Vandermeersch Goes the Distance in Sportsman Topless 40
(Macon, IL) Dennis Vandermeersch went wire-to-wire to win the Weddle Performance Engines Sportsman feature race Saturday night at Macon Speedway. For Vandermeersch, it was the second straight year that he led all 40 laps and the third year in a row winning the event.
The challenges from Wes O’Dell and Phil Moreland looked strong early but Vandermeersch pushed ahead and put his competition behind him. The closing laps saw a stronger challenge from O’Dell but Vandermeersch was too strong running the top side of the 1/5th mile dirt oval and claimed his first feature win of 2023.
The event was listed as a “Topless” race where drivers would race without the roof on the racecar. That was an optional decision by the drivers. Vandermeersch elected to keep his roof on the car but took his shirt off during the post-race interview claiming that was topless. It sure was.
Three divisions ran a leg of the Midwest Big Ten Series on Saturday—Red’s Place Modifieds, Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models and the Street Stocks.
In the Red’s Place Modifieds, Jeremy Nichols made the pass on Big Ten Series points leader Ryan Hamilton for the lead within the early laps of the race and started his quest to run away. He was successful and scored another Macon Speedway feature. The top was locked in for his car and made the most of the connection.
Rudy Zaragoza sat out last week and said he didn’t feel well. Nichols drove his car into victory lane. Zaragoza returned and the car was just as good as he held off the fierce speeds of Jaret Duff, Terry Reed and Bobby Beiler to score the Big Ten Street Stock feature win. Pole sitter Brad Peters dropped from the start as the car wasn’t running well. He would rebound through the 15-lap feature and finish fifth. A “hold your breath” moment came late in the action as Gene Reed and Megan Erwin were charging hard and fast going side by side on the back straightaway and nearing the third turn. From there, Erwin’s car would roll over and land back on her four wheels. Both drivers would be fine but the cars would be towed off the track.
Jose Parga went 5-for-5 in Big Ten Series races in the Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models class. His speed was unmatched as he maneuvered through the lapped traffic with constant competition coming behind him in Dakota Ewing and Braden Johnson. Johnson looked poised to make a serious run at the leader but fell back and Ewing passed Johnson for runner-up before the checkered flag hit the air and ended the race. Parga claimed to be having an amazing run in 2023 with 16 nights of racing and 16 checkered flags.
The Pro Modifieds saw Dalton Ewing return to the winner’s circle as he kept Guy Taylor at bay and won again.
The High School Racing Association made his second visit to the track this season and saw a new winner. Austin Adams of Shelbyville High School outlasted first time winner Garet Martz of Westervelt and newcomer Jackson Martindale from Stillman Valley.
Macon Speedway rests quiet for the final Saturday in July but returns to action August 5 with the annual Diane Bennett Memorial with Tom Bennett Family Giveback. Six divisions will race for bonus money provided by sponsors and race fans. The Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models, Red’s Place Modifieds, Street Stocks, Pro Modifieds, Micro Sprints Presented by Bailey Chassis and Hornets will all race for the bonus money in two weeks.
FEATURE RUNDOWNS (Top 10’s)
Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models
- 6P-Jose Parga; 2. 25-Dakota Ewing; 3. 14J-Braden Johnson; 4. 77-Blaise Baker; 5. 11-Ryan Miller; 6. 14-Derek Smith; 7. 28-Justin Durbin; 8. 18CC-Cameron Reynolds; 9. 12-Curtis Eller; 10. 11E-Randy Eller
Red’s Place Modifieds
- J24-Jeremy Nichols; 2. 58R-Ryan Hamilton; 3. 99-Tim Luttrell; 4. 25B-Braiden Bohlmann; 5. 9A-Austin O'Dell; 6. D98-Danny Smith; 7. 71-Jeff Graham; 8. 87C-Alan Crowder; 9. 98-Shawn Vaughn; 10. 66-Audrey Gerberding
DIRTcar Pro Mods
- 27-Dalton Ewing; 2. 4T-Guy Taylor; 3. 78-Maxx Emerson; 4. Z24-Zach Taylor; 5. 10-Adam Rhoades; 6. 11J-Jeremy Sebens; 7. 24M-Matt Milner; 8. 14E-Evan Lynch; 9. 33B-Storm Beiler; 10. 3X-Justin Reynolds
Weddle Performance Engines Sportsman
- 25-Dennis Vander Meersch; 2. 87-Wes O'Dell; 3. 07-Phil Moreland; 4. 46-Randy Huffman; 5. 51-Rick Roedel; 6. B99-Maxx Emerson; 7. 41-Scott Landers; 8. 75-Jeff Gill; 9. 11-Roy Magee; 10. 17-Barry Bell
DIRTcar Street Stocks
- 67-Rudy Zaragoza; 2. 21-Jaret Duff; 3. 11-Terry Reed; 4. 17-Bobby Beiler; 5. 78B-Brad Peters; 6. 4-Zach Clark; 7. 08-Brian R Dasenbrock; 8. 187-Korey Bailey; 9. 15W-Wyatt Lappe; 10. D7-Carter Dart
High School Racing Association
- 74-Austin Adams; 2. (DNF) 13-Jackson Martindale; 3. (DNF) 52IL-Garet Martz
Submitted By: Adam Mackey