GERSTER SWEEPS WEEKEND, TAMES ROCKFORDS HIGH BANKS YET AGAIN
Story by: David SInk
Brian Gerster kept his roll going by winning the Must See Racing 50-lap feature Saturday night at Rockford Speedway. It was his second consecutive win in as many nights and finished off the weekend with a sweep of Must See Racing’s western swing through Wisconsin and Illinois.
Gerster finished the night off in convincing fashion by taking the checkered flag by nearly a straightaway lead after setting quick time in qualifications earlier in the day with a lap of 11.597 seconds. He appeared aggressive with lapped cars after taking the lead on lap 8 from early leader Anthony McCune and wasted no time building a sizeable lead early. He nearly lost the race one night earlier when he struggled with lap cars with two laps to go and second place finisher Jimmy McCune took advantage of his struggles to momentarily take the lead, but still managed to hang on for the win. Gerster would have none of that on this night and lapped cars as quickly as possible en-route to a dominating performance.
The win also showed the competition that his Dick Meyers owned machine is now a threat after early season struggles. The car was heavily damaged in an accident last August at Owosso, MI. The entire rear end of the car had to be reconstructed and the team appears to have figured the car out.
In victory lane Gerster alluded to the fact the team has figured the reconstructed car out. “This weekend is sort of a culmination of recovering from our car getting crashed at Owosso last year” explained Gerster.”The back of this thing was completely destroyed. A lot of work went into getting it fixed. The notebook on this thing is fifteen years old or something like that and we kinda had to start over because things are different now. The car has been wanting a different set-up than what we’re used to. We found some things the car likes. Hopefully we can keep rolling”.
Gerster reasoned his aggressive driving style was due to the fact Jimmy McCune would be there at the end. “I figured Jimmy would be there. He really excels at little race tracks like this. I’d come off of two and glance at the main straightaway and could never see him. I figured he was close. Last night I felt like I had a little bit of a lead and then I got hung up with a couple lapped cars with two to go, and he got next to us and almost stole one from us. Just trying to get through lapped traffic as quick as possible. It worked out and we got the win” concluded Gerster. Jimmy McCune finished second while his nephew Anthony McCune finished third after leading the opening 8 laps of the event. Chris Nuenschwander was third and Charlie Schultz rounded out the top five.
RUDE, LOUNSBURY ANS ECHLIN CONQUER FRANTIC FEATURES
Recap by: Clem Easterly
Racing as the undercard to the Must See Racing Sprint Cars during Saturday night’s ‘Sprint Car Spectacular’ at Rockford Speedway, the Miller Lite American Short Trackers, Kickstart Roadrunners and Northern Vintage Racing Series did not disappoint, as each feature was decided in the waning laps and including a variety of close racing and thrilling action which kept an enthusiastic crowd hanging on the edge of their seat at every turn.
In the 25 lap main event for the Miller Lite American Short Trackers, an incredible five-car battle took place for nearly the entire distance of the feature, with the only halt coming at lap 23 when contenders and point leaders Zach Rodriguez and Nick Cina Jr tangled coming off the fourth corner. The tangle brought out the yellow flag and sent both drivers to the tail of the field. Remaining at the front was leader Aaron Rude and Franc Beldowski along with Justin Pearson and David Russell. Each had either contended for the top spot or held it at one point in the race. When the field took the green on the ensuing restart, Rude ran away while Beldowski settled in for second. The duo crossed the line in that fashion, with Rude pocketing his third win of 2017. Veteran racer Steve Rubeck hopped back in a Short Tracker Saturday night and collected a third place finish for his efforts. Russel was scored fourth, while Pearson rounded out the top five.
The 20 lap Kickstart Roadrunner feature race was closely contested, with most of the eight-car field staying within striking distance of one another most of the way. Chicago’s Pat Ligue led most of the race and appeared to have just enough to pocket his first Rockford Speedway win, but a slight slip opened the door late for Chad Lounsbury, who made his move for the lead with under five laps to go. Meanwhile, as Lounsbury tried to rip the lead away from Ligue, point leaded Josh Thiering worked some late-race magic to gain on the top two cars and had just enough left to pressure Lounsbury for the win on the final lap. Thiering came up just short at the line, settling for second place while Lounsbury took the win and also swept the night after winning the Fast Dash and his Heat Race. Ligue settled for third, while Kevin Memoli came home in fourth and Austin Fowler rounded out the top five.
For the first time ever, the Northern Vintage Stock Car Series hit the track on Saturday night, making their debut at Rockford Speedway. When the dust settled on their 15 lap feature race, Dyer Indiana’s Pat Echlin took the win, holding off a last lap challenge from Joe Darnell. Howie Ware won the Vintage Heat Race and took third in the feature, with Tony Brutti fourth and Nick Letsinger fifth.