By: Tom Ace

On a picture perfect Saturday night, a near-capacity crowd filled up
Rockford Speedway as part of the annual Fan Appreciation Night. Four
divisions of short track racing took to the high banks along with
School Bus Races and the results equaled another captivating night at
the races.


2017 Roadrunner champion Josh Thiering made the jump to the Sportsman
division a little late this Spring, but that late start has not
hampered his progress and that fact was showcased on Saturday as the
South Beloit native led all 25 laps of his feature race on the way to
his first Sportsman victory. Thiering jumped from his outside front
row starting position to take the lead and held off an incredibly
close field of Sportsman racers to take the win.

The race was slowed by one yellow flag with six laps remaining, which
allowed everyone the chance to make one last run at Thiering, but no
one could string a late-race rally together to topple the outside
polesitter. Point leader Howie Ware had another solid night and ended
the night with a second place finish in the feature. Rookie Richie
Schinderling made the biggest move on the first and only restart of
the night, moving from seventh to third place in the final running
order. Adam Cartwright logged another top five finish with his fourth
place result, while Chad Smith rounded out the top five. Smith was
also the evening’s quick qualifier.


The finish of the 20 lap Bandit feature was enough to put that race in
the conversation for ‘Race of the Year,’ with four drivers trading
barbs for the lead over the course of the final five laps. When the
dust settled, Ben Rucker made the right moves and stayed ahead of what
became a three-wide race for second place. Rucker was able to hit the
finish line first after a late-race attempt by Kelsey Dobbs to steal
the win. The conquest marked a first ever Bandit feature race win for

Dobbs, the reigning Bandit champion and current point leader, settled
for second place while early-race leader Mark Bielefeldt finished
third while barely outdistancing Bart Brockmann for the position.
Brockmann, the evening’s fast qualifier, came home in fourth place.
Steve Putman Jr rounded out the top five.

In the Bandit Figure 8, Charlie Schork outran the competition to claim
his first ever Rockford Speedway win. ‘Chargin Charlie’ Frisch was
second while Rucker finished third.


11 year old Payton Glodowski passed Mick Ellis for the lead near the
midway point of the 20 lap feature for the American Super Cup Series
and coasted to his first ever Super Cup Series victory. The Oostburg
Wisconsin driver took the checkered flag by nearly a straightaway
ahead of Ellis, while Cayden Fretwell held off David Cerer for third
position. Greg Davis rounded out the top five.


Pat “Hacksaw” Heaney claimed victory in the 15 lap race for the
Vintage racers. Heaney led flag to flag and held off the advances of
Franc Beldowski over the final two laps to collect the win. Gene
Pennington finished third, with Joe Darnell fourth and Steve Rubeck