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Moran Holds Off Thornton for $30,000 Lucas Spring Shootout Victory

Devin Moran

Devin Moran

Michael Long

Michael Long

Long Scores $2,000 Modified Win

Results | Points | Story & Pictures by Rocky Ragusa

The second race of the season at Fairbury Speedway featured the "Spring Shootout" presented by Titan Industries. The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series made its return alongside the DIRTcar Modifieds. In qualifying for the 60-lap, $30,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model race, 47 drivers made qualifying attempts on the ¼-mile dirt oval. Mike Marlar led the first group with a time of 13.403 seconds, while Devin Moran led the second group with a lap of 13.609 seconds. Marlar, Jonathan Davenport, Moran, and Brandon Sheppard won their respective heat races. Two B-mains saw Gordy Gundaker and Kyle Bronson take the wins.

moran thorntonFrom the outside of the front row, Moran took the lead at the start with Marlar in second. Starting in the sixth spot, Jason Feger was on the move, running his patented top side. Caution fell on lap 14 as Brian Shirley slowed on the track. When the field went back to green, Feger got past Sheppard for third. A multi-car pileup on the frontstretch brought out the yellow on lap 15. Feger moved into second on the restart and overtook Moran for the lead on lap 19. Feger opened a ten-car-length lead over Moran, Marlar, and Sheppard. After a battle for fifth with Davenport, Ricky Thornton Jr. began to flex his muscle. Moran began to cut into Feger’s lead and, running the bottom, reclaimed the top spot on lap 45. Thornton followed suit and overtook Feger. Thornton stayed glued to Moran and made a final attempt for the lead on the last lap but came up 0.760 seconds behind Moran. The 2018 Prairie Dirt Classic winner spoke after the race. “I was trying to be patient and save my tires because Feger was running at the top. When I saw there were 25 laps to go, I knew it was time to go. Feger didn’t move down and thank goodness, because it worked out for us.” Thornton finished second, followed by Sheppard, Feger, Davenport, Marlar, and Nick Hoffman. 24th starter Tim McCreadie took eighth, with Mike Harrison and Cody Overton completing the top ten.

longHometown driver Lyndon Whitfill led the first group of Modified qualifiers, while Mike McKinney led the second group, as 45 drivers went under the clock for the $2,000-to-win Modified race. Whitfill, Michael Long, McKinney, and Blake Brown took heat race wins. Trevor Ringle and Jeff Curl won the two B-mains. Whitfill led the field to the green with Long, McKinney, Steven Brooks, and Josh Harris racing single file. The first caution came out on lap 15 as Levi Kissinger slowed on the track. With the track cleared, Whitfill led as Long went to the top of the speedway. As the pair entered turn three, Long threw a slide job on Whitfill and took the lead at the start/finish line. Long started to pull away as Whitfill held on to second over McKinney. The caution came out with three laps to go for Zeke McKenzie. Another caution fell on the restart for Marshall Call. Debris brought another caution. The restart had Long leading, as Whitfill and McKinney exchanged slide jobs. The defending MARS Series champion picked up his fourth win of the young season. “The year is starting off good,” spoke Long. “I was waiting for the top to blow off. The caution came out and we were able to get rolling. The top was packed enough for me to get rolling.” McKinney got by Whitfill for second on the last lap, with Harris, Brown, Mike Chasteen Jr., Brooks, Mike Harrison, Ray Bollinger, and Cole Falloway rounding out the top ten.

Moran Returns to Lucas Oil Victory Lane with $30,000 Win at Fairbury

Story by LOLMDS

Devin Moran regained the lead from Jason Feger on lap 45 and went on to win the FALS Spring Shootout - Presented by Titan Industries on Saturday night at Fairbury Speedway. Moran collected $30,000 for his second Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series win of the season.

Moran, who won the track’s signature event, the Prairie Dirt Classic, in 2018, held off Ricky Thornton Jr., the defending PDC champion, for the win. Brandon Sheppard took third followed by Feger and Jonathan Davenport.

Moran started on the outside of the front row and took the lead at the start of the 60-lap race. Mike Marlar grabbed second behind Moran at the start as he trailed last year’s runner-up in the championship points for the first 16 circuits until Feger, who started sixth, took over second from Marlar on lap 17.

Feger was not done yet, and after reaching second, took just two more laps to get the lead, passing Moran on lap 19. Feger, who entered the race with three career Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victories, used the outside line to try to extend his lead over Moran and Sheppard, who had climbed to third.

The trio of Feger, Moran, and Sheppard ran that way until Moran was able to regain the point from Feger on lap 45. Thornton then started to get going after running outside the top five for several laps. The current championship point leader, who was looking for his fourth series win in a row, moved into the second spot as Feger fell to fourth behind Sheppard.

Moran stayed glued to the bottom of the track as the race went on with a long stretch of green flag racing to the end. Thornton made a last-ditch effort on the final circuit but came up 0.760 seconds short of Moran at the finish.

In Lucas Oil Victory Lane, for the tenth time in his career, Moran, who currently sits third in the championship standings, was relieved to get back to Victory Lane at Fairbury for the first time in six years.

“I was trying to be patient and save my tires a little because he was running the top,” said Moran after seeing Feger pass him for the lead. “I saw there was 25 to go, and I knew it was time to go; I knew I needed to get by him. Feger didn’t move down, and thank goodness, because it worked out for us. It’s hard to lead here when you see the 20RT behind you on the scoreboard, but fortunately for me, I was able to stay on the bottom; I wasn’t going to move from there.”

Thornton, who has six Big River Steel Podium finishes in 2024, all wins, had his first second-place finish of the season. “If I could have won my heat race, I might have had a better shot at the win. I didn’t fire off as good as I needed to, and it kind of took me a while to get going. We just slowly and methodically worked our way forward. There for a while I thought Feger was going to win the thing; he took off like a rocket there. Congrats to Devin; his stuff has been really good.”

Sheppard, who rounded out the Big River Steel Podium in third, tried valiantly in the last 10 laps to get by Moran and Thornton using the top line but couldn’t get close enough. “They were all single file around the bottom, and I figured I could give it a whirl once at least. I think I could have been more aggressive at the beginning of the race. I had a pretty good balanced car all night long.”

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