Pierce Wins A Thriller at Illini 100
Photo: JG's Mini Me Photography
By Track Announcer Tyson Graves
(April 7, 2021) - After being disappointed because Farmer City Raceway could not have the Illini 100 in 2020 made this past weekend even more special. Sometimes it is not until we don't have things or we don't get to experience things that we reflect on just how special somethings are in life. This past Saturday night I think most fans at the Farmer City Raceway had a smile on their face as they watched the racing action. It could have been many things that brought on that smile, the racing action, the being able to be at the race track, the patriotic feel during the national anthem, or just being around some of their friends. One thing that was certain was that it felt good to see the Farmer City Raceway shine in the spotlight during the most successful Illini 100 in track history.
Track Promotor Lance Speiker was all smiles over the whole weekend to see all the hard work his team puts in all year long to try and make Farmer City Raceway one of the best racing experiences in the country for teams, drivers and most importantly the fans. A well groomed racing surface produced some of the best racing anyone has seen in quite some time. Drivers were able to run multiple lanes and mix it up. Most races over the weekend came down to the closing laps with two to three drivers battling for the win. David Holtz, the overseer of the track prep had it on point for the biggest event of the year for the track.
Social Media was a buzz by the end of Saturday night as the nation had its eyes on the small track in Central Illinois. Many fans had nothing but positive thoughts about the event that brought back a sense of normalcy to the Illinois race fan.
The racing itself was very exciting in all divisions. On Friday night we got to witness an exciting World of Outlaws Late Model race with Manhattan, IL driver Mike Spatola pick up his first ever career Outlaw win, pocketing $6,000. It didn't come easy as he had to hold off two other Illinois racers on the final lap for the victory. Other winners on Friday night were Jose Parga in the Pro Late Model Division, Megan Erwin picked up the DIRTcar Stock Car win. The last winners on Friday night were the American Modified Series twin feature winners Kyle Hammer and Tyler Nicely.
On Saturday everyone returned for night two of the Illini 100. Saturday had an even bigger payday on the line, $20,000 to be exact. After a evening filled with preliminary events it was time for the big feature events.
Photo: Charlie Lancour
The American Modified Series action was hot Saturday night. Local Clinton, IL driver Kyle Hammer started on the pole and battled early on with defending American Modified Series champ Tyler Nicely. Tyler was able to scoot away past the halfway point. But in the closing laps he had to deal with defending track champion Michael Ledford. Tyler was able to hold on for the $2,500 win that kicked off the American Modified Series season.
Next up was the $20,000 World of Outlaws Late Model Series main event. Veteran Farmer City driver Kevin Weaver started on the pole of the 75 lap race. The outside pole sitter Bobby Pierce jumped out to the early lead and held on to the top spot in the 70 lap green flag run that started the race. With five laps to go Cade Dillard, the runner up was able to grab the lead with 4 laps to go. 2 laps later coming to the white flag Pierce was able to put the slide job on Dillard and hold him off on the final circuit. It was Bobby Pierce first ever World of Outlaw feature win. Three-time Illini 100 winner Brandon Sheppard rounded out the podium with his third place finish.
The final event of the night was the Pro Late Model feature. Aaron Heck from Mt. Vernon took home the $1,000 payday after holding off Jose Parga in the closing laps.
The opening weekend for the 2021 season exceeded all expectations and now the entire staff is ready to kick off the regular season this Friday night. It will be the first night of track points used to determine the track champions at the end of the season. Be sure to come out and join this Friday, April 9th at 6:30pm for #FridayNightLights.