By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
FARMER CITY, IL – April 6, 2013 – Jason Feger’s dreams met reality on Saturday night at Farmer City Raceway.
The 34-year-old star from Bloomington, Ill., marched to victory in the fifth running of the Illini 100, becoming the first home-grown driver to win the blockbuster World of Outlaws Late Model Series event and setting off a raucous party among his legion of ‘Feger Nation’ supporters in the process.
“This is just awesome,” said Feger, who earned $20,050 for the biggest victory of his racing career. “I almost feel better for my fans than myself because I finally was able to put it together for them here at Farmer City. I’ve always said the hardest thing to do is win a big race at your hometrack because of all the added pressure, and man, we did it.”
Even the extremely windy conditions that whipped across the quarter-mile oval throughout the day and continued after the checkered flag could not dampen Feger’s excitement.
“I wish it was about 80 degrees out but we’re definitely gonna make do,” Feger said while celebrating at his trailer in the pit area with dozens of family members, friends and fans. “This is the party we’ve been wanting to have here for a long time, so we’re definitely gonna drink the cooler dry. We only live 25 minutes away but we might not get home till Tuesday.”
Feger roared off the outside pole position starting spot to lead the race’s entire distance in his Rhyne-powered Pierce car, but he survived several anxious moments and repeated challenges from two-time Illini 100 winner Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., to secure his second career WoO LMS triumph. He pulled away following a final restart on lap 96 to defeat Moyer’s Victory Circle machine by 1.098 seconds.
Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, Iowa, finished third after starting from the pole position in his MB Customs car. He fell back to third at the initial green flag and raced there for most of the distance, only briefly overtaking Moyer for second one-third of the way through the event.
Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., advanced from the eighth starting spot to place fourth in the Kennedy Motorsports Capital Race Car and Scott James of Bright, Ind., steadily moved forward from the 12th starting position to complete the top five in the Warrior Chassis house car.
Feger, whose career-best finish in three previous Illini 100 A-Main starts was sixth in 2010, candidly admitted that he had never worked harder to win a race. His 100 laps racing at the front of the pack were filled with stress.
“Honestly, I am just exhausted,” said Feger, who maintained command through five caution flags. “That was just a long, tough race. This is a very unique place, very demanding. You can’t rest for a second here, so I was running the ragged edge the whole way.”
The lead nearly slipped from Feger’s grasp on several occasions, including lap 58 when he pushed high in turn two and saw Moyer momentarily nose ahead down the backstretch. But Feger maintained his composure and powered around the outside of turns three and four to stay in the top spot.
Feger went on to build nearly a straightaway edge over Moyer before two late caution flags, on laps 95 and 96, shrunk his final victory margin. Moyer, 55, was effectively resigned to a runner-up finish even after the late restarts gave him a final shot at a record third Illini 100 triumph.
“I kind of knew with 20 (laps) to go that it was over with,” said Moyer, who started fourth. “(Feger) did a good job. He didn’t make any mistakes.
“I got up there beside him a couple times on the inside, but I knew I couldn’t leave the door open behind me too many times for Brian (Birkhofer) to get a run on the outside of me (to take second). You had to be out there on the (outside) ledge off the corner on both ends. You could kind of make some different grooves getting in, but on exit you better be on that one spot.”
Feger never wavered from the prime route around the venerable fairgrounds bullring.
“When we were running through the lapped traffic I just really tried to race smart and not make any mistakes,” said Feger, who previous WoO LMS victory came on May 24, 2009, at Beaver Dam (Wis.) Raceway. “I didn’t want to just give it away to somebody. I wanted to make them beat me without me doing something that would cost me the race, and it worked out tonight.
“It was real tough, though, because this was really only my second race of the season,” he continued. “I’m still not driving that good. My timing could be way better, so honestly the car is way better than the driver right now – that’s a good thing, though, because I can fix me faster than I can fix the car. I knew the car was good, so it was just a matter of whether I could do it. I just tried to stay focused and get up on that wheel.”
When Feger took the checkered flag, the track’s packed grandstand let out a huge roar for the local boy who made good. He then took his customary backward victory lap to get close to his ‘Feger Nation’ fans in the drive-in section outside turns one and two and was greeted in the winner’s circle by his overjoyed team and another loud ovation.
“It hasn’t even really set in yet,” an awed Feger said more than a half-hour after the race ended. “I don’t even think I’ve caught my breath.
“It’s crazy. When the race ended, I felt like I was in a trance. I’m still just trying to remember what even happened out there. I mean, man – to win $20,000 at my hometrack and be the first guy from Illinois to win the Illini, it’s just an amazing feeling.”
While Feger exulted in victory, two other pre-race favorites from Illinois sat dejectedly in the pit area following rough nights. Defending DIRTcar UMP Summer Nationals and national weekly series champion Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., brought out the race’s first caution flag on lap 25 when he slowed on the homestretch, and Shannon Babb of Moweaqua, Ill., failed to finish among the top five for the first time in five Illini 100 starts after a backstretch scrape sent him spinning out of 11th place on lap 32.
The race’s most significant incident occurred on lap 41 when Tim Fuller of Watertown, N.Y., and defending Illini 100 champ Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., tangled in turn two while running fifth and sixth, respectively. The accident came after Fuller slid sideways to avoid his Kennedy Motorsports teammate Clanton, who momentarily got out of shape ahead of him.
WoO LMS regular Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., triggered the lap-95 caution period when he slid off the backstretch due to a broken fifth-coil shock. He had just been passed for fifth place by James one lap earlier.
Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., registered a career-best Illini 100 finish of sixth. Defending WoO LMS champion Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., placed a quiet seventh; Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., survived an opening-lap scramble that damaged his car’s right-rear corner to finish eighth; Rick Eckert of York, Pa., was ninth; and Kent Robinson of Bloomington, Ind., completed the top five.
WoO LMS points leader Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., finished one lap down in 12th after running the majority of the distance without power steering. He was in seventh place shortly after a lap-25 restart when his car began to show smoke.
Richards, who pitted on lap 32, remained atop the WoO LMS standings by two points over Clanton.
Saturday night’s program began with a pair of 20-lap B-Mains won by Eric Wells of Hazard, Ky., and Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss.
The next action for the WoO LMS is the inaugural Buckeye 100 on April 12-13 at NAPA Auto Parts Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio. Ohlins Shocks Time Trials and heat races will be contested on Fri., April 12, and B-Mains and the $20,000-to-win 100-lapper are set for Sat., April 13.
Results of WoO Late Model Series Illini 100 at Farmer City Raceway (Finishing Position/Start/Driver/Laps Completed/Money Won):
1. (2) Jason Feger/100 $20,050
2. (4) Billy Moyer/100 $10,150
3. (1) Brian Birkhofer/100 $6,000
4. (8) Shane Clanton/100 $5,550
5. (12) Scott James/100 $4,600
6. (10) Brandon Sheppard/100 $3,050
7. (9) Darrell Lanigan/100 $3,400
8. (11) Chub Frank/100 $3,100
9. (15) Rick Eckert/100 $3,000
10. (16) Kent Robinson/100 $2,650
11. (17) Eric Wells/100 $2,450
12. (7) Josh Richards/99 $2,450
13. (23) Morgan Bagley/99 $2,250
14. (24) Dillon Wood/99 $1,700
15. (6) Tim Fuller/98 $2,150
16. (21) Derek Chandler/96 $1,580
17. (3) Tim McCreadie/94 $2,210
18. (18) Bub McCool/69 $2,090
19. (19) Clint Smith/69 $2,070
20. (20) Ryan Unzicker/68 $1,500
21. (5) Jimmy Mars/52 $1,500
22. (13) Shannon Babb/31 $1,550
23. (22) Brian Shirley/23 $1,500
24. (14) Billy Drake/15 $1,525
* Earnings include Winners Circle program and cash contingency award bonuses
Time of Race: 40 Mins., 29.062 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 1.098 Secs.
Yellow Flags: 5 (laps 25, 32, 41, 95, 96)
Lap Leaders: Feger (1-100)
Provisional Starters: Bagley, Wood
WoO LMS ‘Bonus Bucks’ Winner: Robinson ($500)
B-Main No. 1 (20 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Eric Wells, 2. Clint Smith, 3. Derek Chandler, 4. McKay Wenger, 5. Bill Hough, 6. Gregg Satterlee, 7. Kevin Weaver, 8. Morgan Bagley, 9. Mark Burgtorf, 10. Kyle Logue
B-Main No. 2 (20 laps – Top 3 Transfer): 1. Bub McCool, 2. Ryan Unzicker, 3. Brian Shirley, 4. Frankie Heckenast Jr., 5. Scott Bull, 6. Dillon Wood, 7. Tyler Reddick, 8. Daren Friedman, 9. Chris Dick, 10. Rodney Sanders
World of Outlaws Late Model Series Contingency Award Winners (awards presented to noted finisher/qualifier or next highest displaying decal:
Ohlins Shocks ($50 cash to fast qualifier): Shannon Babb
Eibach Springs (one free spring to each B-Main winner): Eric Wells/Bub McCool
VP Race Fuels ‘Nice Jugs’ Award: (One VP 5-gallon container to fastest qualifier who misses A-Main): Gregg Satterlee
Wrisco Aluminum (3 sheets of aluminum to A-Main winner only): Jason Feger
Armor All (One case of product to highest-finishing non-WoO team in A-Main): Jason Feger
Comp Cams ($50 certificate to A-Main winner): Billy Moyer
QuarterMaster ($100 certificate to A-Main winner, $50 certificate to 5th-place finish): Brandon Sheppard/Tim Fuller
MSD Ignition ($50 cash to A-Main winner): Jason Feger
STP ($50 cash to 2nd-place finisher in A-Main): Billy Moyer
XS Power ($50 cash to 3rd-place finisher in A-Main): Scott James
Roush Yates ($50 cash to 4th-place finisher in A-Main): Brandon Sheppard
JE Pistons ($50 cash to 5th-place finisher in A-Main): Scott James
Dominator ($50 cash to 6th-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
American Race Wheels ($50 cash to 7th-place finisher in A-Main): Rick Eckert
VP Race Fuels ($50 cash to 8th-place finisher in A-Main): Chub Frank
Edelbrock Manifolds ($50 cash to 9th-finisher in A-Main): Rick Eckert
Comp Cams ($50 cash to 10th-place finisher in A-Main): Kent Robinson
XS Power ($60 product certificate to 11th-place finisher in A-Main): Eric Wells
Cometic Gasket ($50 cash to 12th-place finisher in A-Main): Josh Richards
JRI Shocks ($50 cash to 13th-place finisher in A-Main): Bub McCool
Super Flow Dynos ($50 cash to 14th-place finisher in A-Main): Dillon Wood
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 16th-place finisher in A-Main, redeemable w/next purchase of set): Derek Chandler
Klotz Lubricants ($50 cash to 17th-place finisher in A-Main): Tim McCreadie
Roush Yates ($50 gift card to 18th-place finisher in A-Main): Billy Drake
QuarterMaster ($50 certificate to 19th-place finisher in A-Main): Clint Smith
Arizona Sport Shirts ($100 certificate to 20th-place finisher in A-Main): Ryan Unzicker
JE Pistons (one complete set of JE Pro Seal rings to 21st-place finisher in A-Main, redeemable w/next purchase of set): Billy Drake
Roush Yates ($50 gift card to 22nd-place finisher in A-Main): Billy Drake
MSD Ignition ($25 cash to 24th-place finisher in A-Main): Billy Drake
XS Power ‘Power Move of the Race’ ($60 product certificate): Jason Feger
Roush Yates ($25 gift card to driver who leads most laps in the A-Main): Jason Feger
2013 World of Outlaws Late Model Series Point Standings as of April 6 – 9 A-Mains completed (rank/driver/points/deficit to leader):
1. Josh Richards 1280
2. Shane Clanton 1278 (-2)
3. Darrell Lanigan 1238 (-42)
4. Rick Eckert 1224 (-56)
5. Tim McCreadie 1166 (-114)
6. Scott James 1158 (-122)
7. Eric Wells 1150 (-130)
8. Tim Fuller 1132 (-148)
9. Chub Frank 1110 (-170)
10. (tie) Bub McCool 1104 (-176)
10. (tie) Morgan Bagley 1104 (-176)
12. Clint Smith 1046 (-234)
13. Brandon Sheppard 942 (-338)
14. Dillon Wood 926 (-354)
15. Pat Doar 906 (-374)
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including: American Racing Custom Wheels (Official Custom Wheel), Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), KMC (Official Custom Truck Wheel), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing Fuel (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award) and McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award); in addition to contingency sponsors: Butlerbuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Dominator Race Products, Edelbrock, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, QuarterMaster, Roush Yates Performance Parts, Superflow Dynos, Wrisco Aluminum and XS Power Racing Batteries; along with manufacturer sponsors Capital Race Cars, Integra Shocks, GRT Chassis, Jake’s Carts, Racing Electronics, Rocket Chassis, TNT Rescue, and Warrior Chassis.