MACON – It’s a tradition in Central Illinois. Late model stock cars rev their ear-splitting engines to salute the calendar flipping from June to July.
The heat of summer marks the month-long DIRTCar Summer Nationals, better known as “The Hell Tour,” and that includes the annual Herald & Review 100 at Macon Speedway.
The 36th annual Herald & Review 100 is coming up this week, to be run on Thursday, July 7.
But before the green flag drops on that 100-lapper, there’s auto racing tonight at Macon Speedway, then a special late model show Sunday night at Lincoln.
At Macon Speedway tonight, the open-wheel POWRi National Midgets and Micros will swing into action along with stock cars in UMP Pro Late Models, UMP Hornets and a Big Ten Street Stock event.
Macon has shown no favorites in three previous POWRi races this season. Three different drivers have taken the checkered flag starting with Andrew Felker of Carl Junction, Mo., Spencer Bayston of Lebanon, Ind., and Carson Macedo of Leemoore, Ca.
In the Micros division, the points leader is Nathan Benson of Concordia, Mo., but local race fans will be pulling for Jeremy Camp from Blue Mound. He has a pair of victories this season including one at Macon and another at Lincoln.
The UMP Pro Late Models will feature Springfield’s Matt Taylor, who came from the fifth starting spot to win last weekend.
In the Street Stocks division, Dave Crawley, Jr., of Decatur leads the point standings over Kyle Waters and Terry Reed.
And in the Hornets, Tony Reed leads the points chase and is trying to get his car ready after a crash in last weekend’s feature.
Pit gets open at 3 p.m., today, grandstands at 5 and racing will begin at 7 p.m. Admission tonight at Macon is $15 for adults. Children age 11 and under are admitted free.
The rare Sunday night race date at Lincoln Speedway will feature some of the best late models drivers in the country.
The occasion is a pair of combined showdowns this weekend between the World of Outlaw Late Model Series and the Summer Nationals Hell Tour.
The drivers will go at it tonight in Pevely, Mo., then converge on Lincoln Speedway Sunday in a race that will pay $8,000 to win. The show is expected to be the biggest in the 13-year history of Lincoln Speedway.
So far, 11 events have been completed on this year’s Summer Nationals Hell Tour.
Oakwood driver Bobby Pierce, the 2015 Tour champion, is on fire, having won six times including Wednesday at Belle Clair Speedway in Belleville.
Thursday’s race in Springfield, Mo., was rained out and the drivers were scheduled to race Friday night at the Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown.
After racing in Pevely, Mo., on Saturday and at Lincoln on Sunday, the Tour goes to LaSalle on Monday, Boswell, Ind., on Tuesday and Peoria on Wednesday before arriving at Macon Speedway for the Herald & Review 100 on Thursday.
Pierce has been nearly unstoppable and is expected to be the favorite in Lincoln on Sunday for what is being billed as the “Graue Chevrolet Showdown.”
Also racing at Lincoln Sunday will be the Summit National Modifieds and UMP B-Mods.
Pits open at 2 and grandstands at 3. Qualifying will begin at 6 p.m., with racing set to start at 6:30. General admission will be $30. Children age 11 and under will be admitted for $5.