(Macon, IL) The state of Illinois has been handcuffed with restrictions and the inability for central Illinois racing fans to get their chance to enjoy racing has finally come to an end. Saturday night, two months after the scheduled 75th Anniversary season was to begin, was Opening Night and with the temperatures comfortably in the 80s by start time and middle 70s by the end of the night, race fans and drivers finally were able to sink their teeth into the 2020 dirt track racing season. Well over 100 racecars among seven divisions plus a large crowd attempting their best to socially distance were entertained just as they were hoping to be entertained for the last few months.
Blue Mound’s Bobby Beiler thought he was off to a good start in 2020. After dueling for a heat race win, Beiler crossed the weighing scales and did not come up as legal. His car was light. He was disqualified. After adding weight to get his Archer’s Alley Street Stock legal, he started in the back of the 13-car field and took a solid run at the lead. After a good start by Jaret Duff and Guy Taylor in the early goings, Beiler would begin to pick apart the group and work his way to the front. Taylor was racing in the X7 Street Stock, the car that was raced for many decades by Larry “Bub” Russell, Jr. who passed away in March. Paying homage to “Bub” in his car, Taylor stayed with the lead pack and Duff continued to battle with the lead. Beiler’s speed and quickness across the 1/5th mile’s high banks was just too much and Beiler would take the 15-lap feature event.
Jacob Steinkoenig of Highland scored his first feature win in the BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds division. After getting the car locked in on the top groove, he started to soar. The race was led most of the way by Pro-Modified driver Billy Knebel as he utilized the bottom of the track to take the advantage away from Guy Taylor and Alan Crowder. As the race came around with five laps remaining, Steinkoenig put it together and scored the first feature win.
Jake Little was good enough to stay ahead during the Pro Late Model feature race. Despite the excitement to get the lead, most of the fun was behind him as Chris Dick, Dakota Ewing and Jose Parga all raced for second place. With a combination of slide jobs and passes, the second place position was up for grabs. An unfortunate mishap led to Ewing and Parga, racing teammates, to tangle together outside of the second turn. The action slowed Parga momentarily and after a restart, Parga still managed a top-five finish. Little cruised across the top of the track to grab the first win in the division for the season.
Dennis Vandermeersch needed time to collect his thoughts before exiting the Sportsman racecar after he took the checkered flag. His best friend and former racing competitor Tim Bedinger passed away in March and Vandermeersch got to victory lane thinking about his fallen friend. The Springfield driver passed Scott Landers for the lead towards the beginning of the race and dashed away to the win. The former track champion dedicated the race to his friend who was also a former division track champion.
Jeremy Camp piloted his Micro Sprint past Paul Day and Molly Day to secure his feature win. The Sullivan driver was up to the challenge three times against the Days as Paul started the race solidly but fell behind Camp and Molly gave two runs for the lead until Camp started to coast away.
Billy Knebel stayed out front in the Neal Tire & Auto Pro-Modified feature and was lucky to stay that way during a caution-fest feature. The race was derailed of any consistency by yellow flag after yellow flag and officials were forced to cut laps from the feature for time restrictions. Knebel was in the lead when the green-white-checkered flags were waved. After surviving that race, he was able to put together a great run during the BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds feature.
Three cars raced for the lead in the Hornet feature with Brady Reed, his brother Jeremy Reed and Mike Eskew. Unfortunately, two of those drivers would fall victim to failure and one would go on for the glory. Mike Eskew bounced off a tractor tire which separates the infield from the racing surface and rolled his 4-cylinder car in the fourth turn. The Springfield driver would be safe and sound but the car was ruined for the rest of the race. During that situation, Jeremy Reed’s car would be slowed and stopped. Brady Reed was left and would gas it all the way to the finish.
The 75th Anniversary season at Macon Speedway is underway. Another seven division night awaits race fans next Saturday night, as well. Pro Late Models, BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds, Sportsman, Archer’s Alley Street Stocks, Neal Tire & Auto Pro-Modifieds, Micro Sprints presented by Bailey Chasis and Hornets are all slated to run again next Saturday night as the season starts to find some traction after the season opener.
Macon Speedway’s sister track, Lincoln Speedway, will also host racing next weekend with another Friday evening show with 305 Winged Sprint Cars with Pro Late Models, Modifieds, Street Stocks, Division II Midgets and Hornets.
Gates open next weekend at 5pm with racing at 7pm.
DIRTcar Pro Late Models (Top 10)
(1) 4 +3 Jake Little Springfield, IL 38J (2) 3 +1 Dakota Ewing Warrensburg, IL 25 (3) 2 -1 Chris Dick Deland, IL 22 (4) 9 +5 Jose Parga New Berlin, IL 6P (5) 1 -4 Colby Sheppard Williamsville, IL 27 (6) 5 -1 Dustin Wiltermood Windsor, IL 7W (7) 6 -1 JR Wiltermood Windsor, IL 93J 8 (7) -1 Storm Beiler Decatur, IL 33B (9) 8 -1 Brady Lynch Hillsboro, IL 14B (DNS) – – Blake Damery Blue Mound, IL 10
BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds (Top 10)
(1) 4 +3 Jacob Steinkoenig Highland, IL 24S (2) 5 +3 Billy Knebel Pocahontas, IL 52 (3) 3 – Guy Taylor Springfield, IL 66 (4) 7 +3 Jeremy Nichols Lovington, IL 19C (5) 6 +1 Willy Myers Collinsville, IL 21M (6) 9 +3 Kyle Helmick Smithton, IL 27X (7) 21 +14 Tommy Sheppard Jr New Berlin, IL 27 (8) 13 +5 Jarrett Stryker Millstadt, IL 18 (9) 10 +1 Blake Thompson Troy, IL 7 (10) 14 +4 Joe Strawkas Buffalo, IL 28S
Neal Tire & Auto ProMods
(1) 1 – Billy Knebel Pocahontas, IL 52 (2) 3 +1 Nick Justice Decatur, IL 85 (3) 5 +2 Kyle Helmick Smithton, IL 27X (4) 8 +4 Kevin Crowder Argenta, IL 15C (5) 4 -1 Dalton Ewing Decatur, IL 27 (6) 11 +5 Billy Justice Jr Cerro Gordo, IL 43 (7) 16 +9 Tim Riech Petersburg, IL 55 (8) 18 +10 Maxx Emerson Taylorville, IL 78 (9) 13 +4 Brian Burns Bethany, IL 7B (10) 2 -8 Evan Lynch Hillsboro, IL 14E
Archers Alley Street Stocks
(1) 15 +14 Bobby Beiler Blue Mound, IL B26 (2) 3 +1 Guy Taylor Springfield, IL X7 (3) 5 +2 Nick Macklin Argenta, IL 16 (4) 2 -2 Jaret Duff Maroa, IL 21 (5) 4 -1 Rudy Zaragoza Jacksonville, IL 67 (6) 6 – Brian Dasenbrock Decatur, IL 08 (7) 7 – Jake Hearty Belleville, IL 31H (8) 12 +4 Dustin Reed Decatur, IL 21R (9) (DNF) 1 -8 Darrell Dick Monticello, IL 22 (10) (DNF) 8 -2 Jonathon Hall Harristown, IL 3J
(1) 1 – Dennis Vander Meersch Springfield, IL 25 (2) 2 – Scott Landers Taylorville, IL 41 (3) 5 +2 Tyler Roth Fairbury, IL 20R (4) 4 – Rick Roedel Shelbyville, IL 11 (5) 7 +2 Matt Reed Decatur, IL 4 (6) 8 +2 John Lewis Cerro Gordo, IL 44 (7) (DNF) 6 -1 Jim Farley III Springfield, IL 84L (8) (DNF) 3 -5 Phil Moreland Assumption, IL 07
(1) 8 +7 Brady Reed Decatur, IL 32B (2) 6 +4 Billy Mason Brownstown, IL 357 (3) 2 -1 Michael McKay Springfield, IL 26A (4) 1 -3 Jacob Shanks Decatur, IL 31 (5) 7 +2 Bill Basso Athens, IL 44 (6) 5 -1 Cook Crawford Lincoln, IL 1 (7) 15 +8 Ken Reed Decatur, IL 98 (8) 9 +1 Alex Higgs Moweaqua, IL 35 (9) 11 +2 Paul Peters Pana, IL 63 (10) 14 +4 Allan Harris 3H
Micros By Bailey Chassis
(1) 2 +1 Jeremy Camp Sullivan, IL 23 (2) 5 +3 Tyler Robbins Collinsville, IL 35 (3) 1 -2 Paul Day Atwood, IL 84 (4) 8 +4 Larry Drake Terre Haute, IN 97D (5) 4 -1 Molly Day Allerton, IL 17 (6) 11 +5 Jacob Tipton Decatur, IL 10 (7) 6 -1 John Barnard Sherman, IL B8 (8) 10 +2 Kyle Touchette Collinsville, IL 6 (9) 13 +4 Mike Frantz 2F (10) 12 +2 Cody Swisher Atwood, IL 2