Racing from FALS

Several brief rain showers could not stop the Fairbury American Legion Speedway from holding its sixth race of the 2018 season on Saturday night. The track crew worked diligently, giving drivers a great racing surface, and fans were treated to a outstanding night of races.
    Taking feature wins were Mason Duncan (hobby-modified), Steve Mattingly (sportsman), AJ Meiferdt (street stock), Mike McKinney (modified) and Mike Spatola (late model).
    The night’s program ended with the modified class in a 20-lap race. Chevy Miller took the fast time at 13.851 seconds over 15 drivers. McKay Wenger and Mike McKinney won heat races.
    McKinney took the lead in the feature as Wenger, Collin Thirlby, Dave Porth and Miller trailed. Wenger claimed second after two early cautions and closed on McKinney.
    Wenger jumped the cushion and Thirlby was able to capitalize, taking over second while hunting McKinney down to lead at the white flag lap.
    With lapped traffic ahead, McKinney was able to retake the lead for his third feature win of the season.
    “I saw Collin on the bottom and had to put the car back on the top, McKinney said. “He really made me work for this win.”
    Thirlby was next with the rest of the top 10 filled by Wenger, Porth, Miller, Mark Grosvenor, Alan Stipp (hard charger), Nick Clubb, Dave Lilja and Kyle Parker.
    With the threat of rain at Spoon River Speedway, Metamora’s Mason Duncan made the trip to Fairbury as one of 12 hobby-modified drivers were on hand for their 12-lap feature race. Duncan set quick time at 15.391 seconds, winning his heat race and led flag to flag for the win.
    Previously unbeaten Brendan Patterson took second, followed by Mike Petersen. Macy Vaughan winner of the first heat race, placed fourth, followed by Bryan Saner. Brendan Ramer, Darren Kerrins, Cathy Crego, Thad Gee and Albie Perez.
    Richard Craven turned in the fastest lap in qualifying for the CR Towing Sportsman Series 15-lap race with a time of 14.665 seconds. Amber Crouch and Mattingly claimed heat race wins.
    Mattingly got the jump on Crouch and lead at the start. Mattingly of Chenoa put his No. 7 machine on the top shelf of the track and pulled away from the field.
    Race contender Crouch’s night came to an unfortunate end on lap five with mechanical issues. Richard Craven, Brandon Pralle and Bryant Frechette had a race for the second position with sheet metal being exchanged on several occasions.
    In the closing laps, Frechette was about to take second from Craven but a caution stopped his bid. Another caution with two laps to go gave Craven another chance to move into first. Craven was able to pull alongside of Mattingly, but Mattingly, on the top side, proved to be quicker this night and took the win.
    “First, I want to thank the Craven’s for all they do for the Sportsman class,” said Mattingly. “I wouldn’t have expected to be in victory lane three times this year after never winning a race.”
    With his win, Mattingly moved into a tie with Craven the sportsman track point standings. Craven ended up second with Frechette, Pralle and Tyler Rothin the top five. Matt Ramer (hard charger) was sixth followed by Valerie Hurt, Anthony Craven, Dan Coit and Crouch.
    Matt Hammond was the fastest qualifier at 15.764 seconds for the street stock drivers in their 15-lap race. Heat race wins went to Hammond and Meiferdt.
    Looking to end Meiferdt’s winning ways, Hammond edged ahead at the start of the race. Meiferdt stuck with Hammond before moving to the point on lap four.
    As Meiferdt extended his lead, Hammond had to contend with Pete Odell and Tanner Sullivan. Sullivan was able to pull alongside of Hammond several times, but Hammond stood strong.
    Meiferdt with a comfortable lead, took the checkered flag, as Hammond nipped Sullivan for second. Odell and Joe Brown (hard charger) were next. Justin Van Drunen led the second five, which included Nick Seplak, Michael Schomas, Kraig Hughes and Bailey Aukland.
    Manhattan’s Spatola was the fast qualifier at 12.601 seconds as the 14 late model drivers set to contest in their 30-lap feature. Spatola and Ryan Unzicker took their respected heat races.
    Spatola pulled out to a commanding lead early as Unzicker, Scott Schmitt, Kevin Weaver and Brandon Thirlby followed. At the halfway mark, Unzicker distanced himself for second, and was running down Spatola.
    After a caution with six laps to go, Spatola sped away from his competition. Thirlby was able to take third and pressured Unzicker for second. As point leader, Spatola took his second win of the year, Thirlby (hard charger) was able to edge Unzicker for second, with Weaver and Schmitt completing the top five. Allen Murray led the second five with Taylor Scheffler, Steve Thorsten, Jeff Curl and Billy Hough in tow.
    “We finally beat Unzicker,” Spatola said. “Anytime you can beat Ryan at Fairbury, it’s a good night. I fell we have a good car and this was a good weekend for the team.”
    Tuesday night, the speedway will feature the first ever visit by the World of Outlaw Sprint Car series, plus the POWRi War, Wingless Sprints. Gates will open at noon, with hot laps at 6, and racing at 7.
    Saturday will be the annual Pappy and Bob Allen Memorial. A full show is planned, along with the KidModz Racing series. Hot laps at 6, followed by time trials, and then the racing action.