by Rocky Ragusa
122 race cars took part in the racing action Saturday night as the Fairbury American Legion Speedway played host to the Memorial Day Weekend Roundup which saw increased purses in each class. Feature race winners were Mike McKinney (Modified), Billy Drake (Late Model), Myles Moos (Pro Late Model), Amber Crouch (Sportsman), and AJ Meiferdt (Street Stock).
The American Modified Series returned to FALS for the first of two appearances this season with 37 cars in attendance. Defending track champion Mike McKinney took fast time with a 14.093. Chris Arnold, Josh Harris, McKinney, and Trent Young were the heat race winners. TD Burger and Jeffrey Ledford transferred to the main race by winning the two semi-features. Following a caution period, McKinney using the top groove, overtook Jeff Leka to take the lead. McKinney was able to fend off all challengers for his first win of the season and a $2,000 payday. “It has been a tough opening for us after tearing up the car at Farmer City,” commented McKinney. “It is an honor to race with Jeff Leka and I have a ton of respect for him. He drove an interesting line, running the middle groove. There wasn’t a lot of room at the top or bottom, but I was finally able to get by him on that restart.” Jeff Curl rallied late to take second over Steven Brooks, with Leka, Danny Schwartz, Harris, Tyler Nicely, Jeffrey Ledford, Gabe Menser, and Mike Harrison rounding out the top ten. Jimmy Dehm finished 11th after starting 23rd to pick up the race’s hard charger honors.
22 I Beam Late Models time trialed as Billy Drake was fast qualifier at a 12.691. Jason Feger, Scott Schmitt, and Mike Spatola took heat wins. Drake had a race long battle in the 30-lap, $2,000 to win race. With 13 laps remaining, Drake ran into trouble overtaking a slower car. With little room, Drake got into the Terry Starks machine, causing minor damage to his car. Drake held his position after the caution and took his first win of the year in his new MB Custom car. “The car has been good, but we are just learning what it needs,” said Drake. “We had that deal with the lap car and it smashed the nose in a little. We were able to nurse it home and had enough. I know those guys behind me were breathing down my neck, but it all worked out.” Scott Bull looked to have the fastest car in the end but settled for second, followed by Michael Kloos, 15th starter Ryan Unzicker, Feger, Spatola, Derek Chandler, Schmitt, Jay Morris, and Derrick Ramey.
Making their first appearance to the track this season, 31 Tribley Body Werx/Shocker Race Car Pro Late Models were on hand to battle for a $1,000 to win feature event. Myles Moos, Torin Mettille, and AJ May won heat races. Kevin Weaver was the semi-feature victor. Moos withstood challenges from Mettile and Matt Taylor early in the race. With six laps to go, Taylor and Mettille were overtaking a slower car. Taylor hit the backstretch wall and flipped, while Mettille also made contact with the wall. Both cars had significate damage and their nights came to an end. On the restart, May tried the top and bottom groove to take the lead from Moos, but Moos was able to hang on for the win. “The car has been awesome to lead the whole race,” an excited Moos spoke. “We have had a tough couple of weeks and it feels really good to get this win at Fairbury.” May, Allen Weisser, 16th starter Kevin Weaver, Jake Little, Mike Spatola, Guy Taylor, Tommy Sheppard Jr., Evan Fink, and Jeremy McLaughlin took the top ten positions.
10 CR Towing Sportsman took the green flag in their 15-lap feature race. Many people felt Amber Crouch was lucky in winning her first feature several weeks ago. Crouch had the mindset to prove her doubters wrong in the $500 to win special. Crouch began her night by winning the lone heat race. In the feature, Crouch took the lead at the start with Lake Nichoalds running on her heels. Nichoalds made several bids to overtake Crouch, but on this night Crouch prevailed in winning a hard fought race. “Our first win, we did get lucky, and I felt bad about what happened to Lake. A win is a win though. Tonight I came out here and proved myself,” Crouch said. Scott Williams got by Nichoalds in the closing laps for second, with 10th starter Steven Mattingly, Dustin Mounce, Rick Thomas, Tyler Roth, Brandon Pralle, Eric Legner, and Anthony Craven rounding out the field.
22 Tool’s Auto Sales Street Stocks took times with Matt Hammond leading the way with a 15.264. Kyle Anderson, Luke Gash, and A.J. Meiferdt won heat races. Early race leader Gash brought out the caution with a cut tire with nine laps remaining in the 15-lap, $400 to win race. Meiferdt saw an opening on the restart as Rick Thomas looked to stop Meiferdt’s two race win streak. Meiferdt was able make it three feature wins in a row and extend his lead in the track points. “I wanted to get to the outside, but Rick was there,” spoke Meiferdt. “I saw a hole open up and it worked out.” Thomas, Pete Odell, Joe Brown, Justin Hamm, Kyle Anderson, Valerie Hurt, 20th starter Don Hilleary, Kyle Miner, and Curtis Radke completed the top ten.