“High Atop the Rock” July 25th; Story/Photos by Rocky Ragusa

Rocky Ragusa
Rocky Ragusa photo






Speed Week

In 2014, Watertown, N.Y. racer, Tim McCreadie captured the Prairie Dirt Classic race in Fairbury. Photos of McCreadie being presented the winner’s check in front of the Bluestem National Bank graced print racing publications and internet racing sites. The photo helped the Legion Speedway, the community, and marketing partners gain exposure in making the PDC one of the premier dirt late model races of the year. The title sponsor,” the Bank of Pontiac”, was somewhat hesitate with being part of the race. Since that time, the track and bank have worked together in making each PDC weekend a little more special.

Andrew Weber, the Vice-President of Lending at the Bluestem National Bank in Fairbury, has been a long time race fan and can be seen with each PDC race winner, giving them the check in the front of the bank. Being approached in the beginning as the title sponsor for the race, Weber felt it would benefit the track, as well as the area. “The bank knew that racing was big in Fairbury and the area,” said Weber. “The Bank of Pontiac purchased Bluestem National Bank in 2014. During that time we were approached about being the title sponsor for the Dirt Classic. My bosses new that I was a race fan. I got them together and took them to Fairbury one night. They felt with all the fans there, it would be great exposure for us. When McCreadie won and people saw the pictures, it set the internet on fire. It just snowballed from there.”

Planning for the race weekend and various events begins around February. The golf outing, a meal for the participants, and hospitality area are among the activities the bank is involved with. “We will have a meeting about two weeks after the race and discuss what we did right and what we can improve,” spoke Weber. “During the first part of the year we start putting some plans together. I talk with Matt Curl and Scott Drendel and we then put it all together.”

Many of the bank employees are race fans and work at the track. They will play a large part in the annual golf outing and the cookout. As many as 15 of the banks employees will volunteer their time in making the events and race a huge success. “We will have some of our people at Indian Creek to help with the outing. The bank will provide balls and tees for the participants,” Weber said. “After that, there is a cookout for about 250 people. We provide the grills, tables, and chairs. Our hospitality tent will feature DJ Ashba on Saturday for a meet and greet, plus we will have various giveaways for the fans.”

Weber has seen how the exposure of the bank’s participation in the race has benefitted all. Weber attends races at Eldora and Knoxville and is quickly recognized by the race fans. “Those pictures of me with the different winners,” laughed Weber.” Fans will see me at a track and say you’re that guy from Fairbury. Plus you will see the event shirts everywhere. The best part is when people thank you for being involved with putting on the race.”

Weber is quick to point out that it takes a team effort on the banks part for the race to be a success. “A lot of our people will be at the track from Thursday until Sunday morning,” closed Weber. “We all know that we are part of something great and will be in the eyes of the community. I have to thank our bank personal that take their time in helping out. It can be some long hours. Our board of directors have seen how big the race is and they feel very strongly about supporting the race. Everyone at the track from the fair board, to the American Legion, and track staff have all been great to work with. It has been a good fit and now it is crunch time.”

Friday Racing

Farmer City Raceway In observation of this weekend’s PDC, Farmer City will take a break this weekend. August 3 will be the next race date. Last week, Ryan Unzicker won the $3000 to win Jr. Kimler Memorial race for Late Models, Allen Weisser picked up his second Modified feature, Logan Moody claimed his 3rd Pro Late Model race, and Erik Vanapeldoorn was the Hornet winner.

Grundy County Speedway Last week’s program was rained out. A full show, plus the POWRi Midgets will take part in Friday’s show. Racing starts at 8.

Kankakee County Speedway The track will be idle in preparation of the Kankakee County Fair. Last week’s race was cancelled due to rain. The next race will be on August 10.

Lincoln Speedway A tentative date for August 3 and classes will be determined as part of the Logan County Fair. Last Sunday, AJ May (Pro Late Model), Allen Weisser (Modified), and Jeremy Nichols (Street Stock) picked up race wins. Tanner Sullivan from Pontiac, finished second to Nichols in his first ever attempt at Lincoln.

Saturday Racing

Peoria Speedway A $5 Fan Appreciation Night will be held. Double features for the Modified, Crate Modified, and Hornet classes. Steel Block Late Model racing will be part of the second program, while the Late Model class have the weekend off. Hot laps start at 5:15 and racing at 6.

Macon Speedway The Winged Sprint Cars of the MOWA make an appearance, along with the Pro Late Models, Sportsman, B-Mods, and Hornets. Hot laps start at 6 and racing at 7. Rusty Schlenk $2000 to win KerbyStrong 100 over Ryan Unzicker, Tommy Sheppard Jr. (Modified), and Dennis Vandermeersch 9Sportsman) last week.

Fairbury American Legion Speedway The 29th annual “Prairie Dirt Classic presented by the Bank of Pontiac, Craftsman World of Outlaws Late Model Series weekend is upon us. The 100 lap race will have $30,000 going to the race winner, making it the largest paying Dirt Late Model race in the state. DirtonDirt.com and Dirtvision.com will provide pay-per-view on both nights for fans unable to attend. CBS Sports will be filming the race and it will be shown at a later date. This is a brief outline of events for the weekend. A reminder that all reserved seating is sold out. Only unreserved seats under the covered grandstands will be sold. Due to the large number of race teams and campers on the grounds, there will be very limited parking.

Thursday The PDC Golf Outing at the Indian Creek Country Club in Fairbury. 9:45 am-4:00 pm.

At the fairgrounds. DirtonDirt will have a live broadcast 5:00 pm-6:00 pm

Registration for the Bags Tournament 6:00 pm-7:00 pm. Bags tournament will start at 7

Auction in the Floral Hall 6:00 pm- 7:00 pm.

Unhandsome Devils will play beginning at 9:00 pm

Friday Hot laps start at 6:00, with qualifying at 6:30, followed by four, Summit Racing Equipment Modified National Showdowns (20 laps each) and four Craftsman World of Outlaws Late Model Showdowns (25 laps each)

Saturday SELCAS will be serving a biscuit and gravy breakfast from 7:00 am -11:00 am at the American Legion Building in Fairbury. 12:00 pm-2:00 pm Meet and Great with DJ Ashba at the Bank of Pontiac Hospitality Tent. Hot laps start at 5:45 with prerace activities at 6:30. More information can be found at fairburyspeedway.com