Rocky Ragusa's Speed Week column
With rumors of the sportsman class being dropped at Fairbury due to low car counts, Richard and Anthony Craven decided to take action in order to save the class.
The Cravens have been part of the American Legion Speedway since 1986. Racing in the sportsman class, plus sponsoring the annual Curt Piercy-Gary Eden Memorial race, and helping out numerous drivers to make it out to the track are part of what they do to keep the class afloat.
“With our class having low numbers and the other rumors, my dad and I decided to step in to help,” Anthony Craven said. “We put up money from our racing benefit, plus got several sponsors. In addition to the $1,000-to-win Piercy-Eden race, we will have two $400-to-win races, and have upped the weekly payout.”
The sportsman class is basically an entry level class where a driver can go race without breaking the bank.
“That is what we love about our class. My dad has been around the sport along time and he knows the struggles a driver may have,” said Craven.
Richard Craven, a former track champion and holder of 25 career feature wins in the class, is the owner of CR Towing and Recovery of Joliet.
The Cravens went to work during the off season and were able to secure several race sponsors and manufacture contingencies.
“To be eligible for the track point fund, a driver will have to have a CR Towing decal on their car,” said the younger Craven. “We also got Fast Shaft to donate gift certificates for our $1,000-to-win race, plus they are helping on the point fund, as well.
“Hoosier Racing Tire, Mike Vallow, Jerry Cremeens, Scott and Lisa Drendel, Phenon Apparel, RLM Enterprises, Allyson Photography are just a few that are helping out. All total we raised $10,000.
“Although we only had 10 cars in our first race, I know there are several drivers that are still working on their cars,” Craven added. “We lost a couple of drivers, moving up a class, but there will be some new faces.”
Craven indicated that regardless of what their future racing plans will be, they are commented to keeping the class going at Fairbury.
“I have driven at several other tracks, but Fairbury is my home track. They have given us a track to race. There is no place like Fairbury.”
Farmer City Raceway
A full show plus the ever growing B-Mod class will be presented this Friday night. Hot laps start at 6:30, qualifying at 7, and racing at 7:30. Military veterans are admitted for $5 while children under 12 are free. A reminder, bring your wristband for $2 off the gate admission.
Last Friday in preparation for the May 11-12 “Farmer City 74,” Kent Robinson won the late model race over Billy Moyer and Jason Feger. Allen Weisser pulled double duty, winning the pro late model and modified races.
Grundy County Speedway
The 47th year of racing begins this week with a full program on the 1/3-mile banked, paved oval. Qualifying at 6:45 and racing at 8 p.m.
Kankakee County Speedway
Another test and tune is planned this Sunday with gates opening at noon.
It will be a $5 Fan Appreciation Night with racing in the Big 10 Pro Late Models, modified, 305 Sprint Cars, Division 2 midgets, and hornets.
Jeremey Nichols won the inaugural race for the Midwest Street Stock series. Brandon Roberts (modified) and Matt Taylor (pro late model) were also feature winners.
Fairbury American Legion Speedway
A full race program is planned for this weekend, plus it will be a Alkota “Keep it Clean” point race. Gates open at 3 p.m., hot laps at 6, qualifying starts at 6:30, and racing will follow. Adult admission is $10 and children under 12 are free.
Defending race winner Bobby Pierce will face the likes of Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Josh Richards and a host of other national and regional stars as the Lucas Oil Late Model Series will invade the 1/5-mile dirt oval. The winner of the 100-lap event will take home $12,000.
Joining the late models will be the modified and B modified classes. Gates open at 3, hot laps at 6, and racing at 7.
Tommy Sheppard Jr (pro late models) and Mike Harrison (modified) were among last week’s winners.
A regular weekly program will take place on the ¼-mile dirt oval. Gates open at 4, hot laps at 5:30, and racing begins at 6.
Rusty Schlenk (late models) and Mike Chasteen Jr. (modified) were feature winners from last week.
PIT NOTES: There were 105 race cars from six states on hand for the season-opener at Fairbury. Michael Kloos edged Jason Feger and Ryan Unzicker at the line as the leaders zigged and zagged two- and three-wide over the final 10 laps. … Due to LaSalle Speedway allowing Josh Richards in the Best Performance Late Model to run in the season opening “Thaw Brawl,” DIRTcar Racing has taken the Summer National events away from LaSalle and the Sycamore Speedway. The Best car was one of several race teams that were disqualified from last year’s Dream at Eldora Speedway due to tire tampering.