by Rocky Ragusa
Given the nickname “Bus Driver” because he’s taking the competition to school, Fairbury’s Scott Bull led flag to flag in picking up his second win in the 30-lap UMP Late Model feature race Saturday night at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway.
Bull started the race in the second position and took the lead at the start with Jay Morris, Daren Friedman, Donny Walden, and Torin Mettille following. On the fourth lap, Friedman dove to the bottom to challenge Morris for second. The two drivers drove side by side allowing Bull to open a ten car length lead. Following two cautions on the eighth lap, Friedman overtook Morris for second, with Mettille taking fourth from Walden. Two cautions came out on the 12th lap with the second involving Walden as a chain reaction crash with Dan Flessner and Steve Thorsten ended Walden’s night. The restart found Friedman diving to the bottom in an attempt to move into first place but Bull withstood the pressure. With the track cleaned after a caution on the 18th lap for debris, Mettille, who got by Morris for third, challenged Friedman for second as caution fell on the 19th lap. The restart had Bull in command with Mettille in second and Joe Harlan quietly making his way into third with Friedman and Mike Mullvain following. After a caution on the 27th circuit, Bull jumped out to the lead as Friedman went to the top side of the track in a “go for broke” effort to take second from Mettille. Friedman jumped the cushion, stalled on the track, and brought out another caution. On the restart, Mettille tried to overtake Bull for the lead but Bull was able to hang on for the lead. Another caution on the white flag lap gave the field another shot at Bull but Bull powered his way to the win. With nine cautions the race felt like the previous week’s 100 lapper. Bull addressed the crowd following the win, “What was going on back there? I needed the race to go green because we had a 40 on the right rear. I was afraid all those cautions would cool the tire down. It was a great track and fun night.” Trailing Bull to the line were Mettille, Harlan, Mullvain, Aaron Ricketts, Morris, Wes Steidinger, Steve Thorsten, Dan Flessner, and Friedman. Thorsten was the race’s hard charger. Morris’s time of a 12.635 bested 22 other drivers. Morris, Bull, and Friedman won heat races while Thorsten won the semi.
Going four race nights without a win at Fairbury, Forrest’s Jeff Curl returned to victory lane, winning the 20-lap UMP Modified race. Taking the lead at the start, Curl jumped out to a commanding lead. The battle for second was intense as Jay Ledford and Dave Porth swapped the position several times but neither could pull away. Kevin Hastings kept the two in view in fourth and Dan Rork followed in fifth. After the lone caution on lap ten, Curl took a straight away lead, with Ledford holding a slight lead over Porth. The race for fourth was spiced as Hastings and Rork were joined by Jeb Friedman and Lance Dehm, thrilling the crowd with a late race charge to the front. Curl went on to pad his point lead in the modified standings with his fifth win of the season. Ledford earned a hard fought battle for second over Porth, with Friedman, Dehm, Hastings, Rork, Andrew Funk, Jared Cagley, and Cullen Breeden rounding out the top ten. Dehm was the fast qualifier at a 13.613 and took hard charger honors. Curl and Porth won heat races. A jubilant Curl spoke after his win, “The Alkota Series is something we shot for at the beginning of the year. We have two wins in the series. If it wasn’t for sponsors like Alkota and all of mine it wouldn’t be possible. It’s always nice to win in front of the home fans."
In the 15-lap, UMP Sportsman race, Jimmy Dehm outdistanced his competition in winning his fifth race and taking the lead in the Alkota “Keep It Clean” Series. While Dehm went uncontested, the race for the runner-up spot had the fans cheering. Defending track champion Richard Craven had his hands full contending with Jeffrey Ledford and Dustin Mounce. Ledford battled with Craven early in the race sticking his car to the top side. After a caution on the fifth lap, Craven got loose, giving up second to Ledford. When the field went back to green after a lap seven caution, Craven got a run off of turn two to reclaim second. Ledford started to lose ground to Craven. Mounce challenged Ledford for the third spot before taking over on the 11th lap. After a caution on lap 12, Dehm pulled away as Craven had to contend with Mounce. With both drivers competing for the same piece of real estate, Mounce let Craven know he was there but could not get around Craven. At the checkered flag Dehm led Craven, Mounce, Ledford, Jim Bailey, Tim Bohm, Matt Mills, Amber Crouch, Scott Williams, and Richie Rich to the line. Bohm was the hard charger winner as Craven and Dehm took heat wins.
Going winless since August 29, 2009, the 2008 track champion in the UMP Street Stock class finally returned to the winner’s circle. Darrin Kohler earned a hard fought win that wasn’t decided until the checkered flag fell. Alex Clubb led the first lap but Joel Funk had a good run on the top side to take the point on lap two. When the race went green after a lap four caution that eliminated Rick Thomas, Kohler stuck his car to the bottom to battle with Clubb for second. Taking over the position on lap six, Kohler took advantage as Funk jumped the berm and Kohler became the race leader. Funk tried repeatedly to reclaim the lead but Kohler proved to be too much. “It’s been a long time. That was a heck of a race with Joel and Alex. I was just glad to be part of it. Thanks to my crew for all the hard work,” Kohler said in the winner’s circle. Clubb, Funk, Don Hilleary, Eric Gaus, A.J. Meiferdt, Robert Turner, Lee Hall, Justin Nelson, and Nick Clubb took the top ten positions. Hilleary was the hard charger while Alex Clubb and Thomas took heat wins.