This past weekend I went on a race trip through the Midwest that I had been looking forward to all year long since planning it when the schedules came out. For the first time ever my wrestling coaching schedule would allow the Prairie Dirt Classic and the Freestyle/Greco-Roman National Championships to be on different weeks, and I was finally going to be able to make this trip to the Midwest.
We started Wednesday night at Atomic Speedway for the Buckeye Dirt Week show where Jackie Boggs held off a hard charging Devin Moran for the win. We moved on to Quincy Raceway the following night where Shane Clanton took the win in the WoO Late Models event, and Parker Price-Miller survived a torrid battle with Paul Nienhiser to win the MOWA Sprint Series event. While both of these shows were great and very enjoyable in their own ways, the hook of the trip started the following night when I was able to make my first ever visit to the Fairbury American Legion Speedway.
Keep in mind that the Prairie Dirt Classic, which is the event I was attending, has won Dirt on Dirt’s race of the year for the past three seasons. That’s amazing given Dirt on Dirt’s reach and the sheer amount of racing that is available on their website on a daily basis. Everything I had ever seen or heard of Fairbury was enough to make me want to go. The racing that the track surface provides along was enough to get me to want to make the 11 hour trip out there to catch the biggest event they run all year long at the fairgrounds facility, but the things that you’ve heard about the place are all true.
First off the people are amazing. From the team that runs the race track, to track announcer Mike Norris. As a matter of fact, Norris himself had a conversation with me giving me tips before I came to the track via Twitter. There aren’t a lot of tracks that would do that, and he went out of his way to help me. The locals we met in the parking lot were incredibly friendly and were very nice from the start. You could tell they were incredibly appreciative of every person that traveled a long distance to come to their hometown speedway to check out the event.
|National Speedsport News|
Then when we went inside it got even better. The people who were sitting around us were very friendly and because of my @livedirtupdates Twitter account they knew who I was, and did everything they could to make sure that me and my friends were having a great time. That just speaks to the tremendous pride that the people of Fairbury and that general area take in their race track.
Then the racing took place. Now I’ve visited a lot of dirt tracks in my time, and I’ve gotten to see some of the biggest events in racing including the Knoxville Nationals for both the Sprints and Late Models, the World 100, the Dream, the World Finals, the Firecracker 100, the Kings Royal, and many more, and I have never seen the crowd interaction like I saw at Fairbury. These people had fatheads to wave around, they cheered and booed loudly for their drivers during the FALS Draw feature on Friday night, and they had an incredible amount of knowledge when it came to the drivers that were invading from outside of the area such as Chris Ferguson, Riley Hickman, Jason Jameson and others who weren’t WoO regulars and wanted to make the trip to Fairbury for the event.
And the racing was second to none. With all of the major events and tracks that I have been to, I have never seen racing that compares to how amazing the racing is at Fairbury. You can tell the people really care about their speedway and go to great lengths to make certain that the racing surface is how they want it and the racing it produces will leave you awe struck.
I would highly recommend that any race fan put the Prairie Dirt Classic, or any show at Fairbury in general on their bucket list. The racing was amazing, the people were amazing, and the overall experience was second to none when it comes to dirt track racing experiences. I will most definitely be back. In an era where race tracks are dying due to lack of effort and other circumstances that may be out of their control, Fairbury has their act together 100%. Probably more so than any other track in the country. With the community support and the people they have involved with the track it will continue to thrive for many years to come.