This Saturday September 9 is the night drivers and teams have been working for since the off-season. It’s the night everyone has had their eye on all the way back in April when the season kicked off.

This Saturday night is Whelen Engineering ‘Night of Champions,’ where 2017 Track Champions will be crowned in the four ‘premiere’ divisions at Rockford Speedway. Titles are on the line for the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Bargain Hunter Sportsman, Miller Lite American Short Trackers and Kickstart Roadrunners. Along with that, Rookie of the Year Awards will be handed out for the Late Models, American Short Trackers and Sportsman and a champion will be crowned for the five-race Roadrunner Challenge during the always anticipated “Outhouse Race!”

As far as the point standings go, the most uncertainty remains in the NASCAR Late Model division. Michael Bilderback currently holds a 33 point advantage over Matt Berger as Bilderback looks to become the first repeat Late Model track champion since Jerry Gille in 2008 and 2009. Berger has made a small dent in Bilderback’s point lead over the last three weeks, but still has a sizeable hill to climb headed into “Night of Champions.” Can Bilderback seal the deal or will Berger swoop in and take the championship? The Late Model Rookie of the Year point battle is also tight headed into ‘Night of Champions,’ with Max Kahler leading Dennis Smith Jr by 25 points.

The other championship still ‘up for grabs’ include the Bargain Hunter Sportsman championship, where Chad Smith is in position to grab the title. Smith currently leads Johnny Robinson II by 46 points headed into the final race of the season and just needs to keep with his season-long pace to clinch the championship. Zach Rodriguez looks to have vanquished the demons of a year ago, holding a 66 point lead in the American Short Trackers, while Josh Thiering in primed to lock up the Roadrunner championship after a dominant season.

The first 500 fans through the gates Saturday night also receive a FREE commemorative 70th Anniversary ‘Seven Time Champions’ Poster celebrating seven-time NASCAR Late Model champions John Knaus, Bobby Wilberg and Ricky Bilderback. Grandstands open at 5 PM on ‘Night of Champions,’ with racing set to begin at 7:07 PM.


Next Saturday night September 16, it’s the autumn tradition known as Miller Lite ‘Night of Thrills!” A fan favorite event for nearly 25 years, ‘Night of Thrills’ mixes motorsports with entertainment and this year’s lineup is shaping up to be one of the best yet. Leading the way are Monster Trucks, including Rockford’s own Mechanical Mischief and for the first time ever, the Barbarian Monster Truck from the state of Oklahoma. Both trucks have traveled across the United States thrilling stadiums full of fans and have also been featured on television’s ‘Monster Jam.’ The World Famous Green Mamba Jet Car returns next weekend to light up the night and the ‘Monsters of the Schoolyard’ are back with School Bus Figure 8 Racing! Along with other exhibitions and thrills, the Hornets are set to determine their champion with Double Features and the One-on-One Spectacular Drags are also scheduled.

Fans are encouraged to show up early next weekend for the Pre-Show Party, to be held on the track from 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM. The Pre Show Party gives fans the chance to meet the drivers and performers while getting up close and personal with some of the vehicles. Tickets are available in advance for Miller Lite Night of Thrills, online (, by phone (815-633-1500) or in person at the Rockford Speedway Offices during regular business hours.

Gates open at 5 PM next Saturday night, with the Thrills beginning at 7:07 PM. Don’t miss Miller Lite ‘Night of Thrills!’


The 52nd Annual National Short Track Championships are just three weeks away! This year’s version of “One Great Racing Weekend” takes place Friday September 29, Saturday September 30 and Sunday October 1. The multi-day festival includes Late Model racing all three days, with Weekly Warrior Late Models headlining Friday night, Big 8 Late Models main eventing Saturday night and the 200 lap National Short Track Championship for Super Late Models closing the curtain on Sunday afternoon. New this season is the Stanley Steemer “Late Model Challenge,” offering a $1500 bonus if one driver can win ALL THREE Late Model races during NSTC!

Eleven divisions join the party during NSTC, including the Mid-American Stock Car Series, Great Northern Sportsman Series, American Short Trackers, Roadrunners, Sportsman, Hornet/Bandit Challenge, Super Cups and Northern Vintage Series. Friday night features a NEW and EARLIER start time of 6 PM, while “Short Track Saturday Night” goes green at 5 PM and “Championship Sunday” gets rolling at 12:30 PM.

All cars get their first shot at the track on Thursday night September 28 with Open Practice from 5:30 PM until 9 PM. Grandstands are open to the public on Practice night. Overnight Parking for Campers once again is permitted for National Short Track Championships, with the Parking Lot opening up for business on Wednesday September 27 at 5 PM.

For more information on the 52nd National Short Track Championships or to order tickets in advance, please call 815-633-1500 or visit

Sat Sep 9 7:07 pm- Whelen Engineering Night of Champions LM, Sp, AST, RR plus the ‘Outhouse Race’
Sat Sept 16 7:07 pm- Miller Lite Night of Thrills featuring Mechanical Mischief & Barbarian Monster Trucks, the Green Mamba Jet Car, School Bus Racing, Hornet Double Features and MORE!
Fri Sept 29 6:00 pm- 52nd Annual National Short Track Championships “Opening Night” LM, Sp, AST, RR, Hornet/Bandit Challenge
Sat Sept 30 5:00 pm- 52nd Annual National Short Track Championships “Short Track Saturday Night” Big 8, GNSS, Vintage & Super Late Model Prelims
Sun Oct 1 12:30 pm- 52nd Annual National Short Track Championships “Championship Sunday” NSTC 200, Mid-Am & Super Cup Invite
Sat Oct 14 6:00 pm- 26th Annual Bahama Bracket Nationals
Sun Oct 15 12:00 pm- 26th Annual Bahama Bracket Nationals
Sun Oct 22 1:00 pm- 37th Annual Goblin 250 Enduro and Big Swarm Demo Derby