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Macon’s Bullring the Next Flight for USAC Sprints June 28-29

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Macon, Illinois (June 26, 2024)………For decades upon decades since its 1946 construction, USAC open wheel action at the 1/5-mile bullring of Macon Speedway has been reserved solely for midget racing.

However, after a pair of back-to-back barnburners in 2023 featuring a regularity of three-wide racing and a photo finish to salivate over, it’s safe to say there’s a place in the heart of central Illinois for USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car racing.

Now, the time has come to return for Top Gun Weekend 2024 featuring reigning Macon winners Mitchel Moles and Brady Bacon, plus a number of other pilots gunning to land Friday’s $5,000 and Saturday’s $10,000 top prize on June 28-29.

Here’s six top-flight storylines we have on our radar this weekend at Macon!

MOLES’ EASTERN STORM MOMENTUM MOVES WEST

Mitchel Moles is riding high after his recent USAC Eastern Storm championship and enters Macon on a hot streak of five consecutive top-five finishes with the series.

He’ll always be the answer to the trivia question of “Who won the first ever USAC National Sprint Car feature at Macon?” His victory on the opening night of Macon weekend in July of 2023 came in photo finish fashion by 0.093 seconds over Carson Garrett.

Macon served as Moles’ most recent USAC victory, 37 races ago. It was a 34-race winless streak that Moles ended one year ago. He’s chasing a bit of history as well. Dating back to 2007, no driver has ever won one of the first two races on the schedule following their Eastern Storm title.  Moles is primed to wipe that stat out of the record book this weekend.

MACON BACON AGAIN?

Macon’s most recent USAC National Sprint Car winner is Brady Bacon who led the final 33 laps to become the “Top Gun” in 2023 a mere 24 hours after he and his car sat upside down up in a crumpled heap following a meeting with the turn two outside wall.

Bacon bounced back the following night to become a new USAC National Sprint Car record holder in terms of the number of different states he’s won a feature in, a mark he’s now pushed to 15 after winning in mid-June at New Jersey’s Bridgeport Motorsports Park.

Bacon has also won at Macon in POWRi Midget competition, doing so in 2013. Now, Bacon aims to continue his rise over the past month of USAC Sprint Car racing which has seen him earn nine top-five results in an 11-race span.

A NOSE FOR THE BULLRING

Logan Seavey’s most recent visit to Macon Speedway came last August where he proceeded to lead all 30 laps en route to his first USAC National Midget victory at the track.

Now the Sutter, Calif. native is vying to become the first driver to win in both a USAC National Sprint Car and a USAC National Midget at the Macon oval.

He ran 5th on the second of two nights at Macon with the sprint car in 2023, and on night one, briefly held the one-lap track record for a day following a spectacular qualifying run.

Seavey used his Macon victory as a springboard toward a USAC National Midget championship at season’s end in 2023, and now he’d like to do the same with the USAC National Sprint Cars as he currently leads the standings by a 21-point margin.

REVOLUTION #9

Kyle Cummins took it right to the edge during a qualifying session in 2023 at Macon. His lap of 10.085 seconds turned out to be the quickest ever turned in USAC National Sprint Car competition, which dates back to 1956.

Getting into the 10.0 second bracket begged the question of whether a 9-second lap was within the realm of possibility. It’s certainly not out of the question to say that’s a resounding “yes!” However, achieving it will require a near perfect lap.

As it turned out, Cummins imperfect lap on the final circuit of Macon’s 2023 opening night feature provided, perhaps, the biggest thrill of the weekend as he went high side off turn four in a three-wide attempt for the win but wound up flipping the length of the straightaway after contact with the outside wall, crossing the finish line upside down, mind you, with third-place honors.

Cummins bounced back the next night with another third-place finish. This weekend, he’s vying for his first win of the USAC season and his first for the new Petty Performance Racing team. Cummins is among the few in the field who has won a feature event at Macon, taking a POWRi Midget round at the track in May of 2022.

MAKIN’ A NEW FIRST TIME WINNER AT MACON

Carson Garrett came within a whisker of achieving his first career USAC feature victory at Macon in 2023, and was leading with two laps to go before coming up inches short (0.093 seconds) of Mitchel Moles at the stripe.

Garrett (Littleton, Colo.) remains in the group of drivers aiming to pick off USAC National Sprint Car win number one when the time comes this weekend, a list that includes the likes of Joey Amantea (Mount Pocono, Pa.), Mario Clouser (Auburn, Ill.), leading series Rookie Hunter Maddox (Bedford, Ind.),  Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.), Mitch Wissmiller (Saybrook, Ill.), Colten Cottle (Kansas, Ill) and Nic Harris (Atlanta, Ill.), just to name a few.

Three drivers have won their first USAC National Midget features at Macon over the years: Don Boorse (1959), Donnie Beechler (1991) and Randy Koch (1996).

LONG RUN ON THE SHORT TRACK

A distance of 40 and 50 laps used to be the norm in days gone by for USAC National Sprint Car racing. However, this weekend, both rare distances are on tap with a 40-lap main event on Friday followed by a 50-lap finale on Saturday.

Logan Seavey has captured two of the three 40-lap USAC National Sprint Car features held this year, in May at Circle City Raceway and in June at Action Track USA.

This weekend also presents the only 50-lapper of the USAC Sprint season.  In this weekend’s field, only Brady Bacon has captured a 50-lap USAC Sprint win in his career, and it came at Macon one year ago. Justin Grant, C.J. Leary, Logan Seavey and Daison Pursley have all won 50-lap USAC National features in their careers. With that said, all of those came in USAC Silver Crown competition.

In all, 50-lap USAC National Sprint Car events are a novelty, especially since the turn of the century in 2000. Since that time, just five dirt 50-lap USAC Sprint Car races have been held. In total, 432 40-lappers have been contested by the series and 165 50-lappers since 1956.

As a change from last year’s program, both Macon events this weekend will feature full points toward the 2024 USAC National Sprint Car championship standings. In 2023, the offering was appearance points only.

RACE DETAILS:

Top Gun Weekend features the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship on Friday and Saturday night, June 28-29, at Illinois’ Macon Speedway.

Both nights, the pits open at 3pm Central with the front gates opening at 4pm and cars on track at 6pm followed by qualifying and racing.

General admission tickets are $30. General admission tickets for kids age 10 & under are $10. Pit passes are $45. Pit passes for kids age 10 & under are $25. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.maconracing.com.

The entire weekend of USAC National Sprint Car racing at Macon can be watched LIVE on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/usac.

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Logan Seavey-1406, 2-C.J. Leary-1385, 3-Brady Bacon-1361, 4-Kevin Thomas Jr.-1354, 5-Daison Pursley-1329, 6-Mitchel Moles-1225, 7-Justin Grant-1221, 8-Robert Ballou-1202, 9-Kyle Cummins-1173, 10-Jake Swanson-1065.