Chandler Nets Fairbury Season Opener
By Rocky Ragusa
Fairbury, Ill. (4-19-14) Derek Chandler wrestled the lead away from Scott Bull with nine laps to go and pulled away from the field to claim the 30 lap, UMP Late Model feature as the Fairbury American Legion Speedway opened their 68th season.
Polesitter Bull led the field to the green as Chandler followed. Chandler, running the top side of the track, used his momentum to take the point on the third circuit, but Bull came back to reclaim the lead on lap four. Bull was able to open a five car length lead over Chandler, but never was able to distance himself from the field. Jay Morris charged by Joe Harlan and Daren Friedman to take third in the early portion, but the front two cars had a straight away lead over the competition. Chandler slowly etched his way back to Bullís bumper and moved into the lead with ten laps to go. Following a caution with seven laps remaining, Chandler, Bull, and Morris went three wide into turn one for the lead. Chandler showed the power and pulled away to a ten car length lead, as Morris showed Bull the nose of his car. Bull was able to keep Morris at bay, but in the end, Chandler took his second straight season opening win at the American Legion track. Defending track champion, Bull took second, with Morris, Harlan, Friedman, Steve Thorsten, Daniel Flessner, McKay Wenger, Torin Mettille, and Don Hilleary completing the top ten. Wenger set fast time at a 12.603. Bull and Chandler took heat race wins.
Indiana invader, Nick Allen took advantage of Jimmy Dehmís miscue to take the lead on the second lap and pick up the win in the 20 lap, UMP Modified feature. Dehm took the lead at the start to open a five car length over Allen, but on the second lap, Dehm looped his car in turn four. Jay Ledford with nowhere to go, clipped Dehm and both cars were eliminated. On the restart Allen vaulted to the lead, as Jeff Curl and Jim Farris raced for second. Farris got by Curl on the fourth lap and closed the distance on Allen. Farris kept Allen in his sights, but could not mound a challenge for the lead. Allen took the win, with Farris, Curl, Derek Losh, Nick Wallrich, Devin Wright, Jared Cagley, Kevin Hastings, Tommy Duncan, and Nick Kurtz rounding out the top ten. Defending track champion Curl was the fast qualifier at a 13.976. Jay Ledford, Jimmy Dehm, and Allen won the heat races.
In a caution marred 15 lap, UMP Sportsman race, Richard Craven moved into the lead on lap four to pick up the feature win. Five caution periods plagued the early part of the race, as drivers had difficulty completing more than a lap. On the fifth attempt, Ledford running the high side of the track took the lead with Craven, Dustin Mounce, Paul Graf, and Tyler Roth followed. With smoke trailing from his car, Craven moved into the lead on lap four and kept Ledford to a car length advantage. After two cautions on the ninth lap, the field went to a single file restart. Craven was able to pull away from Ledford a pick up the win. Mounce, Graf, Eric Legner, Chris Anderson, Anthony Craven, Tyler Roth, Ryan Moore, and Bryant Frechette took the top ten positions. Ledford won the fast time award with a 14.637. Richie Rich and Richard Craven took heat wins.
Controversy marred the 15 lap, UMP Street Stock contest. After a lap
14 caution, Joel Funk led the field to the restart, Funk moved into
command and looked to be on his way to the win. Track officials said
Funk had jumped the restart and penalized Funk. Brandon Kessinger was
scored the race winner, as Funk argued his point, but to no avail.
Inspite of the incident, Funk and Kessinger exchanged the lead
throughout the race, with no clear cut winner until the checkered flag.
Eric Gaus, Jason Maier, Darrell Dick, Nicholas Clubb, Lee Hall, Nathan
Lyday, Justin Nelson, and Kevin Anderson rounding out the top ten. Aaron
Sidler was the nightís fast qualifier at a 16.059. Kessinger and Funk
took the heat race wins.