By: Clem Easterly
Michael Bilderback left little doubt in Saturday night’s Star Spangled 76 at Rockford Speedway.
By taking the Gerber Collision and Glass Ultimate Challenge, Bilderback guaranteed himself a last place start in the 76 lap Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model feature event. However, a win also guaranteed Bilderback a $600 bonus on top of his winnings if he could get from the back to the front in 76 laps.
Not only did Bilderback get to the front (by lap 39), he also lapped everyone left of the track except for second place finisher Matt Berger on his way to victory lane.
The road to the front was not an easy one for Bilderback, especially in his battle with Berger for the lead, a tussle which lasted nearly 15 laps, before Bilderback finally made the winning move one lap after halfway.
From there, Bilderback blasted around the quarter mile oval, lapping nearly anything that moved in route to his second victory of the year at Rockford Speedway and fourth win overall in 2017.
Berger came home in second, the only other car on the lead lap. Tom Gille, who relinquished the lead on lap 12 after taking his car to the pits during a red flag, came back to third. John Beinlich finished the race in fourth, followed by Adam Peschek in fifth.
Cambridge Wisconsin’s Aaron Rude made it look easy in the 25 lap Miller Lite American Short Tracker feature, getting past Shannon Stoltz on lap 11 and never looking back on the way to his second win of the year. Stoltz finished the race a season-best third, behind reigning track champion Nick Cina Jr, who nailed down the runner up position. Franc Beldowski was fourth, with Justin Pearson rounding out the top five. The 25 lap race for the Short Trackers went caution free.