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Central Illinois Speed Week

By Rocky Ragusa – Since restrictions have been lifted due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the Farmer City Raceway in Farmer City has seen attendance increase double to past seasons as fans and race teams look to get their adrenaline fix. For a regular weekly program in the past crowds would range from 200-400. Promoter Lance Spieker said that a crowd of around 700 people was the smallest the Dewitt County Fairground track has had this year.

“ The race teams want to race and the fans want to see some racing,” Spieker said. “ Our Summer National race was one of the largest we have ever had. I can’t complain from that standpoint.”

One of the unique selling points for spectators is the fence line parking along turns 1-2. People can enjoy the races from their vehicles and have a cookout for an additional $10.

“ It has been one of the best things for us as far as reopening,” commented Spieker. “ We have a big, wide area on the grounds. Fans can come enjoy the races and use social distancing, plus the seating on the front and back stretch. Everyone can feel comfortable. Our fence line parking has been sold out every night.”

During the down time, track officials began to make improvements to the facilities. The first order was a complete renovation to the women’s restroom on the grandstand side. Losing part of the race season, plans were also in place for the men’s restroom and to refurbish the grandstands.

“ The funds weren’t there to complete our projects due to the shortened race season,” said Spieker. “ When the year is over, we plan to take care of that. When we had that bad storm about a month ago, it took down several of our lights on the backstretch. Some members of the community stepped up to help us take care of that.”

When the state was in a shutdown period, the speedway lost one of their big events in the Illini 100 sanctioned, World of Outlaws Late Model series. The success of the Summer National race caught the attention of the Outlaw officials.

“ The Outlaw group began talking to us about dates,” said Spieker, the 2018 DIRTCar Promoter of the Year. “ Nothing has been confirmed, but they have definitely expressed interest. Our other big race, the Farmer City 74, which was a candidate for race of the year by Dirtondirt.com, will now be a Thursday-Friday show on Labor Day weekend.”

To receive the accolades the track has garnished, it takes effort from the track officials, fans, race teams, and marketing partners. Spieker and his team have been able to turn Farmer City Raceway where everyone wants to be on a Friday night.

“ All of our sponsors have stuck with us and didn’t ask for any type of refund with the short season,” said Spieker. “ A Lot of businesses have been hurt with the COVID-19 virus, but with the good sponsors we have, they all wanted to help us out, so we wouldn’t get hurt. In addition, we were able to gain several new marketing partners. I can never thank them enough for their help. My group that helps from the ticket sellers to the guys that help prep the track. Everyone puts a lot of time and effort to where we are known as having one of the smoothest race surfaces. We invite everyone to come out and spend a Friday night with us. We try to have a fair like atmosphere with good food and drinks, a racing simulator for all to try, and do our best to provide good family entertainment.”

Friday Racing
Farmer City Raceway DIRTCar Street Stock competitors will take center stage in the Sixth Annual “ What Up Dog 40”, paying $1000 to the winner. As part of last week’s rained out features, Late Models will have two features, plus Modified, Pro Late Models, and Hornets will be in action. Hot laps start at 6:30, with time trials, and racing to follow.

Grundy County Speedway The “Frank Welch Memorial “ will have twin 25 lap races for the Late Models on the ⅓ mile, paved oval. Street Stock racers will battle in the “Candyman 33”. Mid-Am and Pure Stocks fill out the night’s racing action. Grandstands will open at 6 with qualifying slated at 6:45. The rain date will be on Saturday. Scott Koerner held off point leader Paul Shafer Jr. to earn the Late Model win last week.

Kankakee County Speedway After being idle for two weeks, a full weekly program is planned for the ¼ mile dirt oval. Stands open at 5:30 and racing at 7:30.

Point standings
Pro Late Model 1. Torin Mettille 145 2. Chase Osterhoff 135 3. Kyle Cooper 135
Modified 1. Steven Brooks 140 2. Nick Clubb 130 3. Jason Hastings 125
Stock Cars 1. Nick Seplak 150 2. Kyle Anderson 125 3. Jerrad Krick 120

Saturday Racing
Fairbury Speedway Race fans will be admitted for $5 on Fan Appreciation Night at “America’s Dirt Track”. It will be a FALS Cup weekly program, plus the return of the Vintage Racing of Illinois series. Youngest ages 9-10 can register at the front grandstands for an opportunity to compete in a Dash for Cash, courtesy of Allen Automotive. Stands open at 2, hot laps/time trials at 5:45, and racing at 7. This week’s racing will also be a Alkota “Keep it Clean” event, with Alex Wilson the current point leader.

Macon Speedway Seven divisions of racing will be held on the ⅕ mile dirt track. Hot laps start at 6 and racing at 7.

Peoria Speedway A regular night of racing will be held at the ¼ mile dirt track this week, plus Late Models will have a make up race from July 11. Stands open at 5 and the green flag waves at 6. Allen Weisser (Late Model), Noah Faw (Modified), and Megan Erwin (Street Stocks) were among last week’s winners.

Sunday Racing
Bohmer’s Rt. 66 Raceway Come out and see the future stars of racing this Sunday as Kart racers of all age groups compete for fun, trophies, and cash awards. Gates open at 10:30.practice at noon, and racing will start at 1. The ⅛ mile dirt track is located on old Rt. 66 between Pontiac and Chenoa. Free gate admission and the speedway features full concessions.

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