(Macon, IL) Jeremy Nichols of Lovington started his 2021 racing season in victory lane in consecutive races. Nichols got the front row outside assignment to begin in the Weddle Performance Engines Sportsman division and pulled away for a 15-lap feature win. Nichols, a former champion in the division, had to hold off Scott Landers and Dennis Vandermeersch, also former division champions. After finishing off the Sportsman race, Nichols conducted a brief victory lane interview and then hopped back into the car and from the same starting position led all 15 laps in the Archer's Alley Street Stock feature event.
Nichols had more to work through in the Street Stock feature. After being winded from the first feature, the Street Stock race featured many cautions and pauses which kept Nichols on the track longer. The race picked up momentum and scored seven consecutive green flag laps and Nichols opened up the lead over former champion Terry Reed. He would go on to lead and win 30 consecutive laps and take the lead in the divisions with the 2021 points standings.
The Pro Modifieds featured a special $1,000-to-win attraction for Opening Night and the race was a special 20-lap event. Following a caution-plagued Street Stock feature, the Pro Modifieds had zero troubles and ran the entire 20-lap event without a caution flag. Fairview Heights native Ryan Hamilton led from wire-to-wire to win the big money. The 18-year-old started racing in the Kid Modz at Macon Speedway and advanced his racing career to a $1,000 payday in the Pro Modifieds.
The 2021 season opened up the same way that the 2020 season ended as the BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds took the checkered flag. Defending two-time track champion Tommy Sheppard, Jr. of New Berlin carried the winner's flag and has won six consecutive features at Macon Speedway dating back to the end of the previous season. Sheppard also won his heat race in a back and forth 8 laps with Guy Taylor. Taylor was closing in on Sheppard in the race's final laps but ran out of time.
Jose Parga got his 2021 season started off on the right foot with the Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Model division. A feature win on Opening Night is the best start one can ask for and Parga coasted into the lead and held off Jake Little and race partner Dakota Ewing for the 20-lap event.
The 76th consecutive season opener was capped off with a side-by-side finish in the Hornet division. Allen Harris beat Billy Mason to the finish line in dramatic fashion for his first victory in his short career. Harris came from the back after getting tangled with Mason and spinning him around to get sent to the rear. With few laps remaining, Harris was fast and back to the front to challenge for the lead which he would take coming out to the checkered flag from the fourth turn.
Opening Night is always a special night. Memories and old faces get revisited. The night also featured the return of the Specator Drags--an intermission event which sees fans from the stands drive their own cars on Macon Speedway in a one-lap dash to win. Four drivers tested the high banks to try to win the trophy but it was Eric Nohrem won two races in a 2005 Chrysler 300C but it was the championship round that stood out as the memory-keeper. Racing against a driver named D.C. in a 2003 Cadillac Escalade, Nohrem on the high side was fast enough to win but as they were slowing into the first and second turns the SUV rose off its left wheels and rolled. The driver would be fine but the car would not be so fortunate. Truth be told, you never know what you'll see when you go to Mighty Macon Speedway.
A six-division night to start off 2021 saw nearly 100 racecars in the pit area with a full crowd on a chilly mid-April evening. Next up for Macon Speedway is a biggie: the Lucas Oil Late Model Series comes to the track for a special $15,000-to-win event. The Billingsleyrewards.com Modifieds will run for $1,000-to-win and the Pro Modifieds will go for $300-to-win as the track closes out the first month of the season.
FEATURE RUNDOWNS (Top 10’s)
Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models
1. 6P-Jose Parga[New Berlin]; 2. 25-Dakota Ewing[Warrensburg]; 3. 38J-Jake Little[Springfield]; 4. 32M-Cody Maguire[Carlinville]; 5. 27-Colby Sheppard[Williamsville]; 6. 64-Donny Koehler[Macon]; 7. 7-Steven Reinacher[Pocahontas]; 8. 14J-Braden Johnson[Taylorville]; 9. 14-Derek Smith[Decatur]; 10. (DNF) 22-Chris Dick[Deland]
1. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr[New Berlin]; 2. 77-Guy Taylor[Springfield]; 3. 87C-Alan Crowder[Elwin]; 4. N59-Chad Evans[Mattoon]; 5. 18-Jarrett Stryker[Millstadt]; 6. 36-Nick Justice[Decatur]; 7. 52-Billy Knebel[Pocahontas]; 8. 4M-Clint Martin[Ramsey]; 9. 27-Dalton Ewing[Decatur]; 10. 27X-Kyle Helmick[Smithton]
DIRTcar Pro Mods
1. 58R-Ryan Hamilton[Fairview Heights]; 2. 52-Billy Knebel[Pocahontas]; 3. 27X-Kyle Helmick[Smithton]; 4. 15C-Kevin Crowder[Argenta]; 5. 36-Nick Justice[Decatur]; 6. 14N-Nathan Lynch[Hillsboro]; 7. 215-Jake Montgomery[East Peoria]; 8. 37-Billy Justice Jr[Cerro Gordo]; 9. 33-Josh Robb[Mt. Zion]; 10. 7B-Brian Burns[Bethany]
Weddle Performance Engines Sportsman
1. 01-Jeremy Nichols[Lovington]; 2. 25-Dennis Vander Meersch[Springfield]; 3. 41-Scott Landers[Taylorville]; 4. 84L-Jim Farley III[Springfield]; 5. 11R-Rick Roedel[Shelbyville]; 6. (DNF) 42-Brandon Dick[Decatur]; 7. (DNF) 61-Stefan Bedinger[Taylorville]; 8. (DNS) 55-Tim Riech; 9. (DNS) 12M-Terry Myers; 10. (DNS) 11-Roy Magee
Archers Alley Street Stocks
1. 01-Jeremy Nichols[Lovington]; 2. 11-Terry Reed[Cerro Gordo]; 3. X7-Guy Taylor[Springfield]; 4. 22-Darrell Dick[Monticello]; 5. 16-Nick Macklin[Argenta]; 6. 21-Jaret Duff[Maroa]; 7. 14-Megan Erwin[Attica, IN]; 8. 4-Zach Clark[Illiopolis]; 9. 08-Brian Dasenbrock[Decatur]; 10. 21R-Dustin Reed[Decatur]
1. 3H-Allan Harris[Chatham]; 2. 357-Billy Mason[Brownstown]; 3. 324-Shelby Beiler[Macon]; 4. 64CK-Cook Crawford[Lincoln]; 5. 44-Bill Basso[Athens]; 6. 13-Kyle Keller[Oakley]; 7. 21M-Joe McChristy[Mt Zion]; 8. X-Jessica Lowe[Springfield]