MACON, Ill. – A full throttle weekend highlights dirt track racing in Central Illinois, from the fifth-mile at Macon Speedway to the quarter-miler at Lincoln Speedway and the Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. No wonder the big names keep joining the star-studded fields. The racing extravaganza includes USAC Silver Crown cars and POWRI Midgets as open wheel aces descend on the area, and ARCA’s Central Illinois SuperChevyStores.com 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds at the state fair caps a wild weekend. There are big names, such as NASCAR star Ken Schrader and Bryan Clauson, the former USAC sprint car champ who qualified for the Indy 500 in 2012 and won the famed Chili Bowl last winter in Tulsa.
Schrader will race his modified at Macon Speedway Saturday before going for his second win in the Central Illinois SuperChevyStores.com 100 for ARCA stock cars at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Sunday. Clauson will compete in a POWRi midget at Lincoln Speedway Friday and Macon Speedway Saturday night, sandwiching his run in the USAC Tony Bettenhausen 100 for Silver Crown cars at the Illinois State Fair Saturday afternoon. Grab the seat cushion, round up the wife and kids, and enjoy a carnival of speed on three famous dirt tracks.
It begins on Friday at Lincoln Speedway, where the POWRi Midgets and Micros are highlighted in the program that also includes pro late models and modifieds. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7. The POWRi cars zip around quarter-mile track and thrill the crowd with their ability to pass and maneuver around the speedy track.
On Saturday, the USAC Tony Bettenhausen 100 takes the green flag in a historic race on the mile dirt track at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, which hosted the race beginning in 1934. Silver Crown cars thunder down the straightaways and slide through the corners in a display of power and bravery. Galesburg resident A.J. Fike goes for a three-peat on the Springfield Mile after a late pass last season. The biggest car count in years is expected with more than 30 likely to arrive in the pits. Clauson and Brady Bacon were late additions to the field. Silver Crown practice starts at 9 a.m. with qualifying at 10:25 and the feature set at 2 p.m. Sportsman Nationals heat races are set to go at 11 a.m.
Later Saturday, the POWRi Midgets and Micros take aim on Macon Speedway, where the program is highlighted by double features in POWRi midgets as much of the open wheel stars, such as Clauson and Christopher Bell, likely will run their own doubleheader by racing at the Springfield Mile and Macon Speedway’s legendary fifth-mile high banked layout. Billingsley Towing Modifieds, Street Stocks, Outlaw Hornets and Stock Hornets also race at Macon Speedway. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7. Tickets for the POWRi events at Macon Speedway and Lincoln Speedway are just $15 for adults. Children 11 and under are free.
On Sunday, the Central Illinois SuperChevyStores.com 100, also known as the Allen Crowe Memorial, is the first time the ARCA Racing Series by Menards hits the dirt for the first time this season after making stops at Daytona, Talladega, Pocono and Michigan. The 100-lapper is expected to start about 30 cars, and the race always brings drivers from varied backgrounds as they attempt to claim a win on the storied mile. A year ago, Brennan Poole captured the win after Kelly Kovski and Fike were black-flagged for jumping a late restart. Kovski is a Springfield racer who was attempting a rare win by a hometown driver on the famed mile. Practice starts at 9 a.m. with qualifying at 11:15 and the 100-lap race at 1:35 p.m. The Sportsman Nationals will also race a feature at noon.
Schrader, the Macon Speedway co-owner, will race in the Central Illinois SuperChevyStores.com 100, attempting to win the ARCA event at Springfield again after taking the checkered flag in 1998. He’s a three-time winner at DuQuoin, where he’s the defending champ.
Tickets for Illinois State Fair events are on sale at the State Fair ticket office (217-782-1979) and Track Enterprises (217-764-3200). For each event, advance tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. Tickets sold on day of the race are $30 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. Pit passes are sold race day only for $35. A two-day pass is $40. Infield tickets are sold race-day only for $20 for adults, including the $5 entry fee to the fair. Children 6-11 are $5, and children 5 and under are free.
For more information, follow Macon Speedway at (www.maconracing.com), Facebook (www.facebook.com/maconracing) and Twitter (@maconspeedway). It’s easy to join the Macon Speedway text service. Fans can text MSFANS to 74574 to receive fan information. Drivers text MSDRIVERS to 74574 to receive driver information. Message and data rates may apply. Updates are also available by calling Macon Speedway at 217-764-3000. Macon Speedway is located nine miles south of Decatur on U.S. 51, then 0.6 miles west on Andrews Street and south to 205 N. Wiles. Macon Speedway hosts racing every Saturday night, plus many weeknight specials.