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Harrison Tames Field in FALS Finale
By Rocky Ragusa
 

Fairbury, Ill. (9/3/16) The 2016 race season closed with the Fourth Annual Casey's General Store Modified Nationals, paying $10,000 to the winner and sanctioned by the American Modified Series and Summit Racing Equipment. Late Models were also on the program with a $3000 to win race.

69 Modified were on hand, seeking a starting position for the lucrative event. Dean Hoffman (Troy) was the fast qualifier in group one time trials at a 14.234, while Chad Kinder (Newton) turned in the fastest lap in group two with a 14.393. Winners of the six heat races went to Mike Harrison (Highland), Kinder, Levi Kissinger (Mount Vernon,Ind.), defending race winner Clayton Miller (Elkton, Ky.), Kenny Wallace (Concord,N.C.), and Trent Young (Hopkinsville, Ky.). Matt Cooper (McKenzie, Tenn.), Jeff Curl (Fairbury), Jeff Leka (Buffalo), and David Stremme (South Bend, Ind.) won the semi-features.

24 cars lined up for the 50 lap feature. Kinder took the lead for two laps, before Harrison led the third lap. Kinder came back to lead the next two laps. After a lap six caution, Harrison reclaimed the lead. After a brief battle with Kinder, Harrison opened up a straight away lead. Working slower traffic by the halfway mark allowed Brent Mullins (Mount Olive) to close the margin. Two cautions fell in the final five laps, but Harrison was to strong and became the first repeat winner of the race. After the race Harrison commented, ''Hats off to Fairbury. It's one of the best tracks. They put on these races for us Modified drivers and they know we put on a good show. We haven't had the best year. We have been beating our brains against the wall to catch up with these drivers and get faster. This is our biggest win.'' Mullins, Kinder, Mike McKinney (Hard Charger, started 23rd), Trent Young (AMA Point leader), Steven Brooks (New Lennox), Curl, Josh Harris (Owensboro,Ky.),Leka, and Miller completed the top ten.

For Modified drivers not making the main event, Mullin's Race Engines held a 20 lap shoot out. Allen Weisser (Peoria) was on his way to the win until breaking on the 19th lap. Chris Smith (Highland) took over the lead to hold off Frank Marshall (Valparaiso,Ind.) for the win. Jeffrey Ledford (Pontiac), Nick Clubb (Coal City), Jared Cagley (Fairbury), Bob Pohlman (Oak Lawn), John Clippinger (Evansville, Ind.), Bradley Jameson (Royal Center, Ind.), Todd Riley (Benton, Ky.), and Scott Herron (Rockford) rounded out the top ten.

15 Late Models time trialed for their 40 lap race. Daniel Flessner (Roberts) took fast time at a 12.957. Flessner and Track Champion, Kevin Weaver (Gibson City) won the heat races. Weaver took the lead from Flessner at the start and went unchallenged until a caution fell on lap 18. Mike Spatola made a brief bid, but Weaver was able to pull away for eighth win at Fairbury. ''I thought the top was going to hold out,'' Weaver said. ''My crew kept telling me to go to the bottom. I felt that I had good momentum on the top. I went to the bottom and it worked out.'' Finishing in the top ten were Spatola, Shannon Babb (Hard Charger), Scott Bull, Joe Harlan, Scott Schmitt, Donny Walden, Mike Mullvain, Glen Thompson, and Bill Hough.

The next event for the track will be the annual awards banquet on November 5, at the Walton Centre in Fairbury.