Today was the start of the 51st National Short Track Championships at the Rockford Speedway. The skies were threatening throughout the day, however practice and qualifying went off without a hitch.
As the time approached for the Heat races, a light rain started to fall. A decision was made to forego the heat races and move right into the feature events. As the rain continued to fall, track drying was ongoing. As soon as the track was deemed dry enough to start, the opening ceremonies began.
The first race of the evening was the Metro Medical 50 for the Great Northern Sportsman Series. Dusty Mann took the early lead. As the race wore on he was challenged by point leader David Trute. The two were locked in a battle and at one point Trute took the lead, but relinquished it a short time later as lapped traffic allowed for Mann to regain the lead. A light mist again hit the track and when Howie Ware and Michael Gilomen got together in turn three on lap 26 the caution flew.
Due to the rain, the race had to be red flagged. Despite all efforts of track personnel, the rain persisted and the race was called complete with the win going to Dusty Mann. It was decided that the Midwest Dash Series feature race would be run on Saturday and the Hornet/ Bandit Challenge and Roadrunner features would be run Sunday. Here are more images of the abbreviated action.
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Friday night was the last Race Your Ride of the 2016 season. The Route 66 season went by so quickly! Being that this was the last night, I had no expectations and was pleasantly surprised, when the first thing I saw, was the Chi-Town Hustler. As the gates opened, it continued to get better with arrival of Brian Beck's rig, Steve Flounders, with a car I didn't even know he had, the Top Alcohol Dragster of Marina Anderson and the nostalgic funny car Roadshow of Bill Anderson.
More and more cars were pouring through the gates, and thoughts were that this was going to be a very good night of racing. Unfortunately, the night was marred by two crashes, one of which was very serious. Dave and Maria Kocher have been long time Route 66 racers with their Ford Maverick "Plane Insane".
Maria was driving tonight, when she lost control of the car hitting the Toyota side wall, careening across the track striking the O'Reilly side wall nearly head-on, coming back across the track striking the Toyota wall again and finally coming to a stop. Maria was assisted from the car and was seen walking around. She was transported to the hospital and at this time I do not have an update on her condition.
There were numerous starts and stops for broken cars and oil downs. Just as things were getting better a red and black Cheverolet Camaro Z28 brushed the wall on the Toyota side bringing the action to a halt again. The driver seemed to be okay, but was attended to by emergency personnel. Unfortunately, I was unable to ascertain his name.
After this incident, the racing continued with several more broken cars with starts and stops. As the night wore on, things improved and the racing was non-stop. Because of the two crashes and this being the last Race Your Ride of the season, it was decided to extend the night past the advertised 9:00 pm stop.
On the positive side of the night, TJ Trench made some licensing runs in the his father's, Todd, dragster. TJ is a graduate of the Junior Dragsters and this year drove a Camaro in Super Pro of the ET Bracket Series at 66. In his second pass he cut a perfect .000 light. Not bad for the first time in the car.
We had the triple turbo diesel dragster Hypermax tonight also. While it broke on the starting line both times it attempted to run, it put on a great, smoky show.
Here are some more images from the night's action.
While we could have done without the crashes, it was beautiful night for racing. I want to wish my best to Maria Kocher and the other driver who crashed tonight. If someone knows his name, please contact me and I will correct this post.. Thank you.
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I don't remember having three more perfect weather days for racing! Mother Nature paid us back, in spades, for all the wet weather she gave us earlier in the season. The US Bracket Nationals was a great event and the Bryron Dragway ownership and staff should be proud of this one. First I want to get some old business out of the way and confirm that it was Ed Bandevowicz Sr. defeating Billy Curtis Jr. in the delayed final run Sunday morning from Saturday's race. Next it was Shaun Havey defeating Derek Degnitz in Sunday's Super pro final run this morning.
Today's racing consisted of a Super Pro box and no box race running 1/8 mile track. In conjunction with the actual racing, there were also some test & tuners.
One of the fun runs of the day was the Junior Street racers. These are kids who do not have a drivers license and must have a parent in the car/vehicle as they drive the track.
As the eliminations wore on, it came down to two cars, the dragster of Mike Bonebright (Box) and the door slammer of Mark Wicker (No Box) as the each won their category. In the final race, it was Mike Bonebright pulling out the win and taking the money/.
Since both were winners in their categories, they both celebrated in Victory Lane with family and friends.
For me, the picture of the day, was Mike Bonebright celebrating with his grandson, Jackson, in the dragster!
What another spectacular day, both racing and weather! Sunday, saw racing in five categories, Super Pro Box, Super Pro No Box, Pro Eliminator, Street Eliminator and Sportsman Modified Street. This was a National Dragster Challenge race so the pewter Wally's were awarded. The racing started early with the usual two timed runs before eliminations started. Before eliminations could start there was a little business to attend to from the previous day. The Super Pro Box and No Box winners had to face off for the money. The two orange Chevrolets of Ed Bandevowicz Sr. (box) and Billy Curtis Jr. (No Box) going head to head. This is where it gets sticky for me because I lost my notebook with the information as to who won. I believe it was Ed over Billy. I will confirm this today. In some other unfinished business, there was a tie in the Motorcycle Class for the right to represent Byron at Indy. There was a runoff won by Kurt Clark and he was awarded with a Wally.
With all the unfinished business taken care of, it was full speed ahead for the elimination rounds.
Again, like the previous day, we were competing with the setting sun to get all the categories completed. We got everything done and the Wally's awarded, except the Super Box vs No Box faceoff. That will be completed on Monday.
Here are the National Dragster Challenge winners:
Super Pro Box- Derek Degnitz
Super Pro No Box- Shaun Havey
Pro Eliminator- Dan Roth
Street Eliminator- Brandon Phillips
Sportsman Modified Street- Fred Trombley
Brandon Phillips was in two finals, Street Eliminator (won) and Sportsman Modified Street (lost). Brandon lost in Sportsman to Fred Trombley who took home his third career Wally. The racing has been so good, I can't wait to see what happens today.
To see all the images from Sunday's action, please click here.
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Today, was my first return to Byron Dragway since the end of last season. I picked a good weekend to get back. The weather was fantastic and the racing even better. It was Super Pro day at the US Bracket Nationals, both box and no box. In layman terms, that is with or without electronic assistance. While the majority of teams/cars are those that run regularly at Byron, there quite a few that also run at my home track, Route 66.
I apologize for not including everyone! The 66'ers had mixed success today. Troy
Bogner experienced car problems. Dominic Bowden and Ryan Alley ran numerous rounds. It was a mixed bag. The racing started around 10:30 with Test & Tuners, followed by two rounds of qualifying runs.
The Eliminations started following the qualifying. As cars were eliminated, there were numerous buy backs. For the uninitiated, a buy back is when an eliminated car is given the opportunity to continue racing by purchasing a buy back, a fee usually lower than the initial entry fee. The "Buy Backs" will race against each to get back into the race. As the racing continued, it soon became apparent we were going to battle the setting sun. After the finals for each box/no box category (semi-finals for the whole race), It had gotten very dark and the finals between the two classes were called. At the time I left the track, it was undecided whether or not the race would be run Sunday morning or called completely. I guess I will find out in the morning. In the Box category it was Ed Bandevowicz Sr. in his orange Malibu taking the win light and in No Box, it was Bill Curtis Jr. in his orange and white Camaro. It was a good day for Chevrolet orange cars!
Here are some images of the day's action.