Triple Down Shootout Go to Feger, Long, and McLean
By Rocky Ragusa
Fairbury,Ill. (9/2/23) Labor Day weekend saw a strong field of cars on hand at the Fairbury Speedway as First Student and Hotrod Septic Treatment presented the Triple Down Shootout. MARS Racing series , featuring Late Models and Modified drivers, were joined by Pro Late Model competitors. Each class ran a 40 lap feature with $5000 going to the winner.
In the Late Model race, after racing defending series champion Ryan Unzicker and Mike Mataragas battled for the lead in the first seven laps, current point leader Jason Feger went to the outside to take over the lead. Feger quickly extended his lead while fifth starting Frank Heckenast Jr. and Unzicker dueled for second. Heckenast was able to move into the second position,but as Feger sliced and diced his way through lapped traffic, Heckenast Jr. was no match for Feger. Feger went on to take his seventh MARS feature win and second win of the weekend.
“ We were harder on tires than everybody else that I saw”, Feger said. “ Got’em two nights in a row that way. We just kind of got pinned there on that bottom. They were having a good race and I just let it come back to me. I was wanting to get to the top pretty bad. When I saw it open, I was able to get up there and make it work.”
In a thrilling race for second, Heckenast Jr. was able to turn back Unzicker. Bob Gardner took fourth and 14th starter, Kyle Hammer came home in fifth.
MARS Modified point leader, MIchael Long moved to the point on the eighth lap and held off a late race rally by ninth starter, Josh Harris in winning his fourth series feature win.
“That first yellow, one piece of metal had been laying on the track for 10 laps or so,” explained the Fowler native. “ I didn’t really want to see that yellow. We had a couple more yellows. When you are running the cushion, you get out of your rhythm. It’s hard to get back on again. You can overthink yourself, but it all panned out.”
Harris took second and Michael Ledford was third, followed by Zeke McKenzie and Ethan Dotson.
Mt. Vernon’s Devin McLean made it two straight feature wins as he was able to go flag to flag in taking his 11th victory of the year. After Jose Parga cut a tire on the opening lap, McLean took the lead on the start and was able to go unchallenged for the win.
“ This is a place that I have always wanted to get a win at,” a giggly McLean said. “ This is probably the coolest thing that I have ever done in my life. I was just trying to ride because when I saw that 6 (Parga), I knew it was time to get up on the wheel.”
In a furious race for second, Matt Hammond held off Parga, Blaise Baker, and Chase Osterhoff.