By Brett Zerfowski
(Macon, IL) The first time is always the sweetest. Gordy Gundaker scored his first UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals feature win Thursday night at the 38th Annual Herald & Review 100 but did so at the heartache of Brian Shirley. The two drivers were the only to swap the lead through the entire race and with five laps remaining Shirley, who was leading, slowed down due to machine troubles and the caution flag came out for the eighth and final time. The final five laps were between Gundaker, Ryan Unzicker and Frank Heckenast, Jr.
The 2017 Herald & Review 100 was a successful one for Gundaker as he finished in the top three and he learned from a year ago to reign supreme in 2018. Gundaker would lead all of eight laps as Shirley would lead 92 including a spurt from lap 29 to 94. Without lapped traffic in his way, Shirley looked to clinch his second Herald & Review 100 championship. Within laps 85-94, lapped traffic would tighten up the event with Shirley sticking to the top groove and Gundaker riding the bottom.
Macon Speedway fan favorite Shannon Babb contested for the lead early but fell back to fourth before slowing and heading back to the pit area on lap 53. Four-time Herald & Review 100 champion Kevin Weaver, who also was fast qualifier for the night, had a surge but managed to take fourth with some bent sheetmetal hanging off the rear at race’s end.
Mike Harrison took advantage of miscues and opportunities to win another feature in the Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds Nationals. Ray Bollinger was on top and looked for the win but slowed on a restart and Kenny Wallace drove over the top of his car to lead to a bent wheel axle and his night finished on the hook of the tow truck. Wallace would be put to the back for that incident but rushed his way to the front again and finished second behind the farmer from Highland. The win for Harrison was the second of the season at Macon Speedway. Harrison would start 12th (sixth row outside position) to win the night’s race.
Tim Hancock took care of business in the B-Modified feature attraction. Hancock has been impressive once again while racing his limited schedule in 2018.
The night looked nearly impossible with radar and skies threatening rain around Macon from 3pm until scheduled race time. The event did start later than usual as rain showers forced extra work from the crew to get the dirt oval in shape. Spotty sprinkles through time trials started to once again question the ability to get the program completed but for whatever reason, some call it “The ADM Effect,” the rains dissipated and even the sun made a brief welcome as it was setting at the conclusion of the heat races.
Notes of the Night:
8-of-the-9 heat races were won by drivers on the front row. The only exception was Ryan Unzicker taking the checkered flag after starting the final Late Model heat from the second row.
The 38th Annual Herald & Review 100 was completed in 47 minutes, 08 seconds and consisted of eight caution flags. The midway part of the race was 32 minutes after the green flag came out to start the race.
Since 2000, 15 of the last 18 winners of the Herald & Review 100 have been Illinois natives. Gordy Gundaker, native of St. Charles, Missouri, snaps a streak of 13-straight Illinois winners of the event. The last was Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Indiana, in 2004.
Prior to the event’s first race, Macon Speedway owner Bob Sargent presented a plaque of honor and recognition to retired Herald & Review Executive Sports Editor Mark Tupper. Tupper came to former owner Wayne Webb with the idea and the inception was made and became a standard on the schedule ever since 1981.
Up next for Macon Speedway is Saturday night’s Bob Brady Auto Mall’s Raminator Monster Truck Night. Car crushing and mayhem will come to Macon Speedway along with seven racing classes headlined by a 40-lap Sportsman feature in which the division will be racing topless. Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models, BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds, Street Stocks, B-Modifieds, Hornets and Micro Sprints will make up the program. Gates open at 5pm, racing at 7pm.