Speedway News

Chris Kearns buys Macon Speedway

(Macon, IL) The world’s fastest 1/5-mile dirt oval will have new ownership at the helm in 2023. Macon Speedway, located in Macon, IL, has been under the leadership of Bob Sargent as owner/promoter since 1985, when he took the reins from original owner Wayne Webb. In 2007, Ken Schrader, Tony Stewart, and Kenny Wallace joined Sargent as speedway co-owners. 

Built in 1946, Macon Speedway’s 78th season of racing and beyond will now be under the ownership of Chris Kearns, longtime race official, promoter, and race enthusiast. Kearns is well known for the popular Wild West Shootout. Held in January each year, the Wild West Shootout is a six-race event which Kearns owns and promotes for National Late Models, Modifieds, and X Mods.

“Macon Speedway has been my favorite dirt track in the country, ever since I attended my first Herald & Review 100 20+ years ago. Now, owning and promoting Macon Speedway is very surreal for me,” stated Kearns.

Other notable achievements for Kearns include owning the Western Allstars Late Model Series from 2006-2007, promoting Santa Maria Speedway from 2009-2012, and working for USAC Racing for 13 years as director of CRA, Western Midgets, and West Coast Sprint Cars. Recently, Kearns has been involved with Greg Biffle’s Sand Outlaw Series and has race directed Tony Stewart’s SRX Series.

Kearns added, “I am very excited about what we can do at Macon Speedway. Track manager, Adam Mackey, and I have a great game plan to do improvements to the facility and bring some marquee events to the track, while keeping the regular Saturday night program and classes in place. We really want this to be the dirt track that everyone wants to attend.”

Kearns will follow a tenure led by Sargent, who has claimed the DIRTcar Promoter of the Year Award, National Auto Racing Promoter of the Year, and Bob Memmer Award, among many other accolades while at the helm of Macon Speedway.

Sargent and the speedway have had great working relationships over the years with many sanctioning bodies and series including DIRTcar UMP, NASCAR, World of Outlaws, POWRi, Lucas Oil Late Models, USAC, MOWA, All Star Sprints, plus Motorcycle and Monster Truck groups, and more.

Sargent explained, “I feel very fortunate to have the support I’ve had for so many years at this track, right in my hometown. From my father, who greatly enjoyed helping with construction projects, giving advice, and helping in operations to my friends and longtime officials, and sponsors who helped put it all together to give our many talented drivers a place to race.”

Sargent is not stepping away from the race promotions business, continuing as a promoter at Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, IL and Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, TN. In addition, Sargent continues as President of Track Enterprises, a racing promotions company which has a full schedule of special events from the dirt miles of Springfield and Du Quoin, to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at the Milwaukee Mile, nationally televised SRX Series races, ARCA, USAC, and more. 

“Macon Speedway has given me a great learning experience and the opportunity to expand and build a large company with Track Enterprises. We are now around 80 events in 14 states and growing,” stated Sargent.

Recently, Sargent and Track Enterprises have stepped up involvement in the asphalt late model world, purchasing the Champion Racing Association, ARCA Midwest Tour, and partnering with the Southern Super Series to create the STARS National Late Model Series.

While much of the great local racing with the several regular classes will remain unchanged, Kearns is excited to build on the excitement and overall experience for fans and drivers alike.

“I added the slogan, “Coolest Bullring in the Country”, because that is exactly how I feel about Macon Speedway. It’s a wide, high-banked 1/5-mile that has been around since 1946, with an enclosed air-conditioned bar high above turn four. How does it get any cooler than that? I love this place,” exclaimed Kearns.

The 78th season of Macon Speedway racing is set to begin with the season opener on Saturday, April 8, 2023. Marque national events along with a heavy dose of weekly racing will again be on tap, including the Decatur Building Trades Pro Late Models, BillingsleyRewards.com Modifieds, DIRTcar Pro Mods, Weddle Performance Engines Sportsman, 51 Bistro Street Stocks, DIRTcar Hornets, and Micros By Bailey Chassis.

A special meet the new owner/driver meeting will be held on Sunday, December 11th at the Macon Community Center, located at 1039 S Woodcock Rd in Macon, IL. Doors will open at 1:30 that day with the meeting at 2:00.

For continued updates and details on the new season of racing, maconracing.com as well as Macon Speedway’s social media pages on Facebook and Twitter will be the places to go.

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