(Macon, IL) The 6th Annual KerbyStrong event was a successful one despite the fact that COVID-19 and the Coronavirus pandemic nearly ruined it. Kerby Damery once said, “Don’t worry about the things you can’t change.” One thing the KerbyStrong Foundation couldn’t change was the financial support from the dozens of sponsors who have been with the program for the previous five years. Instead of worrying about it, they agreed to put on the best show and have the best support they could. Kerby Damery would have been proud that the foundation followed along with one of his quotes on this night and during this 2020 racing season.
The big race of the night was the Pro Late Model division where Springfield’s Jake Little led wire-to-wire in the 30-lap feature event and pocketed the $1,000-to-win prize. Little’s race was won from the front row, opposite to the pole sitter and last year’s winner of the race Chris Dick. The race was solidly ran by the 14-car field with only two yellow flags involved, laps 11 and 27. During those green flag runs, Little dominated the race and used the top groove to pull away from Dick and Guy Taylor.
Kerby Damery’s son Blake Damery ran the race from the sixth starting position. A lengthy back-and-forth battle with Cody Maguire resulted in Damery making the pass and eventually moving to fourth on a pass of Donny Koehler. Damery changed up his numbers for the night. Usually sporting the #10 on his car, the same number of his dad, he went with the #66, which was the number of Kerby’s favorite racer growing up.
One of the Macon Speedway divisions featured its final night at the track for 2020 as the Sportsman division ran its final 15-lap event of the year. Dennis Vandermeersch was clinching the championship with his appearance on the track as Scott Landers was not able to run his car on the final night. With Vandermeersch already winning the championship, he had one more goal in mind, take the checkered flag in the KerbyStrong Sportsman feature. Starting behind Jim Farley III from the second row, Vandermeersch needed a lap to catch Farley and sprint out to the lead. Ethan Schnapp and Wes O’Dell battled for second place as the race continued along. Vandermeersch was practically unstoppable and won all by one feature at Macon Speedway for the 2020 season. For Vandermeersch, he has won four of the six Sportsman races during the KerbyStrong events including three-straight wins.
Another solid night of racing for Tommy Sheppard, Jr. in the BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds. From playing from behind in the points standings, Sheppard has made strides over the last few weeks to cut into the lead by Pro Modified driver Billy Knebel. Each week Sheppard continues to come and race and win, the points deficit shrinks. It shrunk again Saturday night as Sheppard took another checkered flag and finished four spots ahead of Knebel who moved into fifth place at the finish line due to a fourth turn collision between two cars.
With the leader and second place car running away from the group, the excitement was going for third. Danny Smith, who started ninth, moved into the third place spot with Curt Rhodes and Jacob Steinkoenig also in pursuit. Knebel was on the outside looking in. Rhodes and Steinkoenig connected off the final turn and jarred together to allow Knebel into the fifth spot ahead behind Rhodes and ahead of Steinkoenig.
Archer’s Alley Street Stock feature race winner was one happy man. Guy Taylor has been a friend and supporter of the KerbyStrong Foundation and the team since its inception and has been racing the X7 car in memory of Larry “Bub” Russell, Jr., who passed away just before the start of the season. The car has been a work in progress all season as it finally got dialed in and ran as Taylor and team has wanted it to all season. Running at the top, Taylor dashed around the 1/5th mile dirt oval and looked good doing it. Second place car Jaret Duff and Terry Reed had nothing on him. Duff would fall victim to his car slowing down and pulled off the track just six laps into the 15-lapper. The race was on for Taylor and Reed to finish and it ended in that order.
Knebel made a comeback in the Pro Modified feature and outlasted Kyle Helmick and Dalton Ewing for the win. The leader in the standings stayed ahead the group of cars chasing him down from the bottom of the track. Ewing was the only driver to really test the top of the track during that feature race. It worked enough to take him from a fifth place starting spot to a second place finish.
The night was capped off with Brady Reed taking another Hornets feature win. Reed won the 15-lap event from the pole position. Billy Mason started front row outside and took second place while Mike Eskew finished in third after starting tenth place.
One night of racing remains at Macon Speedway for its 75th Anniversary Season. An exciting six division night of racing will close out one of the oddest and most unique seasons in track history. The Pro Late Models, BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds, Archer’s Alley Street Stocks, Pro Modifieds, Micro Sprints Presented by Bailey Chassis and the Hornets will crown their champions next week in the season finale. Macon Speedway thanks the KerbyStrong Foundation for agreeing to put on the 6th Annual KerbyStrong event and thanks to Cromwell Media Group radio station 98.1 GRIZ-FM for sponsoring the night’s racing action.
Feature Results (Top 10’s)
DIRTcar Pro Late Models
1) 2 +1 Jake Little Springfield, IL 38J 2) 1 -1 Chris Dick Deland, IL 22 3) 3 – Guy Taylor Springfield, IL X 4) 6 +2 Blake Damery Blue Mound, IL 66 5) 5 – Donny Koehler Macon, IL 64 6) 4 -2 Cody Maguire Carlinville, IL 32M 7) 10 +3 Tony Harter Sherman, IL 54 8) 12 +4 Colton Billington Mclean, IL 2C 9) 13 +4 Brady Lynch Hillsboro, IL 14B 10) 11 +1 Storm Beiler Decatur, IL 33B
1) 2 +1 Tommy Sheppard Jr New Berlin, IL T6 2) 7 +5 Brian Diveley Springfield, IL 11D 3) 9 +6 Danny Smith Argenta, IL 98 4) 4 – Curt Rhodes Taylorville, IL 10 5) 12 +7 Billy Knebel Pocahontas, IL 52 6) 3 -3 Jacob Steinkoenig Highland, IL 24S 7) 6 -1 Alan Crowder Elwin, IL 87C 8) 5 -3 Chad Sellers Breese, IL E55 9) 15 +6 Clint Martin Ramsey, IL 54 10) 11 +1 Kyle Helmick Smithton, IL 27X
DIRTcar Pro Mods
1) 2 +1 Billy Knebel Pocahontas, IL 52 2) 5 +3 Dalton Ewing Decatur, IL 27 3) 4 +1 Kyle Helmick Smithton, IL 27X 4) 1 -3 Maxx Emerson Taylorville, IL 78 5) 6 +1 Ryan Timmons Centralia, IL 23 6) 8 +2 Adam Rhoades Clinton, IL 10 7) 12 +5 Andrew Depper 9 8) 11 +3 Kevin Rench Hillsboro, IL 116 9) 14 +5 Brian Burns Bethany, IL 7B 10) 9 -1 Justin Reynolds Hillsboro, IL 3X
1) 3 +2 Dennis Vander Meersch Springfield, IL 25 2) 5 +3 Ethan Schnapp Springfield, IL 2S 3) 2 -1 Wes O’Dell Springfield, IL 87 4) 1 -3 Jim Farley III Springfield, IL 84L 5) 6 +1 Danny O’Dell Springfield, IL 17 6) 4 -2 Tim Riech Petersburg, IL 55 7) 8 +1 Matt Reed Decatur, IL 4 8) (DNF) 9 +1 Ryan Blankenship Harristown, IL 13 DNS) – -2 Tony Reed Blue Mound, IL 21R DNS) – – Scott Landers Taylorville, IL 41
Archers Alley Street Stocks
1) 3 +2 Guy Taylor Springfield, IL X7 2) 5 +3 Terry Reed Cerro Gordo, IL T5 3) 2 -1 Gene Reed Hammond, IL X5 4) 4 – Zach Clark Illiopolis, IL 4 5) 12 +7 Brian Dasenbrock Jr Decatur, IL 80 6) 15 +9 Jerry Huffman Maroa, IL 36 7) 9 +2 Ryan Blankenship Harristown, IL 13 8) 14 +6 Brian Dasenbrock Decatur, IL 08 9) 13 +4 Zach Taylor Springfield, IL Z24 10) 6 -4 Tommy Pickering Cerro Gordo, IL 199
1) 1 – Brady Reed Decatur, IL 32B 2) 2 – Billy Mason Brownstown, IL 357 3) 10 +7 Mike Eskew Springfield, IL 21 4) 3 -1 Jacob Shanks Decatur, IL 31 5) 5 – Allan Harris Chatham, IL 3H 6) 7 +1 Cook Crawford Lincoln, IL 1 7) 4 -3 Bill Basso Athens, IL 44 8) 9 +1 Paul Merriman Decatur, IL 39P 9) 6 -3 Chris Hill Springfield, IL 18H 10) 8 -2 Jordan Reed Decatur, IL 98