Top Late Model Drivers In Country Set To Battle
Fans, from all over, will be flocking to a high banked 1/5-mile dirt oval located in Central Illinois, this coming Thursday. The site will be Macon Speedway, located in the little town of Macon, IL. The reason for the excitement will be the 36th annual Herald & Review 100 for the Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” Late Models. It’s the event which draws the biggest crowd to Macon Speedway, year-after-year.
The Summer Nationals “Hell Tour” Late Models earned their name because of a grueling schedule of 29 events in about one month’s time. Starting June 15th and ending July 16th, the tour runs just about every night during that period of time, except a few Monday’s. Heading into the new week, 12 of the 17 events have been run, with the series canceling five due to rain, including three of the last four.
This week’s action, leading up to Macon Speedway’s event on Thursday, includes Lasalle IL Speedway Monday, Daugherty IN Speedway Tuesday, and Peoria IL Speedway Wednesday. Oakwood, IL driver Bobby Pierce leads the standings by claiming six wins in just 12 races. Jason Feger, who is still looking for his first win on the tour, is second in the standings, while Ryan Unzicker, Bob Gardner, and Timothy Culp are in the top five. Mike Marlar, Gordy Gundaker, Billy Moyer, Brent Larson, and Shannon Babb round out the current top ten. Other than Pierce, Moyer has claimed two wins, while Dennis Erb, Jr., Brandon Sheppard, Ryan Unzicker, and Josh Richards have also found victory lane. 160 different competitors have been on track.
One year ago, the Herald & Review 100 was postponed to August 26 because of inclement weather. El Paso, IL driver, Ryan Unzicker, claimed the win, breaking a two-race winning streak by Mowequa, IL driver Shannon Babb. Despite drivers from all over the country competing, the last eleven H&R races have been won by drivers who call Illinois home.
Adding to Thursday’s excitement will be the Summit National Modified tour. Much like their Late Model counterpart, the Modifieds have a grueling slate of events, many of which coincide with the “Hell Tour”. So far, nine out of twelve events have been completed with Mooresville, NC driver, Nick Hoffman, scoring three wins to lead the way. Hoffman, formerly from the St. Louis, MO area, moved to North Carolina to work in the racing industry. Ray Walsh, Clayton Miller, Chad Kinder, Josh Harris, Mike Harrison, and Brian Bielong have also won events this year. Hoffman is followed in points by Kewanee, IL driver Ray Bollinger, a regular at Lincoln Speedway. Harrison is third, while Texas driver Phil Dixon is fourth and Walsh is fifth. Kenny Wallace, who is currently sixth, will be racing Thursday as well as his NASCAR compadre, Ken Schrader. 202 different Modifieds have competed on the tour so far.
Rounding out the Thursday night divisions will be the UMP B-Mods, a semi-regular division at Macon Speedway. The man to beat will be Tim Hancock, from Mt. Olive, IL. Hancock is leading the B-Mod points at Macon, winning all five events at the track this year. Hancock also leads the UMP National points by a sizable margin over Tony Walker. Amazingly, Hancock ran a 40-lap A-Modified event at the track with his B-Mod a couple weeks ago and finished second after starting at the back. As everyone was wearing out their tires and looking for grip, Hancock picked them off one-by-one.
Pit gates will open at 3:00, grandstands at 4:00, hotlaps begin at 6:00, qualifying will take place around 6:30, and racing action will take the green at 7:00. Grandstand admission is $25 for adults and $5 for kids 11 and under.
For more information, follow Macon Speedway online at www.maconracing.com, on 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 date rates 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.