Feger Aiming To Keep Illini 100 Trophy In Its Home State On April 1-2 At LaSalle Speedway
DIRTcar UMP Star Confident As Fourth Annual World of Outlaws Late Model Series Event Moves To His Old Stomping Grounds
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
LASALLE, IL – March 20, 2011 – Jason Feger might have to travel just a bit farther this year to compete in the Illini 100, but that’s not a problem. He knows the way to – and around – LaSalle Speedway.
The reigning DIRTcar Summer Nationals champion has a pretty solid history at LaSalle, the high-banked, quarter-mile oval that will host the fourth annual World of Outlaws Late Model Series weekend for the initial time on April 1-2. He’s hoping that knowledge allows him to become the first home-grown driver to win the Illini 100’s huge $20,000 top prize.
“I’ve always really liked LaSalle,” said Feger, a rising 32-year-old star from Bloomington, Ill., who’s known as the ‘Highside Hustler’ for his trademark style. “It’s one of the places where I started out (as a driver), running my (DIRTcar UMP) Sportsman there every week. I raced there every Saturday night for my first couple years in a Late Model (2002-2003).
“LaSalle’s only a little over an hour drive for me, so I know we’ll have a lot of our fans and sponsors and a lot of friends and family there. I’d love to win it in front of so many people I know. It would be a big deal to be the first Illinois guy to win the Illini – definitely my biggest win to date.”
The Illini 100 spectacular, which moves to LaSalle this season after running for the last three years 90 miles to the Southeast at Farmer City Raceway, features time trials and qualifying heat races on Fri., April 1, followed by B-Mains and the 100-lap headliner on Sat., April 2. It will mark the first WoO LMS appearance at LaSalle since 2007.
Feger spent the early years of his career competing regularly at both LaSalle and Farmer City, which is about 30 minutes from his home. He finished as high as second in the UMP Sportsman and fifth in the UMP Late Model points standings at LaSalle and has won features there in both divisions, but in recent seasons he’s turned many more laps at Farmer City than LaSalle.
“Since I’ve gotten more experience and feel like I’ve become a better driver, I haven’t been to LaSalle all that much,” said Feger, whose stature in the dirt Late Model world has steadily risen over the past four years. “I won a Monster Midwest Series race there in 2008, but, unfortunately, over the past few years a few shows we were planning to run there were rained out (including WoO LMS events in 2008 and ’09 and Summer Nationals shows two of the last three years). I’ve missed running at LaSalle so I’m excited to get back there for the Illini.”
An owner-operator who campaigns cars built by former DIRTcar UMP standout Bob Pierce, Feger sees LaSalle as a worthy site for the most prestigious dirt Late Model event in the Land of Lincoln. But while it’s a quarter-mile bullring like Farmer City, it will present its own unique challenges.
“It’s always a real good track and a real good atmosphere up there,” said Feger, who finished 17th in the only WoO LMS A-Main previously run at LaSalle, on Sept. 16, 2007. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad race there. It takes a pretty aggressive driving style to get around the place, so there’s real tight action.
“I think (the Illini 100) at LaSalle is gonna be a little more of a survival thing than (at) Farmer City. If it’s graded all the way out to the wall you can run four-wide in the corner, but then the straightaways funnel to two-wide real quick. It definitely gets tight down the straightaways and that makes it challenging. I think the track record is like a 12.3 (seconds), so we definitely move there and if something happens in front of you it’s a lot harder to miss than Farmer City.
“But LaSalle is also a place where you can make up ground quick on double-file restarts, so I think (in the 100-lapper) you’re just gonna want to be there in the mix with like 20 or 30 (laps) to go and then see what happens. I would predict there will be a yellow within the last 30 laps and then it’ll be a sprint from then on.”
After failing to qualify for the inaugural Illini 100 in 2008, Feger has been a contender in the past two events at Farmer City. He finished eighth in 2009 despite being hampered by a broken lift-bar under the front nosepiece for half the distance, and last year he won a heat race and ran as high as fifth before settling for a sixth-place finish.
Buoyed by an enhanced engine program this season and a morale-building February trip to Florida that included some head-turning runs at Volusia Speedway Park (he finished second in a DIRTcar UMP feature and led another until breaking a rear axle tube), Feger appears primed for the first Illini 100 weekend at LaSalle. He’ll enter the event coming off a two-week southern swing with the WoO LMS; he just visited Columbus (Miss.) Speedway for the first time (finishing 19th in Saturday night’s ‘Cash Cow 100’) and plans to stay on the road to compete in this weekend’s tripleheader at Ocala (Fla.) Speedway (March 25), Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga. (March 26) and Needmore Speedway in Norman Park, Ga. (March 27).
“I feel like we did real good in Florida,” said Feger, whose resume includes the 2009 DIRTcar UMP national championship and a WoO LMS A-Main victory (earned in 2009 at Wisconsin’s Beaver Dam Raceway) among his 70-plus career Late Model wins. “Our confidence was real high when we left Florida. We came home and decided to hit Columbus, Ocala, Screven and Needmore too and hopefully get some momentum rolling against a lot of the same competition we’ll see at LaSalle.
“You have to race up to your competition – and there’s definitely a whole lot at Outlaws shows. I felt running these early shows would help me.”
Feger will be part of a star-studded field of dirt Late Model drivers that is expected to compete in the $100,000-plus Illini 100 weekend, joining WoO LMS regulars (and former tour champions) Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., and Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., and a host of other standouts from the World of Outlaws and DIRTcar UMP circuits.
Fans have until March 29 to take advantage of a discounted advance-sale price on two-day and single-day reserved seats for the Illini 100 weekend. Both reserved and general admission tickets can be purchased on-line at www.worldofoutlaws.com/tickets or by calling the event ticket hotline at 877-395-8606.
Advance-sale two-day reserved-seat tickets (Friday-Saturday) for the Illini 100 cost $40 for ages 16-and-over – a savings of $5 from the $45 weekend price at the track.
Single-day tickets are available in advance and on race day. Reserved seat and general admission tickets purchased on-line before March 29 are $15 for Friday and $30 for Saturday. On race day reserved seats (if still available) are $15 (Friday) and $32 (Saturday), and general admission prices are $15 (ages 16-and-over) and $5 (children 6-15) for Friday’s program and $30 (ages 16-and-over) and $10 (children 6-15) for Saturday’s finale. Kids 5-and-under will receive free general admission both days.
Pit passes will be sold only at the track for $25 on Friday, $40 on Saturday and $60 for a two-day pass. DIRTcar members will receive a $5 discount on pit admission.
The Illini 100 weekend will kick off on Thurs., March 31, with an open practice session from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. CDT. Gates will open at 3 p.m. and pit admission will be $20, with fans permitted to enter the grandstands free of charge to watch the practice circuits.
On Fri., April 1, pit gates will open at 12 noon and spectator gates will be unlocked at 4 p.m. Hot laps are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. with racing at 7 p.m.
The schedule on Sat., April 2, calls for pit gates to re-open at 12 noon, with the front gates opening at 3 p.m. Practice will begin at 5 p.m. and racing is set to get the green flag at 6 p.m.
Other divisions on the weekend program are DIRTcar UMP Modifieds and DIRTcar Stock Cars. The UMP Modifieds will compete in separate events paying $500 to win (Friday) and $1,000 to win (Saturday), while the Stock Cars will be in action on Friday night.
LaSalle Speedway is located 60 miles west of Joliet, 80 miles east of the Quad Cities, 70 miles south of Rockford and 60 miles north of Bloomington. It is on U.S. Route 6 just 1.5 miles east of Interstate 39 Exit 57.
More information on the Illini 100 weekend at LaSalle Speedway can be obtained by calling the track at 815-223-6900 or 815-223-6939 or logging on to www.lasallespeedway.com and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Illini-100.
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award), McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award), Chizmark Larson Insurance, Factory Value Parts and RacingJunk.com; in addition to contingency sponsors Comp Cams, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filters and Wrisco Aluminum.