Fairbury American Legion Speedway
Fairbury, IL


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August 27th racing
Rocky Ragusa Photos


Wallace #Parked it at FALS
By Rocky Ragusa

Fairbury, Ill. (8/27/16) The track champions for the 2016 were introduced to the crowd, along with the top ten in each of the four divisions. Kevin Weaver (Late Model, third title), Richie Rich (second straight in the Sportsman), A.J. Meiferdt (Street Stock), and Mike McKinney (Modified) both claiming their first title. After the ceremony, racing was held in five divisions at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway.

Racing began in the Sportsman class, with 13 drivers on hand. Bryant Frechette and Scott Williams took heat race wins. Lake Nichoalds took the lead from Scott Williams on the eighth lap and looked to be on his way to another win in the 15 lap race. On the restart of a lap 13 caution, Nichoalds car stalled at the exit of turn two, bringing out a caution, and ending his night. Brian Albus from Big Rock, in his swan song, inherited the lead and took his second win of the season. ''Lake was going to be hard to beat,'' said Albus, who was also the races hard charger winner. ''I didn't think I could catch him and I was fine with finishing second. It's too bad his night ended like that.'' Frechette, Amber Crouch, Brandon Pralle, Eric Saltzman, Anthony Craven, Tyler Roth, Nichoalds, Blake Reid, and Williams completed the top ten.

Starting the season as he began it, Barry Sauder of Creve Coeur, was the class of the field in the 15 lap, Street Stock race. Taking the lead from A.J. Meiferdt on the third lap, Sauder sped away for his second win of the year. Meiferdt was the main competition for Sauder, dropped out with two laps to go, due to mechanical problems. ''Thanks to my dad and Mike Chasteen Jr. for their help tonight,'' spoke Sauder. ''I have taken a few weeks off to help Mike with his car. It feels good to get back behind the wheel. That was an exciting race.'' Trailing Sauder to the line were, Rick Thomas, Pete Odell, Don Hilleary, Joel Funk (hard charger, in his first appearance this year), Matt Hahn, Josh Hetherington, Kaleb Wood, Andy Thompson, and Robert Cottom. Hahn, Meiferdt, and Sauder won heat races for the 23 Street Stock drivers.

The Hobby-Modified class had a season high 13 entrants. Josh McKenrick and Mason Duncan scored wins in their heat races. McKenrick of Bellevue, took the lead from Jason Brandt with two laps to go, and won his first ever race at Fairbury. ''After Peoria rained out tonight, we decided to come here. This is my first time racing here. What an awesome night,'' said an excited McKenrick.

Former NASCAR star, Kenny Wallace has been on a streak this past week. Wallace took the $1000 to win race at Lincoln, beating Mike Harrison in a photo finish on Thursday, dethroning perennial Kankakee favorite, Mike McKinney for another grand on Friday, and tuned up for next week's $10,000 to win show at Fairbury, by winning his first ever feature at Fairbury, in the 20 lap, Modified race. Wallace moved to the lead on lap 12 after McKinney's car lost a driveshaft. Wallace had to hold off a determined bid by Lance Dehm in the final laps, until Dehm jumped the cushion with two laps to go. Wallace, always an exuberant person, spoke after the win, ''This whole weekend has been inspired by the late Bryon Clausen. I know his family pretty well. When we left his celebration of life in Kokomo, Indiana, Quality Aviation one of my sponsors told me, ''Herman, go park it. That's a lot of pressure. To park it three straight nights in a row, is the first time this has ever happened to me. Thanks to my crew and all the fans for showing up. I will be back next week for the $10,000 to win race.'' Ray Bollinger, Dehm, Mike Learman (hard charger), Jeff Curl, Vince Cooper, Tommy Duncan, Travis Kohler, Nick Clubb, and Nick Lueth rounded out the top ten. McKinney has the fast qualifier of the 34 drivers on hand at a 14.047. Steven Brooks, Curl, McKinney, and Wallace won heat races. Dave Dulceak and Kevin Weaver won the semi features.

Manhattan's Mike Spatola got by Kevin Weaver with three laps to go, and took his fourth win in the 30 lap, Late Model feature. Rusty Schlenk also snuck by Weaver, but ran out of time to make a bid for the lead, settled for second. Weaver, Jay Morris, Joe Harlan, Mike Mullvain, Steve Thorsten, Jason Wagner, Snooky Dehm (hard charger), and Jon Small finished in the top ten, as attrition took its toll on the 19 car field. Spatola set quick time at a 13.165. Harlan and Weaver won the heat races.

This Saturday night will be the last race of the year for Fairbury. The American Modified Series will host the Casey's General Store Modified Nationals, paying $10,000 to the winner. Drivers not making the 50 lap feature, will have a 20 lap, $500 to win race, sponsored by Mullin's Race Engines. Late Models will also be racing in a 40 lap, $3000 to win contest.

Brian Albus

Josh McKenrick

Barry Sauder

Kenny Wallace

Mike Spatola