FARMER CITY, Ill. — Kennedy Motorsports teammates Shane Clanton and Tim Fuller shined brightly on Friday night at Farmer City Raceway, claiming heat-race victories during the qualifying program that kicked off the Illini 100 weekend.
Clanton established himself as the early class of the event’s 40-car field, turning the overall fastest lap in split Ohlins Shocks Time Trials (12.786 seconds) and dominating the first of four 15-lap heat races. He will join Fuller and the evening’s other heat winners and runners-up in a redraw for the top eight starting spots in Saturday night’s $20,000-to-win Illini 100.
The only World of Outlaws Late Model Series regular to capture the Illini 100 in its four previous runnings, Clanton, 37, will attempt to join Billy Moyer as a two-time winner of the national tour’s lucrative event at the quarter-mile oval.
“Except for the year I won, I’ve always dug myself a hole here in this race,” said Clanton, whose Illini 100 triumph came in 2009. “Last year we the fastest car hot-lapping and qualified like 33rd, so we had to spend the rest of the weekend digging out of it. This year we were fast hot-lapping, set fast time, got a pole (start) in the heat and capitalized on it. Hopefully we can just keep the momentum running.”
Clanton, who registered the fastest lap during heat competition, had his Capital Race Car firing smoothly after experiencing some trouble during Thursday night’s open practice.
“I got some (hot) laps last night but not many,” said Clanton. “Every time I went out there the motor was missing and it took us all night to figure out what it was. We finally changed spark plugs and that was the problem.
“Tonight we went off some stuff that Tim learned last night, so it’s good to have a teammate that’s fast and we can rely on his notes.”
Fuller, 45, built up the largest heat-race margin of victory, topping defending Illini 100 champ Jimmy Mars by 3.032 seconds in the second heat. He put himself in position for a career-best Illini 100 finish one year after failing to qualify for the extra-distance A-Main.
“I didn’t make the show last year so I’m happy and looking forward to tomorrow,” said Fuller, who also recorded the second-fastest overall lap in Ohlins Shocks Time Trials. “I’m in good stuff now and I feel good.”
Jason Feger and two-time WoO LMS titlist Josh Richards were also triumphant in Friday night’s heat races. Feger will bid to become the first home-state driver to win the Illini 100 while Richards will seek to better his career-best third-place finish in the event.