Babb Rolls To Flag-To-Flag Summer Nationals Victory

by Darlene Miller

The Summer Nationals roared into Fairbury American Legion Speedway for the 10th leg of the 29-race tour on Saturday night. The “Moweaqua Missile” Shannon Babb dominated the 50-lap Late Model feature for the $10,000 win. Highland’s Mike Harrison took home the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals $1,500 prize, and Coal City’s AJ Meiferdt continued his FALS hot streak as he won the $800 Midwest Street Stock Championship race, his fifth Street Stock feature win of the season.

jun24-lmFairbury’s McKay Wenger and current series points leader Bobby Pierce of Oakwood brought the 22-car field to the green flag and it took only a moment for fourth place starter Babb to grab the lead. Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville quickly moved to the second position after starting sixth. The caution flag flew with just four laps in for Gordy Gundaker of St. Charles, Mo., and after the restart the pair found themselves in lapped traffic just nine laps into the feature. Another yellow flag flew with 28 laps down for Pierce and Troy's Tim Manville in turn two. On the green, Babb, Erb, and Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, pulled away from the group behind them. Babb, running the middle, felt constant pressure from Erb who was relentless running the low groove. But Babb held him off at the finish line for his second win of this year’s tour. “I got by Pierce and I knew I had to do it early in the race,” said Babb. “The car was excellent. We made a good call on the car (setup). This is awesome. Thanks to all the fans.” Erb Jr. was second, followed by Simpson, Brent Larson of Lake Elmo, Minn., and Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville, Ark., in the top five. The second five included Trenton's Michael Kloos, Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., Matt Furman of Portland, Ore., Pierce, and Bloomington's Jason Feger. Heat winners were Babb, Pierce, Simpson, and Wenger. Chatham's Brian Shirley won the “C” main, while Mike Spatola of Manhattan won the semi feature. Dan Flessner of Roberts was quickest in his qualifying group with a 12.822 second lap, while Moyer Jr. was tops in his group with a 13.075 clocking.

jun24-mdPlainfield's Mike McKinney and Mike Harrison were in the front row of the 25-lap Modified feature. The pair battled back and forth for the lead in the first three laps before the yellow flag came out. McKinney and Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford battled for the lead on the restart. Soon, Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., got past Ledford to take over second. Harrison, riding the top side, was in third after also getting past Ledford. Harrison grabbed the lead from Hoffman with 18 laps complete but a caution flag flew for an incident that almost collected the new leader. The battle again flared up between Harrison, Hoffman, and McKinney but Harrison held on to win by a car length. “We put on a show,” said Harrison. “The top felt right off the start. Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like the top, but I found a good rhythm up there.” Kewanee's Ray Bollinger was fourth followed by Jeff Curl of Fairbury. Leading the second group of five was Buffalo's Jeff Leka, Lucas Lee of Paris, Tenn., Levi Kissinger of Mt. Vernon, Ind., Peoria's Allen Weisser, and Ledford. Harrison, Hoffman, Ledford, and McKinney were heat winners. Weisser picked up the semi-feature victory. Bollinger had the top speed of 13.958 seconds in the first group of qualifying, while McKinney was fastest in the second group with a 13.835 second lap.

jun24-ssMeiferdt and Ian Keller of West Lebanon, Ind., led the field to the green in the 20-lap Street Stock feature with Meiferdt setting the early pace. Wilmington's Joe Brown, Jerrad Krick of Earl Park, Ind., and Dwight’s Rick Thomas battled for the second position, with Thomas taking command of the second spot with five laps to go. “My car was awesome and unreal. It is cool to get in victory lane tonight,” Meiferdt said. Krick was third and was followed by Brown, Keller, Chebanse's Luke Gash, Curtis Radke of Milford, 15th starter Peter Odell of Streator, Lovington's Jeremy Nichols, and Michael Schomas of Ottawa in the top ten. Heat winners were Brown, Keller, Krick, and Meiferdt. Meiferdt also won the dash and had fast time with a 15.299 second trip. Chad Rockefeller of Monee won the semi feature.

Ledford, Nichoalds, Meiferdt win before Mother Nature shortens racing

by Darlene Miller

Mother Nature’s lightning show put an early end to racing at Fairbury American Legion Speedway on Saturday night, but not before two features were completed and one ended early after the halfway mark. Coal City’s A.J. Meiferdt (Street Stock) and Lake Nichoalds of Onarga (Sportsman) were winners along with Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford (Modifieds).

jun17-mdThe Modified feature started with Ledford and New Lenox’s Steven Brooks on the front row. Two caution flags slowed the field with 18 laps to go in the 20-lap feature. Another caution flew with 14 to go as Ledford strongly continued to show the way. The race made it to halfway and then with five laps to go another caution flag flew and the race was called. “With all the incoming weather heading our way, we made the best decision as possible to get all the race teams loaded up and fans off the grounds before storms hit, and with the help of our staff we were able to accomplish that; very impressive with over 70 race teams in the pits Saturday night,” said Race Director Matt Curl. Brooks brought home second followed by Jimmy Dehm, Travis Kohler, Eric Vaughan, Chris Gaither, Nick Lueth, Kevin Schrodt, Brian Kidder, and Billy Puckett. Ledford was the quickest in qualifying at 14.047 seconds. Brooks and Ledford were heat winners.

jun17-spThe 15-lap Larry Crouch Memorial Sportsman race saw Lake Nichoalds pad his points lead and take home his fifth win of the season. Nichoalds dominated the nine-car field and won by over 12 car lengths. Richard Craven, Brandon Pralle, Scott Williams, and Amber Crouch completed the top five. Tyler Roth, Steve Mattingly, Anthony Craven, and Bryant Frechette rounded out the field. Nichoalds also won the lone heat race, and Richard Craven topped the charts in qualifying at 14.985 seconds.

jun17-ssAJ Meiferdt won his fourth Street Stock feature of the season riding in the middle of the track while missing wrecked and lapped cars. Joe Brown, who started on the pole, finished second followed by Luke Gash, Curtis Radke, and Dane Arvin. Peter Odell led the second five with Chad Rockefeller, Andy Thompson, 19th starter Matt Hammond, and Michael Schomas in tow. Odell had fast time with a 16.137 second lap, while Meiferdt and Brown were heat winners.

The Late Model and Hobby Mod features were canceled for the evening and will be made up at a later date. Fans will be treated to double Late Model features for the price of one on the rescheduled date.

Unzicker drives to victory in Allen Memorial

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).

jun10-LM22 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.

jun10-MD20 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.

jun10-SP

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.

jun10-SSMichael 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.

jun10-HMMike 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.

jun10-KMDThe 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.

Spatola, Unzicker, Nichoalds, Brown, Brandt victorious on Fan Appreciation Night

by Darlene Miller

Three drivers took their first trip into the 2017 winner’s circle at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway during Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday. Mike Spatola (Late Model), Ryan Unzicker (Modified), and Joe Brown (Street Stock) brought home the victories. Lake Nichoalds won his third feature in the Sportsman division. Unzicker has been to the circle this season with his Late Model.

jun03-lmManhattan’s Spatola started second in the Late Model feature next to Tonica’s Scott Schmitt. The pair quickly grabbed their lanes and Spatola, riding the high side, took the lead over Schmitt. Gibson City’s Kevin Weaver took the second spot with 21 laps to go in the 30-lap feature. Caution flags flew a couple of times bunching the field. The pack shook out with six laps to go as Spatola, Schmitt, and Weaver established the top three spots. Schmitt drove tough and tried to sneak in low to challenge Spatola but to no avail as Spatola crossed the line first. “We are getting better every night. I am getting more and more confident and it feels great to get a win,” said Spatola. Unzicker, doing double duty, finished fourth in front of Fairbury’s Scott Bull. Taylor Scheffler led the second five with Mike Glasscock, Dan Flessner, Steve Thorsten, and Ron Donaldson following. Spatola and Schmitt won the heats and Schmitt also had fast time with a lap of 13.129 seconds. 

jun03-mdIn the 20-lap Modified feature, El Paso’s Unzicker and Jeffrey Ledford of Pontiac led the 22-car field to the green flag. Ledford quickly took the lead riding the cushion closely followed by Jimmy Dehm and Unzicker. Ledford continued his lead during the cautions as the group behind were running three wide several times trying to close in. Another caution flew for debris in turn three with five circuits to go and, on the restart, Unzicker was soon in the lead and was able to fend off Ledford by two car lengths for the win. “This car was a rocket ship tonight,” he said. Steven Brooks was third while hard-charging Jeff Curl, who started 12th, and Dehm completed the
top five. Jason Hastings, Mike McKinney, Nick Clubb, Nick Lueth and Rich Dawson completed the top 10. Heat winners were Clubb, Ledford, and Unzicker. Brooks was the fast qualifier with 14.249-second trip.

jun03-spOnarga’s Nichoalds won his caution-free Sportsman race starting from the third spot. Pole-sitter Richard Craven and Nichoalds battled the entire time and won by a half car length over Craven in the 12-car field. “Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like running the bottom, but tonight it was good,” Nichoalds said. Bryant Frechette, Amber Crouch, Brandon Pralle, Dustin Mounce, Tim Dick, Scott Williams, Steve Mattingly, and Matt Ramer finished third through 10th. Craven and Frechette were heat winners and Craven, with a trip of 14.805 seconds, was top qualifier.

jun03-ssBrown of Wilmington won a caution-plagued Street Stock race for the first time at FALS in 10 years. “It feels good to be back on my 22nd wedding anniversary,” said Brown. AJ Meiferdt was next and had Lukes Gash, Darrell Dick, Peter Odell, Curtis Radke, Mounce, Andy Thompson, Justin Hamm, and Michael Schomas in tow. Brown
and Rick Thomas were heat winners and Gash was fastest in qualifying at 15.698 seconds.

jun03-hmEast Peoria's Jason Brandt started second in the 12-lap Hobby Mod feature and went on to collect his second win of the season. Albie Perez, Mike Petersen, Thad Gee, Macy Vaughan, Brendan Patterson, and Haley Jones followed. Peterson won the heat race.

Thorson Takes FALS Last Lap Thriller

by POWRi & Rocky Ragusa | Results

jun01-NMGAfter a relatively quiet start to POWRi Illinois SPEED Week for Tanner Thorson, the driver returned to victory lane with the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League for his first 2017 win, this time for night number two of POWRi Illinois SPEED Week at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. The Minden, Nevada native started fifth and quickly worked his way towards the front, battling early on with Auckland, New Zealand’s Michael Pickens, POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League Rookie of the Year candidate, Zeb Wise, and Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Rico Abreu.

After an early race yellow, Thorson capitalized on the slowdown to snag the lead from Pickens, however Thorson’s early race lead was short lived as Zeb Wise took the lead the following lap, holding on just long enough before swapping positions with Abreu. Setting a blistering pace, Abreu led Wise and Thorson for the next 13 laps until Wise brought out the red after catching the turn two wall and taking a tumble while running second.

Inheriting the second position, Thorson had six laps remaining to tackle Abreu for the lead. Patiently waiting until the last lap, Thorson had fans on the edge of their seats waiting to see if he would try to make a move going into turn one or wait until the last corner. Heading down the backstretch, it was apparent that Thorson had saved his best move for last as he dove to the bottom of turns three and four, sliding Abreu for the lead. Trying to return the slide job, Abreu made contact with Pickens, causing Abreu to fall back to fourth, while Thorson went on to win the Mesilla Valley Transportation feature event. Pickens took second, while Spencer Bayston quietly took third, rebounding after a hard flip at the Dirt Oval at Route 66 the previous night.

“My guys just gave me a badass car,” said Tanner Thorson. “It started to lay rubber right there and my car was able to hang on the best. I was just waiting for the last lap to see if I could get a run there on Rico. I’d lose it here and there, but we were able to stay there on the last lap and go for it. To be able to win tonight is very rewarding.”

“Our car was just better there on the long run,” commented Michael Pickens. “It started to lay rubber there and then we got really good. We struggled early and just didn’t have enough speed, but we were there at the end.”

“It was a tough night last night, but we had a good racecar last night and another good car tonight,” Spencer Bayston stated. “It built some rubber there and I was a lot better in the long run, but when we got that caution there on the restart, I wasn’t as strong as I needed to be.”

jun01-SPRAfter a lengthy absence, Sprint Cars returned to the Fairbury American Legion Speedway with the Lucas Oil POWRi WAR Sprint Car Series. After a caution with four laps to go in the 25-lap race, Mario Clouser trailed Kevin Thomas Jr. On the last lap, Clouser had a good run heading down the backstretch as he looked for the lead. Clouser made contact with Thomas Jr. Third running Korey Weyant proved to be in the right spot at the right time and led the final 100 yards for the $2,000 win. Slater Helt, Joe B. Miller, Bret Tripplett, Andy Baugh, Logan Faucon, Dustin Smith, Steve Thomas, Thomas Jr., and Clouser completed the top ten. Mitch Wissmiller and Smith took heat race wins.

jun01-D2MGMitchell Davis led flag to flag in the 25-lap POWRi Division II Midget race for his first win of the year. Aaron Schuck started 10th and rallied for second. Following the duo were Brent Burrows, Shane Morgan, Andy Baugh, Josh Thomas, Andy Malpocker, Broc Hunnell, Johnny Murdock, and Brandon Smith. Morgan and Davis won heat races.

jun01-MDThe night’s racing action ended with a 25-lap Modified feature. Ray Bollinger, the current UMP national points leader, led flag to flag in winning the $1,000 top prize. For Bollinger, it was his first ever win at Fairbury. Allen Weisser made several attempts to take the lead but fell short and settled for second. Kenny Wallace, Mike McKinney, Danny Schwartz, Jeff Curl, Tommy Duncan, Nick Clubb, Jeffrey Ledford, and Chad Rockefeller completed the top ten. Ledford set fast time at a 14.473. Bollinger, McKinney, and Wallace won heat races.