METRO MEDICAL ‘KIDS NIGHT’ THIS SATURDAY!

The second ‘Kids Night’ of 2014 happens this Saturday night June 7 at Rockford Speedway and there’s a little something for everyone. Kids 11 & under are admitted FREE on Kids Night plus this week, some lucky kids may get to be part of the show! For the first time ever, Lightning Bolt Jr and Tennessee Tow Mator will hit the track, putting on an exciting and interactive show for those in attendance. Lightning Bolt Jr will employ the help of a ‘Kiddie Krew’ Saturday night and it could be you! Metro Medical Kids Night is set to be a busy night on track, with the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Bargain Hunter Sportsman and Kickstart Roadrunners in action, along with the American Super Cup Series and the Hornets plus the Sam’s Drive-In Roadrunner Challenge ‘2nd Over The Line Wins’ race! It’s sure to be a fun night for the young and the young at heart, this Saturday night at Rockford Speedway during Metro Medical Kids Night!

HERE COMES THE TRAILER RACE!

Next Saturday night June 14, Kar Korner presents the ‘Original Trailer Race of Destruction,’ the one-of-a-kind rolling demo derby known nationwide featuring cars, trucks and vans pulling boats, campers & travel trailers, smashing and bashing into each other ‘til the last trailer trails!’ If you’ve witnessed a Trailer Race in person before, you want to see one again. If you’ve never experienced a Trailer Race up close and personal, you’ve simply got to see it to believe it! Advanced tickets are available NOW for the Original Trailer Race of Destruction at rockfordspeedway.tix.com and by phone at 815-633-1500. Preferred Seating is available near the start/finish area, Preferred Seating for ages 12 and up is $24, while Preferred Seating for ages 11 and under is $12. Reserved Seating for ages 12 and over is $18, while Reserved Seating for ages 11 and under is $9. General Admission Bleacher seating is $15 for ages 12 and over, while General Admission Bleacher Seating for ages 11 and under is just $5. You’ve seen it on TV, you’ve heard about it, now experience it for yourself! Kar Korner’s ‘Original Trailer Race of Destruction,’ next Saturday night June 14!

‘WILD WEDNESDAYS’ RETURN JUNE 11!

This Wednesday June 11 marks the return of ‘Wild Wednesdays’ to Rockford Speedway! ‘Wild Wednesdays’ feature racing and fun during the midweek and feature several bargains for fans young and old! The opening ‘Wild Wednesday’ on June 11 is ‘Student Night,’ where students receive FREE admission with a valid Student ID. Adult admission is just $9 on Wednesday nights and every ‘Wild Wednesday’ is also a Miller Lite ‘Dollar Beer Night!’ Racing includes the Roadrunner Super Summer Series, Bandits, Winged Women on Wheels, Wednesday Night Super Cup Series and the MisFits. Also in action will be the ‘wild & crazy’ Figure 8 racers and the One-on-One Spectacular Drags! Gates open at 5:30 PM with the green flag flying at 7:07 PM. It’s a midweek release for race fans and people who just want to have some fun, ‘Wild Wednesdays’ at Rockford Speedway, beginning this Wednesday June 11 and running through Wednesday August 6!

Upcoming Events
Sat June 7 7:07 pm- Metro Medical Kids Night featuring Lightning Bolt Jr and Tennessee Toe-Mator
Wed June 11 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Wed June 11 7:07 pm- Wild Wednesday Opener ‘Student Night’ (Free Admission with Student ID)
Sat June 14 7:07 pm- Kar Korner presents The Original Trailer Race of Destruction
Wed June 18 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Wed June 18 7:07 pm- Wild Wednesday Special Needs Night
Sat June 21 7:07 pm- Instant Jungle Scout Night plus a 100 lap Enduro

PAPINI’S STREAK REMAINS ALIVE WITH WIN NUMBER FIVE!

(Photo: Kim Kemperman)

By: Eric Huenefeld

Loves Park Motorsports Night at the Rockford Speedway was presented in part by the number ‘five.’

Saturday night’s racing event marked the first race in this season’s Gilley’s ‘Cool 5’ series. The evening also marked the continuation of defending Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model track champion Alex Papini’s impressive winning streak, which stretched to five consecutive wins.

Starting from the seventh position in the 30 lap sprint, Papini used his speed and a timely caution to climb to the front of the field. By lap 12, Papini challenged outside pole sitter Wayne Freimund for the race lead. Within a lap and a half, Papini wrestled the lead away from Freimund and assumed the top spot. Behind Papini, the battling was intense for second and third, as three-time track champion Jerry Gille and ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr waged a hard-fought battle for the runner up position. After several laps of back and forth racing, Reynolds nabbed second spot from Gille.

Papini went unchallenged to the checkered flag, with Reynolds five car lengths behind in second place and Gille third. Veteran racer Mike Beyer turned in a solid run in his first race this season, taking fourth place following a hectic late-race battle with seven-time track champion Ricky Bilderback and Wayne Freimund. Freimund stole fifth from Bilderback in the race’s final laps.

Belvidere’s Brett McCoy is making his presence known this season in the Bargain Hunter Sportsman division. Saturday night, McCoy captured his third feature win in four tries, outrunning Pat Featherston for the trophy in the divisions 25 lap feature race. McCoy started the race on the pole, but lost his bid for the lead at the start from fellow front-row starter Daryl Gerke. Gerke paced the race’s first eight laps, but by lap six McCoy was primed to make a move for the race lead. Two laps later, McCoy was able to get by Gerke and put his machine at the front of the field.

The race featured one scary incident, as teenager Deanna Chandler’s engine let go, causing her to lose control of her racer in turn three. As the engine expired and Chandler began to slide towards the wall, her open-wheeled machine erupted into flames, with Chandler’s car becoming a fireball as it hurdled toward the turn three wall. Chandler’s car was harmed, but the young female driver was able to exit her car under her own power and was okay.

The red flag and ensuing restart brought the field close to the bumper of McCoy, but no one was able to make a move for his race lead in the final 14 laps. McCoy cruised to the win, with Featherston turning in another solid run in second place, followed by Howie Ware in third. Nick Letsinger came home fourth, his best ever Sportsman feature finish, while Johnny Robinson II rounded out the top five.

2013 Miller Lite American Short Tracker champion Nick Cina Jr returned to victory lane Saturday night, taking top honors in the division’s 25 lap feature event. Cina inherited the lead following an incident just past the race’s halfway point which included then-race leader Kelly Evink. Just prior to the incident, Evink and Cina were locked in a side-by-side battle for the top spot. As the two drivers exited the second turn, contact was made, forcing Evink sideways. Cina slowed to let Evink recover and both drivers continued on. But as the two entered the next corner, Evink closed quickly on Artt Higbee and was unable to avoid contact. The contact sent Evink spinning and brought out the yellow flag.

As Cina inherited the lead, Evink restarted at the back of the field. Within 5 laps, Evink charged back into the top five, passing eight cars in rapid fashion. Before race’s end, Evink climbed back to second place, trailing Cina by five car lengths at the checkers. Behind Cina and Evink, George Sparkman followed up back-to-back victories with a third place finish, while Zach Rodriguez finished fourth. Keith Pierce was the race’s hard charger, climbing from his 14th starting spot to finish fifth.

“Bullet” Bobby Frisch pocketed his first Kickstart Roadrunner feature win of 2014 in impressive fashion, moving through the majority of traffic three-wide on his way to the front of the field in the 20 lap affair. Frisch grabbed the lead from Robert Myher on lap 13 and never looked back on his way to victory. Dennis Smith Jr made the climb from 12th place to second place by race’s end, with Myher right behind him in third. Dan Sander finished fourth, with ‘Magic Shoes’ Trevor Robinson fifth.

‘COOL 5’ ARRIVES FOR ANOTHER SEASON THIS SATURDAY!

The guitars have been put away and the curtain has closed on another ‘Wing Ding’ weekend, which means it’s time to get back to racing at Rockford Speedway! The always exciting ‘Gilley’s Cool 5’ returns for a fourth year this weekend, with its five-race series that brings additional prize money and a year-end reward to each of the four champions in ‘Cool 5’ standings. All four ‘Saturday night’ divisions are in action on Loves Park Motorsports Night, including the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Bargain Hunter Sportsman, Miller Lite American Short Trackers and the Kickstart Roadrunners. Also on tap is the Sam’s Drive-In Roadrunner Challenge ‘Double Oh’ Race. And for those that are over 21 and typically thirsty, Saturday night is the second ‘Dollar Beer Night’ of 2014! Gates open at 5 PM, with Stateline Staffing Services Fast Dashes going green at 7:07 PM. Adult admission is $12, Students (12-17) are $8, Children (6-11) are $5 and Kids 5 & under are FREE! If you love close-quarters, short-track excitement, you need to be at Rockford Speedway Saturday night…for Round I of the Gilley’s Cool 5 presented by Loves Park Motorsports!

METRO MEDICAL ‘KIDS NIGHT’ NEXT SATURDAY!

The second ‘Kids Night’ of 2014 happens next Saturday night June 7 at Rockford Speedway and there’s a little something for everyone. Kids 11 & under are always admitted FREE on Kids Night…and next week some lucky kids may even be part of the show! For the first time ever, Lightning Bolt Jr and Tennessee Tow Mator will hit the track, putting on an exciting and interactive show for those in attendance. Look for more information about Lightning Bolt Jr and Tennessee Tow Mator next week. Metro Medical Kids Night will be a busy night on track as well, with the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Bargain Hunter Sportsman and Kickstart Roadrunners in action, along with the American Super Cup cars and the Hornets plus the Sam’s Drive-In Roadrunner Challenge ‘2nd Over The Line Wins’ race. Don’t miss out on all the fun and excitement during Metro Medical Kids Night next Saturday night!

TWO WEEKS ‘TIL ‘THE LAST TRAILER TRAILS!’

Memorial Day Weekend has passed and June is right around the corner. That means one of the most well-known events at Rockford Speedway is not too far away. Saturday night June 14, Kar Korner presents the ‘Original Trailer Race of Destruction,’ the one-of-a-kind rolling Demo Derby that is known nationwide! You’ll see cars, trucks and vans pulling boats, campers & travel trailers, smashing and bashing into each other and there is no winner ‘til the last trailer trails!’ If you’ve witnessed a Trailer Race before, you want to see one again. If you’ve never seen a Trailer Race, you simply have to see it to believe it! Advanced tickets are available NOW for the Original Trailer Race of Destruction at rockfordspeedway.tix.com and by phone at 815-633-1500. You’ve seen it on TV, you’ve heard about it, now experience it! Kar Korner’s ‘Original Trailer Race of Destruction,’ Saturday night June 14!

Upcoming Events
Sat May 31 7:07 pm- Loves Park Motorsports presents Round I of the Gilley’s Cool 5!
Wed June 4 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Sat June 7 7:07 pm- Metro Medical Kids Night featuring Lightning Bolt Jr and Tennessee Toe-Mator
Wed June 11 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Wed June 11 7:07 pm- Wild Wednesday Opener ‘Student Night’ (Free Admission with Student ID)
Sat June 14 7:07 pm- Kar Korner presents The Original Trailer Race of Destruction
Wed June 18 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Wed June 18 7:07 pm- Wild Wednesday Special Needs Night

‘SALUTE TO MILITARY NIGHT’ THIS SATURDAY!

This Saturday night May 17, it’s Speedway Auto Mall ‘Salute to Military Night’ at Rockford Speedway, as we salute the brave men and women who help keep our country free! Any current or former member of the United States Military who presents a Military ID at the front gate receives FREE admission to this Saturday evenings racing events. It’s our small way of saying ‘Thanks’ to those who fight for our freedoms. The action on track Saturday night includes the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Miller Lite American Short Trackers and Kickstart Roadrunners along with the Illini Racing Series Midgets and American Super Cup Series and the Sam’s Drive-In Roadrunner Challenge. Adult admission is $12, Students (12-17) $8, Children (6-11) $5 and Kids ages 5 & under are FREE! Gates open at 5 PM with the Stateline Staffing Services Fast Dashes going green at 7:07 PM! We’ll see YOU at the races!

UNDER TWO WEEKS REMAIN UNTIL ‘WING DING!’

The countdown continues to ‘The Loudest Day,’ WXRX Wing Ding, Sunday May 25 at Rockford Speedway. The day of rock n roll returns to the Rockford Speedway in under two weeks and is bigger and better than ever! The WXRX Wing Ding is hosted by Young MC and headlined by Alice In Chains and features other top performers like Black Stone Cherry, Queensryche featuring Geoff Tate, Adelita’s Way, Fuel, Wayland & Cilver. For more information on WXRX Wing Ding and to order tickets, please visit www.wxrxwingding.com. Tickets are available for $40 each through Saturday May 24. Walk up tickets will be available day of show at the Speedway Box Office for $45 each. Don’t miss the ‘The Loudest Day,’ WXRX Wing Ding, Sunday May 25 at Rockford Speedway!

RACING SCHEDULE GETS BUSY AFTER ‘WING DING’ BREAK

As has become customary, the Rockford Speedway will take a break from racing the Saturday before ‘Wing Ding’(May 24), as the process of turning the racetrack into a concert venue will be in full swing. Once the lights go down on Wing Ding, the racing schedule begins to get busy! It starts Saturday May 31, with Loves Park Motorsports Night and Round I of the Gilley’s Cool 5 and continues Saturday June 7 with Metro Medical Kids Night featuring Lightning Bolt Jr and Tennessee Toe-Mator! Then, on Wednesday June 11, the nine-race ‘Wild Wednesday’ series begins, featuring Roadrunners, Bandits, Winged Women on Wheels, MisFits, One-on-One Spectacular Drags and ‘Wild n Crazy’ Figure 8 racing! Finally, on June 14, it’s Kar Korner’s Original Trailer Race of Destruction, with cars, trucks and vans pulling boats, campers & travel trailers in a rolling demo derby ‘til the last trailer trails!’ Tickets are available NOW for the Original Trailer Race, online at rockfordspeedway.tix.com and by phone at 815-633-1500.

Upcoming Events
Sat May 17 7:07 pm- Speedway Auto Mall Salute to Military Night! (Free with Military ID)
Wed May 21 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Sat May 24 – NO RACING
Sun May 25 11:00 am- WXRX Wing Ding ‘The Loudest Day’ featuring Alice in Chains!
Wed May 28 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Sat May 31 7:07 pm- Loves Park Motorsports presents Round I of the Gilley’s Cool 5!
Wed June 4 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Sat June 7 7:07 pm- Metro Medical Kids Night featuring Lightning Bolt Jr and Tennessee Toe-Mator

PAPINI WINS THIRD STRAIGHT RACE IN DRAMATIC FASHION!

By: Eric Huenefeld

Much like that old coffee commercial, Saturday night’s Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model feature at Rockford Speedway was ‘good til the last drop.’

When the dust settled on the wild 30 lap feature event, Machesney Park’s Alex Papini stood above the rest, collecting his third consecutive feature win after a wild last lap showdown with three-time track champion Jerry Gille.

Gille led the majority of the race, pouncing from his second row starting spot and moving around Curt Tillman on lap two. Meanwhile, Papini started the race in seventh position, having to muscle his way through a bevy of contenders.

Papini climbed to second place by lap 16 and faced a twelve car length deficit between he and Gille. Papini climbed to the back bumper of Gille within fourteen laps, setting up a two lap sprint to the finish. Papini and Gille raced side-by-side as the white flag flew, with Papini throwing his car into the corners trying to pass Gille. Sparks and smoke flew as the racers hit the line, with Papini edging Gille by the smallest of margins.

Ricky Bilderback finished the race in third, with Jon Reynolds Jr in fourth and Wayne Freimund rounding out the top five.

Belvidere’s Brett McCoy won his second Bargain Hunter Sportsman feature of the year, topping Byron’s Pat Featherston for the top honors. McCoy, the evening’s fast qualifier, charged through the field early in the division’s 25 lap main event, then inherited the race lead after leaders Chad Smith and Johnny Robinson II spun in tandem in turn one. After assuming the top spot, McCoy was never seriously challenged for the lead again. Behind McCoy and Featherston, Rob Goodman finished third, with Daryl Gerke fourth. Fifteen year old Deanna Chandler collected her first ever top five Saturday night after finishing in fifth position.

‘Magic Shoes’ Trevor Robinson was victorious in the Kickstart Roadrunner main event.  Robinson’s win was a departure from the bad luck he had faced through the first three weeks of the racing season, as the South Beloit youngster was able to hold off late race challenges from Bobby Frisch and Dennis Smith Jr. Frisch finished the race second while maintaining his points lead, with Smith settling for third. Chad Lounsbury and Shawn Rickelman rounded out the top five. 

Mark Bielefeldt topped the field in the 15 lap Hornet ‘Big Swarm.’ Bielefeldt raced on and off-road in the event’s final laps, protecting his lead while holding off hard-charging runner up Justin Mikel. Meanwhile, Cassidy Frisch won the first Racer Girl Winged Women on Wheels feature of 2014. Frisch ran the extreme low groove for much of the race, using that angle to step ahead of early race leader Misty Lounsbury. Lounsbury finished the race in second place, her best ever Winged Women finish. Chelsea Loos also notched her best career finish with a third place effort.

NASCAR All American Sportsmen

A-Main 01 — 1. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 2. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 3. Rob Goodman, McHenry; 4. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 5. Deanna Chandler, Machesney Park; 6. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 7. Nick Letsinger (r), Rockford; 8. Chad Smith, Machesney Park; 9. Brian Mayer, Machesney Park; 10. Johnny Robinson, II, South Beloit; 11. Michael Coleman (r), Rockford; 12. Derek Nichol (r), Rockford; 13. John Logan, Jr. (r), Loves Park; 14. Warren (Butch) Swinbank, Rockford.

Heat 01 — 1. Chad Smith, Machesney Park; 2. John Logan, Jr. (r), Loves Park; 3. Derek Nichol (r), Rockford; 4. Warren (Butch) Swinbank, Rockford; 5. Michael Coleman (r), Rockford; 6. Jason Bragg, Machesney Park; 7. Deanna Chandler, Machesney Park; 8. Brian Mayer, Machesney Park.

Heat 02 — 1. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 2. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 3. Johnny Robinson, II, South Beloit; 4. Rob Goodman, McHenry; 5. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 6. Nick Letsinger (r), Rockford; 7. Howie Ware, South Beloit.

Time Trial — 1. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 2. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 3. Johnny Robinson, II, South Beloit; 4. Nick Letsinger (r), Rockford; 5. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 6. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 7. Rob Goodman, McHenry; 8. John Logan, Jr. (r), Loves Park; 9. Jason Bragg, Machesney Park; 10. Chad Smith, Machesney Park; 11. Brian Mayer, Machesney Park; 12. Michael Coleman (r), Rockford; 13. Deanna Chandler, Machesney Park; 14. Warren (Butch) Swinbank, Rockford; 15. Derek Nichol (r), Rockford.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 2. Johnny Robinson, II, South Beloit; 3. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 4. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 5. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 6. Nick Letsinger (r), Rockford.

Hornets

A-Main 01 — 1. Mark Bielefeldt, Loves Park; 2. Justin Mikel, Montgomery; 3. Brent Lowe, Beloit, Wis; 4. Kelsey Dobbs, Beloit, Wis; 5. Stephen Hillary, Machesney Park; 6. Jacob Aldrich, Rockford; 7. David Prince, Rockford; 8. Tanner Sandall, Durand; 9. Ross Lamont, Belvidere; 10. Tyler Emberson, Rockford; 11. Curt Nighswonger, Rockford; 12. Nichole Crane, Machesney Park; 13. Steven Nimtz, Durand.

Heat 01 — 1. Mark Bielefeldt, Loves Park; 2. Kelsey Dobbs, Beloit, Wis; 3. Brent Lowe, Beloit, Wis; 4. Ross Lamont, Belvidere; 5. Tyler Emberson, Rockford; 6. Tanner Sandall, Durand; 7. Nichole Crane, Machesney Park; 8. Curt Nighswonger, Rockford; 9. Danny Newton, South Beloit.

Heat 02 — 1. Justin Mikel, Montgomery; 2. Stephen Hillary, Machesney Park; 3. David Prince, Rockford; 4. Jacob Aldrich, Rockford; 5. Steven Nimtz, Durand.

NASCAR Late Models

A-Main 01 — 1. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 2. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 3. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe; 4. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 5. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 6. Curt Tillman, Roscoe; 7. Dana Czach, Wauconda; 8. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 9. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 10. Chris McKay (r), Streamwood.

Heat 01 — 1. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 2. Curt Tillman, Roscoe; 3. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 4. Dana Czach, Wauconda; 5. Chris McKay (r), Streamwood.

Heat 02 — 1. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 2. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 3. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 4. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 5. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe.

Time Trial — 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 2. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe; 3. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 4. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 5. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 6. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 7. Curt Tillman, Roscoe; 8. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 9. Dana Czach, Wauconda; 10. Chris McKay (r), Streamwood.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe; 2. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 3. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 4. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 5. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 6. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis.

NASCAR Road Runners A-Main 01 — 1. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 2. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 3. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 4. Chad Lounsbury, Beloit, Wis; 5. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 6. Kyle McQuality, Stillman Valley; 7. Austin Fowler, Loves Park; 8. James Gregory, Winnebago; 9. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 10. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis; 11. Jeff Allendorf, Belvidere; 12. Chris McQuality, Rockford; 13. Kevin Memoli, Geneva; 14. Jason Schlesner, Rockford; 15. Robert Myher, South Beloit; 16. Dan Sander, South Beloit; 17. Gene Marocco, Machesney Park; 18. Autumn Rudeen, Loves Park; 19. Adam Cartwright, Loves Park.

Heat 01 — 1. Robert Myher, South Beloit; 2. Kevin Memoli, Geneva; 3. Dan Sander, South Beloit; 4. Chris McQuality, Rockford; 5. Autumn Rudeen, Loves Park; 6. Steven Dover, Rockford.

Heat 02 — 1. Chad Lounsbury, Beloit, Wis; 2. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 3. Gene Marocco, Machesney Park; 4. Jeff Allendorf, Belvidere; 5. James Gregory, Winnebago; 6. Austin Fowler, Loves Park.

Heat 03 — 1. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 2. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 3. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 4. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 5. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis; 6. Kyle McQuality, Stillman Valley; 7. Adam Cartwright, Loves Park.

Challenge 01 — 1. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 2. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 3. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis; 4. Gene Marocco, Machesney Park; 5. Kyle McQuality, Stillman Valley.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 2. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 3. Kyle McQuality, Stillman Valley; 4. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 5. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis; 6. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford.

Winged Women on Wheels

A-Main 01 — 1. Cassidy Frisch, Rockton; 2. Chandale Swartwout, Janesville, Wis; 3. Misty Lounsbury, South Beloit; 4. Chelsea Loos, Machesney Park; 5. Tami Bielefeldt, Rockford; 6. Kristen Gilio, Huntley; 7. Nichole Crane, Machesney Park.

Heat 01 — 1. Cassidy Frisch, Rockton; 2. Misty Lounsbury, South Beloit; 3. Chelsea Loos, Machesney Park; 4. Chandale Swartwout, Janesville, Wis; 5. Tami Bielefeldt, Rockford; 6. Kristen Gilio, Huntley; 7. Nichole Crane, Machesney Park

SATURDAY NIGHT IS ‘MOM’S NIGHT’ AT THE RACES!

On this Mother’s Day weekend, make sure to treat your mom to a night out at Rockford Speedway! This Saturday night, it’s ‘Moms Night’ and there is plenty of fun and excitement on and off the track for Mom. Racing action this Saturday night features the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Bargain Hunter Sportsman and Kickstart Roadrunners along with the Sam’s Drive-In Roadrunner Challenge ‘Morning Make Up Dash.’ Saturday night also includes the return of the Hornets and Racer Girl Winged Women on Wheels. In addition to all the racing and excitement, all moms are invited to take part in ‘Wine Tasting for Moms’ inside the Miller Lite Pavilion Saturday evening. Gates open at 5 PM, with Stateline Staffing Services Fast Dashes going green at 7:07 PM. Adult admission is $12, with Students (ages 12-17) $8, Children (ages 6-11) $5 and Kids 5 & under admitted FREE! We hope to you, your mom and your family & friends this Saturday night at Rockford Speedway!

‘CLASSIC CAR CRUISE NIGHTS’ & ‘SALUTE TO MILITARY NIGHT’ COMING UP NEXT WEEK!

Next week marks a busy week at Rockford Speedway, with events happening on and off the track. It all starts with something new, ‘Classic Car Cruise Nights,’ the first of which takes place next Wednesday night May 14. For 20 consecutive Wednesday evenings, beginning May 14 and ending September 20, car enthusiasts young and old will be able to view the cars that made cruising famous at Classic Car Cruise Nights! The Cruise Nights will be held in the parking lot of the Forest Hills Lodge, located next to Rockford Speedway. Classic Car Cruise Nights get underway at 5 PM and run until 8 PM. Then, on Saturday night May 17, its Speedway Auto Mall ‘Salute to Military Night,’ where we salute those who keep our country free. Any current or former member of the United States Military who presents a Military ID at the front gate will receive FREE admission on Saturday May 17. The Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Miller Lite American Short Trackers and Kickstart Roadrunners are in action on ‘Salute to Military Night,’ along with the Illini Racing Series Midgets and American Super Cup Series.

‘WING DING’ IS UNDER THREE WEEKS AWAY!

The countdown is on to ‘The Loudest Day,’ WXRX Wing Ding, Sunday May 25 at Rockford Speedway. The day of rock n roll returns to the Rockford Speedway in 2014 and this year, Wing Ding is bigger than ever. The WXRX Wing Ding is hosted by Young MC and headlined by Alice In Chains and features other top performers like Black Stone Cherry, Queensryche featuring Geoff Tate, Adelita’s Way, Fuel, Wayland & Cilver. For more information on WXRX Wing Ding and to order tickets, please visit www.wxrxwingding.com. Tickets are available for $40 each through Saturday May 24. Walk up tickets will be available day of show at the Speedway Box Office for $45 each. Don’t miss out on ‘The Loudest Day,’ WXRX Wing Ding, Sunday May 25 at Rockford Speedway!

Upcoming Events
Sat May 10 7:07 pm- Salute to Mom Night
Wed May 14 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Sat May 17 7:07 pm- Speedway Auto Mall Salute to Military Night! (Free with Military ID)
Wed May 21 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Sat May 24 – NO RACING
Sun May 25 11:00 am- WXRX Wing Ding ‘The Loudest Day’ featuring Alice in Chains!
Wed May 28 5:00 pm- Classic Car Cruise Night
Sat May 31 7:07 pm- Loves Park Motorsports presents Round I of the Gilley’s Cool 5!

PAPINI POWERS PAST GILLE FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WIN!

By: Eric Huenefeld

Victory did not come easy for Alex Papini Saturday night at Rockford Speedway.

Papini, who started eighth in the 30 lap Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model feature event, powered past three-time track champion Jerry Gille late in the race on his way to the victory on Tractor Town Kids Night. 

Gille quickly jumped to the head of the pack in the main event, disposing of outside polesitter ‘Insane’ Wayne Freimund on the second lap. Gille then built a comfortable lead in the race’s first 10 laps. Behind him, the balance of the field battled for position. Papini fought through a group of contenders than included seven-time track champion Ricky Bilderback, points leader Jake Gille and ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr, the evenings fast qualifier. By lap seven, Papini found himself in the runner up spot, leaving the rest of the field to fend for themselves as he made tracks towards the front.

Papini’s process of cutting down Gille’s lead took time, but just past the race’s midway point, the battle was on. Gille was able to keep comfy gap between he and Papini until five laps to go, when Papini caught Gille and eventually powered to the point in turn three. Despite a couple late challenges from Gille, Papini was able to hold off those advances on his way to the victory, the second straight Late Model win for the Machesney Park native. 

Jerry Gille’s efforts were good enough for a runner up finish, with his nephew Jake Gille finished third and maintained his early season points lead. Bilderback settled for fourth place, with Reynolds rounding out the top five. 

Five-time Miller Lite American Short Tracker division champion George Sparkman ended a long day the right way, winning the divisions 25 lap feature event. Sparkman’s frustrations began early, as the Loves Park resident battled engine issues during practice. The issues were enough to force Sparkman to miss his spot in the qualifying order, allowing him just one timed lap. Sparkman was still fast enough to make the Stateline Staffing Services Fast Dash, but again found engine issues after preliminaries. 

Meanwhile, before the green flag could fly for the 25 lap American Short Tracker feature event, defending track champion Nick Cina Jr encountered trouble. Cina’s racecar slid to a stop on the front stretch during pace laps for the main event. The sudden stop was caused by a transmission issue which sidelined Cina for the night. This opened the door for opening night winner Kelly Evink to have a big night. Evink wasted little time getting to the head of the pack, taking the lead early on in the race, with Sparkman charging hard behind him. 

Then, with nine laps to go, Evink suddenly spun in turn two, bringing out the yellow flag. Evink was sent pit side for repairs and returned to the track at the back of the field for the ensuing restart. This situation left Sparkman, who started the race eleventh, in the race lead. Sparkman stayed in front of Tom Gille over the final nine laps and held on for the victory, his first win of 2014. Sparkman admitted in victory lane that by race’s end, his car was running on less than four cylinders. Behind Sparkman and Gille, it was Evink who finished third, after a frantic charge from the back of the field. Rookie Jason Halbrader finished a career best fourth, with Dave Lee rounding out the top five.  

Dennis Smith Jr found himself back in victory lane for the second time this season, after claiming victory in the Kickstart Roadrunner 20 lap feature event. Smith took advantage of a second row starting spot and made his way to the lead before halfway. However, the road to victory wasn’t easy for Smith. A caution flag with three laps left put ‘Bullet’ Bobby Frisch and ‘Ironman’ Ricky Nielson on Smith’s bumper, setting up a thrilling dash to the finish between the three drivers. Smith held off all late race challenges, with Frisch finishing second and Nielson third. Kyle McQuality, who skipped his Senior Prom at Stillman Valley High School to race Saturday evening, finished in fourth. Last week’s Roadrunner feature winner Shawn Rickelman rounded out the top five.  

NASCAR American Short Trackers

A-Main 01 — 1. George Sparkman, Loves Park; 2. Tom Gille, Winnebago; 3. Kelly Evink, Machesney Park; 4. Jason Halbrader (r), Machesney Park; 5. Dave Lee, Rockford; 6. Brad Henrey, Rockford; 7. Keith Pierce, Machesney Park; 8. Artt Higbee, Rockford; 9. Leo Bujak, III, Spring Grove; 10. Steve Rubeck, Rockford; 11. Corey Snow (r), Loves Park; 12. Nick Cina, Jr, Belvidere; 13. Jason Dull, Machesney Park.

Heat 01 — 1. Jason Halbrader (r), Machesney Park; 2. Corey Snow (r), Loves Park; 3. Artt Higbee, Rockford; 4. Dave Lee, Rockford; 5. George Sparkman, Loves Park; 6. Jason Dull, Machesney Park.

Heat 02 — 1. Tom Gille, Winnebago; 2. Nick Cina, Jr, Belvidere; 3. Kelly Evink, Machesney Park; 4. Brad Henrey, Rockford; 5. Leo Bujak, III, Spring Grove.

Time Trial — 1. Nick Cina, Jr, Belvidere; 2. Tom Gille, Winnebago; 3. Kelly Evink, Machesney Park; 4. Brad Henrey, Rockford; 5. Steve Rubeck, Rockford; 6. Leo Bujak, III, Spring Grove; 7. Jason Halbrader (r), Machesney Park; 8. Corey Snow (r), Loves Park; 9. Artt Higbee, Rockford; 10. Dave Lee, Rockford; 11. Jason Dull, Machesney Park.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. Kelly Evink, Machesney Park; 2. Nick Cina, Jr, Belvidere; 3. Tom Gille, Winnebago; 4. Brad Henrey, Rockford; 5. Leo Bujak, III, Spring Grove; 6. Steve Rubeck, Rockford.

NASCAR Late Models

A-Main 01 — 1. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 2. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 3. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 4. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe; 5. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 6. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 7. Eric Connell, Fort Atkinson, Wis; 8. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 9. Chris McKay (r), Streamwood; 10. Dana Czach, Wauconda.

Heat 01 — 1. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 2. Dana Czach, Wauconda; 3. Eric Connell, Fort Atkinson, Wis; 4. Chris McKay (r), Streamwood; 5. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis.

Heat 02 — 1. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 2. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe; 3. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 4. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 5. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford.

Time Trial — 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 2. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe; 3. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 4. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 5. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 6. Dana Czach, Wauconda; 7. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 8. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 9. Eric Connell, Fort Atkinson, Wis; 10. Chris McKay (r), Streamwood.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 2. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 3. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 4. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 5. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe; 6. Dana Czach, Wauconda.

NASCAR Road Runners

A-Main 01 — 1. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 2. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 3. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 4. Kyle McQuality, Stillman Valley; 5. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 6. Alex Chabucos, Machesney Park; 7. James Gregory, Winnebago; 8. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis; 9. Dan Sander, South Beloit; 10. Daniel Opsahl, Rockford; 11. Jeff Allendorf, Belvidere; 12. Gene Marocco, Machesney Park; 13. Chad Lounsbury, Beloit, Wis; 14. Daniel Gaddini, South Beloit; 15. Rod Dobbs, Fond Du Lac, Wis; 16. Kevin Memoli, Geneva; 17. Autumn Rudeen, Loves Park; 18. Steven Dover, Rockford; 19. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 20. Terrance Robinson, Beloit, Wis; 21. Adam Cartwright, Loves

Heat 01 — 1. Alex Chabucos, Machesney Park; 2. Jeff Allendorf, Belvidere; 3. Steven Dover, Rockford; 4. Dan Sander, South Beloit; 5. Kevin Memoli, Geneva; 6. Daniel Gaddini, South Beloit; 7. Rod Dobbs, Fond Du Lac, Wis.

Heat 02 — 1. Gene Marocco, Machesney Park; 2. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 3. Terrance Robinson, Beloit, Wis; 4. Chad Lounsbury, Beloit, Wis; 5. James Gregory, Winnebago; 6. Daniel Opsahl, Rockford; 7. Autumn Rudeen, Loves Park.

Heat 03 — 1. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 2. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 3. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 4. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 5. Adam Cartwright, Loves Park; 6. Kyle McQuality, Stillman Valley; 7. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis. Challenge 01 — 1. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 2. Daniel Opsahl, Rockford; 3. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 4. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis; 5. Steven Dover, Rockford.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. Kyle McQuality, Stillman Valley; 2. Adam Cartwright, Loves Park; 3. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 4. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 5. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 6. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit.

PAPINI BACK IN VICTORY LANE ON ‘DOLLAR NIGHT’!

By: Eric Huenefeld

Alex Papini had a season to remember in 2013. 

Last season, the Machesney Park native racked up eight feature wins on his way to the Rockford Speedway Track Championship and the NASCAR Illinois State Championship.

On Saturday night, Papini was back on top, capturing the win in the 30 lap Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model feature event on Mobil 1 ‘Dollar Night’. Papini outran seven-time Rockford Speedway track champion Ricky Bilderback on his way to his first victory of 2014.

Papini started on the outside front row of the main event, next to Elkhorn Wisconsin’s ‘Insane’ Wayne Freimund. Papini pounced to the lead in the race’s opening laps, bringing Bilderback along for the ride. Over the next ten laps, Papini and Bilderback wrestled for the race lead. Bilderback tried to shake Papini from the lead and even pulled side-by-side with the defending track champion, but eventually Papini pulled away, building as much a three car length lead on Bilderback at halfway.

Bilderback, however, was not done. The Rockton native closed the gap numerous times between he and Papini in the race’s final ten laps, but never seriously challenged for the lead again in the caution free race. Papini hit the line first, scoring his twelfth Late Model feature win in thirteen months. Bilderback continued his steady start to the season, finishing in second place. Three-time track champion Jerry Gille finished the 30 laps in third, holding off several challenges from his nephew Jake Gille, who settled for fourth. ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr, who earlier in the night set fast time and accepted the Gerber Collision and Glass Ultimate Challenge, rounded out the top five.  

Third year Bargain Hunter Sportsman driver Pat Featherston has gotten better each and every week he’s gotten behind the wheel. Last year, Fetherston finished a runner up two times in feature races and also was a runner up in the Gilley’s Cool 5 point standings. This week, Featherston was second to none, as the Byron resident sprinted to his first ever Rockford Speedway feature win, passing Rockford’s John Logan Jr with nine laps to go en route to the checkered flag. For the second straight week, Howie Ware finished the 25 lap Sportsman feature in second place, with Johnny Robinson II taking third place after a late race charge. Opening night winner Brett McCoy collected a fourth place finish and Whitelaw Wisconsin driver Daryl Gerke came home fifth. 

Shawn Rickelman made it look easy in the Kickstart Roadrunner division. Rickelman powered to the front of the large field of Roadrunners, assuming the lead on lap four of the 20 lap affair and never looking back on his way to victory.  Rickelman won the race by a straightaway, with Adam Cartwright finishing in second position. The second place result Cartwright’s second straight runner up to start the new season. ‘Magic Shoes’ Trevor Robinson finished third, with ‘Bullet’ Bobby Frisch in fourth and Ryan Ostenson in fifth.

Ostenson’s great night continued in the first Figure 8 race of 2014. ‘Flyin Ryan’ led all 10 laps of the twisting and turning feature finale and won his first ever Figure 8 race. Joey Thomas finished the Figure 8 race in second, with Dennis Smith Jr third.

NASCAR All American Sportsmen

A-Main 01 — 1. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 2. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 3. Johnny Robinson, II, South Beloit; 4. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 5. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 6. John Logan, Jr., Loves Park; 7. Deanna Chandler, Machesney Park; 8. Jason Bragg, Machesney Park; 9. Brian Mayer, Machesney Park; 10. Michael Coleman, Rockford; 11. Nick Letsinger, Rockford; 12. Derek Nichol, Rockford; 13. Rob Goodman, McHenry.

Heat 01 — 1. Brian Mayer, Machesney Park; 2. Deanna Chandler, Machesney Park; 3. John Logan, Jr., Loves Park; 4. Jason Bragg, Machesney Park; 5. Michael Coleman, Rockford; 6. Nick Letsinger, Rockford; 7. Derek Nichol, Rockford.

Heat 02 — 1. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 2. Rob Goodman, McHenry; 3. Johnny Robinson, II, South Beloit; 4. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 5. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 6. Howie Ware, South Beloit.

Time Trial — 1. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 2. Johnny Robinson, II, South Beloit; 3. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 4. Rob Goodman, McHenry; 5. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 6. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 7. Nick Letsinger, Rockford; 8. John Logan, Jr., Loves Park; 9. Jason Bragg, Machesney Park; 10. Brian Mayer, Machesney Park; 11. Deanna Chandler, Machesney Park; 12. Michael Coleman, Rockford; 13. Derek Nichol, Rockford.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. Johnny Robinson, II, South Beloit; 2. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 3. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 4. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 5. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 6. Rob Goodman, McHenry.

NASCAR Late Models

A-Main 01 — 1. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 2. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe; 3. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 4. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 5. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 6. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 7. Mark Hartline, Gilberts.

Heat 01 — 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 2. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 3. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 4. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 5. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 6. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 7. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe.

Time Trial — 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 2. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 3. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe; 4. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 5. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 6. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 7. Mark Hartline, Gilberts.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 2. Ricky Bilderback, Roscoe; 3. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 4. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 5. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 6. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis.

NASCAR Road Runners

A-Main 01 — 1. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 2. Adam Cartwright, Loves Park; 3. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 4. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 5. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis; 6. Kyle McQuality, Stillman Valley; 7. Steve Gregory, Machesney Park; 8. Jay LeBrun, Antioch; 9. Joey Thomas, Rockford; 10. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 11. Dan Sander, South Beloit; 12. Austin Fowler, Loves Park; 13. Autumn Rudeen, Loves Park; 14. Chad Lounsbury, Beloit, Wis; 15. Gene Marocco, Machesney Park; 16. Alicia Magee, Machesney Park; 17. Dave Lumsden, Jr., Rockford; 18. Kenneth Brazee III, Rockford; 19. Daniel Opsahl, Rockford; 20. James Gregory, Winnebago; 21. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 22. Jason Schlesner, Rockford; 23. Terrance Robinson, Beloit, Wis; 24. Robert Myher, South Beloit; 25. Alex

Heat 01 — 1. Joey Thomas, Rockford; 2. Alex Chabucos, Machesney Park; 3. Dan Sander, South Beloit; 4. Dave Lumsden, Jr., Rockford; 5. Jay LeBrun, Antioch; 6. Alicia Magee, Machesney Park; 7. Autumn Rudeen, Loves Park; 8. Jason Schlesner, Rockford; 9. Robert Myher, South Beloit.

Heat 02 — 1. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 2. Gene Marocco, Machesney Park; 3. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis; 4. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 5. Steve Gregory, Machesney Park; 6. Daniel Opsahl, Rockford; 7. Kenneth Brazee III, Rockford; 8. Kyle McQuality, Stillman Valley.

Heat 03 — 1. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 2. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 3. Austin Fowler, Loves Park; 4. Adam Cartwright, Loves Park; 5. James Gregory, Winnebago; 6. Chad Lounsbury, Beloit, Wis; 7. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford.

Challenge 01 — 1. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 2. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis; 3. Joey Thomas, Rockford; 4. Adam Cartwright, Loves Park; 5. Daniel Opsahl, Rockford; 6. Jay LeBrun, Antioch; 7. Kenneth Brazee III, Rockford; 8. Autumn Rudeen, Loves Park.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. James Gregory, Winnebago; 2. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 3. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 4. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 5. Chad Lounsbury, Beloit, Wis; 6. Adam Cartwright, Loves Park. Figure 8

A-Main 01 — 1. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis; 2. Joey Thomas, Rockford; 3. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 4. Dave Lumsden, Jr., Rockford; 5. Daniel Opsahl, Rockford; 6. Jay LeBrun, Antioch; 7. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis.

JOHNSON, MCCOY, EVINK AND SMITH CAPTURE VICTORIES ON OPENING NIGHT!

By: Eric Huenefeld

After a long and harsh winter, local auto racing fans came out in force to witness Opening Night of the 67th season at Rockford Speedway. The enthusiastic crowd was treated to some great mid-April weather and terrific racing all night long. When the final checkered flag flew on Mountain Dew Kickstart’s 67th NASCAR Season Opener, one driver had captured his first Saturday night feature win, one former champion started his season on top, one familiar face found himself in a familiar place and one driver passed almost one car per lap on his way to victory.

It wasn’t always in the plans for Casey Johnson to race Saturday night at Rockford Speedway. The 24 year old from Edgerton Wisconsin made the last minute trip to northern Illinois pay off, winning the 30 lap Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model feature event. Johnson started the race from the inside of the second row, following ‘Insane’ Wayne Freimund and Curt Tillman to the green flag. Freimund and Tillman dueled for the top spot early, with Freimund finally grinding ahead of the pack on lap two. Johnson worked past Tillman at the same time and immediately set his sights on Freimund. Johnson, the 2013 Big 8 Series champion, wasted little time working past Freimund, inheriting the lead on lap 4.

As Johnson slipped ahead, the action was fast and furious behind him. Freimund and Tillman scrapped and clawed to retain their spots within the top five, while a bevy of challengers nipped at their heels. The group of hard chargers included Jake Gille, Ricky Bilderback, ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr and 2013 Track Champion Alex Papini. As the pack of racers sorted themselves out, Gille found himself in second place, with Papini, Reynolds and Bilderback trading paint for the third, fourth and fifth positions.

When the race hit halfway, Gille stepped closer to Johnson, cutting the lead to three car lengths. Gille closed on Johnson, while the trio battling for third continued to trade paint. Bilderback worked past Reynolds with ten laps to go, then setting his sights on third place Papini. After a few attempts, the seven-time Track Champion Bilderback muscled into third past Papini. Meanwhile, Johnson began feeling the pressure from Gille for the lead. Gille pulled even with Johnson with two laps to go and looked to be in position to make a move for the lead. But as Gille looked inside of Johnson coming to the white flag, the battle for fourth between Reynolds and Papini boiled over, with Papini spinning directly behind the leaders.

The incident happened before the field accepted the white flag, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Johnson now had Jake Gille, Bilderback and three-time track champion Jerry Gille on his bumper. When the race restarted, Johnson put just enough distance between he and the field to guarantee his spot in victory lane. Jake Gille finished a close second place, with Bilderback third. Jerry Gille finished fourth, with Freimund rounding out the top five.

Belvidere’s Brett McCoy is a three-time champion in the American Short Track division, and has been trying to win a Bargain Hunter Sportsman championship for the last couple of years. His quest for a 2014 championship started the right way Saturday night, as McCoy raced to the checkered flag in the 25 lap feature race. McCoy had his work cut out for him, starting the race in seventh place. Rockford’s Nick Letsinger, competing in his first Sportsman race, snagged the lead from pole sitter Brian Mayer and led the race’s opening paces. Soon after, Letsinger felt pressure for the lead from Rob Goodman. Goodman, piloting the car that Doug Bennett raced to a championship in 2013, looked stellar all night long and by lap five had wrestled the lead from Letsinger. Goodman attempted to make distance between himself and the field, but was slowed by a yellow on lap eight.

When the yellow flew for a spin in turn four, Goodman and the field slowed to avoid further incident. Goodman received a hard rear impact from a quick-closing Deanna Chandler, but appeared to have little damage. When the race resumed, Goodman sprinted back to the lead and let it all hang out, nicking the wall exiting turns two and four. Seven laps later, McCoy assumed the lead and soon he, along with the whole field, slipped exiting turn four. After the repeated abuse to the rear of the car, Goodman’s fuel cell had become dislodged, spilling fuel all over the Speedway and sending the balance of the field spinning. Goodman’s car rolled to a stop on the backstretch and the red flag was displayed.

When the race resumed following a lengthy delay, it was McCoy in charge of the field. Despite a couple late race challenges from Howie Ware and Pat Featherston, McCoy surged to the win, with Ware settling for second spot. Featherston came home in third, with Letsinger in fourth and Mayer in fifth.

After six years-plus away from competing weekly in the Miller LIte American Short Tracker division, Kelly Evink looked like he had never left the drivers seat. Evink raced from seventh starting spot in six laps, to claim the lead in his 25 lap feature race, then held of repeated challenges from defending American Short Tracker champion Nick Cina Jr on his way to the season-opening triumph. Cina, who started the race in ninth, raced side-by-side with Evink for the entire second half of the race, pulling even yet never pulling ahead of the eventual winner Evink. Five-time track champion George Sparkman finished third, advancing from eighth position. Polesitter and early race leader Brad Henrey finished fourth, with Steve Rubeck fifth. Rubeck, racing for Ron Bridges, competed in a Short Tracker race for the first time in 20 years.

South Beloit’s Dennis Smith Jr put on the drive of the night in the Kickstart Roadrunner’s 20 lap feature event. Smith, who started 16th, advanced to the lead in 18 laps and held off a last lap challenge from Adam Cartwright to pocket the first Roadrunner feature of 2014. Cartwright finished the race in second, after starting the race in sixteenth spot. Terrance Robinson came home in third, followed by James Gregory and Chad Lounsbury.

67th SEASON OPENER SET FOR SATURDAY NIGHT!

This Saturday night April 19 officially kicks off another season of NASCAR Whelen All American Series Racing at Rockford Speedway, with the Mountain Dew Kickstart 67th Season Opener! The first Saturday night race of 2014 features the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Bargain Hunter Sportsman, Miller Lite American Short Trackers and Kickstart Roadrunners along with the Sam’s Drive-In Roadrunner Challenge ‘Driver/Fan Easter Egg Toss.’ Along with the racing, fans ages 21 and over are invited to take part in a FREE Red’s Apple Ale Sampling in the Miller Lite Pavilion from 6:30 PM to 8 PM. Gates open Saturday night at 5 PM, with the Stateline Staffing Services Fast Dashes going green at 7:07 PM. Adult admission is $12, Students 12-17 are $8, children 6-11 are $5 with Kids 5 and under FREE! We hope you join us Saturday night as we ‘Kickstart’ another exciting racing season!

DON’T MISS THE PRESEASON CAR SHOW SATURDAY AT ONYX BAR & GRILL!

Before all the action ‘under the lights’ Saturday night, racing fans are invited to Onyx Bar & Grill (located one mile west of the Speedway at the corner of Highways 251 & 173 in Machesney Crossing) for the Preseason Car Show! The Car Show, which begins at 11 AM, gives fans an up-close look at the racecars that will take to the track later that night! Fans are also invited inside ONYX during the show to enjoy the wide variety of items on the lunch menu AND to vote for the “Best Appearing Car” at the Preseason Car Show. The winner of “Best Appearing” will receive a huge prize pack, including a Kickstart pullover, two Mtn. Dew display chairs, two 12pks of Kickstart, four can koozies and $50 in restaurant gift cards! The winner of “Best Appearing” will be announced during pre-race ceremonies Saturday night.

MOBIL 1 ‘DOLLAR NIGHT’ & FIGURE 8 RACING ON TAP NEXT WEEKEND!

Race fans will be able to take advantage of great deals AND watch exciting racing action next Saturday night April 26 at Rockford Speedway, with the return of Mobil 1 ‘Dollar Night.’ ‘Dollar Night’ features great deals, including select concession and drink items for just one dollar! Next Saturday night is also the first of three ‘Dollar Beer Saturdays’ in the Miller Lite Pavilion. On-track action on ‘Dollar Night’ includes the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Bargain Hunter Sportsman, Kickstart Roadrunners, Sam’s Drive-In Roadrunner Challenge ‘Kidney Bean Race’ and the return of ‘Wild & Crazy’ Figure 8 racing! Join us for Mobil 1 ‘Dollar Night’ next weekend!

Upcoming Events
Sat April 19 11 am- Preseason Car Show @ ONYX Bar & Grill
Sat April 19 7:07 pm- Mtn Dew Kickstart 67th Season Opener
Sat April 26 7:07 pm- Mobil 1 ‘Dollar Night’ (Select concession and drink items just $1)
Sat May 3 7:07 pm- Tractor Town Kid’s Night (Kids 11 & under FREE, Tractor Rides, Candy Scramble)
Sat May 10 7:07 pm- Salute to Mom Night
Sat May 17 7:07 pm- Speedway Auto Mall Salute to Military Night! (Free with Military ID)