(Macon, IL) Tommy Sheppard, Jr. has been in a zone this season in the BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds. The defending champion has been taking top five finishes and checkered flags most of the season to sustain his points lead through the summer. That would continue Saturday night at Macon Speedway. Coming through a restart on the restart on lap 13, Zach Rhodes was in control of the race leading all laps on the way to 20 but coming through the opening turns of the restart, Sheppard, who was third, leapfrogged his way to the front bypassing both second place Alan Crowder and Rhodes to the top spot. From then on, Sheppard was able to cross the line first and pick up the win.
In a special visit from the Midwest Stock Car Tour as part of the Archer’s Alley Street Stocks, Sheppard climbed into a Street Stock to race in the 3rd Annual Dean Garland Classic. From the sixth starting position, Sheppard was running behind Westville’s Lance Evans and Blue Mound’s Bobby Beiler. As the 40-lap event was pick up steam and momentum, so was Sheppard. Evans fell out of the race with flat right rear tire and that left Sheppard to race with Darrell Dick for the lead. Lapped traffic slowed Dick down from being able to make it a close finish and that left Sheppard with daylight heading to the finish line.
Thanks to a dice roll and invertion, Blake Damery and Donny Koehler started in the front row of the Decatur Buildling Trades Pro Late Models feature. That meant Dakota Ewing would start fifth and have to work his way through the field to earn another feature win. Damery was a lock at the bottom of the track as the second-year Pro Late Model driver led solidly for the first 14 laps. Ewing started his charge and caught up to Koehler from the top side and eventually take second place. Damery was caught in a three-way race for the lead as Ewing and Koehler made moves to close the gap. Damery would lose the lead to Ewing on lap 17 but a spinout created a restart. Ewing looked poised to win again but Damery did not quit running his race at the bottom. A slip-up by Ewing on the white flag lap set up Damery’s pass on the bottom of the fourth turn and a photo finish between Ewing and Damery stalled the action. Video evidence confirmed that Damery crossed the line before Ewing and was awarded the checkered flag. While in the victory lane interview, Ewing came up to Damery and offered his handshake in stellar sportsmanship.
The Sportsman division ran its own 40-lap feature Saturday night in topless style. The first lap was a coin toss between Dennis Vandermeersch and Wes Odell. After that, Vandermeersch set the pace and the tone for the race running the high groove. The bottom started to catch on better with Tim Bedinger and Bobby Beiler working ahead to pass Odell and try to close in for the lead. Vandermeersch was a solid lock at the front of the race and throughout.
Nick Justice ran a cautionless race to the checkered flag in the Neal Tire & Auto Pro Modified group. Newcomer Kyle Helmick stayed just ahead of Tim Hancock to make sure the many time feature winner would not be in the running for the checkered flag on this night. Justice has battled ups and downs all season with his new Pro Modified and finally looked like he figured it out in the 15-lapper.
Luke Verardi and Gabe Verardi finished one and two in the special attraction visit from the Micro Sprints Presented by Bailey Chassis.
The night was finished off with the Hornets and Brady Reed taking another win.
The night of racing was great and perhaps even better was the yearly return of the monster truck Raminator. The Mark & Tim Hall machine wowed the crowd and crushed cars in the center of the track during the Bob Brady Auto Mall Night of racing. It is definitely one of the most unique visits of the season.
Macon Speedway continues the 2019 summer with racing next Saturday night. It will be the Fireman’s Ball & First Responders Night. If firemen and first responders come to the track with proper ID, they will be admitted for free. The schedule will consist of Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models, BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds, Neal Tire & Auto Pro Modifieds, Archer’s Alley Street Stocks, Hornets and Micro Sprints Presented by Bailey Chassis.
BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds–1. Tommy Sheppard, Jr. (New Berlin), 2. Alan Crowder (Elwin), 3. Zach Rhodes (Taylorville), 4. Tim Hancock (Mt. Olive), 5. Curt Rhodes (Taylorville), 6. Kyle Helmick (Smithton), 7. Jared Thomas (Edinburg), 8. Tim Hancock, Jr. (Mt. Olive), 9. Nick Justice (Decatur), 10. Jeff Graham (Stonington)
Archer’s Alley Street Stocks–1. Tommy Sheppard, Jr. (New Berlin), 2. Darrell Dick (Monticello), 3. Nick Macklin (Argenta), 4. Tanner Sullivan (Pontiac), 5. Bobby Beiler (Blue Mound), 6. Josh Griffith (Charleston), 7. Don Hilleary (Pepineoe), 8. Megan Erwin (Attica, IN), 9. Jerrad Krick (Earl Park, IN), 10. Jaret Duff (Maroa)
Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models–1. Blake Damery (Blue Mound), 2. Dakota Ewing (Warrensburg), 3. Donny Koehler (Macon), 4. Chuck Mitchell (Jacksonville), 5. Cody Maguire (Carlinville), 6. Jeff Reed, Jr. (Blue Mound), 7. Colby Eller (Taylorville), 8. Braden Johnson (Taylorville), 9. Storm Beiler (Decatur), 10. Curt Rhodes (Taylorville)
Sportsman–1. Dennis Vandermeersch (Springfield), 2. Tim Bedinger (Taylorville), 3. Bobby Beiler (Blue Mound), 4. Wes Odell (Springfield), 5. Scott Landers (Taylorville), 6. Chris Soutiea (Peveley, MO), 7. Terry Reed (Cerro Gordo), 8. Terry Myers (Buffalo), 9. Mitch Ringler (Taylorville), 10. Bill Berghaus (Chapin)
Neal Tire & Auto Pro Modifieds–1. Nick Justice (Decatur), 2. Kyle Helmick (Smithton), 3. Tim Hancock (Mt. Olive), 4. Dustin Wiltermood (Windsor), 5. Tim Riech (Petersburg), 6. Kyle Wilde (Hillsboro, MO), 7. Tim Hancock, Jr. (Mt. Olive), 8. Rob Timmons (Centralia), 9. Adam Webb (Decatur), 10. Ryan Timmons (Centralia)
Micro Sprints Presented by Bailey Chassis–1. Luke Verardi (Taylorville), 2. Gabe Verardi (Taylorville), 3. Devin Feger (East Peoria), 4. Cole Tinsley (Bonne Terre, MO), 5. Alex Midkiff (Belleville), 6. John Barnard (Sherman), 7. Hayden Harvey (Warrensburg), 8. James Koenigseein (Athens), 9. Dana Christensen (Decatur), 10. Bailey Logue (Jacksonville)
Hornets–1. Brady Reed (Decatur), 2. Mike Eskew (Springfield), 3. Cook Crawford (Lincoln), 4. Carter Dart (Springfield), 5. Marty Sullivan (Decatur), 6. Michael Abbott (Taylorville), 7. Steve Stine (Stonington), 8. Matt Reed (Decatur)