By Brett Zerfowski
(Macon, IL) Steve Sheppard, Jr. and Guy Taylor won the Miller Distributing Lite Beer Twin 50s at Macon Speedway Saturday night. The annual event started in 1985 and Sheppard has now won a record seven times. Taylor won his first Modified 50-lapper, only the fifth in the event’s history, and became the third Taylor to win a Lite Beer Twin 50s event behind Dick Taylor and Matt Taylor.
Sheppard’s victory was impressive, leading all 50 laps and during a 29-straight green flag run, Sheppard had come close to lapping the seventh place car of the 15 starters. The race saw only three yellows and was finished in 17 minutes. Matt Taylor started second row inside and fell back to the middle of the pack after congestion slowed the red & yellow 24 but thanks to the 25 extra laps of the feature, he worked his way back up to second. John Beck, front row starter along with Sheppard, took third. Ryan Little, fastest qualifier, took fourth and finished ahead of current points leader Greg Kimmons.
The Billingsley Towing Modifieds had a more difficult time getting through the 50 laps as they proceeded to have ten cautions and their longest stretch of green flag laps was 16. The 50 laps were completed in 28 minutes as Taylor went back and forth with Dave Crawley, Jr. and Randy Huffman. Taylor took the lead from Crawley on the seventh lap and then after a caution flag, Huffman bypassed Taylor on lap 37. Another caution flag led to Taylor regaining the lead on lap 46 and held on for the final four laps.
Taylor’s victory was also his fifth of 2012 at Macon Speedway in 2012. Huffman finished second, Crawley in third. Jeremy Nichols came from 14th position to take fourth place and Danny Smith finished fifth ahead of Clark Robertson.
Dave Crawley, Jr. did win a feature Saturday night, the Sportsman 15-lap A-Main. Taking control from Dennis Vandermeersch on lap seven, Crawley steamrolled his way to the checkered flag and his third victory in the division. Defending track champion Nick Macklin finished second. Rick Roedel was in third, Vandermeersch took fourth and Tim Bedinger finished in fifth.
Jeremy Nichols won the Street Stock feature, his first since September 2011, the Street Stock Championship race. He only led one lap, the last one, as he trailed George Ewing to the 11th lap and took the lead on a Ewing spinout. Nichols became the leader with one lap to go and beat Terry Reed, Gene Reed, Mike Pundt, Jr. and Jonathan Drake to the finish line.
The 4-cylinder Hornet cars provided some of the best and most exciting racing of the evening. Jeremy Reed won his ninth of ten features and snuck by defending champion Adam Webb. Austin Harbin, 17-year-old, of Argenta, won her second career heat and her first Amateur Hornet feature as she held off two drivers in the heat (Nick Matherly and Michael Gossett) and three in the feature (Matherly, Gossett and Zach Perryman).
The evening finished just in time as Mother Nature delivered some very much needed rain. Just as the final feature completed, the skies opened and the rains fell. Nice timing.
The next show at Macon Speedway will be the third annual Building Systems of Illinois Mini Sprint Nationals and POWRi Midgets. A full stock car racing show will accompany the open wheel racers. Two weeks from Saturday is another big race for the Late Models and Modifieds with the 95Q Firecracker 40s and a huge fireworks display.