Unzicker nabs first, Long gone in Modified at FALS
By Rocky Ragusa
Fairbury, Ill. (8/12/23) The 12th race of the season at the Fairbury Speedway saw another FALS Cup weekly program presented by Popejoy Inc. In addition to track and DIRTcar points, the Fairbury Fastener Supply Top Shelf series were up for grabs.
The 30 lap Late Model race saw 19 drivers looking to take the $5000 first prize, along with the prestigious FALS Cup trophy. After five cautions fell during the first six laps of the race, everyone calmed down and fans were treated to an exciting race. Ryan Unzicker wrestled the lead away from Jason Feger with 20 laps to go. Feger tried the top and bottom groove, looking to reclaim the lead, but Unzicker was able to turn back the DIRTcar point leader. Fast qualifier Myles Moos brought out the yellow flag with nine laps remaining as the FALS cushion got the best of his car. When the field went back green, Unzicker and Feger ran side by side for the lead before Unzicker took control with five laps to go. Unzicker pulled away to take his first Fairbury win of the year.
“ Anytime you can win at FALS it's good. I don’t care if it’s a regular night or special, it is hard to win here,” Unzicker said. “ I love coming here. We tried something that MB Customs said would work and it did help.”
Feger took second and making an impressive debut, Brandon Eskew finished in third. Defending World of Outlaw champion, Dennis Erb Jr. took fourth and Rich Bell Jr. (hardcharger) was fifth. McKay Wenger led the second five, followed by track point leader, Mike Spatola, Mike Mataragas, Dale Markham, and Lyle Zanker.
Michael Long went uncontested in winning the 25 lap, $2000 to win Modified race. Five yellow flags and a red flag situation plagued the early going of the race. Long was in his own zip code as he never was threatened during the course of the race. Track point leader, Michael Ledford did make things a little interesting in the closing laps, but Long turned up the wick to post his second win at Fairbury since the season opener.
“ Ever since we got this car out two weeks ago,it’s been good,” commented Long. “ We have had some bad luck early in the year, but we are pretty good now.”
Ledford held off Austin Friedman for second, with Steven Brooks and Trevor Ringle (hard charger) following. Eric Vaughan rebounded to finish in sixth, with Alan Stipp, Lyndon Whitfill, Marshall Call, and Victor Strong completing the top ten.
Stock Car point leader Cody Clubb led flag to flag in winning his second race of the year. Cody’s brother, NIck started in fifth and took over second with nine laps to go in the 15 lap race. Both ran the bottom lane of the track with NIck glued to Cody’s bumper, hoping to capitalize on a mistake to take the front spot. Cody was able to take a two car length win over NIck.
“ I knew he (Nick) was back there. I could see it on the scoreboard,” explained Clubb. “ I was like, man if I get beat by him, I am never going to hear the end of that. So I kept it glued to the bottom and hoped for the best.”
Trailing the Clubb brothers were current DIRTcar point leader, Megan Erwin andheat three winner Tim Loomis. Don Hilleary(hardcharger) started in 19th and advanced 14 positions to take fifth. Zach Zuberbier, Kirby McCormick, Nick Seplak, Michael Schomas, and Brandon Tracy rounded out the top ten.
Double features were held in the Sportsman and Hobby-Modified divisions. In the first Sportsman race, fast qualifier Tommy Duncan set the pace before jumping the cushion and Steve Mattingly led the next lap. Landen Miller took the lead with eight laps to go and never looked back. By the end of the race, Miller held a straight away lead in recording his third win of the year.
“ I saw Duncan mess up and I thought I had it,” said Miller. “ Mattingly slid me and I was going to try it on the outside. I panicked at the last second , but it was a fun race.”
Mattingly took second, with Duncan, Tyler Roth, and Josh Hetherington in fifth. The remainder of the top ten had Eric Saltzman, Doug Carls, Aaron Reid, Makinzi Semmens, and Roy Magee in that order.
Eric Saltzman led the field for the first two laps of the second race before Tommy Duncan assumed command. Duncan ended a winless streak since June 3 and was able to win his third race at Fairbury.
“ I haven’t had any luck this last month,” Duncan said. “ The first feature the power steering belt broke and I didn’t have any power steering.You have to have luck sometimes.”
New track point leader, Landen Miller was second and Tyler Roth took third. The rest of the top ten was Josh Hetherington, Aaron Reid, Eric Saltzman, Makinzi Semmens, Roy Magee, Robert Saltzman, and Doug Carls.
In the first Hobby-Modified 10 lap race, Dylan Turpin took the lead at the wave of the green flag and led the distance in earning his third win of the year. Wes Ricketts took second. Lucas Boulton held off Scott McDonald for third and Reid Gall was fifth.
Hugging the bottom line of the track and running a smooth line, Ryan Kohler has shown he is the man to beat in the Hobby-Modified class. Kohler checked out on his competitors to take his third win of the season. Jake Green finished in second, Jace Gall, Brooke Wagner, and Paul Patterson followed.
Following a lap one caution, Kohler moved past Turpin for the lead and repeated his performance of the second race. The caution came out with five laps to go, but on this night Kohler ruled the class for his fourth win.
Turpin came home in second . Lucas Boulton continues to impress the fans and was third. Scott McDonald, Reid Gall, Jake Green, Wes Ricketts, Jace Gall, Mike Petersen, and starting in the 23rd spot, Scott Brown finished in 10th.