- Fairbury News staff
Fairbury's big weekend is here
Fairbury has been buzzing with activity since fans started arriving in town earlier this week for the 32nd annual Case Construction Prairie Dirt Classic, presented by Bank of Pontiac and the Illinois State Rifle Association.
Fairbury Speedway owner and promoter Matt Curl can scratch weather concerns off of his list for the big weekend.
“The weather can affect a ton of things but we don’t have to worry about it this weekend,” Curl told Fairbury News on Thursday.
Curl is looking forward to a nice safe and smooth week. He and his team are always planning in advance.
“We check a lot of boxes to get to an event where you can host 8,000 people in a town of 3,800. To be able to do that, you’ve always got to plan ahead.”
Visitors to the Fairbury Speedway and fairgrounds have noticed a new office complex near the Third Street entrance. Curl considers this a nice hub to do business out of and something for everyone to enjoy.
“We have a really neat showroom where you just walk in that is a representation of Fairbury Speedway and how it came about,” explained Curl.
A mural has been placed at the building featuring 32 years of the PDC and the trophy awaits Saturday night’s winner.
Curl expects campers to exceed 500 in town this weekend as folks from all around the country head here to not only enjoy racing but spend money locally at stores and restaurants.
“It’s pretty neat. Everybody is in good spirits here especially with the good weather and we are really looking forward to some fantastic racing this weekend.”
Fairbury Speedway may reach 80 late models which is a record. Curl admits it is pretty special for drivers to consider Fairbury a destination to race at.
Driver Ryan Unzicker considers Fairbury his home track, even though he may not race it every weekend since he travels all around.
“The competition is amazing,” Unzicker admits. “There are a lot of guys out there that can win this thing.”
Whether it’s the PDC or a local night of racing, Unzicker feels there is always a good atmosphere at the speedway.
“We just love Fairbury. It’s close to home, the race is awesome, the people are awesome.”
Friday’s racing activities begin at 6 p.m. with hot laps followed by time trials at 6:30 and racing to follow. Four 20-lap $500-to-win features for Modifieds will be offered along with the WOO Late Models with four 25-lap $3,000-to-win features.
On Saturday, autographs begin on the backstretch at 4 p.m. with practice at 5:45 and opening ceremonies at 6:20. Racing includes B-Main hot laps for late models and modifieds followed by Summit Modified Nationals with the 40-lap $5,000 race. Late models will have a 25-lap shootout with the winner receiving $2,500 or a chance to participate in the big race.
The 32nd annual Prairie Dirt Classic follows with the winner of the 100-lap race winning $50,000.