NASON & SARGENT SET TO REPRESENT ROCKFORD AT SPEEDWEEKS!

By: Eric Huenefeld

Two top local racers are preparing to make the southern trek to Florida during the month of February, testing their skills against some of the nation’s top short-track racing stars.

South Beloit’s Tim Sargent and Roscoe’s Austin Nason have both filed entries for the 48th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway near New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The nine day event kicks off Friday February 14 and continues through Saturday February 22.

The ‘World Series’ is part of a busy short track racing scene in the state of Florida during the month of February, full of events on both dirt tracks and asphalt tracks from Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach. The bevy of short track racing, along with the events held at the Daytona International Speedway, help make up the motorsports event known as ‘Speedweeks.’

Sargent, the 2010 Rockford Speedway Late Model Track Champion, looks to be among the contenders during Speedweeks. The 39 year old racer is coming off a solid season, which saw him finish fifth in the 2013 Big 8 Late Model Series point standings. Sargent captured (5) top five finishes in nine Big 8 Series starts this past season, while also pocketing a win at Jefferson (WI) Speedway during the regular season

Nason, who turned 18 in January, makes his first ever trip to Florida for Speedweeks competition. The 2011 Rockford Speedway Sportsman champion and 2012 Rockford Speedway Late Model Rookie of the Year finished last season fourth in Big 8 Series points with (4) top five finishes, including a second place finish at Milwaukee Mile in July. Along with those accomplishments, Nason finished fifth in September’s National Short Track Championship 200 lap Super Late Model race at Rockford, his first race in on of the high powered Super Late Models.

Both drivers are campaigning their automobiles in the Pro Late Model division at New Smyrna. As of February 1, drivers from eight states, two Canadian provinces and the country of Peru filed entries to race a Pro Late Model at New Smyrna Speedway during Speedweeks.

Sargent, Nason and the rest of the Pro Late Model drivers take to the track seven times during the eight night event, including a 50 lap race on Monday February 17 and a 100 lap race on Thursday February 20. Other divisions competing during the ‘World Series’ include the NASCAR K&N East Series, NASCAR Modifieds, Super Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, Sportsman, Mini Stocks, Super Stocks and Pro Trucks.

For more information on the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car racing, please visit www.newsmyrnaspeedway.org. To follow Sargent and Nason during their stay in Florida, please visit www.speed51.com for live updates each race day.

BIG 8 SERIES TO TACKLE ROCKFORD TWICE IN 2014!

By: Eric Huenefeld
The Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2014. And to celebrate, the “Best Weekly Warriors in the Country” are stopping at Rockford Speedway twice this upcoming season!
The series, comprised of the top weekly late model drivers in the Midwest, once again takes part in the two biggest racing weekends of the calendar year at the sixty-seven year old facility.
Sunday April 13, the Big 8 Late Models headline the 37th Annual Spring Classic. The Spring Classic is where it all started for the series back in April of 2005, when Machesney Park’s Mike Beyer claimed victory in the first ever Big 8 Series points race. Again this April, the Big 8 Late Model Series shares the Spring Classic spotlight with the Mid American Stock Car Series and the Illinois Vintage Racers.
On Saturday September 27, the Big 8 Series once again headlines “Short Track Saturday Night” as part of the 49th Annual National Short Track Championships. The stop at Rockford is part of “Four Races in Four Weeks” to determine the 2014 Big 8 Series champion which features stops at four tracks in three states over a four weekend span.
Both Big 8 Late Model Series events at Rockford Speedway are set to be 108 laps in length.
The full 2014 Big 8 Series Schedule and more information on the series can be found at www.big8series.com.

KEY DATES ANNOUNCED FOR ROCKFORD SPEEDWAY’S 67th SEASON!

By: Eric Huenefeld

With the New Year quickly approaching, the new season of racing, entertainment and excitement at Rockford Speedway is not too far away.

On Saturday evening January 25, the final touches will be put on 2013, as Rockford Speedway hosts the 66th Champions Banquet at Forest Hills Lodge. The evening will feature food, fun and fellowship while honoring Rockford Speedway’s 2013 Track Champions.

The first official gathering of the 2014 season will take place on Friday night February 28, with Driver Orientation Meetings at the Forest Hills Lodge. A Rookie Orientation will take place at 6pm, followed by a general meeting discussing licensing and race procedures at 7pm. Race teams will be able to register their car numbers, purchase R.A.C.E. and NASCAR Memberships, reserve their season pit pads and pick up decal kits for the upcoming year.

The first Tire Sale of the year will transpire on Thursday evening April 3, with teams able to purchase treads for the upcoming racing season. On Saturday April 5, the track comes to life for the first time in 2014, as all teams are invited to take part in the first Open Practice Session of the year. Following the Practice session, the Stone & Double T 200 four-cylinder enduro tackles the “high banks.”

Sunday April 13 features the 37th Spring Classic, a traditional Sunday afternoon season opening special featuring top drivers from across the Midwest along with action packed racing. Six days later, on Saturday night April 19, the 67th consecutive season of racing officially kicks off for Rockford Speedway’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series weekly divisions. The season-long point battles come to an end on Saturday night September 6th, with NASCAR Champions being crowned at “Night of Champions.”

The “Original Trailer Race of Destruction” and “World Famous Figure 8 Trailer Race” both return to the docket in 2014. The “Original” Trailer Race takes to the track Saturday night June 14, with the “World Famous” Figure 8 Trailer Race set to wow the masses on Saturday night August 2. Rockford Speedway’s annual “Night of Thrills”, featuring Jet Cars, Monster Trucks, thrilling stunts and more returns on Saturday night September 13.

“One Great Racing Weekend,” the 49th Annual National Short Track Championships, will once again take place on the final weekend in September. Mark your calendars for Friday September 26th through Sunday September 28 and make sure you don’t miss this legendary and thrilling race weekend.

The 23rd Bahama Bracket Nationals, featuring nearly 200 cars racing against each other and the clock, hits the track Saturday and Sunday October 11 and 12, with the 34th running of the Goblin 250 enduro closing the curtain on the 2014 season Sunday afternoon October 19.

Makes plans now to be part of another unforgettable season this summer at Rockford Speedway!

BERTOLOZZI GETS COZY IN GOBLIN VICTORY LANE!

By: Eric Huenefeld

Bob Bertolozzi was not only glad he won the Goblin 250, he’s glad the race WAS the Goblin 250.

The Rock Falls native, nursing a tattered and torn racer around Rockford Speedway for the final ten laps, limped across the finish line first Sunday afternoon, topping 116 other competitors in the 250 laps test of man and machine.

Bertolozzi kept himself in contention for most of the 250 laps, running in one of the top four positions for over 200 circuits. On lap 180, when then leader Rick Zifko was sidelined temporarily with a flat tire, Bertolozzi inherited the top spot. However, ten laps after snagging the lead, Bertolozzi came upon danger in turn four as Jay Orr’s automobile lie stranded in the middle of the speedway. Both Bertolozzi and Destiny Robinson had no escape, meeting at the front end of Orr’s disabled machine. Despite the contact, Bertolozzi and Robinson continued on, however Bertolozzi suffered moderate front end damaged to his car after the direct hit to Orr.

Bertolozzi initially showed few ill effects until lap 230, when his pace began to slow slightly. By lap 240, Bertolozzi brought his car to the bottom side of the track, merely nursing his vehicle to the checkered flag. With a three lap buffer between he and the field, Bertolozzi’s choice of car preservation worked to perfection, as he coasted to the win. Bertolozzi’s triumph was his first ever in six previous attempts at Rockford.

Zifko, who led over 100 laps of the race before relinquishing the lead to Bertolozzi fought back from his tire issues at lap 180. The Aurora native returned to the track in short order, racing back into contention by races end, settling for a second place finish. Janesville’s Derek Dixon was very steady throughout the race, making a slow climb in the second half of the 250 lap affair. Dixon’s day ended in the third position. Kyle Stark finished the race in fourth spot, while central Illinois driver Tyler Griswold rounded out the top five.

Eleven four cylinder cars later returned to the track for the “Big Swarm” Demo Derby, with Beach Park’s Bruce Stonecipher outlasting Machesney Park’s Stephan Hillary for the trophy. Andy Die of Burlington WI (Super Stock) and Cory Huebbe of Granville IL (Trucks) were the big winners in the “Reckless in Rockford’ Demo Derby presented by Damaged Goods.

Demo A-Main 01 — 1. Bruce Stonecipher, Beach Park; 2. Stephen Hillary, Machesney Park; 3. William Quinonez, Chana; 4. Michael Sorensen, Jr, Woodstock; 5. Jon Eggert, Machesney Park; 6. Paul Bass;; 7. Joseph Palello, Wonder Lake; 8. Tim Deering, Elk Grove Village; 9. Doss Shultis, Elizabeth; 10. Joey Fortune, Sterling; 11. Scott Gagen, Roselle.

Goblin Enduro A-Main 01 — 1. Bob Bertolozzi, Rock Falls; 2. Rick Zifko, Aurora; 3. Derek Dixon, Milton, Wis; 4. Kyle Stark, Waterloo, Wis; 5. Tyler Griswold, Pontiac; 6. Ted Diangikes, Montgomery; 7. Troy Boss, Rock Falls; 8. Ed Gutzeit, Des Plaines; 9. Dale Markham, Maple Park; 10. Joe Labombarbe, Aurora; 11. Mike Cunz, Cortland; 12. Jody Purdy, Milton, Wis; 13. Ryan Lagestee, Schererville, Ind.; 14. Scott Schlafke, Cleveland, Wis; 15. Destiny Robinson, Beloit, Wis; 16. Justin Pearson, Belvidere; 17. Fred Wittmann Sr., Des Plaines; 18. Douglas Finnern, Des Plaines; 19. Timmy Brannam, Holiday Hills; 20. Linda Sparks, Belvidere; 21. Peter Hayes, Romeoville; 22. Kyle Smith, South Elgin; 23. Caleb Shultis, Stockton; 24. Joey Fortune, Sterling; 25. Tony Doherty, Aurora; 26. Matthew Andrus, Rockford; 27. Kyle Wittmann, Des Plaines; 28. Jay Orr, Milwaukee, Wis; 29. Dennis Doherty, Elgin; 30. Derek Walker, Marengo; 31. Seth Pippel, Rockford; 32. Shane Reppen, Broadhead, Wis; 33. Brendan O’Regan, Buffalo Grove; 34. Mike Nelms, Lombard; 35. Camden Murphy, Itasca; 36. David Keuhs, Hobart, Ind.; 37. Jacob Aldrich, Rockford; 38. Charles Chism, Jr., Batavia; 39. Scott Vetter, Union; 40. Justin Colley, Aurora; 41. Jerid Butram, Rockford; 42. Joey Quinonez, Rochelle; 43. Thomas Andrus, Rockford; 44. Mike Smith, Marengo; 45. Peter Shelley, Edgerton, Wis; 46. Mike VanHowe, Crestwood; 47. Jerry Mesch II, Rockford; 48. Mitch Maloney, Lake Zurich; 49. Tony Bores, Rockton; 50. Bernard Robinson, Beloit, Wis; 51. Jason Dull, Machesney Park; 52. Steve Warren, Portage, Ind.; 53. David Demeny, Janesville, Wis; 54. Jeremy Colley, Aurora; 55. Rich Schinderling, Machesney Park; 56. Tyler Wheaton, Lansing; 57. Anthony Sluga, Woodstock; 58. Tadd Reiter, Waterman, Wis; 59. Jon Eggert, Machesney Park; 60. John Blair, Rockford; 61. Michael Brown, Aurora; 62. Doss Shultis, Elizabeth; 63. William Quinonez, Chana; 64. Tom Crawford, Sr, Griffith, Ind.; 65. Mike Lindsay, Aurora; 66. Devon Dixon, Janesville, Wis; 67. Michael Sorensen, Sr, Huntley; 68. Brad Henrey, Rockford; 69. Matt McCain, Aurora; 70. Brian Walsh, Crestwood; 71. Morgan Breeding, Woodstock; 72. Melissa Keuhs, Hobart, Ind.; 73. Jimmy Hartmann, Carpentersville; 74. Dave Gagen, Roselle; 75. Shawn Whalen, Cortland; 76. Michael Karels, Pingree Grove; 77. Joseph Palello, Wonder Lake; 78. Austin Runge, Lake Zurich; 79. Ryan Gordon, Rockford; 80. DJ Sparks, Belvidere; 81. Gabriel Alvarado, Barlett; 82. Aaron Pearsall, Lake in the Hills; 83. Katherine Bass, Janesville, Wis; 84. Michael Sorensen, Jr, Woodstock; 85. Mike Gossett, Cortland; 86. Steve Goll, East Dundee; 87. Adrian Roscelli, Dekalb; 88. Stephen Hillary, Machesney Park; 89. Jim Klingel, Aurora; 90. Tim Deering, Elk Grove Village; 91. Tony Segneri, Rock Falls; 92. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 93. Mitch Moag, Oswego; 94. Joel Hernandez, St. Charles; 95. Tyler Andrus, Rockford; 96. Jay Kincaid, Lake Geneva, Wis; 97. Dave Hodd, Lake Geneva, Wis; 98. Nate Finney, Sycamore; 99. Dan Ressins, Wheaton; 100. Charlie Olson, Kingston; 101. Alex Treptow, Lansing; 102. Blake Andrus, Rockford; 103. Jerry Mesch, Rockford; 104. Karl Adolphson, Rockford; 105. Brandon Mesch, Rockford; 106. Trenton LaBrie, Waukesha, Wis; 107. Bruce Stonecipher, Beach Park; 108. Jeff Paul, Janesville, Wis; 109. Alan Bekielewski, Roscoe; 110. Justin Mikel, Montgomery; 111. Steve Andres, South Elgin; 112. Joe Darnell, Machesney Park; 113. Jeff Myers, Elgin; 114. Nick Chiapetta, Downers Grove; 115. Cameron Poci, Rock Falls; 116. Neils Kruse, Cary; 117. Josh McCoy, Cary.