FAIRBURY, Ill. – Tyler Courtney secured his fourth FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions victory of the season in a wire-to-wire display at Fairbury Speedway Thursday.
Starting from the pole by way of dash victory, Courtney’s campaign at the front of the field was far from a cake walk, as the multi-time USAC champion was forced to slice and dice through wave after wave of slower traffic, all before fending off a wild, last-ditch effort slider from Bill Balog.
Adding some extra depth to the stat sheet, the All Star visit to Fairbury, which also featured the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series, was the first appearance by the All Star Circuit of Champions since 1995.
“This has been a great last few weeks for this NOS Energy Drink/Turbo car. The guys have been busting their butts back at the shop to keep this thing fast,” Courtney said in Fairbury victory lane. “I’m having a blast right now. This is a good time of year to get going. We still have three more nights this weekend and a big week next week.”
Although the first five laps were relatively uneventful, a caution on lap six would essentially clump the field back together, eventually leading to a three-car battle in traffic between Courtney, Balog and Rico Abreu.
By lap 13, slower cars were stacked up two and three wide in front of the leaders, and although Courtney was all but stuck, the Indianapolis, Ind.-native was successful in slowly maneuvering through the mess, simultaneously keeping Balog in his back seat with Abreu also in tow. Lap after lap, traffic maintained its relentlessness, not allowing Courtney to find any breathing room, stretching his legs to a near-straightaway command, until lap 25.
Just as Courtney thought his troubles were over, the caution flags would reappear on lap 28, setting up what would be a three-lap dash to the finish. The ensuing restart led to a wicked, turn four slide job attempt by Balog, barely leaving Courtney enough room to get by. Courtney squeezed through and held on to secure the $5,000 payday.
Abreu, who got by Balog after his failed slide job attempt, finished second at Fairbury, followed by Balog, Ian Madsen and Gio Scelzi.
“I should have started a little lower on that last restart,” Courtney said when discussing the last restart and Balog’s slider. “I was expecting it, but he left me just enough room so I had to go for it. We just needed to be a little better on that restart and not give the guy a chance. But we led the lap that counts.”
1. 7BC-Tyler Courtney ; 2. 24-Rico Abreu ; 3. 17B-Bill Balog ; 4. 11-Ian Madsen ; 5. 18-Gio Scelzi ; 6. 73-Scotty Thiel ; 7. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg ; 8. 4-Cap Henry ; 9. 13-Spencer Bayston ; 10. 5-Paul McMahan ; 11. 26-Cory Eliason ; 12. 5T-Travis Philo ; 13. 19-Parker Price-Miller ; 14. 10-Zeb Wise ; 15. W20-Greg Wilson ; 16. O7-Skylar Gee ; 17. 91-Kyle Reinhardt ; 18. 65-Jordan Goldesberry ; 19. 39-Jake Blackhurst ; 20. 49-Josh Schneiderman ; 21. 23-Russel Borland ; 22. 51B-Joe B. Miller ; 23. 8M-TJ Michael ; 24. 4K-Kris Spitz