Rocky Ragusa's Speed Week column
Since 1946 only seven drivers have won three or more consecutive track championships at the Fairbury American Legion Speedway. Add one more to that list.
Bob Carrigan, Sam Lee, Jack Tyne, Dave Porth, Joel Funk and Scott Bull each hit the trifecta, and now Coal City’s A.J. Meiferdt joins the exclusive group by being the first-ever driver to win three straight titles in the ultra-competitive street stock division.
Meiferdt made 11 races of the 13 races held for the street stocks. He placed in the top five in each one, including four wins.
“This year was a little different in our class,” Meiferdt said. “We didn’t have as many guys that were here weekly, like in past years. We missed a couple of races ourselves. We went chasing some money races in Indiana, but when we raced at Fairbury, we tried to make the nights count, and focus on winning races. We were fortunate to not have any DNF’s, too.
“It is pretty cool join a group of great drivers like that.”
One of the mainstays in the CR Towing and Recovery sportsman class since its inception is Chenoa’s Steve Mattingly.
Mattingly has more than experienced his share of heartaches and heartbreaks in his 15 years of racing. For the 2018 year, Mattingly had a breakout year, winning eight features and being crowned the Sportsman track champion.
“It doesn’t seem real,” Mattingly said. “It really means a lot to me and my dad to finally get something that I never thought I would do. I had never won a feature until this year and now the championship.
“I watched Jimmy Felker, Gary Turpin and Terry Worth win a lot of races and championships. They are all good friends of mine and to join them in that group is really awesome.”
Sportsman Top 10
Steve Mattingly 790
Brandon Pralle 719
Amber Crouch 668
Richard Craven 666
Matt Ramer 638
Tyler Roth 614
Mikey Ledford 544
Valerie Hurt 540
Anthony Craven 519
Eric Saltzman 288
Street Stock Top 10
AJ Meiferdt 700
Pete Odell 591
Nick Seplak 557
Tanner Sullivan 502
Rick Thomas 490
Joe Brown 401
Cody Clubb 388
Al Gray 382
Matt Hammond 359
Don Hilleary 340
Farmer City Raceway
Extra money will be up for grabs for late model and modified teams. The ALMS Late Model Series will have a $5,000-to-win special. On the second night of a swing through Illinois, the AMS Modified stars and cars will compete for a $3,000 top prize, payday. Pro late models and street stocks will also be on the final night of racing for the year. Hot laps start at 6:30, will time trials and the racing to follow.
Kevin Weaver (late model), AJ May (pro late model), Mike Chasteen Jr. (modified), and Matt Maier (street stock) were crowned track champions for the year.
Grundy County Speedway
Three nights of racing will be held at the 1/3-mile, paved oval. Friday will be a Fan Appreciation night with racing at 7.
Saturday, the annual Mazon/Grundy Hall of Fame ceremony takes place along with racing in the POWRi midgets, pure stocks and super cups.
Sunday the track will host the 41st annual Night of Champions with racing in seven classes. Racing starts at 7.
Kankakee County Speedway
Twins features for the pro modified drivers headline the program, with all classes in action. Racing will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Torin Mettille picked up his eighth win in the pro late model class. Mike McKinney took his seventh win in the modified, Jason Maier (street stock) and David Lauritson (sport compact) earned their first wins. Chris Tippit continued his hot streak by winning his 10th pro modified race.
The season ends with a $5 admission for spectators. Modified, pro late models, sportsman, street stocks, hornets and midgets will be in action on the final point night.
Fairbury American Legion Speedway
Many of the top modified drivers in the midwest will be on hand for the 6th annual Casey’s Modified Nationals, presented by Wehrs Machine. Drivers will compete for a prize of $10,000 with 50 laps to settle the score. The race is sanctioned by the AMS Modified Series.
Trent Young, the current point leader, will be joined by Josh Harris, Brian Shaw, and Lucas Lee as they contend with perineal favorites UMP point leader Mike Harrison, runnerup Mike McKinney, track champ McKay Wenger and Jeffrey Ledford.
Drivers not making the main race will have a chance to pad their pockets in the Mullins Race Engines Shootout that has $500 going to the winner.
Track champion Kevin Weaver and Scott Schmitt will look to end the winning ways of Mike Spatola in a $3,000-to-win late model slugfest. Hot laps start at 6 p.m. with qualifying and racing to follow.
Ladies will be admitted for $5 as seven classes will be in action. Hot laps start at 6 p.m. and racing at 7.
The Midwest Street Stock Championship Series will be featured this week, along with a regular weekly program. Hot laps start at 5:30 p.m., with racing at 6.
Charley Hess (modified), John Gardner Jr. (late model) and Tyler Gilmor (street stock) were among the feature winners from last week.
Fayette Co. Speedway
The AMS Modified Series will conclude its sweep through Illinois with a $5,000-to-win special. B-mods, street stocks and hornets will compete for added money. The quarter-mile, high-banked clay oval is located at the fairgrounds in Brownstown. Hot laps will start at 6 p.m. and racing will follow.
Spoon River Speedway
A modified driver will have a chance to take home $5,000 in a special event. With $3,000 going to the winner, one driver will be given the chance to start in the rear of the field. If they move to the front and win, they will receive an extra $2,000. Late models, midgets and hornets will be also participate. Hot laps start at 6 p.m. and racing at 7.