Ackerman: Nebraska Figure 8 Series lets fans enjoy fairs with cars, cotton candy | Local sports

The Nebraska Figure 8 series is another racing season that revolves around county fairs.

The series was formed in 2008 by drivers who wanted to help promote Figure 8 racing in the Cornhusker State. According to Michael Wize of the Nebraska Figure 8 group, all nine of the Figure 8 races that will be held at county fairs in Nebraska will count for Nebraska Figure 8 series points.

Justin Cecrle of Dorchester won the Open Class season opener on July 8 at the Clay County Fair in Clay Center.

“This is my sixth year in racing,” Cecrle said. “My first year racing I bought a cheap 1975 Chevy Monte Carlo. It was pretty much turnkey and I ended up bending the frame and needed to do something different, although I did win Rookie of the Year. I got a rolling chassis from a guy over in Iowa. It was one of the ‘box cars’ that are lighter and faster than the original Figure 8 cars. I still race that car today.”

Cecrle said he likes being involved with the local county fair and always enjoyed when the Figure 8s came to the fair.

“I like the fairly short season compared to a circle track season and the pay in the Open Class, $800-$1,000 to win, isn’t bad, either,” he said.

Matthew Cook of Albion also races in the Open Class, but he actually started out racing a school bus, then built chain race cars, which turned into his first Stock Class Figure 8 car.

“My buddy had raced a few Figure 8 races and talked me into getting a car to race with him,” Cook said. “This is my fifth year of running a full schedule.”

Cook said he enjoys racing because of the excitement of crossing the X (in the Figure 8) and putting on a show for the fans. He said it’s also a challenge to make the car better every year.

Joel Jiskra of Fairbury won the Stock Class at the recent Clay County Fair. He is in his seventh year of racing.

“I started out going with friends and helping in the pits,” Jiskra said. “Eventually I got my own car and started racing. I have been hooked ever since.”

Jiskra said Figure 8 racing has built a lot of new friendships over the years and it’s also nice to have a season that lasts only a few weeks.

The Nebraska Figure 8 season continues on Friday as the series visits the Butler County Fair in David City. There’s action on Saturday with two events, one at the Saunders County Fair in Wahoo and the other at the Hamilton County Fair in Aurora.

The Nebraska Figure 8 series short season ends on Aug. 12 at the Seward County Fair in Seward. For more information on the Nebraska Figure 8 series, visit, 402-676-9015

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