MACON, Ill. — The final race night of the Macon Speedway season completed just before midnight on Saturday and not because the night was drawn out with lengthy intermissions or late starts. 143 race cars covering seven racing divisions flooded the pit area and provided race fans one final lasting memory before the high-banked dirt oval will fall silent for the next six months.
The return of the Diane Bennett Memorial and Tom Bennett Fan Giveback brought races from all over Illinois as well as Missouri and Indiana to test their luck on the “Coolest Bullring in the Country.” Along with the Bennett Memorial race night, it was also the Brandt Season Championship which saw six Macon Speedway divisions crown champions.
Braden Johnson would fall second in the Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Model 40-lap feature but would hoist the checkered flag in glory of his first track championship at Macon Speedway. The driver would win four features during the course of the season but couldn’t manage the pass around Dakota Ewing to get No. 5. Ewing’s Pro Late Model was smooth across the top of the track to secure his second feature of the year.
Tim Luttrell caught fire during the season and ran his way to five feature wins and the points lead going into the final week. Luttrell’s third place finish in the 30-lap Red’s Place Modifieds feature event was enough to help him capture his first track championship. Jeremy Nichols made a pass on Missouri driver Damian Kiefer for the lead on lap 13 and then Kiefer was crashed into by a lapped car that led to his car getting mangled and taken into the infield. Austin Lynn kept pace with Nichols for the lead but finished runner-up.
Dalton Ewing won not only the feature but the Pro Modified track championship as he passed Guy Taylor in the late stages of the race to cement his 2023 legacy. His brother Dakota has won a Pro Late Model championship and his father Steve has won championships in Modifieds and Street Stocks. Dalton is a Pro Modified champion with the help of seven feature wins during the season.
Plenty of excitement occurred in the Weddle Performance Engines Sportsman Division as Wes O’Dell was hanging on by two points over Randy Huffman for the championship. O’Dell finished a spot behind Huffman to draw their point totals to even but because O’Dell had five feature wins, he owned the tie-breaker and claimed the championship for the season. Former track champion Dennis Vandermeersch rushed to the top of the track to pass Steven Mattingly, who won last week during KerbyStrong, and ran away with the race for his second feature win of the season.
The night also saw the return of a former Macon Speedway legend Jeff Leka. The former Modified National Champion returned to race in the Street Stocks class in the Rudy Zaragoza 67R race car and had a good night winning his heat and also his feature. The top of the track worked well for Leka and not so well for Bobby Beiler, the second place driver who would claim the Street Stock championship.
The Hornets saw Tristin Quinlan return to championship glory. The Decatur champion kept his distance from Billy Mason en route to his second consecutive Hornet title. Quinlan’s other Hornet was also in action Saturday night and was driven by former Hornet National Champion as well as Macon Speedway Hornet champion in Adam Webb.
The night also included the winged Micro Sprints Presented by Bailey Chassis. Jeremy Camp led all 15 laps and the race went green flag to checkered flag in a mere three minutes. It was among the fastest races of the night, if not the entire season. The Sullivan driver coasted from the pole position to reach the checkered flag.