With the 2021 season just 40 days away, it’s time to take a look at the storylines we see heading into an action packed year! From here, we’ll take a deep dive into each of our 7 classes and the competitors that make them rock!
Starting out with the Restrictor class, we welcome back Bailey Chassis as the headlining sponsor of the youngster 600 division. Last season saw Jaxton Wiggs capture his championship even after missing a round in the Chase. With 13 starts last year, Jaxton took home an impressive 9 wins, but with that success comes advancement to the Sportsman and Outlaw classes leaving a void for the next champion of the class. We have a Ryder Eigenrauch and Noah Chitwood moving up from the JRs and Hunter Harris, Billy Lieb, Arik Adruskevitch, Collin Shain and Braden Pfieffer all returning with the latter 2 picking up a couple wins a piece. This class is wide open with several kids that are extremely fast. We should see multiple winners and have a tight race for the championship in October!
Let’s chase that jug of milk! Prairie Farms comes back in 2021 as the presenting sponsor of the Non Wing Outlaw division where we saw Brocton Williams capture his second title in as many years. Charlie Starnes took home runner up honors. This division is WIDE open. I expect we’ll see Brocton come back to defend his title as well as Starnes looking to steal it away. From there, we could see Jaxton Wiggs, Blake Daniels, Logan Null, Tayler Hungate and others take a look at the crown. Of course we’ll see the occasional appearance from Joe B Miller, Chris Cobin, Aiden Purdue, Jake Palmisano and others but I don’t expect them to run for the title. It’s my prediction that Tyler Rust resumes his dominance without a wings and steals this one away from Williams.
A new year brings a new era for the Sportsman Class. For the first time since its inception, competitors will be able to run this class along with other classes on the same night. Who does this bring into the class? Will we see Blake Daniels and Dalton Dowdy remain here and try to capture another title? Is it Ryan Roy or Jackson McClain’s year for their first title? I also suspect we’ll see Rick Odum a few times as well and we expect him to remain in form and capture a win or two. Gunner Shroyer is on the edge of a break out season and if it all comes together for him, I predict that Gunner takes home the crown for the Williams Auto Body Sportsman division in 2021.
The Ike Family Dealerships Junior sprint division will see a few move out and from the sounds of it, several move in to start their racing careers. Returning in 21 will be points runner up Reece Palmisano, Aiden Robinson and Titan Cobin. Cobin and Robinson have each gotten a win in 21 as well to kick start their seasons. New comers include a familiar last name in Maier with both Chris and Cody getting their sons started in the Jr Sprint class. Look for this division to once again be a toss up. I suspect we’ll once again see multiple winners with multiple wins!
We have one question for the Chemstream Race Fuels Mod-Lite division…..Who can beat Matt Filkins? Nathan Smith was able to capture the only other wins in the class last year at 3 while Filkins took home 13 wins on the year. I’m sure we’ll see Filkins with multiple wins on the 21 season, having already won at the Midwest Winter Nationals. I also believe that we’ll see Smith back in victory lane. Is there anyone that can challenge Filkins for the title? My prediction is that he takes home another title with Smith close behind. Rumors are swirling that Billy Beard could be making more trip across the river to join the fun as well. Will we see a surprise in the class? Stay tuned.
The Driven Performance Midwest, that’s right Driven Midwest, Wing Outlaw class brings back all it’s familiar names and then some. Chris Cobin, fresh off a repeat, brings a new 2021 Hyper Chassis the show ready to rip the lip. Brocton Williams has been SOOOOOO close the last 2 years and how about the speed that Logan Null showed before he changed his name to Larry?? Blake Daniels, Cale Goodwin, Jaxton Wiggs, Dalton Dowdy, this class is stacked!! 13 different winners in 20, you should expect much of the same. Joe B Miller, Austin Schaeffer, Aydn Schmidt, Jake Palmisano, Cole Tinsley, Reece Saldana, Caden Englehart…all names that can, and more than likely will, put up a dub in 21. Parity is the name of the game here but at the end of the season, my prediction is that Brocton Williams finally walks into the offseason as a champ.
This class certainly hasn’t gone down the drain…The Maier’s Tidy Bowl Dwarf division is truly becoming one of the most contested divisions at Southern Illinois Raceway. Four different winners showed up and showed out last year with Cody Maier leading the way at 8. At the end of the year however, is was Jeff Billingsley taking home the championship hardware. Add Chris Maier, Audie Murphy and THE Ralph Halleran to the mix and you never know who’s going to walk put with the win. I predict we see a tight battle for the championship again this year, Cody Maier regains form and ekes this one out though!
The Highbanks Hustle returns for it’s 9th season kicking off June 17th with practice and concluding on June 19th with Championship Night. Last year saw a dominating performance from Frank Flud becoming the first repeat winner of the prestigious race. Joe B Miller has been close so many times that his turn has to be getting close. So many names with so much potential for being crowned the Hustle King.
Following up the biggest outdoor wing race in the county is the Terry Sprague Memorial, one of the Nation’s largest non-wing outlaw shows! The TSM kick off July 29th with Practice and concludes July 31st with Championship Night. Damon Paul reached up and snatched this one after a lengthy weather delay. Paul has since moved to sprints, will he be back to defend or will we see a new winner in 21?
Other specials include:
Legends Night on April 24th where we’ll honor some of the legends of SIR.
Throwback Night and the Dwarf Special will take place on May 15th. What is Throwback Night? Whatever you want it to be! Throw it back to your favorite era. The 60s? Wear your white tee and leather jacket. The 80s? Get that hair big and wear those bright colors!
Armed Forces Night on May 29th. We honor those who have served and those who have fallen. All Active Duty and Military vets get free entry into the Grandstands on the 29th!
The Performance Electronics Prelude to the Hustle drops $1,000 to win and $100 to start on June 5th. This is an opportunity for a tune up for all Hustle competitors.
The Restrictor Special drops $500 to win pay scale on the Restricted class on June 12th.
HART makes it’s first trip to the highbanks in 21 on June 26th.
Jul 10th brings us back to action after a weekend off for Independence Day festivities and man is it a big one! The Performance Electronics Prelude to the Sprague delivers $1,000 to win and $100 to start for the Prairie Farms Non-Wing Outlaws.
July 17th brings the Rising Start/JR Sprint special night with $500 to win for the little guys!
HART rejoins us on July 24th.
On August 14th, the Sportsman class vies for a $500 payday!
The Mod-Lites get the nod the next weekend, August 21st for $500 to win.
The Chase kicks off August 28th and runs through October 2nd.
On September 11th, we pause once again as a great nation to remember the horrific acts 20 years ago and to thank those who rushed in to save. All First Responders will recieve free admission to the grandstands.