FAIRBURY, IL (April 24, 2023) As the temperatures begin to rise and the days continue to get longer, it means one thing for race fans; the heart of race season is just around the corner. Many teams have shaken down their machines over the course of the last month to prepare for the MARS Dirt Series season opening weekend April 28-30. This weekend will mark the kickoff of both the MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends and the MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment. With talent-laden rosters for both series in 2023, the car counts for this weekend look to be some of the strongest the Midwest have seen the entire race season.
The championship chase for both tours will begin on Friday, April 28 at the new and improved Brownstown Bullring (Formerly Fayette County Speedway) in Brownstown, IL with the “Sievers JCB Diggin’ Dirt 40” $5,000 to win MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends event plus $2,000 to win MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment, B-Mods, DIRTcar Factory Stocks, and DIRTcar 4-Cylinders. Over the course of the fall/winter, new track promoter Josh Carroll has given the facility a major facelift from years past. A fresh track name, new fencing, new scoring tower, new concession stand, new track signage, and fresh ideas will give the fans and teams an all-new feel when they roll through the gate. On Friday, the pit gates are set to open at 4:00 p.m. and the general admission gates will be open at 5:00 p.m. The driver’s meeting is set for 6:00 p.m. with hot laps hitting the racing surface at 6:30 p.m. Ticket prices for Friday night’s event in the general admission area will be $25 for adults with children ages 10 and under free. Pit passes for Friday’s event will be $40 for adults, $25 for children ages 6-12, with children ages 5 and under free.
Saturday night the action moves 2 ½ hours north to the famed Fairbury Speedway in Fairbury, IL for their 2023 season opener. $5,000 to win MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends, $2,000 to win MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment, DIRTcar Sportsman, and DIRTcar Stock Cars will round out the card. Opening night in 2022 for weekly FALS Cup action featured 26 DIRTcar Late Models and 43 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds with Tommy Sheppard Jr and Mike Harrison taking home victories. Both are expected to be in action on Saturday night, and all season long on the MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends and MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment. On Saturday, pit gates open at 12:00 p.m. with general admission gates opening at 2:00 p.m. The drivers meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. with hot laps hitting the speedway at 5:50 p.m. sharp. Ticket prices for Saturday night’s event is only $20 in the grandstands with children ages 12 and under admitted free. Pit passes for Saturday’s show are $35 with children 12 and under admitted into the pit area for $15.
The third and final night of the weekend for the MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends will transpire at a first time stop in the 24 history of the MARS Late Model Series. Catch the stars of the tour on Sunday, April 30 at the Red Hill Raceway in Sumner, IL for an evening of fast paced action. Last season marked the first Late Model race in over two decades at the facility, where a capacity crowd witnessed the action where Saint Marys, Ohio resident Tyler Erb took home the DIRTcar Summer Nationals victory. With a 3-division program, we expect to move the program along swiftly so fans and teams can get home at a reasonable hour for Monday morning obligations. $5,000 to win MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends will headline the evening of action with DIRTcar UMP Modifieds and DIRTcar Hornets joining the program. Modified teams can use this as a good opportunity to fine-tune their set ups for the MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment event held just six days later at the track. On Sunday, pit gates open at 3:00 p.m. with general admission gates opening at 4:30 p.m. The driver’s meeting will take place at 5:00 p.m. with hot laps to follow at 5:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $25 for general admission with children 12 and under admitted for free. Pit admission will be $40 for adults with children 10 and under $20.
MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends Tire Rule for each night:
LF: Hoosier NLMT2/LM20/NLMT3/LM30
RF: Hoosier NLMT2/LM20/NLMT3/LM30
LR: Hoosier NLMT2/LM20/NLMT3/LM30
RR: Hoosier NLMT3/LM30/NLMT4/LM40
Grooving and Siping will be permitted. There will be no tire limit and no tire marking for any event.
MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends Feature purse for each night:
1) $5,000 2) $2,500 3) $2,000 4) $1,600 5) $1,400 6) $1,200 7) $1,000 8) $800 9) $700 10) $600
11) $500 12) $500 13) $500 14) $500 15) $500 16) $500 17) $500 18) $500 19) $500 20) $500 21) $500 22) $500. Non-Transfer Tow Money (Friday $90) (Saturday $85) (Sunday $90)
MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment Feature purse for each night: 1) $2,000 2) $1,500 3) $1,200 4) $1,000 5) $800 6) $600 7) $500 8) $400 9) $300 10) $275 11) $250 12) $250 13) $250 14) $250 15) $250 16) $250 17) $250 18) $250 19) $250 20) $250 21) $250 22) $250. Non-Transfer Tow Money – (Friday $65) (Saturday $60)
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
o Championship Hopeful: With it being opening weekend for both tours, hopes are high from many that they will be sitting atop the point standings at seasons end. Rosters for each series look impressive as over 15 drivers have verbally committed to following each of the two series. Late Model and Modified drivers from at least 8 states are set for action this weekend.
o Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year: Sunoco Race Fuels will ramp up the Rookie of the Year chase in 2023 with the top 4 in Rookie of the Year standings being paid for their efforts in each series. Over a dozen drivers between the two series have already filed their paperwork with intent on chasing the inaugural prize with a handful more verbally committing at this point. Drivers have until the completion of the series’ first weekend of events to declare their status. Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year candidates will be released following the first weekend’s events.
o Brownstown Bullring… The Equalizer: In the previous 10 Late Model races held dating back to the 2020 season, there hasn’t been a single repeat winner over that period. Winners dating back to then include 2023 opening night winner Daryn Klein, Shannon Babb, Blaze Burwell, Hunt Gossum, James Walters, Michael Kloos, Brent McKinnon, Brandon Sheppard, Jason Feger, and Mark Voigt.
o Fairbury’s Finest: During the course of the 2022 season in the DIRTcar UMP Modified division, visiting drivers knew when they showed up to Fairbury Speedway who exactly they would have to go through to bring home the victory. That driver would be none other than 18-year-old Michael Ledford of Pontiac, Illinois. Ledford, the 2022 Fairbury Speedway track champion, has picked up right where he left off in the 2022 season as he has already captured 3 wins in his first 5 starts of the 2023 season. In all 5 of his starts to this point of the season, Michael has finished no worse than third between trips to Farmer City Raceway, Macon Speedway, and Federated Auto Parts Raceway @ I-55.
o Red Hill Regular: The MARS Dirt Series staff will become well acquainted with the Red Hill Raceway over the next week. Not only is this Sunday, April 30, the MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends event, but the following Saturday (May 6) the MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment will roll into town for their turn at the 3/8-mile oval.
If you are unable to make it to the track this weekend, you can catch these 3 shows plus EVERY MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends event in 2023 live on floracing.com.
For more information about the MARS Dirt Series, please contact Jonathan Clayton at 731-467-1316, visit the tour’s webpage at marsracingseries.com, or visit @MARSDirtRacing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends and MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment would like to thank the following sponsors and marketing partners for their support of the 2023 racing season: FK Rod Ends, Summit Racing Equipment, Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts, Flo Racing, Racing Electronics, Hoosier Racing Tire, Sunoco Race Fuels, Illinois State Rifle Association, Pontiac RV, Allstar Performance, O’Reilly Auto Parts, DIRTcar Racing, Driscoll Motors, Woods Basement Systems, MD3, Josh James Artwork, MWD Signs & Graphix, Fairbury Fastener & Supply, King’s Graphix, Dirt Draft, Digital Copy Systems, Whelen, Multi Fire X, Budda Bert Transmission, Dyer’s Top Rods, Fast Shafts, Wilwood Brakes, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, Out-Pace Racing Products, Keyser Manufacturing, Varsitee Screenprinting, Willy’s Carb & Dyno, Mackinaw Valley Powder Coating, and Trackside Racewear.
MARS Championship Upcoming Events
o April 28, 2023 – Brownstown Bullring – Brownstown, IL – Sievers JCB “Diggin Dirt” 40 – $5,000 to win MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends & $2,000 to win MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment
o April 29, 2023 – Fairbury Speedway – Fairbury, IL – $5,000 to win MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends & $2,000 to win MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment
o April 30, 2023 – Red Hill Raceway – Sumner, IL – $5,000 to win MARS Late Model Championship Powered by FK Rod Ends
o May 5, 2023 – Paducah International Raceway – Paducah, KY - $2,000 to win MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment
o May 6, 2023 – Red Hill Raceway – Sumner, IL – $2,000 to win MARS Modified Championship Powered by Summit Racing Equipment