By: Eric Huenefeld
Some things come and some things go, but through 70 years, one thing has remained constant in the Stateline region.
The summer of 2017 will mark the 70th consecutive season of racing, entertainment and family fun at Rockford Speedway. Since 1948, the quarter mile bullring located seven miles north of downtown Rockford has not only been a gathering place for racing fans from across America, but also as a showcase for the top short-track racers in our country.
The first ‘on-track’ activity of 2017 takes place Saturday April 15, with an Open Practice Session from 11 am until 2:30 pm, followed by the ‘WXRX 200’ lap enduro for 4-cylinder cars at 3 pm. One week later, the 40th Anniversary Spring Classic takes center stage Sunday afternoon April 23, featuring the Big 8 Late Model Series, Mid-American Stock Car Series and INEX Legends. Racing gets underway at 1 pm on April 23, with an 88 lap Big 8 Late Model Series feature highlighting the afternoon.
Saturday night racing, the bread-and-butter of Rockford Speedway, begins on Saturday night April 29 with the 70th NASCAR Season Opener featuring the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Bargain Hunter Sportsman, Miller Lite American Short Trackers and Kickstart Roadrunners. Saturday night racing carries on through the summer, with track champions crowned on Whelen Engineering’s ‘Night of Champions’ Saturday September 9.
Special guests on the Saturday night slate include the return of the ARCA Midwest Tour Super Late Models to Rockford Speedway for another installment of the mid-summer sprint known at the ‘Kar Korner All Star 100.’ This year’s All Star 100 takes place Saturday night July 1 and includes the ‘Star Spangled 76’ lap feature for the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models. Saturday night July 29 features the return of the Must See Racing Sprint Cars, who bring their close-quarters racing and blinding speed back to Rockford Speedway as part of the ‘Sprint Car Spectacular.’ Then, on Saturday night June 17, for the first time ever, the Midwest Compact Tour makes a stop at Rockford Speedway.
Plans are already in the works for Saturday night July 22, which is set to be the Rockford Speedway 70th Anniversary Celebration, a night featuring the four traditional Rockford Speedway divisions in action (Late Models, Sportsman, American Short Trackers and Roadrunners) plus several special guests and event and much, much more! You won’t want to miss the 70th Anniversary Celebration, so mark your calendars now!
Other fan favorites on the schedule in 2017 include; the Original Trailer Race of Destruction (Saturday June 10), the Fireworks Extravaganza (Tuesday July 4), the World Famous Figure 8 Trailer Race (Saturday August 5), Nick’s Beatin ‘n’ Bangin Boat Race (Saturday August 26) and Night of Thrills (Saturday September 16).
The 52nd National Short Track Championships return Friday September 29, Saturday September 30 and Sunday October 1, with TEN different divisions of cars slated to compete during ‘One Great Racing Weekend.’ Late Model racing headlines EACH day of the three-day festival of speed, with the return of the Weekly Warrior Late Models on Friday night along with the 108 lap Big 8 Series feature Saturday night and the 200 lap Super Late Model main event on Sunday. Make plans now to attend this traditional Midwest racing showcase!
Other schedule highlights include the 26th Annual Bahama Bracket Nationals (October 14 and 15) and the 37th Annual Goblin 250 enduro and Big Swarm Demo Derby (Sunday October 22). The popular $5 Fan Appreciation Night is back (Saturday July 8), along with Ladies Night (Saturday May 6) and Military Appreciation Night (Saturday May 20). Wild Wednesdays, the midweek racing release for all ages, return to the track starting June 14 and continuing each week through August 9. A highlight of the Wild Wednesday schedule is July 12, when the Midwest Dash Series makes their first-ever ‘in-season’ stop at Rockford Speedway as part of Airgas Wild Wednesday. Kids Nights and other staples of each summer return to the schedule too during the 2017 season.
For a complete list of all the divisions that are taking part in the 2017 Rockford Speedway racing season and for a full Schedule of Events, please visit rockfordspeedway.com and click on the ‘Schedule’ tab.