Last Lap Pass Nets James Allen Memorial Win

Scott James poses in victory lane Saturday night at Fairbury. (Rocky Ragusa Photo)

August 29, 2020 at Fairbury Speedway ($2,500 to win)

Recap By Rocky Ragusa

Fairbury, Ill. (8/29/20) With a big Labor Day weekend for racers and fans in Central Illinois on the horizon, 120 race teams from five states journeyed to the Fairbury Speedway Saturday night in preparation. The track played host to the 24th edition of the “Pappy and Bob Allen Memorial”. Scott James (Late Model), Mike McKinney (Modified), Zuby Zuberbier (Street Stock), Tommy Duncan (Sportsman), Jared Cagley (Hobby-Modified), and Brenden Heizer (Kid Modz) all earned feature race wins.

Brenden Heizer won the heat race and in the 10 lap feature, Heizer claimed his seventh Kid Modz Racing Series win of the year with Audrey Gerberding in second.

Austin Friedman turned a lap of 14.819 for fast time with 12 drivers in attendance. Tommy Duncan and Brandon Pralle, subbing for Anthony Craven were the heat race victors.

In the 15 lap, CR Towing Sportsman feature, Duncan was able to lead flag to flag in picking up his fourth win of the year and wrapped up the track championship.

“ Those young drivers are good and they race with respect,” Duncan said. “ It has been alot of fun racing with them”.

Pralle took second, with Friedman in third. After experiencing mechanical problems in hot laps and his heat race, Lyndon Whitfill charged thru the field to take fourth and earn the hardcharger award. Jim Farley lll, Matt Ramer, Brendan Ramer, Makinzi Semmens, Steve Mattingly, and Alex Wilson completed the top ten.

42 Modified drivers were in attendance for their 25 lap race. Mike McKinney toured the speedway with a lap of 13.662 to take quick time. McKinney, Nick Allen, Michael Ledford, and Tyler Nicely won heat races. Chris Smith and Dave Lilja advanced to the feature by winning their B-main.

McKinney took the lead at the drop of the green flag as Allen Weisser and Ledford dueled for second. On a slick race track, many of the drivers settled to run on the bottom and middle groove, while the 15 year old, Ledford threw his machine on the top side. After a caution flag fell with five laps to go, Ledford made the cushion work and overtook Weisser for second. Ledford challenged McKinney for the lead and showed the nose of his machine. Another caution fell with three laps to and the field went to a single file restart. As the two gladiators took the white flag, McKinney went to the top in turns three and four, hoping to slow Ledford. Ledford went to the bottom and pulled alongside off McKinney, but as flagman Jim Whittington waved the checkered flag McKinney was able to hang on and nip Ledford by .018 seconds at the line.

As the crowd cheered and jeered their approval of the race, McKinney commented in victory lane. “ Mikey stole the show there. I started off good and the car began to tighten up. Allen started to drive by me and Mikey showed me his nose on the last restart. It’s really a huge win for our team. We are doing everything we can to battle for the national championship”.

Weisser, taking his second straight Modified track title finished in the third position, followed by Dan Rork with a fine performance. Bobby Stremme, Bob Pohlman, Kyle Hammer (hard charger), Brad DeYoung, Dillion Nusbaum, and Dave Lilja rounded out the top ten.

A time of 12.846 gave Jay Morris quick time as 25 Late Models made qualifying runs. Allen Weisser, Scott Schmitt, Scott James were the night’s heat race winners. The semi-feature went to Jeffrey Ledford.

On the green flag, Weisser and Schmitt raced side by side before Weisser led the first two circuits. Schmitt,running the top side moved ahead to take over with Weisser, James, Eric Smith, and Mike Spatola following. Weisser, looking for his first Fairbury Late Model win of the year, reclaimed the lead on lap 12. Weisser began to work his way by lapped traffic and James got by Schmitt for second. Once Weisser and James had a clear track, James quickly closed in on Weisser. With the checkered flag in site, James was able to pull beside Weisser and pull ahead to win the race by .040 seconds at the finish.

“ I have been racing for 25 years”, spoke the driver known as the Silver Shark. “ To win here is a feather in my cap. We got rained out today and decided to come back to Fairbury. I commented at the bottom. Weisser moved up to the top and stalled in the lapped traffic. It has been a dream to win at this track”.

The rest of the top ten went to Schmitt, Spatola, Schmitt, Mike Provenzano (hard charger), track champion McKay Wenger, Kevin Weaver, Mike Mataragas, and Rickey Frankel.

The speedway welcomed 27 Street Stock drivers with current national point leader and last week’s winner, Terry Reed turning a lap of 15.352 to take fast time. Zack Zuberbier, Andy Zahnd, and Cody Clubb won their heat races, while Reed took the B-main.

Zuberbier was able to lead the entire 15 laps, but had to contend with RJ Akers and Matt Fabrizius in the final laps. At the finish, Zuberier won by .050 in another exciting finish.

“ I wasn’t the best, but we made it work”, Zuberbier said after winning his second feature of the season. I saw Matt and was able to get back by him. It’s good to rave with him”.

Akers, Fabrizius , Eric Boudreau, Matt Maier, Don Hilleary, Pete Odell (hard charger), Kory Kohler, track champion Michael Schomas, and Brandon Tracy completed the top ten.

After having ear surgery, Jake Green called upon Jared Cagley to take over his ride in the Hobby-Modified class this week. Cagley was able to respond by placing Green’s car in victory lane for Cagley’s first ever Fairbury feature win.

“ I have to thank the Green’s for letting me drive their car”, Cagley said. “ I went to the bottom and wasn’t going anywhere, so I went to the middle. It’s pretty cool to be in victory lane”.

The win didn’t come easy for Cagley as he had to hold off Caden McWhorter. Clay Wisher, Macy Vaughan, and Kellen Arnold took the first five spots. McWhorter and Graham Jackson were the heat race winner.s

The track returns this Saturday with twin $10,000 to win specials for the Late Models and Modified divisions.