By: Eric Huenefeld
Officials at Rockford Speedway have released the Entry Forms and Competition Guide for the 52nd Annual National Short Track Championships (NSTC). The traditional year-end gathering of racers and race fans takes place Friday September 29, Saturday September 30 and Sunday October 1 at the seventy-year-old facility in Northern Illinois. This season’s edition of NSTC features eleven different classes of race cars taking to the track over a three-day time frame, including Late Model Features headlining all three days.
In recent years, multiple drivers have entered both the Big 8 Late Model and Super Late Model races during ‘One Great Racing Weekend.’ One year ago, Casey Johnson became the first driver in 30 years to win both the Super Late Model and ‘Big 8 style’ features in the same weekend. With three Late Model Feature races scheduled for NSTC in 2017, Rockford Speedway is upping the ante for those drivers willing to accept the first ever ‘Late Model Challenge.’ If one driver can win ALL THREE Late Model races in one weekend at the 52nd National Short Track Championships, they will collect a $1500 bonus on Sunday afternoon. The bonus, combined with the winner’s purse for all three races, would push one drivers weekend earnings over $10,000! To be eligible, drivers must Pre-Enter for all three races and attempt to Qualify for all three races. Along with the ‘Late Model Challenge’, lap leader bonuses and qualifying bonuses will be up for grabs for ALL THREE Late Model classes at this season’s National Short Track Championships.
As for the daily schedule at this year’s National Short Track Championships, the racing begins on Friday night with “Opening Night,” kicking off one hour earlier in 2017 at 6 PM. The Weekly Warrior Late Models return to NSTC for the first time in three years, headlining “Opening Night” with a 40-lap feature event. The busy Friday night card also includes Area Sportsman, American Short Trackers, Roadrunners and the Hornet/Bandit Challenge. The Sportsman and Short Trackers are each scheduled to run 35 lap features, while the Roadrunners will go 30 laps and the Hornet/Bandit Challenge is set for 25 laps.
One night later, on “Short Track Saturday Night” September 30, the Big 8 Late Model Series headlines the evening’s festivities, with a full program highlighted by a grueling 108 lap feature race. Joining the Big 8 Series on Saturday night are the Great Northern Sportsman Series (GNSS) and the Northern Vintage Racers. The GNSS cars are set for a complete show highlighted by a 50-lap feature, while the Vintage Racers are set to contest heats and a 20 lap feature race. Also on Saturday night, the Super Late Models run their preliminary races (Qualifying Heats and Fast Dashes). Racing on Saturday evening begins at 5 PM, with Faster Than a Speeding Bullet Qualifying for the Big 8 Late Models, Super Late Models and Great Northern Sportsman set for 2:15 PM.
“Championship Sunday” October 1 is highlighted by the 200 lap ‘National Short Track Championship’ presented by Stanley Steemer, as some of the very best Super Late Model racers in the country vie for their chance at Rockford glory and their opportunity to ‘wear the wreath.’ The Quest Industrial Mid American Stock Car Series and Central States Super Cups join the fold on Sunday, with the Mid American Series running a complete show headlined by a 50-lap feature and the Super Cup Cars running a 20 lap ‘Super Cup Invite.’ Sunday’s racing begins at 12:30 PM.
All cars get a first crack at the track on Thursday night September 28, with an Open Practice Session from 5:30 PM until 9 PM. Grandstand admission is FREE on Practice Night. Overnight Parking for Campers will once again be permitted on Speedway grounds during National Short Track Championship weekend, with the Parking Lot officially opening at 5 PM on Wednesday evening, September 27.
For more information on the 52nd Annual National Short Track Championships or to order tickets for ‘One Great Racing Weekend’, please call the Rockford Speedway office at 815-633-1500 or visit rockfordspeedway.com.