- Sept. 24. - Peoria Speedway by Sam Holbrooks


Jason Feger at Peoria Speedway Jon Hamilton Memorial

Jason Feger. (Mike Ruefer)


UMP: Feger Gets Second Straight "Hamilton Memorial" at Peoria


Jeff Adams and Rocky Ragusa


PEORIA, Ill. - Sept. 24. The longest running season ending race was held at Peoria Speedway Saturday, and with a 30-car field of entries, Jason Feger raced to the win in the 59th annual “Jon Hamilton Memorial/Illinois State Championship”, leading all 100 laps for the $5,000 win, his second straight in the annual classic.


Feger started on the outside of row one and out-gunned pole sitter Billy Drake on the first lap using the high side of the track. The caution flew immediately as Joseph Hughes spun in turn four and Mike Mullvain got into him.


Billy Drake and Donny Walden at Peoria Speedway

Donnie Walden and #75 Billy Drake dueled for second early on. (Mike Ruefer)


On the restart, Donny Walden and Drake exchanged second, then Walden challenged Feger as the duo approached lapped traffic on lap ten. But, Feger worked traffic methodically and Walden also had Dennis Erb, Jr. to contend with. Erb took second on lap 14. Walden passed him back on lap 18 but Erb re-gained second on the next lap.


By lap 35, Feger saw a four-second lead erased by Walden, who brought out the second caution on lap 36 as he stopped on the back stretch, his night ending with mechanical problems. Frank Heckenast, Jr. had moved into third for the restart and began challenging Erb for second on lap 40 using the high side of the track while Bennett had begun to challenge Provenzano and Weaver in a battle for fourth.


Jason Jaggers and Tim Lance at Peoria Speedway

Drivers were finding a lot of grip at Peoria, and #32 Jason Jaggers was no exception as he races #48 Tim Lance on his way to tenth place. (Mike Ruefer)


Feger again stretched his lead to three seconds until a lap 54 caution for debris bunched the field up. On the restart, Feger and Erb ran one-two, but the action was heating up behind them as local favorite and four-time Illinois State Champion Todd Bennett began challenging Heckenast for third on lap 57.  Over the next 16 laps, Bennett and Heckenast thrilled the crowd with a classic high-low battle, with Heckenast high and Bennett low, running dead-even every lap until a lap 73 caution for Drake slowed the action.


Bennett was scored in third on the ensuing restart and the duo continued their battle. Several cautions over the remaining laps gave Erb a chance to close up to Feger, but when the green flag came out each time, Feger was able to pull away. Again the caution flew for a stalled Kevin Weaver on lap 88. On the restart, the battle continued until Bennett made the pass on Heckenast stick on lap 95.


Todd Bennett and Frank Heckenast at Peoria Speedway

While Feger led Dennis Erb in the later laps, much of the fans' attention was on a fierce duel for third between local favorite Todd Bennett (T2) and #99 Frank Heckenast, Jr. (Mike Ruefer)


As the white flag flew, Jason Jaggers pounded the front stretch wall, setting up a one lap dash. Feger took off, but Erb slipped in turn one and Bennett dove under Erb. Erb slammed the door down the back stretch and hung on for second as Feger took the win. Bennett ended up third, followed by Heckenast and Mike Provenzano.


“It sure feels good to win two in a row here”, said Feger. “You could run anywhere on this track, and I was really good in the middle getting by those lapped cars. I definitely did not want to see that last caution, but we were able to hang on.”


Jason Feger and Dennis Erb at Peoria Speedway

Frequent foes Jason Feger and #28 Dennis Erb raced to the checkered flag as one and two. (Mike Ruefer)



Jon Hamilton Memorial/Illinois State Championship 100
1) Jason Feger, 2) Dennis Erb, Jr. 3) Todd Bennett, 4) Frank Heckenast, Jr., 5) Mike Provenzano, 6) Kevin Weaver, 7) Joseph Hughes, 8) Wes Steidinger, 9 Steve Thorsten, 10) Jason Jaggers, 11) Mike Mullvain, 12) John Gardner, Jr., 13) Bob Gardner, 14) Billy Drake, 15) Gerry Reeder, Jr., 16) Charley Hess, 17) Donny Walden, 18) Rick Standridge, 19) Tim Lance, 20) Greg Kimmons, 21) Steve Lance, Jr. 

Fast Time (30 entries): Feger (12.264); Heat winners: Feger, Weaver, Erb; Semi-feature winners: Gardner, Steidinger

Mike Ruefer photo



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