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Fairbury American Legion Speedway

Mars races to victory in 20th Prairie Dirt Classic

September 6, 2009, 6:33 am
From track reports
Jimmy Mars takes the checkered flag. (erikgrigsbyphotography.com)
Jimmy Mars takes the checkered flag. (erikgrigsbyphotography.com)

FAIRBURY, Ill. (Sept. 5) — Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., captured the 20th annual Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury American Legion Speedway for a UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned victory worth $10,000. Mars, who also won the track's season finale in 2005, raced to victory from his fourth starting spot. | Video

Seventh-starting Darren Miller of Milledgeville, Ill., racing for the first weekend since shutting down his team in March, finished second followed by polesitter Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, Ill. Rodney Melvin of Benton, Ill., started outside the front row and finished fourth while ninth-starting Kevin Weaver of Gibson City, Ill., the 1991 race winner, rounded out the top five.

Fast qualifier Billy Moyer, a three-time race winner looking for his second straight Prairie Dirt Classic victory, rallied from 13th to finish sixth.

Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., led the first 11 laps before a flat tire knocked him out of contention. Melvin then took command, leading until Mars made the winning pass on lap 36. Miller made a late charge on Mars, but the winner slipped away amid lapped traffic in the final laps.

Notes: Mars drives an M-B Customs Chassis with a Pro Power engine and sponsorship from Deppe Enterprises, T.L. Sinz Plumbing, Keyes Chevytown and Baileigh Industrial. ... Mars has five $10,000 victories at Fairbury over the past four seasons. ... Fairbury regular-season champion Joe Harlan of El Paso, Ill., finished 13th. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Jason Feger, Steve Sheppard Jr., Charley Hess, Junior Shickel, Derek Chandler, Donny Walden and inaugural race winner Snooky Dehm.

Prairie Dirt Classic: (1) Jimmy Mars, (2) Darren Miller, (3) Dennis Erb Jr., (4) Rodney Melvin, (5) Kevin Weaver, (6) Billy Moyer, (7) Shannon Babb, (8) Brandon Sheppard, (9) Will Vaught, (10) Scott Bull, (11) Billy Drake, (12) Kyle Logue, (13) Joe Harlan, (14) Daren Friedman, (15) Eric Smith, (16) Frank Heckenast Jr., (17) Ryan Unzicker, (18) Richie Hedrick, (19) Rich Bell, (20) Aaron Ricketts, (21) Jeep Van Wormer. Fast qualifier (among 40 cars): Moyer, 12.836 seconds. Heat race winners: Erb, Melvin, Babb, Mars. Consolation winners: Van Wormer, Heckenast. Provisional starter: Friedman.

Prairie Dirt Classic winners

Year - Winner
2009 - Jimmy Mars
2008 - Billy Moyer
2007 - Brian Birkhofer
2006 - Shannon Babb
2005 - Jimmy Mars
2004 - Dennis Erb Jr.
2003 - Don O'Neal
2002 - Shannon Babb
2001 - Bob Pierce
2000 - Bob Pierce
1999 - Bob Pierce
1998 - Billy Moyer
1997 - Billy Drake
1996 - John Gill
1995 - Bob Pierce
1994 - Bob Pierce
1993 - Billy Moyer
1992 - Billy Moyer
1991 - Kevin Weaver
1990 - Snooky Dehm
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