Day three of the Byron races broke with beautiful skies. On day two, they were unable to run the program due to the rain and excessive weepers. Today's program was similar to the day one with Super Pro Box/No Box with a test & tune. Again, it was decided to run 1/8th mile and one time trial.
After completion of the time trials, the eliminations started with the No Box class followed by the Box class. The racing in the eliminations was hot and heavy. In between the classes teams/cars were allowed to test & tune.
As the rounds wound down, the pace quickened until the semi-final of the Box class. When Joe Cotten was doing his burnout a seal failed on his brake system spewing brake fluid onto the track. It was fortunate the seal failed during the burnout and not Joe's actual run. After almost an hour of cleanup, the eliminations continued. In the finals of No Box, it was Jake Billeter defeating Reno Loeffelholz.
In the Box class, it was Jeremy Vangsness taking the win light over the dragster of Nick Folk.
In the finals between Jeremy and Jake, it was a local driver event. Jake is from Byron and Jeremy sort of grew up at the track, being the nephew of Byron owner BJ Vangsness. Before the race, the drivers decided the payout would be divided with $2,500 to the winner and $1,500 to second place. In the final race of the day, it was Jake defeating Jeremy.
Saturday, was my return to Byron since last September's US Brackets. The racing was the Spring Bracket Nationals, otherwise known as the Big Bucks Bracket Bash. It consists of three days of bracket racing, with the first day being a Super Pro Box/No Box race along with a test & tune. For the uninitiated, the "Box" refers to a delay box for open wheel cars or door cars.
After a rainy Friday, I awoke to a beautiful, sunny morning for the hour drive to Bryon. As I arrived, cars were going through technical inspection and the track was being prepped
The racing was scheduled to begin around 10:00 a.m., however when I spoke with track staff, I learned they had been there all night working on the track because of Friday's rain. At the top end of the track, it had developed "weepers". As the morning warmed, weepers tend to get worse. Staff was pulling out all the stops to get the track ready to race. After three hours, they felt confident they could race safely. As an extra precaution, they stationed personnel down track to watch for any signs of water. Because of the delayed start and weepers, it was decided to run one Time Trial ( instead of the normal two) and an 1/8th mile. Let the day begin!
After an hour of racing, a car in the right lane blew a valve cover gasket and oiled down that lane. That took an hour to clean and re-prep the track for racing. Staff again did an amazing job. The Time Trials were completed and after a short test & tune session the Elimination action started.
After the first round of Eliminations, I decided to head down to the top end of the track to shoot the area of the finish line. Byron is unique in that along the right lane, it has a berm that starts at the end of the grandstand and extends to the finish line. This allows for an excellent view and photo opportunity at the finish line.
The racing action was great and staff was in a type of hurry-up mode to beat the impending darkness, as can be seen by these images.
In the end, it was Brett Williamson defeating Ricky Pena in the No Box Class with a .006 light and a 6.21 on a 6.20 index. In the Box Class, it was Ed Niemiec defeating Jeff Jones, when Jeff red-lighted. Ed ran a 5.20 on a 5.20 index. Normally, the final race of the day, for the overall win is a race between the Class winners, however with the time to cool the engines and run the race, it would be too dark to race safely. The track will work out the finish issue with the two class winners.
I want to give kudos to the Byron dragstaff for all the work it took to get this day completed.
As a sidebar to the day, it was Chelsey Simpson's birthday and when I arrived at the track, I learned it was also her mother's birthday, Rhonda Vangsness! How cool is that to have mother and daughter sharing the same birthday!!
To see all the images for Saturday's racing, please click here.
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On Sunday, I will not be at the track, but I will be back on Monday. The Sunday races, in addition to Super Pro Box/No Box, will include Pro Eliminator, Street Eliminator and Sportsman.
Saturday was a first for me when I shot a whole day of TORC (The Off Road Championship) racing. In 2012, I shot a few of the Pro class races, but not the entire event. Since then the Series has gone through ownership change and brought back the Sportsman classes. This is not a Series that I follow on a regular basis, so I was like a fish out of water for a little while. The day started with the six Sportsman classes: Light Buggy, 1600 Buggy, Supper Buggy, Sportsman UTV, Super Stock Truck and Short Course Karts.
Congratulations to the winners:
Light Buggy: Jake Nelson
1600 Buggy: Jeff Villemure
Super Buggy: Michael Meister
Sportsman UTV: Don Loehman
Super Stock Truck: Joe Maciosek
Short Course Karts: Owen Vaneperen
The Short Course Karts are the smaller cars that the kids drive.
Following the conclusion of the Sportsman classes it was the Pro classes turn to hit the track.
Congratulations to our Pro winners:
Pro Stock UTV: CJ Greaves
Pro Modified UTV: Rodney Vaneperen (father to Short Course Karts winner Owen)
Pro Light: Casey Currey
Pro 2: Eric Ruppel (after a dust-up on the last lap, Brad Lovell was penalized to 5th place giving Eric the win.
Pro 4: CJ Greaves (second win of the day with his father Johnny finishing second)
There were several spectacular crashes including this sequence where the truck of Kyle Kleiman rolled and eventually ended up on its wheels and continued racing without stopping. Fortunately there were no apparent injuries to all involved.
With all the continuance action, this day was an exciting raceday. Here are some random images of the many Victory Lane celebrations.
Today was my first time attending an Import Face-Off. I didn't know what to expect at this event. What I learned is that it is multi-faceted with a car show, a bracket race, a test & tune, a burnout contest and a stereo contest amongst other activities. While the event is primarily focused on import vehicles, there was still some American muscle present. Marina Anderson was here in her A-Nitro Fueled Dragster.
There was also a couple of our regular visitors to Route 66, Scott Hoffman and Joe Malfeo.
The car show had a great turnout and some of the stereo systems were unbelievable.
Between the bracket racers and the test & tuners, there was constant action on Route 66's 1/4 mile. There was almost every make or model car running down the track today.
One of my favorites was the, Prescott Phillips owned and driven Pro Stock Volkswagen Beetle. Prescott runs this car regularly at Great Lakes Dragaway.
I think my favorite event was the Burnout contest. A few of the vehicles literally burned the tires off the vehicles. The crowd really got into it, urging on the drivers.
This being my first Import Face-Off, as I stated earlier, I really didn't know what to expect. The event was a lot of fun. There was a very good turnout and everyone appeared to enjoy the day. When this event returns to Route 66, I would highly recommend everyone attend.
After a great night of racing at the Friday night Race Your Ride, we were looking forward to a great day of bracket racing in the Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket race #3. Then, Mother Nature raised her ugly head again and dumped over an inch and half rain on the track overnight. As the morning started to warm, water started percolating through to the track surface. The staff immediately started to work the problem. After a four hour struggle they were able to restore the track to racing condition. Kudos to the track staff for a great job. Because of the delay, it was decided to run only one session of Time Trials. Our local bracket racers were joined today by the Midwest Super Comp Series and the Midwest Top Sportsman Series. The racing was super competitive and the track was in excellent condition. Here is some of the action:
The first group to crown its winner was High School, when Connor Lawson beat Bracket race one winner, Julie Nettles.
The Pro Bikes were next, with Tom Ewig getting the win when Billo Homuth's bike broke. The battery apparently failed.
In Sportsman, it was Fred Trombley getting the win light when Cory Dunkin red lighted.
In Pro ET, it was Troy Bogner returning to the Winners Circle by defeating John Haut.
In Super Pro, Jerry Cotton returned to his winning ways by defeating Bill Staton.
In the Midwest Super Comp Series, it was 2016 Champion Gary Jenkins getting the win over Pat LaMont.
And finally in Midwest Top Sportsman, it was Larry Dalton getting the win over Eddie Banderwicz.
In addition to our race winners we had two Lucky Light winners. The Lucky Light award is given to any racer achieving a perfect light (.000) in an elimination race. The Award is a $50 gift card redeemable at Hollywood Casino Joliet and can be used at Final Cut, Epic Buffet or 99 Hops House. Today it was Bill Mroz and Bruce Boyle. This was Bill Mroz' third award of the season. Unfortunately for Bruce Boyle after achieving his perfect light, He had an engine problem.
Even with the rough start to the day, it turned out to be a fantastic day of racing. Next up for Rt. 66 is Sunday's Import Face-Off.
To see all the images from today's action please click here.
To see all our images, please click here.
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After what felt like an eternity of rain and cancelled programs, Route 66 got back to racing tonight with the first O'Reilly Auto Parts Race Your Ride of the season. The weather was completely clear with a 15 mph crosswind on the track. The track surface was in excellent condition! While the number of cars wasn't the largest I've seen, the quality was very good. We had street cars Top Sportsman, dragsters and Bill Anderson's Afternoon Rush Hour Roadshow nostalgic funny car. Two Beat the Heat cars were doing a little testing. Ofc. Jim Luckett was breaking in a new set of rear tires. The night of racing concluded at 8:00 p.m. Next up is Saturday's Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket race #3. Here are some images of tonight's action.
Today, we also unveiled a new product that we are considering offering for sale. This will be canvas prints of various sizes, usually with enhanced processing. The first example of this product is a picture of Joe Malfeo's orange 1972 Nova. Without hesitation, I can say it looks spectacular.
We will be adding this to the ordering selection in the near future.
Of note, tonight TJ Trench was testing his dragster. His Dad, Todd, has been working on the car slowly bringing TJ up to speed. Everytime Todd has tried to slow the car, TJ runs faster. Tonight he ran 7.572, 175.37 mph. Not bad for someone who just graduated from the Juniors last year.