Saturday, July 28, 2012
New Faces Grace Victory Lane at Macon Speedway
by Brett Zerfowski
MACON, Ill. -- It was the best of both worlds. Central Illinois is split with its favorite types of racing, stock cars and open wheel sprint cars. On the final Saturday of July, Macon Speedway showcased both in a rare doubleheader.
Along with the sights and sounds of the MOWA (Midwest Open Wheel Association) and the UMP Super Late Models, the Billingsley Towing Modifieds, Street Stocks and Pro & Amateur Hornets appeared on the slate.
Jason Hazlet made his way to victory lane for the first time in his career. A former track employee with a few years under his belt in different cars, Hazlet has found himself getting comfy racing in the front and he might start finding himself getting comfy in victory lane. Starting on the pole position, Hazlet led early but lost the lead to three-time feature winner Nick Macklin before coming back to take the lead on the white-flag lap. Lapped traffic helped put Hazlet back in front as Macklin slowed to avoid the cars at the tail. Hazlet, nicknamed “Jughead,” is a feature winner. Macklin took second ahead of Terry Reed, Jonathan Drake and Bobby Beiler.
Another new face to find victory lane was Maroa’s Randy Huffman. Huffman has finished runner-up to Guy Taylor a few times during 2012 but finally got things working his way and stayed ahead of the line to get the 20-lap win. All it took was keeping Taylor away from the lead spot. Huffman started along the front row with Joe Strawkas, who raced for second with Taylor, and kept the separation to avoid having the race get close. Brock Bauman finished ahead of Brian Diveley and Danny Smith in the Billingsley Towing Modified feature event.
There was a familiar face to hit the winner’s circle Saturday in the UMP Super Late Models as now three-time feature winner Steve Sheppard, Jr. came from second place to win the event. More lapped traffic caused trouble with the leader as Brian Diveley ended up losing the top spot to Sheppard and took second place. Greg Kimmons got third place and inched closer to leading the division points. Matt Taylor finished fourth and Guy Taylor was fifth, and also the highest finishing Pro Crate Late Model and received an additional cash bonus.
On the fourth and final night of the Illinois Sprint Week, the MOWA Sprint Cars put on a tremendous show and featured a 25-lap feature that had zero caution flags and a lot of passing. Danny Smith, starting second row outside, took the lead from Robbie Standridge and held off his challenge for the win. Smith, of Chillocothe, OH., won his first race of the weekly event. Standridge of Springfield was second with Bloomington, IN., resident Kody Kinser finishing third. Jerrod Hull, winner of this event in 2011 at Macon Speedway, started in 17th position and finished 6th.
In the Hornets division, Adam Webb crossed the finish line first in the Pro Hornet class for the second time this season but was disqualified and second place car Billy Justice was awarded first place and Dalton Brooks was a first-time winner in the Amateur Hornets.
A week off from stock car racing at Macon Speedway (but not racing entirely as the Hartung Powerwash Go-Kart Nationals will run next Saturday) will bring everybody back on August 11th with a full stock car racing show.