Location 80 minutes north of Springfield, Fairbury, IL is home to about 3,600 people. At the end of July, that number will more than double when the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models return for the Prairie Dirt Classic at Fairbury Speedway.

The crown jewel Late Model event, set for Friday-Saturday, July 26-27, boasts the biggest purse of the year with nearly $300,000 available during the weekend. Saturday’s 100-lap finale will pay $50,000 to the winner and $500 for every lap led – meaning if a driver leads all 100 laps they’ll walk away with a $100,000 payday.

Friday will, again, host four $5,000-to-win, 25-lap, Prairie Dirt Showdowns, which will lock the top-four finishers of each Showdown into Saturday’s Feature. The remaining drivers not locked in will have to transfer their way in through Saturday’s Last Chance Showdowns and the Prairie Dirt Shootout.

Ricky Thornton Jr. earned his first Prairie Dirt Classic triumph last year with one of the most aggressive drives in event history. A broken crank trigger almost ended his night on Lap 81 as he stalled for a second and fell to sixth by the time the caution came out. When the race resumed, his car drove just as angry as him, able to go anywhere on the track, destroying any theoretical limits we think a car can’t go beyond. He passed Bobby Pierce for the lead with 13 laps to go and drove away with the win.

For Pierce, the Illinois native who went on to be the 2023 Series champion, it was another near miss at winning the prestigious race – his fourth podium finish in 10 starts. Fighting to work his way back up the points this year, Pierce will again be forced to choose between giving it all for the win and chance wrecking or maintain a good finish for a solid points night.

Fellow Illinois natives Nick Hoffman, Brandon Sheppard, Dennis Erb Jr. and Brian Shirley will be just as eager as Pierce to make the coveted trip from Fairbury Speedway to the Bank of Pontiac down the road to celebrate the biggest home state win of their career. For Sheppard and Erb, it would be a repeat victory.

Sheppard is a three-time Prairie Dirt Classic champion, last winning it in 2022, however this will be his first year at the event piloting the Longhorn Factory Team car. This year will mark the 20th anniversary of Erb’s sole Prairie Dirt Classic.

They’ll be joined by several of the biggest names in the sport, many of which will be looking for their first Prairie Dirt Classic win like Cade Dillard, Ryan Gustin, Kyle Bronson, Hudson O’Neal and more.

Date – Friday-Saturday, July 26-27
Location – Fairbury, IL
Track Record – 12.143 sec. by Kyle Strickler on Sept. 15, 2020

Tickets – Available HERE.
How to Watch – Can’t make it to the track? Watch every lap live on DIRTVision.

Last Race Video Recap (July 29, 2023) –

Previous Prairie Dirt Classic winners –
2023 – Ricky Thornton Jr.
2022 – Brandon Sheppard
2021 – Kyle Larson
2019 – Brandon Sheppard
2018 – Devin Moran
2017 – Brandon Sheppard
2016 – Josh Richards
2015 – Jonathan Davenport
2014 – Tim McCreadie
2013 – Shannon Babb
2012 – Jason Feger
2011 – Eric Smith
2010 – Billy Moyer
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