By: Clem Easterly
On a sweltering Saturday evening at Rockford Speedway, five divisions
took to the track as part of Tractor Town ‘Salute to Dad’ night. The
Father’s Day Eve racing program sent fans home happy following a great
night of short track racing which included a pair of “buzzer beating”
In the Miller Lite American Short Tracker feature, Shannon Stoltz
skipped away to an early lead in the 25 lap feature event. A steady
hand from Stotlz, coupled with congestion from second place on back,
helped the Machesney Park racer maintain a stable lead. But with 10
laps to go, points leader Franc Beldowski made his way into second and
set sail for Stoltz, with visions of a fifth feature win of the year
in his sights.
Facing a straightaway deficit, the odds seemed stacked against
Beldowski, but with three laps to go, the Rockford resident found the
leader and began a frantic tussle for the top spot. Both drivers
traded the lead multiple times in the final few circuits, with
Beldowski leading the white flag lap by the skinniest of margins. But
on the race’s final lap, Stoltz found just enough to hold off
Beldowski by inches en route the checkered flag. The win was Stoltz’s
second career American Short Tracker win and his first of 2018, while
Beldowski settled for his second runner up finish of the season. David
Russell came home in third, followed by Aaron Rude in fourth and
Destiny Genore in fifth.
The 25 lap Bargain Hunter Sportsman race was a different kind of
dramatic, with two contenders separating themselves from the pack
early and dueling side-by-side for the entire race.
Johnny Robinson II and Adam Cartwright engaged in a 25 lap game of
high-speed chess on the warm northern Illinois evening, with Robinson
holding the high line while Cartwright challenged from the bottom
groove. Robinson held off every single one of Cartwright’s challenges
while trading the lead with Cartwright three times in the final seven
laps before taking the checkered flag half a carlength ahead of
Cartwright at the conclusion of 25 laps. The win was Robinson’s second
of the season, making the Beloit resident the first repeat feature
winner in the division of 2018. Cartwright collected his best finish
since his Opening Night victory back in April with his second place
result. Rookie Richie Schinderling took third place and was followed
by Howie Ware in fourth and Terrance Robinson in fifth.
In other action Saturday night…
Max Kahler was declared the winner of the 30 lap Stanley Steemer
NASCAR Late Model feature after apparent race winner Jake Gille was
disqualified in post -race technical inspection with an illegal
carburetor. The win is Kahler’s second career and his first of 2018.
Matt Berger was credited with second place, one week after winning his
first feature of the season. Jon Reynolds Jr ended up third, with fast
qualifier Jerry Gille fourth and Tom Gille rounding out the top five.
Chad Lounsbury stayed hot in the Kickstart Roadrunner division by
winning his fourth total feature of the year. Lounsbury, a three-time
winner on Saturday nights this season, also pocketed the opening Wild
Wednesday feature earlier in the week. Points leader Kevin Memoli came
across the line in second place and was followed by Brent Garnhardt in
Reigning T.E.D. Transit Bandit champion Kelsey Dobbs finally made it
back to victory lane after winning a closely contested 20 lap feature.
Dobbs outran runner up Ross Lamont and third place Duane Lounsbury on
the way to the win.