Rocky Ragusa's Speed Week column

Gary Eden was the 6-cylinder champion in 1983 at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. He had 27 feature wins in the class, plus 29 overall wins. Eden passed away at the age of 54, in 2004 after a battling cancer.
    Curt Piercy was the 1992 FALS street stock champion and was credited with 11 feature wins. Piercy embarked into the ARCA series in 89 starts where he had one top five (fourth place at Berlin, Mich.) and seven top 10 finishes. While returning from the NASCAR race at Darlington, S.C. on March 24, 2004, Piercy, his wife, Linda, and four close friends tragically lost their lives when the single-engine plane they were traveling in crashed near the Kentucky-Virginia border.
    Since 2005, Fairbury American Legion Speedway has honored their memory with a special race for the sportsman drivers.
    From 2005 to 2010, a single race was held for Eden and Piercy. During that time, Jason Unzicker won two of the Piercy races and one of the Eden races. Joel Funk was a winner of both races on one occasion. But in 2011, the two races merged and Richard Craven won four straight.
    Racing for 33 years in his familiar #57, Eden, from Flanagan, will be remembered as a tough competitor and always willing to help a fellow driver at the speedway. In addition to his 6-cylinder, Eden raced modifieds and late models throughout the Midwest.
    Piercy hailed from Normal. Racing for 20 years. In 1996, Piercy finished 10th in ARCA points and did better in 1998 with a seventh-place finish.
    This year’s race will have $1,000 going to the winner. Add in the contingency sponsors and the driver could carry home over $2,000. Various sponsors paid $10 to sponsor a lap, while the leader of lap 15 takes $210 (Turn Key Environmental).
    Rich Racing and Supreme Auto Sales have put up $1,000 for a Dash for Cash, with the winner taking $300. Premium Lawn Care LLC has donated $100 to the driver making the longest haul. The top finishing rookie will receive $50. Hoosier Tire Midwest contributed a tire for the hard charger of the race. Rural Route Repair will also supply the hard charger with five gallons of Vector soap.
    Late models, modified, street stock and hobby-modified teams will also be part of the night’s show. Hot laps will begin at 6, with qualifying and racing to follow.
    July 27-28 is weekend for the Craftsman World of Outlaw Late Model, 29th annual Prairie Dirt Classic, presented by the Bank of Pontiac. If you haven’t reserved your seats, please be advised that there are a limited amount of reserved seats remaining. The seats are in the new bleachers on the front stretch. Seats under the grandstand are unreserved. You may check for ticket availability at www. Fairburyspeedway.com.
    For the very first time, the race will be offered on pay-per-view. Dirtondirt.com will team up with dirtvision.com to provide both nights of the racing for fans unable to make the trek. More information can be found at each website. CBS Sports Network will also be on hand to record the event with plans to show the race at a later date.
Friday Racing
Farmer City Raceway
    The track will host a full show, plus the very popular B-modified class and the Vintage Series of Illinois. Hot laps will start at 6:30 p.m., with time trials and racing to follow.
    Billy Moyer (Summer Nationals Late Model), Mike Harrison (Summit Modified Nationals), AJ May (pro late models) and Jeremy Nichols (street stocks) took feature wins last week.
Grundy County Speedway
    Two nights of racing will take place this week. On Friday, the Mid-Am class will be featured along with street stocks, pure stocks, super cups and midgets. Racing will start at 8.
    The ARCA Midwest, “Wayne Carter Classic” headline Saturday’s show. Some of the best late model drivers in the region drivers will battle for 100 laps. Mid-Am, compacts and midgets will join the program. Racing begins at 7.
Kankakee County Speedway
    The debut of stadium-style Moto-Cross racing takes place this week, plus a full weekly show. All spectators will be admitted for free on this night. Racing will start at 7:30.
    Track point leaders took wins this past week, including Torin Mettille (pro late model), Mike Learman (modified) and Matt Hammond (street stock).
Lincoln Speedway
    The MOWA Winged Sprint Cars will be featured along with pro late models, modified and midgets. Hot laps start at 6 p.m. and racing at 7.
    After being rained out, the Summer National race was rescheduled for Monday evening. Brian Shirley won for the third time in the last six late model features. Mike Harrison edged Mike McKinney for his sixth win. McKinney has five feature wins and trails Harrison by 18 points in a championship battle that could come down to the finale at Fairbury.
Saturday Racing
Macon Speedway
    All firemen and their families will be admitted for $5 with proper ID this week. A regular night of racing in five classes will see hot laps starting at 6 and racing at 7.
Peoria Speedway
    The Midwest Street Stock Series will be featured in a 30-lap, $1,000-to-win race. A full program in six classes will be featured, hot laps start at 5:30 p.m. and racing at 6.
    Bob Gardner (late model), Roger Rebolz (modified) and Justin Hamm were among race winners from last Saturday.
Fairbury American Legion Speedway
    The CR Towing and Recovery Sportsman class will be the featured class as the 14th annual Gary Eden/Curt Piercy Memorial race headlines a full night of racing thrills.