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Sheppard Jr., Harrison, Erwin, Duncan, Deavers Take Wins in Season Opener

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

It was a successful night as the Fairbury Speedway opened on Saturday. Five divisions were in action which saw several familiar faces and two racers that made their first-ever appearance to the Fairbury victory lane. Tommy Sheppard Jr. (Late Model), Mike Harrison (Modified), Megan Erwin (Stock Car), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), and Brian Deavers (Hobby-Modified) were feature race winners in their respective classes.

sheppard lm26 Late Model drivers made qualifying attempts for their 30-lap, $2,500 to win FALS Cup race. Fairbury’s McKay Wenger timed in with a lap of 12.994 seconds for fast time. Myles Moos, Kevin Weaver, and Mike Spatola were the heat race winners. James Walters raced his way into the feature by winning the B-Main. Moos, Spatola, and Sheppard Jr. separated themselves from the field with their eyes on winning the $2,500. With five laps to go, Spatola dove to the inside of Moos as they entered turn one to take the lead. Sheppard Jr., running the bottom, had a good run and took over the top position. Sheppard Jr. was able to open up a five-car length lead and earn his first-ever Fairbury feature win. Sheppard Jr. of New Berlin, and cousin to Brandon Sheppard, commented in the winner’s circle. “I have dreamed of this. We came here and just wanted to make the show. I was wanting Myles to move off the bottom. That is where we had speed. Him and Mike got to racing and I felt like we had a chance. I took the lead. The flagman signaled there were five laps to go. I was just waiting for one of them to get me back, and I will be damn, we won the race.” Defending track champion Spatola settled for second while Moos finished third. 10th starter Wenger took fourth. Weaver, Scott Schmitt, Jake Little, Jason Suhre, Nick Allen, and Mike Chasteen Jr. completed the top ten.

harrison mdA field of 43 Modifieds looked to make the starting field for their 25-lap, $1,500 to win race. Time trials were broken into two groups. Mike Harrison of Highland led the way in group one with a time of 13.801 seconds. Pontiac’s Michael Ledford timed in at 14.042 seconds to lead the second group. Harrison, Frank Marshall, Michael Long, and Trevor Neville won their respective heat races. Two B-Mains saw Willy Myers and Dawson Cook taking the checkered flag. Allen Weisser made a brief challenge for the lead, but Harrison was the class of the field in leading the entire distance. Weisser took second, followed by Ledford, Long, and Ray Bollinger. The second five had Nick Seplak, Adam Pockrus, Zeke McKenzie, Ethan Weber, and 17th starter Myers. Harrison has now won 22 feature events at Fairbury. “I love coming back to Fairbury,” Harrison said. “It is like my home. This car could go anywhere.”

erwin scEarl Park, Indiana’s Jerrad Krick led the 36 Stock Car drivers in time trials with a time of 15.017 seconds. Four heat races had Megan Erwin, Zane Reitz, Ian Keller, and Dave Crawley Jr. winning their respective races. Austin Hubbard and Andy Zahnd won the semi-features. Erwin led the entire 15 laps, but it wasn’t easy, as she turned back the repeated bid for the lead from teammate Keller. In winning, Erwin became the third female to claim a feature race win at Fairbury. Keller, Tanner Sullivan, Krick, and Joe Brown took the first five positions. Crawley Jr., Reitz, Cody Clubb, 20th starter Shaun WiltjerHunt, and Hubbard finished in the top ten.

duncan sp13 CR Towing Sportsman competitors took time trials for their 15-lap race. Chenoa’s Steve Mattingly posted a lap of 15.022 seconds for quick time. Landen Miller and Tommy Duncan were the heat race winners. Sophomore sensation Miller gave Duncan a brief battle for the lead. The old veteran Duncan was able to pull away and open defense of his track title. Miller, Tyler Roth, Jim Farley, and 12th starter Victor Strong took the top five spots. The rest of the top ten went to Josh Hetherington, Makinzi Semmens, Eric Saltzman, Anthony Craven, and Mattingly.

deavers hm17 Hobby-Modified drivers took time trials as Brian Deavers’s time of 14.972 seconds led the way. Two heat races saw Deavers and Bryce Cunningham victorious. Deavers led all 12 laps for the win. 10th starter Cunningham finished in the runner-up position. Jordan Walker turned in a good performance to take third. Luke Gebhardt, Wes Ricketts, Jace Gall, Ryan Kohler, Kirby McCormick, Jimmy Hoselton, and Jake Green completed the top ten.

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