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Daily Dirt 12/10/2023 11:49:38

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July 28
Fairbury Speedway,
Fairbury, IL
Sanction: World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series (Prairie Dirt Showdown semifeatures) - $5,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac and series reports (last updated July 29, 4:18 pm)
RTJ only non-WoO winner in PDC prelims
Tim Hunt/highsideraceshots.com
A joyous Ricky Thornton Jr. celebrates a PDC semifeature win at Fairbury.
What won the race: Bobby Pierce, Chris Madden, Ryan Gustin and Ricky Thornton Jr. were victorious in Friday's four 25-lap semifeatures on opening night of the 33rd annual Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury Speedway.
Key notes: The World of Outlaws Case Late Models invade Fairbury American Legion Speedway for the 33rd annual Prairie Dirt Classic. … Action kicks off Friday with four 25-lap, $5,000-to-win Prairie Dirt Showdown preliminary features, with the top-four finishers from each being locked-in to Saturday’s main event. Multiple 20-lap consolations and the 25-lap Prairie Dirt Shootout will precede Saturday’s 100-lap, $50,000-to-win Prairie Dirt Classic; the winner of the shootout will have the option to keep the $3,500 prize or elect to tag the field of Saturday’s finale. … For the second year, a $500 FALS Draw raffle bonus will be paid to the leader of each circuit in Saturday’s feature, courtesy of Bank of Pontiac and the Illinois State Rifle Association. … Brandon Sheppard enters as a three-time Prairie Dirt Classic winner after leading all 100 laps and earning a total of $100,000 in last year’s event. … World of Outlaws series points leader Bobby Pierce seeks his first career Prairie Dirt Classic victory in the event where his father, Bob, leads all drivers with five career triumphs. … The Summit Racing Modified tour wraps up with $500-to-win preliminary features on Friday, followed by Saturday’s 40-lap, $5,000-to-win season finale. … Watch live on DIRTVision.
Points chase: Before Fairbury: 1. Bobby Pierce (3,292); 2. Chris Madden (3,236); 3. Ryan Gustin (3,226); 4. Nick Hoffman (3,208); 5. Brandon Sheppard (3,190); 6. Kyle Bronson (3,186); 7. Brian Shirley (3,146); 8. Tanner English (3,122); 9. Dennis Erb Jr. (3,078); 10. Shane Clanton (3,016).
Current weather: Clear, 84°F
Car count: 63
Fast qualifier: Brandon Overton
Time: 12.681 seconds
Next series race: July 29, Fairbury Speedway (Fairbury, IL) $50,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

FAIRBURY, Ill. (July 28) — Updates and results from Friday's four semifeatures for the 33rd annual Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury Speedway, a $50,000-to-win event on the World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series (results unofficial):

Semifeatures recap

Semifeature winners Bobby Pierce, Chris Madden, Ryan Gustin and Ricky Thornton Jr. will redraw Saturday for the top-four starting spots in the 100-lap Prairie Dirt Classic finale. … Pierce led the entire distance in the first 25-lapper to take the $5,000 top prize by 0.613 of a second over Dennis Erb Jr., who ran second from lap five to the finish. … Brandon Overton started from the pole in the first semi but stopped on the backstretch while running third on lap six. Electrical problems forced him to retire his Kevin Rumley-owned Longhorn development chassis. … Todd Cooney barrel-rolled wildly on lap 17 of the first semi when a right-rear suspension problem caused his car to dig into the track. He appeared to have the wind knocked out of him but climbed out of his wrecked car and gingerly walked to the ambulance for a checkup. … Modified star Mike Harrison finished third in the first semi to lock into the Late Model portion of the PDC for the first time in his storied career. … Madden led all the way to capture the second semi, beating Brian Shirley by 0.437 of a second. … Defending PDC champion Brandon Sheppard charged forward from the ninth starting spot to place third in Semi 2. He outdueled Tanner English in the closing laps for the third position. … Matt Cosner broke a driveshaft while running fifth on lap three, bringing out one of three caution flags in the second semi. … Gustin emerged victorious in an eventual third semi with a last-lap pass of Shannon Babb, who also lost second place to Wil Herrington when he slipped high. … Myles Moos dominated the third semi, grabbing the lead from McKay Wenger on lap two and leading comfortably for much of the distance. But after a caution flag flew on the 24th lap for Garrett Alberson sitting inside the turn-three tires due to a broken rearend, the green-white-checkered restart saw the right-rear wheel fly off Moos’s car entering turn one due to a broken hub, ending his night in heartbreak. … Wenger led the field to the restart after Moos’s misfortune but experienced some himself; battling with Babb after taking the white flag, Wenger cut a right-rear tire in turns one and two and slowed to trigger another caution. … Thornton pulled off a dramatic last-lap pass of Hudson O’Neal to win the final semi, crossing over O’Neal off turn four to triumph by 0.191 of a second. … O’Neal settled for second after leading laps 2-24.

Semifeature results

(25 laps; top four transfer)

First semifeature: Bobby Pierce, Dennis Erb Jr., Mike Harrison, Josh Rice, Jason Feger, Doug Drown, Chris Simpson, Kyle Strickler, Johnny Scott, Thomas Hunziker, Dona Marcoullier, Todd Cooney, Todd Bennett, Brandon Overton, Drake Troutman, Jeff Larson.

Second semifeature: Chris Madden, Brian Shirley, Brandon Sheppard, Tanner English, Nick Hoffman, Brent Larson, Kyle Hammer, Ryan Unzicker, Jason Wagner, Justin Duty, Kye Blight, Michael Lake, Dustin Walker, Lyle Zanker, Gordy Gundaker, Matt Cosner.

Third semifeature: Ryan Gustin, Wil Herrington, Shannon Babb, Cade Dillard, Daulton Wilson, Shane Clanton, Jason Riggs, Bill Hough, Dale Markham, McKay Wenger, Matt Mickelson, Myles Moos, Richie Stephens, Garrett Alberson, Kevin Weaver, Paul Parker.

Fourth semifeature: Ricky Thornton Jr., Hudson O'Neal, Chris Ferguson, Mike Mataragas, Frank Heckenast Jr., Tyler Erb, Chase Junghans, Trevor Gundaker, Mike Marlar, Kyle Bronson, Mike Spatola, Scott Schmitt, Chase Osterhoff, Alex Wilson, Greg Wagner.

Pre-race notes

Temperatures soared into the high 90s under a blazing sun on Friday afternoon, creating likely the hottest conditions in Prairie Dirt Classic history (and especially since its move to a mid-summer date in 2013). The stifling weather led track and World of Outlaws Case Late Model Series officials to push back the start of Friday’s hot laps one hour to 7 p.m. … Despite clear skies throughout the day, officials are closely watching the evening weather with forecasts calling for the chance of thunderstorms to increase around 9 p.m. The threat of rain prompted a change in the Friday schedule to run the four 25-lap Late Model semifeatures first after qualifying with the four UMP modified semis following. … A strong thunderstorm struck the speedway during the overnight hours, quickly dumping an inch of rain, pounding haulers and RVs with hail and mangling numerous pop-up tents in the camping area. … Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., is debuting a new Rocket Chassis machine. It’s a return to the Shinnston, W.Va.-based manufacturer for his Ronnie Delk-owned team, which has exclusively campaigned Longhorn cars since September. 2021. … McKay Wenger has a new shiny, chrome body on his Rocket mount as he makes his first start at his hometrack since riding out a wild series of flips between turns one and two on July 8. … Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., is behind the wheel of Kevin Rumley’s Longhorn Chassis development car after spending Thursday testing the No. 5 at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway. … Gordy Gundaker of St. Charles, Mo., has a unique wrap on his No. 11G that features Grand Theft Auto-style representations of him on the hood and doors. He’s also selling merchandise based on the them.

Semifeature lineups

(25 laps; top four transfer to PDC)

First semifeature
Row 1: Brandon Overton, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Bobby Pierce, Josh Rice
Row 3: Jason Feger, Doug Drown
Row 4: Mike Harrison, Todd Cooney
Row 5: Jeff Larson, Kyle Strickler
Row 6: Dona Marcoullier, Chris Simpson
Row 7: Drake Troutman, Johnny Scott
Row 8: Thomas Hunziker, Todd Bennett
Second semifeature
Row 1: Chris Madden, Brian Shirley
Row 2: Tanner English, Lyle Zanker
Row 3: Matt Cosner, Kyle Hammer
Row 4: Nick Hoffman, Ryan Unzicker
Row 5: Brandon Sheppard, Gordy Gundaker
Row 6: Jason Wagner, Brent Larson
Row 7: Michael Lake, Kye Blight
Row 8: Justin Duty, Dustin Walker
Third semifeature
Row 1: Myles Moos, McKay Wenger
Row 2: Wil Herrington, Shane Clanton
Row 3: Shannon Babb, Ryan Gustin
Row 4: Kevin Weaver, Cade Dillard
Row 5: Garrett Alberson, Richie Stephens
Row 6: Daulton Wilson, Jason Riggs
Row 7: Dale Markham, Paul Parker
Row 8: Matt Mickelson, Bill Hough
Fourth semifeature
Row 1: Frank Heckenast Jr., Hudson O’Neal
Row 2: Mike Mataragas, Ricky Thornton Jr.
Row 3: Chris Ferguson, Tyler Erb
Row 4: Trevor Gundaker, Mike Marlar
Row 5: Mike Spatola, Chase Junghans
Row 6: Kyle Bronson, Chase Osterhoff
Row 7: Scott Schmitt, Alex Wilson
Row 8: Greg Wagner

Time trials

First group   
1. Brandon Overton (5), Evans, Ga., 12.681
2. Chris Madden (44), Gray Court, S.C., 12.748
3. Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 12.781
4. Brian Shirley (3S), Chatham, Ill., 12.801
5. Bobby Pierce (32), Oakwood, Ill., 12.844
6. Tanner English (96V), Benton, Ky., 12.860
7. Josh Rice (11), Verona, Ky., 12.884
8. Lyle Zanker (9z), Rockford, Ill., 12.947
9. Jason Feger (25), Bloomington, Ill., 12.973
10. Matt Cosner (66C), Ridgeley, W.Va., 12.979
11. Doug Drown (12d), Wooster, Ohio, 12.980
12. Kyle Hammer (26H), Clinton, Ill., 12.980
13. Mike Harrison (33), Highland, Ill., 13.006
14. Nick Hoffman (9), Mooresville, N.C., 13.032
15. Todd Cooney (30), Des Moines, Iowa, 13.056
16. Ryan Unzicker (24), El Paso, Ill., 13.073
17. Jeff Larson (99), Freeport, Ill., 13.077
18. Brandon Sheppard (b5), New Berlin, Ill., 13.083
19. Kyle Strickler (8), Mooresville, N.C., 13.094
20. Gordy Gundaker (11G), St. Charles, Mo., 13.096
21. Dona Marcoullier (6M), Houghton Lake, Mich., 13.103
22. Jason Wagner (J12), Morton, Ill., 13.109
23. Chris Simpson (32), Oxford, Iowa, 13.146
24. Brent Larson (B1), Lake Elmo, Minn., 13.149
25. Drake Troutman (7D), Hyndman, Pa., 13.177
26. Michael Lake (27), Uniontown, Pa., 13.193
27. Johnny Scott (1ST), Las Cruces, N.M., 13.215
28. Kye Blight (31AUS), Katanning, W. Australia, 13.218
29. Thomas Hunziker (38), Bend, Ore., 13.228
30. Justin Duty (15), Mulino, Ore., 13.232
31. Todd Bennett (T2), Peoria, Ill., 13.394
32. Dustin Walker (14W), Peculiar, Mo., 13.463
Second group   
1. Myles Moos (84), Lincoln, Ill., 12.698
2. Frank Heckenast Jr. (99jr), Frankfort, Ill., 12.744
3. McKay Wenger (42), Fairbury, Ill., 12.794
4. Hudson O’Neal (1), Martinsville, Ind., 12.852
5. Wil Herrington (19M), Hawkinsville, Ga., 12.872
6. Mike Mataragas (1m), DeKalb, Ill., 12.884
7. Shane Clanton (25), Zebulon, Ga., 12.889
8. Ricky Thornton Jr. (20RT), Chandler, Ariz., 12.893
9. Shannon Babb (18), Moweaqua, Ill., 12.906
10. Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 12.911
11. Ryan Gustin (19R), Marshalltown, Iowa, 12.912
12. Tyler Erb (1), New Waverly, Texas, 12.919
13. Kevin Weaver (B12), Gibson City, Ill., 12.937
14. Trevor Gundaker (14G), St. Charles, Mo., 13.005
15. Cade Dillard (97), Robeline, La., 13.026
16. Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 13.030
17. Garrett Alberson (58), Las Cruces, N.M., 13.042
18. Mike Spatola (89), Manhattan, Ill., 13.046
19. Richie Stephens (00), Phenix City, Ala., 13.075
20. Chase Junghans (18), Manhattan, Kan., 13.091
21. Daulton Wilson (18D), Fayetteville, N.C., 13.101
22. Kyle Bronson (40B), Brandon, Fla., 13.127
23. Jason Riggs (81), College Grove, Tenn., 13.187
24. Chase Osterhoff (130), Kankakee, Ill., 13.261
25. Dale Markham (3), Maple Park, Ill., 13.287
26. Scott Schmitt (10), Tonica, Ill., 13.366
27. Paul Parker (10), Kaukauna, Wis., 13.431
28. Alex Wilson (Z61), Chenoa, Ill., 13.435
29. Matt Mikelson (2M), Keokuk, Ill., 14.035
30. Greg Wagner (79W), Polo, Ill., 14.111
31. Bill Hough (33), Thomasboro, Ill., no time

Friday’s schedule

(All times local)

7-11 a.m. - VFW Post PDC breakfast (VFW Building 205 E. Locust Street)
Noon - Cornhole tournament (north beer stand)
Noon-3 p.m. - MDA fundraiser dunk tank (north beer stand)
6:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting (WoO command center)
7 p.m. - On-track activity
- Late Model hot laps
- Modified hot laps/qualifying
- Late Model time trials (2 laps)
Opening ceremonies
- Four Late Model semifeatures (25 laps)
- Four modified semifeatures (20 laps)

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