(Macon, IL) The 7th edition of the annual racing event named after former track champion Kerby Damery worked wonders once again in central Illinois on Saturday. The event that has been held regularly in July was moved to September in 2020 and stayed there during the 2021 schedule. Kerby’s widow Nikki has started each KerbyStrong event with a speech about the KerbyStrong Foundation’s importance as well as getting checked for cancer.
Kerby Damery loved to race Macon Speedway’s fast 1/5th mile dirt track and won championships in the Sportsman division and the Late Model division during his years as a driver. For that, KerbyStrong has honored those divisions as well as the Modified class with special purses and added laps during its years. Saturday night, the Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Model division would run a 40-lap feature for $1,200-to-win. Bonus money was put together by local businesses Phoenix Tile and Decatur Battery. And Jose Parga was indeed grateful.
Parga started the 40-lapper on the pole but would battle for the lead with Billy Knebel, who was racing in a Pro Late Model for the first time at Macon. Knebel would look to hold the lead out of the beginning of the race and was strong. However, a slip-up in the second turn coming to lap 16 put Parga in front and he charged away with the win.
The 15-lap feature for the Weddle Performance Engines Sportsman division was filled with unique situations and a late lead change that took a checkered flag away from Guy Taylor. Taylor started fifth in the feature and worked his way to the lead racing with Jeff Reed, Jr. for the top spot. Caution flags flew to slow the pace of the race and caused some cars to leave the track, including Scott Landers, the second place driver in the division points, who left with a flat tire. As Taylor charged for the win, Tommy Duncan came charging from the back to take the lead and the win. Duncan had to be towed off the track in the heat race and came back to start last in the feature. He was starting 19th and ran up the field to take the lead with two laps remaining.
Guy Taylor was a crazy man on Saturday night. All season long, he has raced consistently in three divisions: BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds, Pro Modifieds and the Archer’s Alley Street Stocks. During KerbyStrong, he raced five of the six classes as he put his Street Stock in the Sportsman class and won his heat and finished second in the feature. He placed fourth in the Pro Late Model feature and he would get the checkered flag in the Modified feature race. Taylor charged hard for the lead and the win as he opened up early against Jeremy Nichols, Zach Rhodes and newcomer Mason Duncan. The race kept green flag racing to allow Taylor to open his lead. The race then turned to second place as Kyle Helmick, the ninth place starter and Pro Modified racer, challenging for second place with Nichols. Nichols made a mistake in the second turn of the final lap and it allowed Helmick to take the runner up position.
Helmick would take the winner’s circle in the Pro Modified feature race earlier in the evening. After making the pass on Kevin Crowder who pulled into the infield with a broken racecar early on, Helmick led the 14-car field around the track for another feature win.
The Archer’s Alley Street Stocks class was filled with potential winners and drivers who have tasted the glory of winning. The 15-lapper on Saturday was tasted by somebody who hasn’t had that taste in a long while. Maroa’s Randy Huffman has been a long-time racer and solid competitor, just hasn’t been able to win the races, until Saturday night. Alongside Guy Taylor and positioning himself ahead of Terry Reed and Nick Macklin, Huffman took to the bottom and stayed clean for the full race to make his night happen. Reed gave it everything he could to get around Huffman but he ran out of time. Macklin had to pull off the track for a tire change and came back to start last. Some crafty racing and speed caught him back up to third place when the checkered flag hit the air.
The final race of the evening was the Hornet class and Michael McKay scored his third feature win of the season. The race was a quick 15-lap event as there were no cautions and plenty of action. Shelby Beiler, Billy Mason, Allan Harris and McKay were all closing in for the lead but with the help of no cautions and clean racing between points leader Harris, McKay got across the line first.
The evening was filled with success for the KerbyStrong Foundation again. Over $1,000 was raised for the 50/50 raffle. Awareness was created about getting checked out for cancers. Sponsors added money to purses and created a Dash for Cash for the Pro Late Models. Kerby Damery’s legacy will continue to live on through this year’s quote: “The best things in life aren’t things at all.”
The 2021 Macon Speedway season completes next Saturday with the Brandt Season Championships for the Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models, BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds, Weddle Performance Engines Sportsman, Archer’s Alley Street Stocks, Pro Modifieds and Hornets. Many championships are already decided while others will need the final night to sort out the rightful champ.
Decatur Building Trades Big 10 Pro Late Models
- 6P-Jose Parga[New Berlin, IL]; 2. 7-Billy Knebel[Pocahontas, IL]; 3. 14J-Braden Johnson[Taylorville, IL]; 4. 134-Guy Taylor[Springfield, IL]; 5. 27-Colby Sheppard[Williamsville, IL]; 6. 77-Blaise Baker[Clinton, IL]; 7. 10-Blake Damery[Blue Mound, IL]; 8. 64-Donny Koehler[Macon, IL]; 9. 5B-Brandon Sweitzer[Lincoln, IL]; 10. 14-Derek Smith[Decatur, IL]
- 77-Guy Taylor[Springfield, IL]; 2. 27X-Kyle Helmick[Smithton, IL]; 3. 19C-Jeremy Nichols[Lovington, IL]; 4. 52-Billy Knebel[Pocahontas, IL]; 5. 95-Rodney Standerfer[Summerfield, IL]; 6. 32-Mason Duncan[Metamora, IL]; 7. 11-Zach Rhodes[Taylorville, IL]; 8. 98-Danny Smith[Argenta, IL]; 9. 87C-Alan Crowder[Elwin, IL]; 10. 78-Maxx Emerson[Taylorville, IL]
DIRTcar Pro Mods
- 27X-Kyle Helmick[Smithton, IL]; 2. 52-Billy Knebel[Pocahontas, IL]; 3. 14E-Evan Lynch[Hillsboro, IL]; 4. 3X-Justin Reynolds[Hillsboro, IL]; 5. 11-Roy Magee[Springfield, IL]; 6. 10-Adam Rhoades[Clinton, IL]; 7. 116-Kevin Rench[Hillsboro, IL]; 8. 4-William Lowe[Springfield, IL]; 9. 11A-Amanda Adams[Shelbyville, IL]; 10. (DNF) 24-Guy Taylor[Springfield, IL]
Weddle Performance Engines Sportsman
- 32-Tommy Duncan[Metamora, IL]; 2. X7-Guy Taylor[Springfield, IL]; 3. 53R-Jeff Reed Jr[Blue Mound, IL]; 4. 87-Wes O’Dell[Springfield, IL]; 5. 84L-Jim Farley III[Springfield, IL]; 6. Z24-Zach Taylor[Springfield, IL]; 7. 11-Rick Roedel[Shelbyville, IL]; 8. 55-Tim Riech[Petersburg, IL]; 9. 11M-Roy Magee[Springfield, IL]; 10. 4-Matt Reed[Decatur, IL]
Archers Alley Street Stocks
- 46-Randy Huffman[Maroa, IL]; 2. 11-Terry Reed[Cerro Gordo, IL]; 3. 16-Nick Macklin[Argenta, IL]; 4. X7-Guy Taylor[Springfield, IL]; 5. Z24-Zach Taylor[Springfield, IL]; 6. 22-Darrell Dick[Monticello, IL]; 7. R1-Megan Erwin[Attica, IN]; 8. J98-Jordan Smith[Argenta, IL]; 9. 67-Rudy Zaragoza[Jacksonville, IL]; 10. 08-Brian Dasenbrock Jr[Decatur, IL]
- 26A-Michael McKay[Springfield, IL]; 2. 3H-Allan Harris[Chatham, IL]; 3. 324-Shelby Beiler[Macon, IL]; 4. 357-Billy Mason[Brownstown, IL]; 5. J13-Justin Coffey[Stonington, IL]; 6. X-Nick Lowe[Springfield, IL]; 7. 313-Gabe Rusher[Stonington, IL]; 8. 2-Jordan Reed[Decatur, IL]; 9. 63-Paul Peters[Pana, IL]; 10. 24M-Kagome Brown[Shelbyville, IL]