Sheppard & Helmick take Firecracker 40s at Macon Speedway


(Macon, IL) The Independence Day holiday got started a night early with the 95Q/Dynagraphics Firecracker 40s at Macon Speedway. The annual tradition to the track showcased two 40-lap features plus fireworks after the races completed for the evening. As the 40-lappers took to the track in the Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models and the Modifieds, many different drivers were thought of as grabbing the checkered flag at the race’s end but there were surprises aplenty during the night.

Jose Parga started on the front row outside of the Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Model feature. He has won all but one feature on the season. So, it was an easy pick, right? Wrong. Jose Parga did lead the first 14 laps but during a caution lap for debris in the first turn, Parga’s car made a turn towards the infield and back to the pit area. As his car drove away, the smell of burning oil could be detected. That put Braden Johnson, the second place car, into the lead. Johnson, the other driver to win a Pro Late Model feature this season looked solid for a few laps but lost power and pulled into the infield and then Timmy Dick was the leader for a lap. By lap 19, the race featured four different leaders as Dakota Ewing took over. He was flying around the track on the top side but things started to unravel with less than ten laps remaining. Ewing suffered a flat and shredded right rear tire that gave up the lead to Colby Sheppard. Sheppard had a fight on his hands with Braden Bilger and Timmy Dick keeping a close distance but Sheppard stuck to the bottom and went on to the winner’s circle. Sheppard began the race in tenth place and got lucky with falling out leaders and passing through the field.

The Modifieds went topless for their 40-lap feature race and the surprise feature winner was a Pro Modified car. It’s not uncommon for the Pro Modified class to have entries in the Modified class, pretty regularly in fact. In previous years, Pro Modified drivers have even gone on to win in the A-Modified group. The car is the same but the engine is with less horsepower. But if the car runs well and hooks up on the line, it works and it becomes competitive. That was the case for Kyle Helmick and Billy Knebel.

With Jacob Steinkoenig running away from the field from his front row starting position, the race seemed to be over. If it were a normal 20-lap feature, it would have been. But on this night with a 40-lap feature, the race dragged on and the Pro Modifieds started to work their way up the field. Passing by Alan Crowder for second was Helmick and then Knebel got into the action. With lap 32 on the scoreboard, Helmick started to close in and get side-by-side with Steinkoenig for the lead. Thanks to his abilities and some lapped traffic in the way, Helmick would pass for the lead with six laps to go and hold on for the surprise win after starting seventh.

Helmick would not have the same success at the start of the feature programs, however. His Pro Modified was solid but not a first place finisher. Instead, Nick Justice picked up his second feature of 2021. Trailing behind Billy Justice, Jr., Nick Justice ran the top smoothly. Justice, Jr. spun himself out midway through the race and gave Nick the lead that he would hold for the rest of the show and win. Helmick would battle and finish second.

The Archer’s Alley Street Stocks brought drama and excitement with its 15-lap feature show as Jeff Reed, Jr. Darrell Dick and Nick Macklin held the lead during the race. Dick ran into a flat tire issue and was off the track. Reed and Macklin were caught with lapped traffic and it slowed down the leader Macklin to get Reed into the lead and he would pull away to get the checkered flag.

Jeremy Camp took the lead and dashed away from the 13-car field in the Micro Sprints Presented by Bailey Chassis. His pole position was helpful as he got by the other front row driver and took off for the 15-lapper with no caution flags.

The racing came to a finish with Allan Harris taking the checkered flag in beating fellow racing friend Mike Eskew in the Hornet division. Jacob Shanks was the early leader but Eskew closed in and got Shanks loose and took the spot from him but Harris was fast enough to hold off the former Hornet champion and get the win.

The 1/5th mile track prepares for its Super Bowl of shows on the schedule, the 41st Annual Herald & Review 100 as part of the UMP Summer Nationals. The Super Late Models are back at Macon Speedway along with the Modifieds and the Pro Modifieds. Macon Speedway is also racing on Saturday with a full show of seven divisions and Air King will sponsor First Responders Night with a memorial to fallen Champaign Police Officer Chris Oberheim. 

Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models 

  1. 27-Colby Sheppard[Williamsville, IL]; 2. 17B-Braden Bilger[Jacksonville, IL]; 3. 122-Timmy Dick[Monticello, IL]; 4. 33B-Storm Beiler[Decatur, IL]; 5. 11-Ryan Miller[Lincoln, IL]; 6. 64-Donny Koehler[Macon, IL]; 7. 14-Derek Smith[Decatur, IL]; 8. 7Z-Michael Maestas[Lincoln, IL]; 9. (DNF) 5B-Brandon Sweitzer[Lincoln, IL]; 10. (DNF) 25-Dakota Ewing[Warrensburg, IL] Modifieds 

  1. 27X-Kyle Helmick[Smithton, IL]; 2. 27-Dalton Ewing[Decatur, IL]; 3. 24S-Jacob Steinkoenig[Highland, IL]; 4. 52-Billy Knebel[Pocahontas, IL]; 5. 77-Guy Taylor[Springfield, IL]; 6. 28S-Joe Strawkas[Buffalo, IL]; 7. 87C-Alan Crowder[Elwin, IL]; 8. 78-Maxx Emerson[Taylorville, IL]; 9. 10-Zach Rhodes[Taylorville, IL]; 10. 24-Zach Taylor[Springfield, IL]

DIRTcar Pro Mods

  1. 36-Nick Justice[Decatur, IL]; 2. 27X-Kyle Helmick[Smithton, IL]; 3. 52-Billy Knebel[Pocahontas, IL]; 4. 14E-Evan Lynch[Hillsboro, IL]; 5. 24-Guy Taylor[Springfield, IL]; 6. 14N-Nathan Lynch[Hillsboro, IL]; 7. 37-Billy Justice Jr[Cerro Gordo, IL]; 8. Z-Zack Bunning[Decatur, IL]; 9. 24M-Matt Milner[Chatham, IL]; 10. 3X-Justin Reynolds[Hillsboro, IL]

Archers Alley Street Stocks

  1. 53R-Jeff Reed Jr[Blue Mound, IL]; 2. 16-Nick Macklin[Argenta, IL]; 3. X7-Guy Taylor[Springfield, IL]; 4. Z24-Zach Taylor[Springfield, IL]; 5. 08-Brian Dasenbrock[Decatur, IL]; 6. 80-Brian Dasenbrock Jr[Decatur, IL]; 7. 808-John Bright Jr[Long Creek, IL]; 8. 53-Rick Reed[El Paso, IL]; 9. 25-Austin Wickline[Harristown, IL]; 10. 22-Darrell Dick[Monticello, IL]

DIRTcar Hornets

  1. 3H-Allan Harris[Chatham, IL]; 2. 21-Mike Eskew[Springfield, IL]; 3. 31-Jacob Shanks[Decatur, IL]; 4. 357-Billy Mason[Brownstown, IL]; 5. 324-Shelby Beiler[Macon, IL]; 6. 44-Bill Basso[Athens, IL]; 7. 187-Korey Bailey[Stonington, IL]; 8. (DNF) 26A-Michael McKay[Springfield, IL]; 9. (DNF) 9B-Brandon Miller[Broadwell, IL]; 10. (DNF) J13-Justin Coffey[Stonington, IL]

Micros By Bailey Chassis

  1. 23-Jeremy Camp[Sullivan, IL]; 2. 55S-Daryn Stark[Springfield, IL]; 3. 21-Aarik Andruskevitch[Riverton, IL]; 4. 18-Michael Brummitt[Mount Zion, IL]; 5. 23C-Tony Clifton[Mount Zion, IL]; 6. 10-Jacob Tipton[Decatur, IL]; 7. 27-Kyle Barker[Cooksville, IL]; 8. 55H-Hayden Harvey[Warrensburg, IL]; 9. 8B-John Barnard[Sherman, IL]; 10. 00-Joe Taft[Dawson, IL]

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