Feger, Long, and Nichols Earn Wins at FALS
By Rocky Ragusa
Fairbury,Ill. (9/16/23) Mother nature played kind to the Fairbury Speedway on Saturday night as “America’s Dirt Track'' played host to the MARS Championship Series and the 14th Annual Earl J. Hubert Memorial for the DIRTcar Stock Car division.
MARS Late Model point leader, Jason Feger took the lead from defending champion, Ryan Unzicker with four laps to go and registered his 14th win of the year. Feger quickly made his way through the field and was battling for the front running position with Unzicker and Dennis Erb Jr. As the leaders went under the flagstand with four laps remaining, Feger did a slide job in turns 1-2 to take the lead and take his third win at Fairbury this year.
“ The car has been really good lately”, Feger said. “ We went hard on tires. I think Dennis and I were the only ones that went that way. My car kept coming in and getting better and better. It was good, hard racing. The track was great tonight. We could run all over it.”
Erb Jr., who led on two separate occasions for 23 laps, overtook Unzicker with two laps to go for second. Unzicker paced the field twice for 12 laps and was third followed by rookie contenders, Mike Harrison and Blaze Burwell. McKay Wenger led the next group, finishing sixth and Kevin Weaver took seventh. Starting 16th, Logan Martin brought it home in eighth, followed by Bob Gardner and Jordan Wever.
In a race that saw four lead changes among three drivers, Jeremy Nichols took the lead for the final time on lap 32. Nichols went on to win the $4300 first prize in a hotly contested event. Polesitter, Nick Clubb led the first 12 laps of the 43 lap race, with Nichols, Kyle Anderson, Tanner Sullivan, and Braiden Keller in contention. The rim-riding Keller raced side by side with Clubb for several laps before Keller vaulted into the lead on lap 14. The pair dueled for the lead as a caution fell with eight laps to go. On the restart, Nichols led Keller who was racing the ragged edge, in hopes of taking home the big check. With three laps to go, as Keller entered turn three, his car hit the outside wall after losing his brakes. That mishap allowed NIchols to go the remaining laps, uncontested for his third Hubert Memorial win.
“ I definitely didn’t think I was going to get that one,” said the Findlay, Illinois wheelman. “ My wife told me, don’t go out there and knock down the wall on the first lap. I went out there and played up there a little bit. I didn’t feel good, so I went back to the bottom to save the equipment. I was able to roll around the middle, but I wasn’t sure if I could get up on Keller. He was so fast and smooth on the top. It is pretty cool to go out and get three Hubert wins.”
Anderson snuck past Clubb for second.Past winner, AJ Meiferdt finished in fourth and Tanner Sullivan claimed fifth. 18th starting, Dave Dulceak finished in sixth, Keller, Megan Erwin, Bobby Beiler, and Joel Funk completed the top ten.
Action ended with a 25 lap, Modified race. After a lap one caution, MIchael Long motored by Mike McKinney and went on to win the $2000 check. Long, who took his fourth Fairbury win and 10th overall, had a brief challenge from track champion Michael Ledford before going on to win by a half straight away.
“ The track was beautiful,” Long commented. “ It wasn’t slow. It was definitely up on the wheel. I was able to roll the bottom at the beginning. I knew once the top cleaned up, it might be better momentum wise. Getting thru lapped cars, I ran up top and knew that is where I needed to be.”
Ledord took second, with McKiney, Mike Chasteen Jr., and Allen Weisser making up the first five spots. Zeke McKenzie, fast qualifier Austin Friedman, Trevor Ringle, Mason Duncan, and Caden McWhorter took the next five positions. .