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Fairbury American Legion Speedway

 

September 4, 1999

The "Tall Cool One" Stays Hot with Another Big Win

 

Darin Stewart  dmsracing@davesworld.net 

 

(Fairbury IL) Continuing his torrid pace in the past week, Bob Pierce, of Oakwood Illinois took yet another major win, making three wins in seven days. Sweeping the second part of the Prairie Dirt Classic, by taking his third win in the prestigious race, Pierce also picked up another $10,000 check. In the past 7 days, Pierce has collected three wins, and over $35,000 in earnings.

With a packed grandstand, and full pits with 62 late-models, the Fairbury American Legion Speedway was buzzing with excitement all night long. Eric Kwasigroh of Metamora Illinois, surprised the field by taking the fast time honors with a time of 13.23. With 6 late-model heat races on tap, the show was the on-track action around the fast 1/3 mile. With only the top three transferring from each heat race, obviously the heats were very important. In addition to that, the word was sent to the drivers that there would be three semi-features to transfer from, however only the winner of each would transfer. In the first heat, Joe Ross Jr., would take the win, followed by Dick Taylor, and Eric Kwasigroh. Among the drivers who failed to out of this heat were 1997 Prairie Dirt Classic Champion Billy Drake, and local favorites Mike Mullvain, and Joe Harlan. The second heat race fell to Bob Pierce, followed by 1999 NASCAR Mid-American Region Champion Gary Webb, who made the journey after the Corning Iowa Busch All-Star Series Race was rained out, and Marshall, Missouri driver Randy McGraw. Drivers who missed the field in this heat were; Jerry Redetzke, Ron Donaldsen, Jeff Kohn, and Matt Miller. The third heat race featured two of the fan favorites with Shannon Babb, and Billy Moyer Jr. The win would go to Babb, followed by Matt Taylor, and Moyer, who was in danger of losing the transfer position to Bloomington IL driver Bob Thoennes. The fourth heat race win was taken by 1999 Fairbury Track Champion, Gary May, followed by Jim Partipilo, and Garrett Slager. Drivers who didnít qualify from this heat included Brian Birkhofer, and Kris Patterson. The fifth heat featured two former track champions waging war for the win. Roger Long scored the win, with Jay Fiene, and Mark Anderson following into the feature. Kevin Weaver ( a former Prairie Dirt Classic winner himself) found himself on the wrecker with rear-end problems following his fourth place finish. The sixth and final heat saw Bloomington Illinois driver Jeff Riblet take the win ahead of Bill Milikan, and Bob Freeburg. John Gill( 1996 PDC Winner) and Bob Pohlman Jr., found themselves on the outside looking in at the end, and were forced to the semi-features. Following the outstanding heat races, was a Pole Dash for $250 to win, and the pole position for the feature, utilizing the heat winners. Bob Pierce quickly jumped to the lead and took the win, followed by Jeff Riblet, Joe Ross Jr., Gary May, Shannon Babb, and Roger Long.

The first semi-feature finished with Billy Drake taking the win, with Brian Birkhofer applying plenty of pressure, but to no avail. Mike Mullvain , and Kris Patterson followed. The Second Semi-Feature a stunning victory, with Jeff Hartzell of Genoa IL, passing Kevin Weaver for the win after starting 9th. Hartzell, who formerly piloted limited late-models in Northern Illinois, also made the Hav-A-Tampa race at LaSalle, as well as a Summernationals race there also, was obviously tickled with the win. Following Hartzell, was Mike Glasscock, Weaver, and Matt Miller. The third and final semi-feature finished with John Gill winning, followed by Bob Pohlman Jr., Bob Thoennes, and Doug McCammon.

With the stage set for the $10,000 to win, 10th annual Prairie Dirt Classic, the entire crowd came to itís feet, to thank the drivers for their participation. At the drop of the green flag, Bob Pierce quickly jumped to the lead and began to pull away. Back in the field, with many two and three wide battles, eyes were on Billy Moyer Jr., and Shannon Babb. Moyer, quickly cut his way through the field, and was in 3rd place by lap 29, one lap short of halfway. Babb, was running second, and had Moyer all over the back bumper of the 10-10-220 car. With the leader Pierce in heavy traffic, both drivers tracked Pierce down with abbot 12 laps to go, and began applying pressure to the veteran driver. With Moyer working Babbís rear bumper, the youngster had to be concerned with no getting passed, while trying to get to his biggest win also. Unfortunately for Babb, Pierce was just too much at the end, and took the 1 car-length win, and completed and awesome week leading up to the World 100. Following Pierce, Babb and Moyer, was Gary May, and Joe Ross Jr. Rounding out the top ten were Matt Taylor, Gary Webb, John Gill, Eric Kwasigroh, and Jeff Riblet. The #32 Rayburn of Pierce is sponsored by Murphy Trucking, K-Motion Racing Engines, Da Bar, and many other product sponsors." We really started off this year bad, but it sure has gotten real good here lately ehí...After getting out there early, I had to try and save my tires for the end, and hopefully hold those two off. I kept looking at the scoreboard and could see that 18, and 21 were behind me, then all of a sudden there they were at the end. We just managed to get this one, and man does it feel good....." said the jubilant Pierce. The second place finisher Babb was a little discouraged, but not disappointed." We ran good, but just couldnít quite put the 10-10-220-Racing Monte Carlo up around Pierce. I thought a caution would help, but I also didnít want to put that #21 right on my bumper. So I guess second isnít bad...." said Babb.

The UMP modified feature was taken by Gary Cook Sr., followed by Gary Cook Jr., Rick Thoennes, Dennis Wilson, and R.J. Gall. The Street Stock feature had Ron Bauman in front of 1999 Fairbury American Legion Speedway track champion Gary Turpin, Loren Haberkorn, and Gary Eden.

The Prairie Dirt Classic marked the end of the season for the Fairbury American Speedway, and the niter staff, would like to thank all of the fans, teams, drivers, and sponsors for their support.

Official finish:

Bob Pierce, Shannon Babb, Billy Moyer Jr., Gary May, Joe Ross Jr., Matt Taylor, Gary Webb, John Gill, Eric Kwasigroh, Jeff Riblet, Jay Fiene, Bob Freeburg, Mark Anderson, Garrett Slager, Jim Partipilo, Dick Taylor, Billy Drake, Roger Long, Jeff Hartzell, Bill Millikan, Randy McGraw