PEORIA — Ray Bollinger got one for his bank account and one for his trophy case Saturday in the Fall Classic American Modified Series championship at Peoria Speedway.
Bollinger held off Mike Harrison in the 60-lap main event to grab the $5,000 first-place check and a hoist a nearly five-foot tall title trophy overhead.
It was center stage to a race card that included a $2,000 first prize for a 40-lap Late Model feature, plus races in Crate Modified, Street Stocks and Hornets.
"I'm so happy," said Bollinger, a Kewanee native who celebrated by spinning his car near Turn 4 after the race was over, then heading to victory lane. "Oh Mike got me once there, but I got him back coming out of that caution. I'm happy we finished 1-2, it was a great race. Even happier this time he finished second."
Bollinger led the race early, then got bogged down while picking his way through lap traffic. Harrison, a Highland native, passed him on the backstretch during the 30th lap.
But a caution after a crash between Mike Chasteen Jr. and Steven Brooks gave Bollinger a fresh start. He passed Harrison on the back stretch in the 40th lap and stayed in control the rest of the way, celebrating with the checkered flag while standing on his car door, waving at the crowd.
Harrison took home $2,500 for his runnerup effort, while Peorian Allen Weisser cashed $1,500.
Ryan Unzicker, of El Paso, won the Late Model race Friday at Peoria Speedway, and was right back in the winner's spot again Saturday in the 40-lap main event.
"Boy, it feels good to be standing back here again," Unzicker said. "It's been a great weekend ... and now I need a day off."
Billy Drake finished second for $1,000 and Jeremiah Hurst was third.
Norwood native Erik Bruce won the 16-lap Crate Modified race, while Galesburg's Robert Cottom won the Street Stocks and Derrick Deford (Canton) won the Hornets race.
HOT LAPS: Daryn Klein, of Fairview Heights, was knocked out of his Late Model heat when the left front tire — which appeared to have no lug nuts holding it in place — sailed off the car during the race. ... Pekin native Danny Oates bounced off the concrete wall guarding the infield press box during his heat race. ... Cars with the American flag on display circled the track while the national anthem was played. No one kneeled.
Dave Eminian covers the Rivermen and Chiefs for the Journal Star. Reach him at 686-3206 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his videos on Youtube.com/pjstarcom and news items on Twitter @icetimecleve.