Weisser led early in the 25-lap race with Harrison, McKinney, and Jeffrey Ledford dueling for second. Weisser was slowed by a lapped car on the 14th lap, and McKinney took advantage, moving into the lead. Weisser’s night came to an end on the next lap when his left front caught a corner tire and ended his night. Following the yellow flag, Harrison ran the ragged edge looking to take the lead, but a slower car held up Harrison in the closing stages giving Plainfield’s McKinney his second win of the year. “This car is really finicky,” McKinney said. “We are just trying to figure where we need to be with it.” Harrison took second, with points leader Ledford in third, followed by Jim Farris, Steven Brooks, Jason Hastings, Mark Grosvenor, Jacob Steinkoenig, Dan Rork, and 19th starter Billy Puckett.

hammond scBourbonnais’s Matt Hammond clipped a lap of 16.136 seconds as 16 Stock Car drivers made qualifying runs. Cody Clubb and Tanner Sullivan earned heat race wins. While several of the early race leaders became impatient with each other in the 15-lap, caution-filled race, Hammond maintained his bearings and took the lead with two laps to go for his second straight feature win. “I knew the cars in front of me would be playing ping pong with each other,” Hammond spoke. “I was able to avoid the wrecks and it paid off.” Current points leader Nick Seplak was second, followed by Clubb, Justin VanDrunen, 13th starter Josh Hetherington, Don Hilleary, Bailey Aukland, Steven Lisewski, Zach Zuberbier, and Sullivan completed the top ten.

duncan spPontiac’s Michael Ledford clipped a lap of 15.081 seconds for fast time, as 12 Sportsman drivers made qualifying runs. Ledford and Metamora pilot Tommy Duncan were winners of their respective heat races. After an early race challenge from Ledford, points leader Duncan was able to pull away from the field in taking his third straight feature win. “Michael gave me a run for the money,” commented Duncan. “The track was a little dusty in the middle. I had to keep the car straight and try not to spin the wheels. I want to thank Roger Friedman for the power and the Craven’s for all they do for our class.” The remainder of the top ten were Ledford, Tyler Roth, Scott Williams, 12th starter Jeb Friedman, Matt Ramer, Steve Mattingly, Anthony Craven, Dan Coit, and Dustin Mounce.

gee hm16 Hobby-Modified drivers signed in for their 12-lap race. Metamora’s Mason Duncan was the night’s fast qualifier at 14.901 seconds. Duncan and Macy Vaughan claimed heat race wins. Mechanical problems on the pace lap ended Duncan’s night before the green flag waved. Brendan Ramer and Thad Gee put on a thrilling contest, racing side by side, as each driver looked to take the checkered flag. Gee was able to pull ahead in the final laps and pick up his first win of the year. “My car ran great on the outside,” stated Bloomington’s Gee. “Brendan gave me all I needed. It was a good, clean race.” Ramer, Travis Roe, Jason Brandt, Vaughan, Billy Shoemaker, Payton Semmens, Troy Ricketts, Graham Jackson, and Austin Lipe were the rest of the top ten.

Jerremy Sebens was the heat race winner and followed that up by winning the KidModz Series race. Audrey Gerberding and Ben Melcher completed the field.

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