World of Outlaws Late Model Series Event Preview: 24th Annual Prairie Dirt Classic July 26-27 At Fairbury American Legion Speedway

Anticipation Running Wild For Biggest Event In History Of Popular Central Illinois Track

By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director

FAIRBURY, IL – July 22, 2013 –

EVERYBODY’S PUMPED: The Midwest – and specifically, the small central Illinois town of Fairbury – is ready for this weekend’s 24th annual Prairie Dirt Classic.

Anticipation is absolutely running wild for what promises to be the biggest racing extravaganza ever held at Fairbury American Legion Speedway, a quarter-mile bullring that is literally sits smack-dab in the middle of Fairbury’s nearly 4,000 inhabitants.

With the prestigious Prairie Dirt Classic moved to a mid-summer date (July 26-27) and, for the first time, running as a blockbuster $20,000-to-win 100-lapper under the World of Outlaws Late Model Series banner, it’s no surprise that interest for the event has been building at a fever pitch.

“The town of Fairbury and all its loyal fans have been waiting for this caliber of race for a long time,” said Matt Curl, a 36-year-old, life-long resident of Fairbury who is in his first year as the track’s race director and race committee chairman. “The talk of the town for the last month has been, ‘Prairie Dirt Classic this, Prairie Dirt Classic that.’

“Excitement is an understatement when it comes to this weekend. People around here just can’t stop talking about it. The town, businesses and fans alike can’t wait for this huge event.”

This weekend’s gathering in the hamlet of Fairbury will culminate a seven-month march to history for the FALS promotional team. The event’s new date (it’s been run on Labor Day weekend in recent years) and major-league expansion in distance and purse were announced just after the first of the year.

“It’s time for us to go to work and make it happen for the fans,” said Curl. “I can’t say how excited we are to have the World of Outlaws Late Model Series sanctioning our Prairie Dirt Classic Weekend. If everything goes as smooth as all the leg work putting this race together with them, everyone is in for a treat.”

According to Curl, all indications point to this weekend’s PDC being an unforgettable event for one of the Midwest’s most popular tracks. Advance ticket sales and the buzz in the racing community surrounding the show have Curl and Co. confidently predicting that the town of Fairbury’s population will effectively “double in size” during the weekend, which includes Ohlins Shocks Time Trials and heat races on Fri., July 26, and B-Mains, a Non-Qualifiers’ Race and the 100-lap, $85,000-plus Prairie Dirt Classic on Sat., July 27.

“Not a day goes by that we’re not fielding numerous phone calls and e-mails from fans seeking information on the Prairie Dirt Classic,” said Curl. “A crowd like we’re expecting doesn’t happen that often, and myself, Gunner Sullivan and all the FALS directors are working hard to make the best blow-out weekend possible for everyone. We want all the fans and racers to experience the Fairbury American Legion Speedway atmosphere and then go home and start counting down the days to the next Prairie Dirt Classic.”

NEW TURF: The Prairie Dirt Classic will bring 11 fulltime WoO LMS travelers to Fairbury (from 1-11 in points): Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., Rick Eckert of York, Pa., Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., Morgan Bagley of Longview, Texas, Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., and Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.

From that group of World of Outlaws regulars, just one – one! – has ever raced at Fairbury. That driver is Lanigan, who said he visited the track once “probably back in the ’90s.”

The only WoO LMS follower who has even seen Fairbury with his own eyes is Richards. But he was just nine years old when he attended a 1997 DIRTcar Summer Nationals event there with his father Mark, who entered the race with West Virginia’s Tim Hitt behind the wheel of his familiar Rocket Chassis house car.

Mark Richards actually is the World of Outlaws personality who’s made the most recent appearance at Fairbury. He entered last year’s DIRTcar Summer Nationals event there with Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., driving his Rocket No. 1.

Two stops at Fairbury in the last 16 years are enough for Mark Richards to understand how big this weekend’s Prairie Dirt Classic can be.

“Fairbury – that’s tradition there,” bottom-lined Mark Richards. “No doubt (the PDC is) gonna be an unbelievable event. The place has a great atmosphere, it races well and the people there treat everyone great.

“I remember that the Summer Nationals show we ran there last year was crazy. We pulled in there at two or three o’clock in the morning and the gates were open for us and they brought us a big cooler packed of beer to welcome us – it was unbelievable. That’s the kind of place you want to go to.”

LAND OF LINCOLN STARS: A large contingent of Illinois-based drivers are expected to enter the Prairie Dirt Classic, led by 20-year-old Brandon Sheppard, who will make his first start in his home state since becoming the youngest driver in history to win the DIRTcar Summer Nationals ‘Hell Tour’ championship.

Other Illinois racers with plans to compete at Fairbury include Ryan Unzicker (winner of last month’s DIRTcar Summer Nationals event at the track); former PDC victors Shannon Babb, Eric Smith and Kevin Weaver; 16-year-old Bobby Pierce, whose father, Bob, won the PDC a record five times; reigning DIRTcar UMP national champion Brian Shirley; current Fairbury points leader Scott Bull; plus Tyler Reddick, Jason McBride, Daren Friedman, Derek Chandler, Frankie Heckenast, Kyle Logue, Mike Spatola, Donny Walden, McKay Wenger, Joe Harlan and Tim Lance.

SERIOUS CHALLENGERS: Among the high-profile out-of-state invaders who have announced their intentions to compete at Fairbury this weekend are former PDC winners Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., and Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, who plans to race with a broken hand he suffered in an incident on Saturday night at Nebraska’s I-80 Speedway; Chris Simpson of Oxford, Iowa, who registered a career-best WoO LMS finish of third on July 6 at Minnesota’s Deer Creek Speedway; and Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind.

SUPPORTING THE LOCALS: Thanks to sponsorship from Varsitee Screen Printing and Red Bull, FALS officials have announced that two local drivers who fall short of transferring to the Prairie Dirt Classic A-Main will be added to the field as track provisional starters. They will join the two WoO LMS points-provisional starters to form a 26-car lineup.

OPENING-NIGHT SPECIAL ATTRACTION: A recent addition to the Prairie Dirt Classic weekend is the Race of Champions Presented by Pontiac RV, a 25-lap event will take place on Friday night after all WoO LMS qualifying events are completed.

The $1,000-to-win Race of Champions is reserved for drivers who are past PDC, PDC Shootout and track champions that have raced in the past two years.

After the eligible drivers are determined, they will be introduced and interviewed in front of the grandstand and a blind draw for starting positions will set the starting lineup.

CONSOLATION PRIZE: FALS officials have posted a purse of over $12,000 for the 30-lap Prairie Dirt Shootout Non-Qualifiers Feature, which will give 20 drivers who fail to make the 100-lapper a shot at extra prize money and track time. The winner of the event will receive a cool $2,000 payoff.

RUBBER: All entrants in the WoO LMS action during the Prairie Dirt Classic will be required to use DIRTcar UMP Hoosier LM 20-, 30- or 40-compound tires.

OPEN-WHEEL ACTION: The Prairie Dirt Classic weekend is also big for the UMP Modified division, which will serve as the lone support class to the WoO LMS on both Friday and Saturday nights. Two complete programs will be presented, with Friday’s winner receiving $2,000 and Saturday’s victor earning $3,000.

UMP Modified standouts from across the Midwest – including Mike Harrison of Highland, Ill., who just two days ago was crowned the champion of the 2013 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals tour – are expected to enter the doubleheader.

RESERVATIONS: All reserved weekend camping spots inside the FALS grounds are sold out, but a limited number of ‘overflow’ camping positions are still available by pre-registration only.

In addition, a very limited number of reserved seats in the Fairbury grandstands remain available for purchase.

Those interested in making reserved camping and reserved seating requests should send an e-mail as soon as possible to the speedway at [email protected]

TICKET INFO: General admission for the PDC is $15 (Friday only), $30 (Saturday only) or $40 for a weekend wristband. Children 12-and-under will be admitted free of charge with a paying adult.

Pit passes cost $30 (Friday only), $45 (Saturday only) or $70 (weekend wristband).

GETTING IN: The gate-opening times for the weekend are as follows:

* 1st Street Gate opens on Wed., July 24, at 5 p.m. CT for all camping reservations and VIP Campers to secure their spot. (Fans must pay for a weekend wristband upon arrival.)

* 1st Street Gate will re-open on Thurs., July 25, at 10 a.m. CT for weekend camping reservations.

* Race Car haulers must use 1st Street gate if arriving before Friday morning.

* All gates will be locked and a sweep through of the grounds will take place from 8-9 a.m. CT on Fri., July 26, and Sat., July 27. No admittance will be allowed until 9 a.m. CT.

* Starting at 9 a.m. CT on Fri., July 26, and Sat., July 27, the 1st and 2nd Street gates will open for general admission car parking.

* The Pit Gate (3rd Street only) will open at 9 a.m. CT on Friday and Saturday. No cars will be allowed through this entrance at any time.

For those race teams traveling and arriving late Thursday or Friday nights, haulers will use the main gate on 3rd Street. Race teams should then find a pit space and park tight because officials will be parking each race trailer for maximum capacity in the pit area for the weekend.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

Fri., July 26

Drivers Meeting at 5:30 p.m. CT, Hot Laps at 6 p.m. CT, Time Trials at 6:30 p.m. CT…

Order of Events (subject to change):

* UMP Modified Hot Laps
* WoO LM Hot Laps
* UMP Modified Qualifying (one lap)
* WoO LM Qualifying (two laps)
* UMP Modified Heat Races (10 laps)
* WoO LM Heat Races (15 laps)
* UMP Modified B-Mains (12 laps)
* Intermission and Introduction of Race of Champions Shootout Drivers
* UMP Modified Feature (30 laps)
* PDC Race Of Champions (25 laps)

Sat., July 27

Drivers Meeting at 5:15 p.m. CT, Hot Laps at 5:45 p.m. CT, Qualifying at 6:15 p.m. CT….

Order of Events (subject to change):

* UMP Modified Hot Laps
* WoO Late Model B-Main Hot Laps
* UMP Modified Qualifying (one lap)
* WoO Late Model A-Main Redraw & Pre-Race Festivities
* WoO Late Model B-Mains (20 laps)
* Selection of two FALS track provisionals (Sponsored By Varsitee Screen Printing & Red Bull)
* UMP Modified Heat Races (10 laps)
* WoO Late Model Heat-Race Transfer Cars Hot Laps
* UMP Modified B-Mains (12 laps)
* 24th Annual Prairie Dirt Classic (100 Laps following introduction of all 26 drivers)
* UMP Modified PDC Feature (30 laps)
* 4th Annual Prairie Dirt Shootout (30 laps)

SPEEDWAY INFO: Fairbury American Legion Speedway is located three blocks south of U.S. 24 on 3rd St. in Fairbury, Ill. (at the fairgrounds).

Directions and addition details about the Prairie Dirt Classic weekend can be obtained by logging on to www.fairburyspeedway.com.

The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: American Racing Custom Wheels (Official Custom Wheel), Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), KMC (Official Custom Truck Wheel), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors: Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.