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Spatola, Kovski, Keller, Mattingly, Thomas Claim FALS Cup Wins

Mike Spatola

Mike Spatola

Kelly Kovski

Kelly Kovski

Ian Keller

Ian Keller

Steven Mattingly

Steven Mattingly

Rick Thomas

Rick Thomas

Results | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

Varsitee Screenprinting and Aftershock Decals and Designs presented Saturday’s FALS Cup and Alkota racing program at the Fairbury Speedway. Six divisions were in action on the ¼ mile dirt oval as fans witnessed one of the best Late Model races of the season. Mike Spatola (Late Model), Kelly Kovski (Modified), Ian Keller (Stock Car), Steve Mattingly (Sportsman), Rick Thomas (Hobby Modified), and Eric Rebholz (Vintage) received all the accolades in victory lane.

spatola lmIn the 30-lap Late Model feature, Mike Spatola and Kevin Weaver staged a battle of epic proportions. The two gladiators went back and forth for the lead and never established a clear-cut favorite until the final lap. Spatola was on the outside and Weaver on the inside as the two exited turn four. Spatola carried enough momentum to edge Weaver at the line to win by a half-car length. “The old man still has it in him. That is why he's one of the best at Fairbury,” Spatola said. “I thought we were pretty good early in the race. I couldn’t find a good line in turns 3 and 4. That caution came out and my crew told me to get to the bottom. I tried it, but the car was too tight.” A dejected Weaver had to settle for second, with Mike Provenzano and Jake Little following. Tom Thoennes, Scott Schmitt, Jay Sparks, Torin Mettille, Logan Moody, and Glen Thompson completed the top ten. Spatola led the way in time trials with a lap of 12.767 seconds as 15 cars made qualifying runs. Spatola and Moody claimed heat race wins.

kovski mdAn infrequent guest to Fairbury, Kelly Kovski made short order of leader Jared Thomas to take the lead after a lap 12 caution for early leader Michael Ledford. Once in front, Kovski turned up the wick and was able to record his first career Fairbury win. “I have been coming here for a long time,” the Springfield resident spoke. “To finally get my first Fairbury win is awesome.” Thomas had to hold off Alan Stipp for second. Austin Friedman was fourth, with 12th starter Bob Pohlman, Caden McWhorter, Matt Fabrizius, Mark Rhoades, Braiden Bohlmann, and Joshua Hotsinpiller rounding out the top ten. Friedman took fast time honors with a time of 14.045 seconds as 20 cars made qualifying attempts. Friedman and Ledford were the heat race winners.

keller scPoints leader Ian Keller had to contend with Megan Erwin and six caution periods in the first six laps during the 15-lap Stock Car race. After the final yellow flag, Keller kicked it into high gear and pulled away from the field winning by over a straightaway for his fourth Fairbury win of the year. “How about that FALS cushion!” Keller spoke. “We did a little something different to the car and it all worked out.” Erwin took second, Tim Loomis finished in third, followed by last year’s track champion Adam Williams. The remainder of the top ten saw Don Hilleary, Devin Hoskins, 16th starter Jace Gall, Derrick Weiand, Brice Slavens, and Dalton Mickle. In qualifying, Cody Clubb went under the clock with a lap of 15.534 seconds for quick time as 17 cars made qualifying attempts. Two heat races saw Erwin and Keller taking the wins.

mattingly spKnocking on the door all season, Steve Mattingly was able halt the win streak of Tommy Duncan in the CR Towing Sportsman division. Starting in the fourth position, Mattingly took the lead on the second lap. Riding the high side of the speed plant, the Chenoa racer pulled away from all comers in the 15-lap race. “It has been a long time,” an elated Mattingly said. “We have been chasing Tommy all year. The car has been getting faster and trying different stuff. Tonight, it paid off.” Tyler Roth edged Duncan at the line for second. 10th starter Josh Hetherington and Makinzi Semmens followed. The rest of the top ten saw Roy Magee, Aaron Reid, Landen Miller, Victor Strong, and Jim Farley finish in that order. Strong posted a lap time of 15.366 seconds for fast time as 12 cars made qualifying attempts. Strong and Roth picked up heat race wins.

thomas hmWinning in a Modified, Sportsman, Stock Car, and now a Hobby Modified, Rick Thomas had to survive a rash of cautions, and Trevor Ringle, to pick up the win in the 12-lap feature. “I decided at 6:00 this morning that I was going to race,” Thomas said. “I have to thank RJ Gall and his sons for helping me get the car ready.” Kirby McCormick finished third followed by early race leader Scott McDonald and Jake Green. Clay Wisher, Luke Gebhardt, Josh Robb, Mike Petersen, and Scott Brown completed the top ten. McCormick turned a lap at 15.492 seconds for quick time with 24 cars on hand. Robb, Petersen, and Payton Semmens grabbed heat race wins.

rebholz vtThe Vintage Racing of Illinois series brought 18 cars for their special event. Jerry Vance in a 1963 Impala won the first heat. Kelly Christmas took the second heat driving a 1970 Nova. The third heat race had Andy Thompson in his 1968 Plymouth taking the victory. Eric Rebholz, wheeling a 1970 Camaro, came out on top in the 15-lap feature. Kraig Hughes, Thompson, Austin Lipe, and Tyler Sebby followed. “I had to lock the car down on the bottom,” spoke Rebholz. “Last year I was leading the race and had a flat tire. We got some redemption tonight.”


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