August 12, 2014 archive

Historic races, big name drivers featured in ARCA, USAC and POWRi lineup this weekend



MACON, Ill. – A full throttle weekend highlights dirt track racing in Central Illinois, from the fifth-mile at Macon Speedway to the quarter-miler at Lincoln Speedway and the Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. No wonder the big names keep joining the star-studded fields. The racing extravaganza includes USAC Silver Crown cars and POWRI Midgets as open wheel aces descend on the area, and ARCA’s  Central Illinois 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds at the state fair caps a wild weekend. There are big names, such as NASCAR star Ken Schrader and Bryan Clauson, the former USAC sprint car champ who qualified for the Indy 500 in 2012 and won the famed Chili Bowl last winter in Tulsa.

Schrader will race his modified at Macon Speedway Saturday before going for his second win in the Central Illinois 100 for ARCA stock cars at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Sunday. Clauson will compete in a POWRi midget at Lincoln Speedway Friday and Macon Speedway Saturday night, sandwiching his run in the USAC Tony Bettenhausen 100 for Silver Crown cars at the Illinois State Fair Saturday afternoon. Grab the seat cushion, round up the wife and kids, and enjoy a carnival of speed on three famous dirt tracks.


It begins on Friday at Lincoln Speedway, where the POWRi Midgets and Micros are highlighted in the program that also includes pro late models and modifieds. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7. The POWRi cars zip around quarter-mile track and thrill the crowd with their ability to pass and maneuver around the speedy track.

On Saturday, the USAC Tony Bettenhausen 100 takes the green flag in a historic race on the mile dirt track at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, which hosted the race beginning in 1934. Silver Crown cars thunder down the straightaways and slide through the corners in a display of power and bravery. Galesburg resident A.J. Fike goes for a three-peat on the Springfield Mile after a late pass last season. The biggest car count in years is expected with more than 30 likely to arrive in the pits. Clauson and Brady Bacon were late additions to the field. Silver Crown practice starts at 9 a.m. with qualifying at 10:25 and the feature set at 2 p.m. Sportsman Nationals heat races are set to go at 11 a.m.

Later Saturday, the POWRi Midgets and Micros take aim on Macon Speedway, where the program is highlighted by double features in POWRi midgets as much of the open wheel stars, such as Clauson and Christopher Bell, likely will run their own doubleheader by racing at the Springfield Mile and Macon Speedway’s legendary fifth-mile high banked layout. Billingsley Towing Modifieds, Street Stocks, Outlaw Hornets and Stock Hornets also race at Macon Speedway. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7. Tickets for the POWRi events at Macon Speedway and Lincoln Speedway are just $15 for adults. Children 11 and under are free.


On Sunday, the Central Illinois 100, also known as the Allen Crowe Memorial, is the first time the ARCA Racing Series by Menards hits the dirt for the first time this season after making stops at Daytona, Talladega, Pocono and Michigan. The 100-lapper is expected to start about 30 cars, and the race always brings drivers from varied backgrounds as they attempt to claim a win on the storied mile. A year ago, Brennan Poole captured the win after Kelly Kovski and Fike were black-flagged for jumping a late restart. Kovski is a Springfield racer who was attempting a rare win by a hometown driver on the famed mile. Practice starts at 9 a.m. with qualifying at 11:15 and the 100-lap race at 1:35 p.m. The Sportsman Nationals will also race a feature at noon.

Schrader, the Macon Speedway co-owner, will race in the Central Illinois 100, attempting to win the ARCA event at Springfield again after taking the checkered flag in 1998. He’s a three-time winner at DuQuoin, where he’s the defending champ.


                Tickets for Illinois State Fair events are on sale at the State Fair ticket office (217-782-1979) and Track Enterprises (217-764-3200). For each event, advance tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. Tickets sold on day of the race are $30 for adults and $10 for children 11 and under. Pit passes are sold race day only for $35. A two-day pass is $40. Infield tickets are sold race-day only for $20 for adults, including the $5 entry fee to the fair. Children 6-11 are $5, and children 5 and under are free.

            For more information, follow Macon Speedway at (, Facebook  ( 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 data rates may 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.



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Springfield, DuQuoin races are ‘special’ to Schrader, who will also race at Macon Saturday

2012-12-16 20.08.06
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. —  According to Ken Schrader, racing at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds is a throwback to the old days. Apparently those ‘old days’ were, and still are, very special to the 59-year-old veteran driver.
“Springfield and DuQuoin were the really big races that we went to as kids,” Schrader said. “Went to DuQuoin for the first time in ’64…slept in the back of my daddy’s station wagon. It was hard to believe that there was anything bigger. Hell, we didn’t get to go to Daytona, so, to me, there was nothing bigger than Springfield and DuQuoin. Back then, they raced ThursdayFridaySaturday and Sunday during fair week. All my heroes were there.”
And in Schrader’s eyes, the State Fair championship races at the fairgrounds still rank among the biggest and best.
“Those events today are still special to me. It’s just a different deal…with the fairs going on. The show takes on a different light. They’re special events.
“Back when we were running Cup, the crew would get the car to the fair…we’d always come up early…get together with the Allgaier’s…take Dorothy (his daughter) and Justin (Allgaier) to the fair. When the racing was done, we’d stay at the Allgaier’s house Sunday night. It was a lot of fun.”
Schrader is entered in both the 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Sunday, August 17 and in the Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds Labor Day Monday, September 1. He won at Springfield driving for Ed Rensi in 1998 and at DuQuoin three times…in 2006, 2007 and 2013 in his own Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet. Schrader’s win at DuQuoin last year marked the Fenton, Missouri native – then 58 – as the oldest ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards winner in history.
“Springfield and DuQuoin are throwbacks to the old days…it’s how our sport started at fairgrounds tracks across the country. Just regular old stock cars on dirt because that’s what we had most of back then. Fortunately, the tradition carried on.
“Most of the mile-dirts are gone, but the state of Illinois still has the mile dirt championship stock car races. Outside of the big modifieds at Syracuse, Illinois is all that’s left. In many ways, and for many great drivers, it started at Springfield and DuQuoin. These events are not only great family fun, but very important to the character and traditions of our sport.”
In typical Schrader style, he’ll race his way to Springfield.
Wednesday’s a question mark. We’ll find somewhere to race Friday…we’ll run Macon Saturday, and the ARCA race at Springfield Sunday.”
It seems like a lot for an elder statesman of the sport, but, for Schrader, it’s the norm; he’s been doing it this way for decades. With more than 700 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts and 17 career ARCA wins, he spends most of his time these days circling dirt bullrings across America in his Federated Auto Parts-sponsored dirt modified. In fact, he will already have as many as 70 races in the books this year prior to landing at Springfield. There were also at least 12 other races that were rained out. He’s won seven times so far this year, all in dirt modifieds…and all over the country.
“We’ve got seven (wins) right now…Terre Haute, the Summer Nationals in Macon, Columbus Mississippi, Flora Illinois, Hohenwald Tennessee, Escanaba Michigan and Colorado; I think that’s seven.”
Schrader is also running the entire 2014 ARCA Racing Series schedule with himself in for at least 10, rookie Matt Tifft in for eight and Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell in for two. In addition to running Springfield and DuQuoin, Schrader plans to wrap up his ARCA driving duties at Salem Speedway on September 13. Tifft will finish out the ARCA season in events at Kentucky Speedway (September 19) and Kansas Speedway (October 3).
Practice for the 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds is scheduled from 9:00-10:00 a.m. with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 11:15. The 52nd annual 100 starts at 1:30 p.m. All times are local. will feature live timing and scoring of all on-track activity as well as live flag-to-flag audio coverage of the race.  

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Clauson, Bacon join loaded field for USAC Bettenhausen 100 at state fair Saturday



Bryan Clauson and Brady Bacon, two of America’s most talented open-wheel stars, are the latest drivers to join the field for this Saturday’s “Tony Bettenhausen 100” USAC Silver Crown race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.


The expected field which could be the largest on dirt in three years will take the track for practice at 10 am Saturday, with a 100-mile race concluding the day’s activities. The race is celebrating 80 years, having debuted in 1934, making it one of America’s longest-running motorsports traditions.


Clauson, of Noblesville, Ind., will return to the series for the first time in two years piloting an entry fielded by long-time car owner Gene Nolen of Edinburgh, Ind., who has also returned to the series after a brief absence. Clauson’s last Silver Crown appearance was in October of 2012. Clauson’s two previous series victories came in 2010 and 2012 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio and he was the 2010 series “Rookie of the Year.”


            Bacon, of Broken Arrow, Okla., will make his series debut at Springfield piloting a car entered by Springfield natives Dennis and Dave McQuinn. Bacon currently stands second in the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car standings going into the August 21-23 “Sprint Car Smackdown” at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway. McQuinn, a long-time series participant, will be seeking his first series win Saturday.


Guiding Clauson’s effort will be long-time chief mechanic and car owner Keith Kunz of Columbus, Ind., whose driver Cole Whitt won at Springfield in 2009 and Kyle Larson won at DuQuoin, Ill. in 2010. Kunz’ Midget team is coming off a resounding victory by Rico Abreu at the famed Belleville (Kans.) Midget Nationals.


Clauson, who quialified for the 2012 Indy 500, is also expected to compete in the POWRi midget programs at Lincoln Speedway Friday and Macon Speedway Saturday, forming an all-star open wheel weekend. The Macon Speedway show has double features in POWRi midgets because of an earlier rainout. With the ARCA 100 at the Springfield Mile Sunday, it’s a full throttle weekend.


Two-time Springfield winner (2012-2013) A.J. Fike will have his work cut out for him Saturday if he plans to become the second driver in 80 years to score a third straight victory. Chuck Gurney was the first in 1989-1990-1991.


Challengers in addition to Clauson and Bacon include the following drivers who all have previous USAC National race wins in various series: Zach Daum, Jacob Wilson, Caleb Armstrong, Bobby East, Tracy Hines, Chris Windom, Dave Darland, Davey Ray, Russ Gamester, Jon Stanbrough, Kody Swanson, Chris Urish, John Heydenreich, Jerry Coons Jr. and Christopher Bell.


Swanson currently leads the Silver Crown standings and has won all three previous 2104 races on dirt. Urish won last year’s 100-miler at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds and Tracy Hines holds the one-lap Springfield track qualifying record of 122.846 mph.



2014 USAC Silver Crown Standings

1-Kody Swanson-345, 2-Tracy Hines-300, 3-Bobby East-291, 4-Chris Windom-243, 5-Jacob Wilson-195, 6-Jerry Coons Jr.-177, 7-Tanner Swanson-165, 8-Bobby Santos-159, 9-Caleb Armtsrong-155, 10-David Byrne-147.

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