By Brett Zerfowski
(Macon, IL) It has been extremely hot in central Illinois, hot like a firecracker. Saturday night, Macon Speedway hosted the 2012 95Q Firecracker 40s, 40-lap features with the Late Models and the Billingsley Towing Modifieds, plus a full show.
Steve Sheppard, Jr., of New Berlin, won his second feature in the Late Models during 2012. His first was the Lite Beer Twin 50s two weeks ago. He likes racing the big-lap races. None bigger than the upcoming Herald & Review 100, a race he has not won in his long-time racing career.
Sheppard made the pass for the lead on the 11th lap as he passed Ryan Little, who was caught with lapped traffic, and darted away with the lead. The race featured only two caution flags and 40 laps was completed in 11 minutes. Ryan Little battled his nephew Jake Little for second for the majority of the race, Ryan stayed high while Jake went to the bottom groove. Coming through the field was Matt Taylor, who eventually took second by a nose on the final turn. Taking third was Jake Little ahead of uncle Ryan who finished fifth. Greg Kimmons was sandwiched between the Littles for fourth place.
New Berlin native Shane Tomlin’s last feature win at Macon Speedway was the 2011 Lite Beer Twin 50s race. He, also, is a fan of big-lap races in Macon. Starting behind the pole-sitter Danny Smith, Tomlin snatched the lead away from Smith on lap five and pulled ahead for the finish. The final 45 laps were all Tomlin as he bolted out to a lead nearly the size of the straight aways. Smith fell back in the field with some high side trouble and finished sixth. Dave Crawley, Jr. charged forward to get second after starting fifth. Tyler Deibert of Highland ran a consistent third place, keeping ahead of Springfield’s Ethan Schnapp and Taylorville’s Jeff Graham. The Billingsley Towing Modified feature finished in 15 minutes amid two caution flags.
The final turn of the final lap decided the Sportsman feature winner. Dennis Vandermeersch pulled past Mike Pickering in the second turn of the final lap but Pickering charged back to pull even entering the final turns and Vandermeersch won by a nose over Pickering. Nick Macklin and Rick Roedel finished third and fourth, respectively. Nick Justice of Harristown was fifth.
Mike Pickering did regroup and pull ahead for his first Street Stock feature of 2012. Running a limited schedule this season, Pickering outlasted Macklin on the bottom side of the turns for all 12 laps. Larry Russell, Jr. finished third, ahead of Brian Dasenbrock and Jeffrey Reed, Jr. Greg Osman of Macon finished a strong sixth place.
Adam Webb found Victory Lane for the first time this season in the Pro Hornets. Beating out Billy Justice and Donnie Justice for the lead and the win and along with nine-time feature winner Jeremy Reed, the former Pro Hornet Champion went to the winner’s circle. Austin Harbin held off Zach Perryman again for her second Amateur Hornet feature win of 2012.
The evening was started with an impressive flag ceremony with the United States Emergency Chaplains Corp, as they were joined in the track with veterans of conflicts and wars to hold a large American Flag on the front straight away. The evening was capped off with an amazing fireworks display by USA Fireworks of Decatur. Macon Speedway wishes to thank 95Q, 95.1 FM radio, in Decatur for their sponsorship of the event. The next show at Macon Speedway will be the 32nd Annual Herald & Review 100 with the UMP DIRTcar Summer Nationals coming to town for a 100-lap main event and $5,000-to-win race. The Billingsley Towing Modifieds will also be on the schedule.