Friday night was the opening race sessions for the 56th annual National Short Track Championships. This year there was a format change. In the past the Sunday main event was a 200 lap super late model race. This year as a salute to Rich Bickle retiring, there will be twin 45 lap features Saturday night. This is the Rich Bickle Super Late Model Invitational with sixteen drivers competing. Friday night had five Feature races. Before the Features could run, there had to be the Heat races to decide the final starting order. These are the winners of those races.
The first of the feature races were the Bandits. This was a 25 lap race with 20 cars starting. The race ended the way it started with Machesney Park's #2 John Riggs leading all the laps and taking the checkers.
After the Bandits, it was the American Short Trackers turn. This was a 30 lap Feature with 17 cars taking the green. Kyle Stark, #19, from Marshall, Wi. took the lead on the first lap and led the rest of the way to take the checker flag.
Next up were the Late Models. This feature was 40 laps with 18 cars starting. On the pace laps, long time Rockford competitor, Jon Reynolds Jr., had an oil line come loose and went to the pits. Fortunately, with some fast work, they were able to get it fixed and Jon re-joined the field before the start. He did have to start at the rear. On lap 28, Roscoe's Austin Nason, #14, took the lead and won a hard fought battle with second place Josh Thiering.
Following the Late Models, it was the Roadrunners turn. This was a 25 lap Feature with 13 cars taking the green. Turn 2 seemed to be giving a couple drivers problems with two cautions there. In the end it was Loves Park's Austin Fowler taking the victory.
The last race of the evening was a 20 lap race for the Season Championship for the Sixers. Twenty-four cars started and at the finish it was Matt Moore from Tomah, Wi., taking the race win.
And it was Kody Parks taking the season Championship.
On the first night of the Rockford Speedway's 56th National Short Track Championships, I want to congratulate all the winners.