Weisser, Shirley Win Big at Fairbury
By Rocky Ragusa
Fairbury, Ill. (5/25/19) The Fairbury Speedway held a Memorial Day Weekend special on Saturday night. The track welcomed the AMS Modified Series for a 30 lap, $2000 race. Making their first appearance were the Pro Late Models and bonus money was up for grabs in the Late Model, Street Stock, and CR Towing Sportsman divisions.
25 Late Model drivers took time trials for their 35 lap, $3000 to race. Washington’s Bob Gardner toured the ¼ dirt oval at a 13.410 for fast time. Allen Weisser, Brian Shirley, and Gordy Gundaker won heat races, while Jay Morris took the B-Main.
At the green flag, Shirley and Weisser ran side by side for the lead before Shirley pulled ahead on the third lap. Behind the duo, Gundaker, Mike Spatola, and Kevin Weaver kept fans on their feet in an exciting battle for third. By the 10th lap, Shirley had lapped traffic in his path. Weisser was able to close in on Shirley. Once the leader cleared the slower cars, Shirley opened up his lead. Gundaker overtook Weisser in the closing laps for second, but ran out of laps as Shirley recorded his first win of the year at Fairbury.
“We had a good car tonight and just had to bid our time”, said the Chatham resident. “The bottom wasn’t for me, so I stuck it on the Fairbury topside and we came out alright”.
Gundaker took second, with point leader, Ryan Unzicker, Spatola, Weisser, Weaver, Jason Feger, McKay Wenger, Mike Glasscock, and Gardner completing the top ten.
The AMS Modified Series saw 30 cars vying for fast time honors and Pontiac’s Jeffrey Ledford upheld the honors for the home crowd. Heats went to defending AMS Champion, Trent Young, Michael Long, Allen Weisser, and Mike McKinney. Jim Farris Sr. advanced to the 30 lap feature by taking the B-Main.
McKinney led at the start, with Young, Weisser, Long, and Steven Brooks tucked behind. Weisser, running the bottom of the track, edged ahead of McKinney for the lead on lap two. On a restart after a caution on the 13th lap, Weisser led as Ledford, McKinney, and Young ran three wide for second. Always a threat for the win, Mike Harrison was on the move in fifth. Harrison joined in the hunt for the top prize, and running the ragged edge at the top, moved into second by the halfway point. After a caution on the 17th lap, Weisser and Harrison separated themselves from the competition. As Weisser had lap traffic ahead of him with 10 laps to go, he made the right moves in keeping Harrison at bay. Harrison made several attempts to move ahead of Weisser, but the driver known as “A-Dog” prevailed in winning his first ever AMS Series race.
“I knew Harrison would be better than me on the top”, Weisser stated. “Running the bottom, I had to go to the top with the lapped cars ahead. Everything just played out in our favor”.
The reminder of the top ten went to Harrison, Ledford, Young, Long, McKinney, Ray Bollinger, Gabriel Kirtley, Brian Shaw, and Jay Ledford.
Show-Me state driver, Trevor Gundaker clipped the speedway at a 14.688 for quick time over 20 drivers in the $1000 to win, 25 lap Pro Late Model contest. Gundaker and Springfield’s Jake Little won their respected heat races.
After a caution on the first lap, Little went to the topside and got by Gundaker for the lead. Little wasted no time in quickly pulled away from the field. Bobby Richey Jr. took over second, as Gundaker, Logan Moody, and Dakota Ewing followed. Little held a straight away lead before the yellow flag came out with five laps to go. On the restart, Little opened up the lead and was able to cruise to the win.
“The car was really good tonight,” Little said. “I knew once I got to the top, I could drive my race and would be good to go”.
Ewing, Mike Spatola, Brandon Eskew, Richey Jr., Moody, Gundaker, Roben Huffman, Shawn Diggs, and Dane Arvin taking the top ten positions.
Bourbonnais’s Matt Hammond toured the speedway at a 16.027 for fast time as 21 drivers looked to take the $500 to win check. Hammond, Justin VanDruen, and Nick Seplak took heat race wins.
Making his first appearance to the track, Monticello, Indiana driver, Owen Wells saw his chance for the lead with five laps to go. Wells got by Dick for the lead and had to survive a caution with two laps left, before taking the checkered flag.
“We had bad luck during hot laps and our heat race, but made adjustments”, Wells commented. “We didn’t know how the car would do. It is just amazing to finally get a win”.
The rest of the top ten went to Hammond, Dick, Zack Zuberbier, Cody Clubb, Josh Hetherington, Kraig Hughes, Seplak, Al Gray, and Roger Rickels.
Nine Sportsman drivers looked to take the $500 to win, Sportsman race. Metamora’s Tommy Duncan was the lone heat race winner.
Duncan, with a fast car in the early part of the year, was able to lead all 15 laps and take his first ever feature race win at Fairbury.
“I have to thank all my crew and my wife for putting up with all of this”, said Duncan. “We will see what the rest of the year brings us”.
Tyler Roth, Michael Ledford, Amber Crouch, Anthony Craven, Val Hurt, Matt Ramer, Scott Williams, and Steve Mattingly completed the field.
This Saturday night will be Fan Appreciation Night. Everyone will be admitted for free on this night as the track will host racing in five classes, plus the Alkota “Keep it Clean” point s will be awarded.