By Jordan Kuehne
LOVES PARK, Ill. (Saturday, July 2nd, 2011) -- Jon Reynolds Jr. finally capitalized -- the fast qualifier took advantage of an explosive ride and ended a string of bad luck that had held him winless into the month of July with a victory in the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models Nason's Landscaping 'Star Spangled 76' tonight at the Rockford Speedway. 'Driver X' certainly enjoyed taking the checkered flag after accepting the 'Gerber Collision & Glass Challenge' during pre-race ceremonies, starting in the back of the pack, and eventually driving to the front on the way to the winner's circle where he collected a cool grand on top of the normal payday reserved for the victor.
Reynolds Jr's rough 2011 campaign has had several top qualifying efforts but no trophies to show for it; that ended tonight after he held off several late race attempts by two-time track champion Jerry Gille. With the season's halfway point in the rearview mirror, points leader Ryan Carlson saw his huge edge in the standings evaporate into the sultry summer air after a mid-race crash knocked him out of the event while leading. Gille was sent to the back in the incident but jetted through the field before hounding a determined 'Driver X' all the way to the checkers.
In the Bargain Hunter Sportsman main event, rookie Brad Gerke grabbed his first victory in over 26 years with a spirited driving effort. Andy Forster found himself in the winner's circle in the American Super Cups headliner while Nick Schneider rounded out the racing action with a come-from-behind win in the Hornets swarm.
The star attraction on a special night of racing, the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models Nason’s Landscaping ‘Star Spangled 76’, got off to a quick start as Slinger Super Speedway points leader Wayne Friemund forced his way into the top spot.
Points leader Ryan Carlson wasted no time moving through the field and into second, passing Jake Gille on lap three for the runner-up spot before an early caution waved on lap five of the special extended show after Tim Sargent’s machine went off track in turn one.
On the restart, Freimund and Carlson went door-to-door for the top spot as two-time champion Jerry Gille stuck his nose on the bottom of the backstretch to make it three-wide for the lead. That was just a temporary move though as Gille was forced to lift and dropped to third as the top six cars went side-by-side, bumper-to-bumper over the next five laps.
Carlson finally broke through via the low line, commanding the top spot on lap 11 as Gille followed him in hot pursuit in second. As fast qualifier Jon Reynolds Jr. moved into a podium spot in third, Gille peeked to the bottom of Carlson for the top spot.
While the top three drivers slipped away from the rest of the field, Kyle Shear began to size up Jake Gille and the fourth spot. Shear’s efforts were rebuffed as Jerry Gille continued to peruse a path around Carlson. Sitting third, Reynolds Jr. took the ‘Gerber Collision & Glass Challenge’ and started at the back of the pack with the hopes of racing through the field and winning an extra $1,000 for his troubles.
A debris caution with 52 circuits to go tightened everyone back up and allowed Shear to pressure Jake Gille for fourth once again. As the two jousted for the spot, Gille spun into the turn four wall after hitting some fluid laid down by John Beinlich’s wounded machine. The caution flew with 50 laps left as safety workers cleaned up the track and Gille received his spot back.
Carlson assumed command again as Jerry Gille quickly closed up behind him. Gille continued to look to the bottom line for the lead as the 76-lap marathon hit the halfway point.
Suddenly, Carlson sailed up the track in turn three with 36 circuits left and Gille had nowhere to go on the outside. A fishtailing Gille was forced to slide to the bottom of the track as Carlson smacked the outside wall. With Carlson’s front end bent underneath the right front tire and Jerry Gille sent to the back of the pack for his role in the incident, Jon Reynolds Jr. inherited the lead as that extra thousand dollars loomed large before him.
When the green flag waved, Reynolds Jr. rocketed to a five car length advantage as Shear and Jake Gille brought their race-long battle up to second. Jerry Gille was a man on a mission though, driving through the field from eighth to second in the short span of six laps.
Reynolds Jr’s 15 car length advantage was erased in the time it took Vern Fagerberg Jr. to go through the spin cycle in turn four with 24 laps remaining. ‘Driver X’ exploded to a two car length edge on the restart but Jerry Gille swiftly erased the gap and began to size up Reynolds Jr. and the lead.
The top two drove away from the rest of the field and began to play a high speed game of cat and mouse as Gille jumped to the bottom on the entrance to each corner before Reynolds Jr. nosed ahead. Reynolds Jr. held onto a comfortable advantage over the next ten laps but his edge vanished once again after Fagerberg Jr. looped his late model on the frontstretch bringing out the caution and setting up a three-lap shootout.
Reynolds Jr. caught Jerry Gille napping on the restart and eased away, never looking back en route to his first win of the year and cashing an extra $1000 payday for his efforts.
"We've led a lot of laps this year," a defiant Reynolds Jr. offered before a cheering crowd. "Whether or not people think we got lucky or not, I don't really care because we've got 1800 dead presidents we're taking home tonight."
While Gille fell short of his ultimate goal of victory lane, his rally did net him a strong second place result while Kyle Shear's patience paid off with a top three run. Jake Gille scored a second top five for the family with a fourth place finish while young rookie Mitch Garfield came home in fifth.
Ryan Carlson's mid-race wreck relegated the points leader to a paltry ninth place finish as the second half of the season begins to heat up.
A brief battle for the lead went Brad Gerke’s way as the 25-lap Bargain Hunter Sportsman feature got underway. Matt Lundberg settled for second as the field thinned out and formed a five-car single file train up front.
Defending champion Matt Berger was the first to step out of line, looking to the bottom groove for traction as he lined up a move for third. The fast qualifier lost control on the exit of turn two and clipped the rear end of Lundberg’s station wagon and in the process, sent him shooting through the infield grass. The caution flew with 14 laps to go as both drivers tagged the rear of the longest line.
Gerke grabbed a comfortable margin on the restart as Rich Hinerichson navigated around Doug Bennett and into second. Hinerichson saw a hole and took a chance for the lead but the hot rod decked out in black and sporting a Batman emblem on the hood dropped off the pace and fell back to eighth.
Up front, Bennett closed up to the metal bumper on Gerke’s Ford Fairlane but couldn’t get the job done, settling for a runner-up finish.
Brad Gerke fended off all challengers for a wire-to-wire win, his first victory in over 26 years.
“I thought oh god, don’t go passing me,” Gerke laughed in the winner’s circle. “Been away from it for many years and it took me a year to build my car and here we are.”
Points leader Austin Nason patiently negotiated into a podium position, finishing third, while Justin Sellers ended up fourth. Lundberg fought back and rounded out the top five in fifth.
Andy Forster found himself out front when the 25-lap American Super Cups headliner got underway. Last month’s feature winner at the Rockford Speedway, Jacob Van Wazer, quickly worked his up to third and began to run down the second spot.
It took the teenager only nine laps to reel in the top two, diving to the bottom of Mick Ellis for the runner-up position but coming up a bit short as the caution flew for a Kodee Busekros spin in turn two with 14 laps remaining.
Forster held onto the lead on the restart as Van Wazer and Ellis tussled for second once again. Van Wazer’s miniature replica of a stock car couldn’t grip the bottom groove of the high-banked oval and he surrendered two spots trying to move up the track, dropping to fourth as Ken Jones moved up to third.
The young gun wasn’t done though, immediately regaining the third spot via the low line that had given him trouble previously and working around Ellis for second with eight laps to go. Looking for a second straight feature win at the historic facility, Van Wazer needed only three laps to close up on the back bumper of Forster before peeking to the inside for the top spot.
His move didn’t work on the exit of turn four but he wound it back up looking for a final chance to claim victory. On the white flag lap, the 13-year-old threw it to the absolute bottom of the track in turn four before getting sideways and having to hang on for second.
Andy Forster went wire-to-wire for the win, his first of the season in the American Super Cup.
“Van Wazer’s a good driver,” the victor admitted. “He raced me clean tonight. This is a great crowd tonight on the track and in the stands. We got one tonight!”
Ellis held on and eventually notched a solid third place effort.
Robbie Robinson led the Hornets to the green in their 15-lap swarm through the Monza course featuring a chicane on the backstretch. Bernard Robinson inherited the top spot after his fellow competitor of the same surname fell off the pace and settled into second.
Nick Schneider grabbed third place away from Jason Dull on the fourth lap before setting sail in pursuit of the leaders. While Robbie and Bernard Robinson duked it out up front, Schneider closed the gap behind them in third.
With four laps to go, Robbie Robinson dove through the grass on the entrance to turn three and surrendered the bridesmaid’s position to Schneider as lapped traffic became a factor. That lapped traffic held up Bernard Robinson and allowed Schneider to slip around on the high side with three circuits remaining.
The young driver held on from there to claim the win as Bernard Robinson settled for second. Jason Dull wound up third when the dust settled as Robby Robinson dropped to fourth. Tyler Deschaine notched a top five in fifth.
Schneider also grabbed the top spot in the Hornet Challenge Flagpole Race, successfully maneuvering around both lapped traffic and the flagpole to take the checkers. Tyler Deschaine came home in the runner-up spot.
Holiday racing continues tomorrow night at the Rockford Speedway as an amazing all-open wheeled slate is scheduled to take to the track. The Xtreme Sprint Car Series will be laying down track-record setting laps in the ‘Instant Jungle 50’ while the undercard will feature the exciting Illini Midget Series hitting the high banks before a spectacular fireworks show ends the proceedings.
Monday’s Fourth of July special includes the Bargain Hunter Sportsman for the second time in three nights plus the Budweiser American Short Trackers and Mtn Dew RoadRunners ‘Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’ featuring 20 laps in near darkness. Closing out another great night of holiday racing will be the fan-driven Spectacular Drags and the ’10,000 Watt Fireworks Extravaganza’ lighting up the night sky.
For more information on the Rockford Speedway, including the remaining 2011 schedule, visit the track website at www.rockfordspeedway.com or contact the Speedway Box Office at (815)633-1500.
Rockford Speedway Results
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Week 9
NASCAR All American Sportsmen
A-Main 01 -- 1. Brad Gerke (r), Loves Park; 2. Doug Bennett, Brodhead, Wis; 3. Austin Nason, Roscoe; 4. Justin Sellers, Carol Stream; 5. Matt Lundberg, Rockford; 6. Matt Berger, Loves Park; 7. Tim Jendrycki (r), Round Lake; 8. Joshua Lundy (r), Loves Park; 9. Brandon Swinbank (r), Rockford; 10. Rich Hinerichsen, II, Machesney Park; 11. Shannon Stoltz (r), Machesney Park; 12. Robert Roush (r), Marengo.
Heat 01 -- 1. Shannon Stoltz (r), Machesney Park; 2. Robert Roush (r), Marengo; 3. Brad Gerke (r), Loves Park; 4. Brandon Swinbank (r), Rockford; 5. Tim Jendrycki (r), Round Lake; 6. Joshua Lundy (r), Loves Park.
Heat 02 -- 1. Rich Hinerichsen, II, Machesney Park; 2. Doug Bennett, Brodhead, Wis; 3. Justin Sellers, Carol Stream; 4. Matt Berger, Loves Park; 5. Matt Lundberg, Rockford; 6. Austin Nason, Roscoe.
Time Trial -- 1. Matt Berger, Loves Park; 2. Doug Bennett, Brodhead, Wis; 3. Austin Nason, Roscoe; 4. Rich
Hinerichsen, II, Machesney Park; 5. Justin Sellers, Carol Stream; 6. Matt Lundberg, Rockford; 7. Brad Gerke (r), Loves Park; 8. Robert Roush (r), Marengo; 9. Tim Jendrycki (r), Round Lake; 10. Brandon Swinbank (r), Rockford; 11. Shannon Stoltz (r), Machesney Park; 12. Joshua Lundy (r), Loves Park.
Trophy Dash 01 -- 1. Matt Lundberg, Rockford; 2. Austin Nason, Roscoe; 3. Rich Hinerichsen, II, Machesney Park; 4. Matt Berger, Loves Park; 5. Doug Bennett, Brodhead, Wis; 6. Justin Sellers, Carol Stream.
A-Main 01 -- 1. Nick Schneider, Rockton; 2. Bernard Robinson, Beloit, Wis; 3. Jason Dull, Machesney Park; 4. Robby Robinson, Orfordville, Wis; 5. Tyler Deschaine, Loves Park; 6. Chuck Popejoy, Sterling; 7. Alex Hornsby, Roscoe; 8. Eric Weech, Elgin; 9. Andy Conn, St. Charles; 10. Joshua Cavin;; 11. John Tolle, Elgin; 12. Jon Havrilesko, Roscoe; 13. Jacob Aldrich, Rockford; 14. Jason Schlesner, Roscoe; 15. Charles Shepard, Rockford.
Heat 01 -- 1. Robby Robinson, Orfordville, Wis; 2. Bernard Robinson, Beloit, Wis; 3. Tyler Deschaine, Loves Park; 4. Joshua Cavin;.
Heat 02 -- 1. Nick Schneider, Rockton; 2. Alex Hornsby, Roscoe; 3. Jacob Aldrich, Rockford; 4. Jason Dull, Machesney Park; 5. Charles Shepard, Rockford; 6. Chuck Popejoy, Sterling; 7. Jason Schlesner, Roscoe.
Challenge 01 -- 1. Nick Schneider, Rockton; 2. Tyler Deschaine, Loves Park; 3. Charles Shepard, Rockford; 4. Chuck Popejoy, Sterling; 5. Andy Conn, St. Charles; 6. John Tolle, Elgin; 7. Eric Weech, Elgin; 8. Jon Havrilesko, Roscoe; 9. Jacob Aldrich, Rockford.
NASCAR Late Models
'Star-Spangled 76' -- 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 2. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 3. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 4. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 5. Mitchell Garfield (r), Gilberts; 6. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 7. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 8. Vern Fagerberg, Bloomingdale; 9. Ryan Carlson, Loves Park; 10. John Beinlich, Prairie View; 11. Tim Sargent, South Beloit.
Heat 01 -- 1. John Beinlich, Prairie View; 2. Mitchell Garfield (r), Gilberts; 3. Tim Sargent, South Beloit; 4. Vern Fagerberg, Bloomingdale; 5. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 6. Mark Hartline, Gilberts.
Heat 02 -- 1. Ryan Carlson, Loves Park; 2. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 3. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 4. Jacob Gille,
Machesney Park; 5. Kyle Shear, Roscoe.
Time Trial -- 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 2. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 3. Ryan Carlson, Loves Park; 4. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 5. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 6. Vern Fagerberg, Bloomingdale; 7. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 8. Mitchell Garfield (r), Gilberts; 9. John Beinlich, Prairie View; 10. Tim Sargent, South Beloit; 11. Mark Hartline, Gilberts.
Trophy Dash 01 -- 1. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 2. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 3. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 4. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 5. Ryan Carlson, Loves Park; 6. Vern Fagerberg, Bloomingdale
This article was posted to the website on July 3rd, 2011
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