Sunday at Rockford Speedway is known as "Championship Day" for the Bahama Brackets. The racing starts with the Last Chance Races. These races allow the first three finishers in each race to transfer to the Feature races later in the day. Here are the four Last Chance Winners. The above car won the "Best Themed" Award.
A quick update on my friend and fellow photographer, Mark Melchiori. Mark was in the third "A" bracket and was running in second going for the lead when he got loose coming out of turn 4. He was able to hang on, recover and finish third allowing him to transfer to the Feature.
Prior to the start of the Features, there is a novelty Foo Foo race for any drivers who have not already qualified. For the winner there is a unique trophy, a bidet. This race was won by an excited Christy Penrod!
The Feature races today, consisted of six bracket races, four for the "A" larger cars and two for the "B" smaller cars. Each of the "A" Brackets were 50 lap races. The first was slowed by several cautions.
The race was won by Chris Woodall #52 when the #99 broke out on the last lap.
The second "A" bracket went a little smoother, but hotly contested...
...and was won by Chris Saszwicz #67 in the Bob Dotter tribute car.
In the third "A" Feature it, was a battle between #39 Alex Papini and #16 Matthew Clossey. They ran 1-2 for many laps. However just past halfway, Alex "broke out" by going too fast and was blackflagged from the event.
In the end it was Matt taking home the trophy.
In the last "A" Bracket race, it was another hotly contested race slowed by several cautions.
Vaughn Lesko, driving the #08, came through the pack to claim the win.
Next up, was the first of the "B" bracket races. The first was a 35 lap event.
While there was good racing in the pack, the race was dominated by Mark English #20.
The last race of the day, was, again, a hotly contested thirty lap event.
In the end it was the #199 of Destiny Genore taking the checkered flag to cap the 25th Annual Bahama Brackets.
If you have never been to the Rockford Speedway Bahama Brackets weekend, you don't know what you are missing. There were 183 cars entered to run. They qualify, not by class, but by speed. There are late models racing against dirt modifieds, etc. During your race, if you go faster than your stated speed, aka "bracket", you lose. It is just a fun event. Saturday is all about qualifying the cars followed by the heat races and the Bermuda Bashes. To qualify and group all 183 cars took most of the afternoon.
Starting at 6 PM, the Heat Races and Bashes started. It was non-stop racing for over four hours. It was side-by-side racing, all over the racetrack. Many races were not decided until the final lap. It was just plain fun racing! Here are the night's winners. I apologize for not having the winner's names, however with 183 entries and duplicate car numbers, it was impossible at this point to obtain the names. The Rockford Speedway website will probably post all the winners later today.
A special shout-out to Jefferson Speedway Track Photographer Mark Melchiori and his son Matthew for their effort Saturday. Matt worked hard to prepare this car for his Dad to run. They thought there was an oil pressure issue and were going to have to call it quits, however they were able to resolve the issue and Mark went racing. He finished third in his heat, one position out of the transfer position. He will try to get into the features on Sunday's Last Chance races. Go Mark!!
Here are some more images from Saturday night's races.
Today's weather is going to clear from the overnight thunderstorms, so there is no excuse not to head out to the Rockford Speedway for Sunday's events. So if you want to have a good time, come out for some fun. The racing starts at Noon.
To see all the images from the day, please click here.
After the late night Saturday, I got to the Rockford Speedway around 11:00 a.m., just as the Mid-American Stock Car Series cars were hitting the track for practice.
This was followed by Super Cup practice. If you don't know what Super Cup is, they are 1/2 scale race cars that resemble full size NASCAR Sprint Cup cars powered by 13 hp Honda engines. To get more on Super Cup racing, please click here.
Following Super Cup practice, the schedule continued with some hot laps with the NASON's LANDSCAPING 'Faster Than a Speeding Bullet' qualifying for the Mid-American Series.
After a short break the Opening Ceremonies commenced.
First up for the Sunday's racing was the rain delayed 25 lap Hornet/Bandit Challenge. These cars are the 4-cylinder sub-compact cars.
Nick Schmidt in the #09 outlasted the field to take the checkered flag.
Following the Hornet/Bandit Challenge was a series of Heat Races for the Mid-America series won respectively by #47 Kenny Joosten, #88 Rick Corso and #66 Marty McKinney
After the Heat races, we had one of the more entertaining races of the day, the Super Cup cars. There were only ten cars in the field, but what a show they put on. They were led to the green by #16 Maggie Struthers. It was fun to watch Trevor Addams #2 and Zachary Tinkle #53, last year's NSTC Super Cup winner, come through the pack and to the front. In the final laps Trevor and Zachary put on a show of side by side racing with Trevor and Zachary swapping the lead. On the last lap it was Trevor edging Zachary.
After the Super Cup, it was another of the rain delayed races, the Roadrunner "25". There were thirteen Roadrunner's in the field. Adam Cartwright #42 started on the outside pole and quickly took the lead. He led the whole race but was challenged on nearly every lap. There were several dust-ups, but nothing serious. In the end Adam brought it home in first.
After an exciting Roadrunner race, the Mid-American Stock Car Series was up with their Gary Vercauteren Memorial 50 lap feature event. In this event it was Kevin Gentile with the fast lap and getting his "Bullet".
With his win in his Heat race, #47 Kenny Joosten led the field to the green. The race was somewhat calm until lap 11 and then lap 13, when their were wrecks in turn one and between turns 3 &4. When the race resumed, all was calm until lap 19 when a major crash occurred on the main straightaway. I couldn't see what started it, but I did see #23 Cody Clubb get turned and roll over onto its roof. As the crash continued the other #23 Dan Gilster also rolled over coming to rest in the infield on its wheels. However, there was an engine fire which emergency personnel were able to extinguish. After the clean-up, Ron Vandermeir took the lead closely followed by Kevin Gentile. Kevin pressured Ron, but could not pass him. Ron took the checker with Kevin second and Ryan Gutknecht coming in third.
The Finale for the 51st National Short Track Championships was the 200 lap feature for the Super Late Models. During time trials, it was Edgerton, Wisconsin's Casey Johnson running the fastest lap and getting his "Bullet".
At the start of the race, Driver X, Jon Reynolds Jr. shot to the lead. Jon stretched his lead until the caution fell at Lap 40 for a minor incident. At the restart, Jon again shot out to a lead. He maintained that lead through the half time break and a rolling red flag caused by a brief misty rain. At a restart at lap 140, Jon could not get going, in what was described as a motor problem. After having the dominant car all day, it was a disappointing finish for Jon. Shortly, after the restart and Jon's retirement from the race, Steve Apel and Austin Nason got together causing a spin. Steve recovered and continued and Austin was sent to the back of the field. At the restart, Casey Johnson took the lead. Once he got the lead, he wasn't about to relinquish it, taking the checkers. Casey had a double for the weekend winning not only this one, but the Saturday night Big 8 race. He is only the second driver in the history of the National Short Track Championship to do the double. The other was the legendary Joe Shear. Finishing second was Austin Nason and third went to Steve Apel. This was a great end to a super weekend of racing.
To see all the images from Sunday, please click here.
For much of the day Saturday, these were the only vehicles on the track. There was a persistent rainy drizzle. Whenever we had breaks we were able to get cars on the track for some practice and qualifying.
The weather continued to hamper the event. After the Opening Ceremonies, the racing started with Midwest Dash "40". This race was rain delayed from the previous night.
Kyle Stark #192 took the win!
We continued the racing with the Qualifying and Last Chance races, however before we could start the Features it started to rain again. There was a 2 hour rain delay before we could start. After the track was dry, the Illini Midgets hit the track for their 30-Lap Feature. Patrick Bruns took the lead early and led the rest of the way to take the checkered flag.
Next up was the Big Eight Late Model Series for the 108-Lap Feature. This race had problems from the very start with crashes. There was a total of 11 caution periods and three red flags. The race could not get a rhythm. It was the old saying, "Cautions breed cautions!".
Jake Gille in the red #35 led most of the early part of the race, but on Lap 75 Michael Bilderback #2 passed Jake. From that point forward things did not go well for Jake. As the laps approached one hundred, Jake was running down the backstretch when he and Dale Nottestadt got together. Jake bounced off the outside wall and continued straight into the large tire protecting the concrete wall at the entrance to the pits. What followed looked horrific!
Fortunately, Jake was able to exit the car under his own power and appeared to be unhurt! After the cleanup, it was determined to shorten the race by five laps. On the restart, Casey Johnson was able to grab and hold the lead to the finish.
The last race of the night was the Vintage Racers of Illinois 15-lap Feature.
Everything was going pretty smoothly until with four alps to go there was a dust up in turn three. Gene Pennington hit the concrete wall head-on in turn 3.
Gene was injured and had to be assisted out of his car and taken to the ambulance. He was awake and alert. It was decided to end the race and the win was awarded to #5 Pat Heaney.
To see all the images from Saturday's racing, please click here.