Anticipation Building For Prairie Dirt Classic


FAIRBURY, Ill. – The Midwest -– and specifically, the small central Illinois town of Fairbury -– is ready for this weekend’s 24th annual Prairie Dirt Classic.

Anticipation is absolutely running wild for what promises to be the biggest racing extravaganza ever held at Fairbury American Legion Speedway, a quarter-mile bullring that is literally sits smack-dab in the middle of Fairbury’’s nearly 4,000 inhabitants.

With the prestigious Prairie Dirt Classic moved to a mid-summer date (July 26-27) and, for the first time, running as a blockbuster $20,000-to-win 100-lapper under the World of Outlaws Late Model Series banner, it’s no surprise that interest for the event has been building at a fever pitch.

““The town of Fairbury and all its loyal fans have been waiting for this caliber of race for a long time,”” said Matt Curl, a 36-year-old, life-long resident of Fairbury who is in his first year as the track’s race director and race committee chairman. “”The talk of the town for the last month has been, ‘ ‘Prairie Dirt Classic this, Prairie Dirt Classic that.’’

““Excitement is an understatement when it comes to this weekend. People around here just can’t stop talking about it. The town, businesses and fans alike can’t wait for this huge event.””

This weekend’s gathering in the hamlet of Fairbury will culminate a seven-month march to history for the FALS promotional team. The event’s new date (it’s been run on Labor Day weekend in recent years) and major-league expansion in distance and purse were announced just after the first of the year.

““It’s time for us to go to work and make it happen for the fans,”” said Curl. “”I can’t say how excited we are to have the World of Outlaws Late Model Series sanctioning our Prairie Dirt Classic Weekend. If everything goes as smooth as all the leg work putting this race together with them, everyone is in for a treat.””

According to Curl, all indications point to this weekend’s PDC being an unforgettable event for one of the Midwest’s most popular tracks. Advance ticket sales and the buzz in the racing community surrounding the show have Curl and Co. confidently predicting that the town of Fairbury’’s population will effectively “double in size” during the weekend, which includes Ohlins Shocks Time Trials and heat races on Friday and B-Mains, a Non-Qualifiers’ Race and the 100-lap, $85,000-plus Prairie Dirt Classic on Saturday.

“”Not a day goes by that we’re not fielding numerous phone calls and e-mails from fans seeking information on the Prairie Dirt Classic,”” said Curl. “”A crowd like we’re expecting doesn’’t happen that often, and myself, Gunner Sullivan and all the FALS directors are working hard to make the best blow-out weekend possible for everyone. We want all the fans and racers to experience the Fairbury American Legion Speedway atmosphere and then go home and start counting down the days to the next Prairie Dirt Classic.””