I am about to share an unspoken truth that many know, not every day at a racetrack is good and a fun time. I am happy to say, last Sunday WAS a fun time to be at Byron Dragway! With all the last-of-season racing, the car count was good, but not excessive. The Sportsman and Street Classes Bracket racers held two races (#5 and #6), the Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac contingent held a race and there was a Test & Tune.
After their time runs, the Sportsman Class led off the competition. It took four rounds for Steve Mroz and Steve Wehde to get to the Final Round. Steve Mroz was fairly consistent through his four rounds with his reaction times beating all his competitors on the tree. Steve Wehde was also good on the tree and received a bye in the third round. In the final, It was Steve Mroz who again beat his opponent on the tree, .085/.092. He also ran closer to his dial-in to take the win.
In Street Eliminator, like in Sportsman, it took four rounds to reach the Final. To get to the Final, Rob France and Tom Higgins took different routes. Rob was consistently very good on the tree gaining a bye in round four into the Final. Tom was inconsistent on the tree but was a little better than his opponents at the stripe. In the Final, Tom had a better light, .036 to Rob's .074. At the stripe both broke out with Rob breaking out less to take the win.
Steve and Rob, being friends, wanted to share the Winner's Circle.
In the second race of the day (race #6), in Sportsman, it was again four rounds to the Final where it was Kip Harms vs. Don DeBaere. Kip, except in the first round was cutting the tree down. With the not-so-good first round light, he got the win when his opponent, Tim Railsback, redlighted. Don, on the other hand, was excellent on the tree all day earning a bye into the Finals. In the final, Kip had a bad light, but ran closer to his dial-in. However with Don's .050 light, Kip could not overcome the start and Don took the win.
In Street race 2(#6), Bill Larson and Jon Reynolds Sr. got to the Final in similar ways. Both received byes, Bill in the fourth round and Jon in the second. In the Final, Jon had the better light, .105/.146. Bill ran closer to his dial-in but couldn't overcome the light disadvantage. Jon took the win.
In Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac it was Rick Watters racing through the field of 15 to take the win in four rounds.
Kreyer Motorsports was licensing and testing a new junior driver, five-year-old Kai Kreyer. He drove each pass extremely well, but couldn't license because he was a little too fast. His dad was not able to slow the car down.
Jon Reynolds Sr. had a very successful weekend. Not only did he win the second Street Eliminator Class, but his son Jon Reynolds Jr. won the championship at Rockford Speedway, Saturday night. Jon and Carla didn't get home until 1a.m. and then both raced at Byron.
In addition to the racing, there was a Test & Tune. Emma Bird was testing and put on a show with her wheelstands. Here is Emma and others testing.
This past weekend was the return of NASCAR to The Milwaukee Mile. By all accounts it was a resounding success. This Grandstand was an example of the excitement and enthusiasm displayed by all who attended.
I spoke with many fans along the backstretch who echoed those sentiments!
The return of NASCAR brought the ARCA Menards National and East Series together for a dual race in the Sprecher 150. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returned with the Clean Harbors 175. Their race is the second leg of their round of 10 Championship races. Two weeks ago, it was Seymour, WI's, Ty Majeski who won the first race at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park to lock himself into the Round of 8. The talk was he should be the favorite with his experience in the super late models with several wins of the past couple of years. So in Saturday's practice, what does he do, but lead all.
In post practice media availability, he said that the truck, being heavier than the super late models, drove differently and the sims were slightly off from actually driving. He stated that they did get to change things to make the truck better and he expected better drivability in the race.
Next up on Saturday, were the ARCA Menards Series cars. The hottest driver in the series was Jesse Love with eight wins. Coming in from the East Series was William Sawalich and Luke Fenhaus. William was leading Luke by 9 points for the East Championship. In Practice, it was William and Jesse one and two. Qualifying ran right practice and again it was William and Jesse followed by Grant Enfinger, Connor Jones and Sean Hingorani to round out the top five. Grant Enfinger had never driven at Milwaukee and took the opportunity to get some experience as he is in the top ten in the run for the truck championship.
If you don't know William, he is 16 years old from Eden Prairie, MN and drives for Joe Gibbs Racing. In fact, his qualifying run shattered the track record set by Ty Gibbs in the exact same car
With the completion of the day's action, everything was looking good for Sunday for truck qualifying with ARCA leading off the race double header followed by the Craftsman Trucks.
Truck qualifying was first up and out of nowhere Grant Enfinger took the pole! In practice he had been twelfth, however he had been practicing in the ARCA car and had qualified third for the ARCA race. His strategy must have been working!
After qualifying, we learned that Ty Majeski's team received a penalty after a tire was seized by NASCAR. His crew chief, Joe Shear Jr. was suspended for the race, the team lost the tire without a replacement, Ty would start from the back of the pack and make a pass through on pit road immediately after the drop of the green flag. Ty had qualified 13th.
That is a long way to go to catch up to the leaders!
Next up was the Sprecher 150 for ARCA Menards and East Series.
At the start of the race with William and Jessie starting side-by-side, it was a drag race to turn 1 with two of the best at starts/restarts. Jesse got there first, but it wasn't long before William got by him and was gone.
William was definitely the faster car all day. The only time Jesse could challenge was on restarts by driving deeper into the corners. William would shortly get past him. William led all the way to the half way point. Near the end of the race there was a caution and again on the restart, Jesse took the lead. William tried to take the air off his spoiler to get Jesse loose, but he maintained the lead. On the next lap, William bumped Jesse to take him out of the groove and made the final pass. From there it was all William to take the win and a post-race burnout.
Victory Lane was a happy place!
This was a dominating performance by William Sawalich with Jesse Love's restarts as his only challenges.
With one race in the books, it was the Craftsman Trucks turn to hit the track, but first driver introductions led by an enthusiastic Grand Marshall Five-time Olympic Gold Medal Winning Speed Skater Bonnie Blair.
Followed by the National Anthem and the flyover by the United States Air Force's KC-135 Stratotanker escorted by two F-22 Raptors
It was Grant Enfinger with Nick Sanchez along side bringing them down to the green.
In the first stage of 55 laps, it was all Enfinger. No one could keep up. That doesn't mean there wasn't racing, it was all behind the leader
At the start of the second stage, Corey Heim showed his strength to take the lead at Lap 60 and held it until lap 94.
At lap 95, Enfinger showing his patience took the lead from Heim and led the last 15 laps to take the Stage 2 win.
During the ensuing pit stop, there was a problem that put Grant behind the leaders at the start of the Final Stage. Carson Hocevar, who started third, assumed the lead until lap 158.
At lap 159, Enfinger finally got back to the front to re-assume the lead and led the last 16 laps to take the win.
It was another very happy Victory Lane. Earlier in the week it had been announced that GMS Racing would shut down the truck team and focus their efforts as co-owners of Legacy Motor Club in the NASCAR Cup Series. Grant wanted to reinforce the idea that they were not going to lay down and quit, but were going all in to win the Championship. This win guarantees a spot in the round of eight.
While Ty Majeski, who qualified 13th and had to start dead last along with a pass through penalty had a long up and down day. However he managed a 7th place finish
William Sawalich had a very good day for a 16 year old racing at the upper levels of the sport. He won the ARCA race and ran a good truck race getting up to 5th in the latter stages of the race. That is when he got into a little bit trouble, backing into the wall to eventually finish 26th.
This past weekend with the return of NASCAR to The Milwaukee Mile, the longest continuously running racetrack in the United States, was a total success. In my opinion, NASCAR needs to be here to continue the history that was re-started this past weekend. Congratulations to The Milwaukee Mile, Track Enterprises and Jim Tretow for putting on an excellent event.
If you wish to see all the images of the weekend, for Saturday, click here. For Sunday, click here.
For the first time since 2009, The Milwaukee Mile will host NASCAR! The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will take center stage on Sunday with the Clean Harbors 175. The ARCA Menards Series will lead off Sunday with the Sprecher 150. Five-time Olympic Gold Medalist Bonnie Blair will be the Grand Marshall. Bonnie lives in the Milwaukee area and can be found training athletes at the Petit National Ice Center adjacent to the "Mile".
The event starts Saturday with one short practice for each series followed by ARCA qualifying. As a welcome back gift to the fans, there will be free parking and free access to the Grandstand between 1:00-3:30 pm. This covers both practices and qualifying.
On Sunday, the Grandstand gates open at 9:00 am followed by Truck qualifying at 10:30am and the ARCA Menards Sprecher 150 at 12:00 pm. The Clean Harbors 175 follows the ARCA Menards race at 3:00 pm.
Sunday, the favorite to take the checker flag in the truck race has to be ThorSport and Seymour Wisconsin native Ty Majeski. By his win at IRP, he leads the championship over Cory Heim (2 wins), Christian Eckes (2 wins), Carson Hocevar (3 wins), Zane Smith (2 wins), Grant Enfinger (2 wins) and Ben Rhodes (1 win). The three drivers who pointed their way into the Championship 12 are Nicholas Sanchez, Matt Crafton and Matt Dibenedetto.
With the quality of those drivers, it will be a battle all the way to Phoenix to win the championship!
In addition to the championship drivers, there is a contingent of Wisconsin drivers that would love to win at Milwaukee. Besides Ty Majeski, there is Stratford's Derek Kraus, Josh Bilicki Menomonee Falls, Dexter Bean Westby, and Wausau's Luke Fenhaus. To see the entry list for the Clean Harbors 175, click here.
In the Sprecher 175 ARCA Menards Series race, it is hard to avoid not talking about Jesse Love. With his 8 wins this season, he has a significant points lead in the Series and will be the one to watch. It should be noted that this race is a combined race with the East Series. This will be a race within a race. In the East series William Sawalwich and Luke Fenhaus have two wins a piece and are close in all categories. William has a nine point lead coming into Milwaukee. To see the starting lineup for the ARCA race, click here.
Venturini Motorsports is hosting a reunion for the all-female over the wall pit crew that led "Big" Bill Venturini to his 1987 ARCA Menards Series Championship.
NASCAR Craftsman Championship contender Grant Enfinger will be driving Codie Rohrbaugh's #97 Chevrolet in the Sprecher 175. This is his second ARCA start this season. Previously he finished 4th at Charlotte.
Former child actor, Frankie Muniz will compete in the Sprecher 175 in his #30 RJR Ford. This is his first season racing a stock car and is second in points.
This will be my home for the weekend.
I have not participated in a NASCAR race since the July 2021 Road America weekend. I appreciate Track Enterprise's Jim Tretow for all his assistance. It is now time to go racing and have a great weekend.
This past weekend, Byron Dragway presented the first ever no box door car only shootout for $10,000 to the winner both Saturday and Sunday. The impetus for this event was the complaints that the lower-level door cars didn't have a "Big Bucks" race of their own. All the cars had to be a door car, no dragsters, and no delay boxes. If your car had a delay box, it had to be disabled. The racers were divided into two classes, foot-brake and trans-brake. Since there were more trans-brake cars, when the foot-brakers were whittled down they would blend in with the trans-brakers. At the end of the day there was only one winner.
To get to the Saturday final, it took seven rounds of tough competition with Ricky Pena and Richard Mason racing through the competition to get there. Both were tough at the tree all day. In the fifth round Richard cut a .001 second light. Ricky wasn't a slouch with a .004 second light. In the sixth round, Richard had a bye and Ricky had a bye in the seventh round. This was set for great match. As the lights came down, Richard launched first trying to get that perfect light and went red, -.003. He ran his number perfectly 6.75/6.750/100.79 to Ricky's, .027/6.24/6.271/101.36. They were almost a perfect match. If Richard hadn't redlighted, it's likely he may have won. You can't take anything from Ricky, he was strong all day. On this day, he wasn't going to be beaten and took home the $10,000 "Big Check".
After the third round of competition, it was announced that a "Gamblers" race would be run. Only those racers already eliminated were eligible to run. The winner was Jace Deering.
Sunday's racing was a repeat of Saturday's, taking seven rounds to get to the final. Through rounds 5, 6, and 7, Brett Williamson's worst reaction time was .002, in both 6 and 7, with a perfect .000 in the 5th. Chad Cannon was nearly as tough as Brett as he had a .005 in the sixth. In the semifinal 7th round, Chad had a bye into the final. With the slower car, Chad launched first in the final with a reaction time of .060. However, Brett had a .012. In trying to stay ahead, Chad broke out, 6.22/6.219, only .001! Brett with a 5.94/5.971 took the win and the $10,000. In the Winner's Circle, Brett's dad was heard to say, " The car wasn't the best car out there, but Brett drove his butt off!".
At the start of Sunday's event, it was again announced the running of the Gambler's race. The same rules applied as Saturday. The winner was Dusty Winrich.
On Saturday and Sunday, Savannah Hixon was licensing in her dad's, John Hixon, Buick. It wasn't that long ago that she drove a car at a dragstrip for the first time. She got bit by the bug! John commented that it's strange seeing her in his car. Besides college, Savannah also works for NHRA and NMCA in their events. She did qualify for her license!
On Saturday, after he was eliminated, I saw Roman Sakas making several test & tune runs. Near the end of the event, I saw his dark blue Camaro approaching the water box. I looked beyond the water box and Roman was standing there, observing. I took a closer look at Roman's car and it was Stephen Mroz driving. I later caught up with Stephen and asked if he was testing Roman's car. He replied,"Sort of." He explained Roman was having trouble with the Christmas Tree and so the car was there so why not run it!
This past weekend, Byron Dragway hosted a variety of drag racing, from some of the fastest to slower cars. There was Midwest Top Sportsman, Midwest Super Comp, Midwest Index Shootout, Sportsman (Sat. only) and Street Eliminator (Sat. only), along with a test & tune.
On Saturday, one of the first things Top Sportsman had to do was conclude the previous Cordova race. This pitted Eric Grace against Ron Klajbor Jr. with Eric Grace taking the win.
For Saturday, there were twenty-five cars running with Troy Finner being the #1 Qualifier at 4.97/169.32 mph in the eighth. In the five rounds of racing the competition was stout. In the end, it was Vince Nannini against Eric Grace. This was an opportunity for Eric to double up. Unfortunately, Vince was a little better, taking the win.
In Super Comp, I didn't get an exact car count, but it was over twenty cars. They went five rounds with Tony Pontillo defeating Chad Lamont in the final round.
In the Saturday version of the Midwest Index Shootout Series, five of the six classes ran races. The sixth, Pro Extreme had only one competitor, Jim Hickey. I am not sure how that was handled. In Street Brawler, there were four cars in class. In round 1, Jen Rosendahl had a good light, .029, while her competitor did not and broke out trying to catch up. Anthony Parks in his race against Travis Beer and a bad .304 light, but ran closer to his dial-in and Travis broke out. In the final, Anthony improved his light again running close to his dial-in, 15.80/15.818. Jen had a serious problem with the light, .434! While trying to catch Anthony she broke out.
In Street Intimidator, there were four cars competing. Trevor Beer defeated Naomi Beer to reach the final against Bill Brubaker. In the final, it was a double breakout with Trevor running closer to his number to take the win.
The Street Heat class had twelve competitors. Jon Reynolds was chopping down the tree in the first two rounds and had a bye into the final round. In the final, Jon was a little slower on the tree but made it up by running closer to the index to take the win.
In Pro Avenger's two rounds, Dale Riha was both good at the tree and running closer to the 10.20 index to get to the Final against Scott Frost. In the Final, Scott ran closer to the index, but Dale beat him on the tree .035-.126 to take the hole shot win.
The Pro Dominator Finals was between Kevin Lancaster and Jim McMillan. To get there, both Kevin and Jim, beat the competitors at the tree and the stripe. It looked to be a great race, when both broke out, however Jim went red by the smallest amount .001 to give the win to Kevin.
The Street Eliminator regular bracket series involved eighteen cars and four rounds to get to the Final. To get to the Final, Brent Vincent and Steve Mroz had good first and second rounds. However, Steve had some type of scoring issue and had to have a re-run against Anthony Parks. In the re-run, Steve had a perfect .000 reaction and Anthony broke out trying to catch him. Brent had a bye in this round. In round 4, Brent had double redlight with Kip Harms, -.004 to -.033 to take the win, while Steve had a bye. In the Final, Brent had the better light, but gave it up at the stripe and Steve took the win. The friends wanted both cars in the Winner's Circle. Steve is in the Red Camaro.
In Sportsman, there 27 cars competing through four rounds to reach the Final. Roman Sakas and Mike Curce took different routes to the Final. Roman didn't have the greatest of reaction times, but always better than his opponent. Whereas Mike was killing the tree including a bye in the second round. In the final, it was Mike's .009 reaction time to Roman's .111 that made the difference, with Mike taking the win.
On Sunday, the Sportsman and Street Eliminator classes would not be running. The Top Sportsman series would run 22 cars, down three from Saturday. In the Final it would be DJ Mateicka against Matt Szymczak. Both DJ and Matt had similar routes to the final, with DJ's slightly easier. In the first round, DJ's opponent Alex Bosak redlighted. In the second round Matt's opponent Mark Zier redlighted. In round 4, DJ received the bye run. In the Final DJ won the race at the start with a .019 reaction compared to Matt's .072. Matt couldn't make up that time. This was DJ's first win ever!
Super Comp ran 21 cars through four rounds of eliminations to get to the final. Ben Baer lined up against the only door car in Super Comp competition today, Chuck Graves. To get there, Chuck had a first round bye and Ben's opponent, Ed Rudek, redlighted. Both had solid wins in rounds 2 & 3. In round 4, Chuck had a perfect reaction time and won when his opponent broke out. Ben had the bye into the Final. It was a great race with both running 8.902's on the 8.90. the win was determined at the tree with Ben having .003 to Chuck's .019.
In the Midwest Index Shootout Series, only 5 of the six classes would run, like on Saturday.
In Street Brawler Travis Beer would first beat Saturday's winner Anthony Parks in round 1 and Robert Hill in the Final.
In Street Intimidator it would be a re-run of Saturday with Trevor Beer against Bill Brubaker. Unfortunately for Bill, his car broke handing the win to Trevor.
In Street Heat, there were fewer cars running than on Saturday. On Saturday Greg Darm was eliminated in the second round and today, he made it to the Final to meet Don Wolcott in his wheel standing VW Bug. They were close on the tree and at the stripe they both broke out with Greg breaking out less to take the win.
In Pro Avenger, it was Ed Frost got the win against Saturday's winner Dale Riha. In the two rounds leading to the Final, Ed had won both times when he and his opponents both broke out with Ed breaking out less. In the Final, Ed did not break out and finished closest to the index.
This weekend was a great weekend for Kevin Lancaster as he doubled up in Pro Dominator, winning both Saturday and Sunday! On Sunday he was hard to beat when your worst reaction time was .014! Kelly Spears tried but fell just short of winning.
This was a great weekend of racing. We saw a variety of racers and different series. Congratulations to all the winners especially to those who doubled up, Kevin Lancaster and Trevor Beer.
To see all images from the weekend, they will be these albums:
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On a beautiful Saturday morning at Byron Dragway, the Super Pro and Pro Eliminator bracket racers gathered to go for a top prize of $3000. The top prize was awarded to the winner of the run-off race between the Box and No-box cars. The Pro Eliminator cars are not left out as many of the racers enter both Super Pro and Pro Eliminator classes.
In the Super Pro No-box class, it took five rounds for Rich Mason and Brent Vincent to reach the Final. The only break was for Rich in the fourth round when he received a bye. Otherwise, every round was a tough competitor. Both Rich and Brent were excellent on the tree all day with Brent having a .00_ light in round 4. Rich had three! In the Final, Brent had the better light, .013 to .043, but it was Rich who ran closer to his dial-in, 6.71 - 6.717 to Brent's 6.55-6.594. This gave the win to Rich by .007. A very close race.
In the Box class, Jeff Jones and Eddie Banderowicz Jr. rampaged through the field with great lights. Through the eight rounds to the Final, Jeff's worst light was .030 and Eddie had a perfect .000 in the sixth. In the Final, Jeff was ever so slightly the slower car and left first, however Eddie, flirting with another perfect light, went -.001 red, handing the win to Jeff.
This led to the Final, Final race for the big check between No-box winner Rich Mason and Box winner Jeff Jones. Rich was considerably slower and launched first with another good light, .039 and Jeff had his worst light all day with a .045. Jeff chased Rich and at the stripe, Jeff took the win running closer to his dial-in, 4.78-4.799 to Rich's 6.70-6.726. Congratulations to Jeff on the "Big Check" win
In the Pro Eliminator class, it was evident two cars were the class of the field, Don Schomer and Troy Bogner. Through six rounds of competition they took on all comers beating them on the Tree or with their Dial-in's. In the final round, it was no surprise these two would match up. At the Tree, Troy had his worst light (.056) and Don had one of his best (.006). This should have been an easy win for Don, however they both got to racing and both broke out. Troy broke out less to take the win. In the Winner's Circle, Troy commented that"...it was an ugly win and Don should be parked here!".
In conjunction with Friday Night's Test & Tune, there was a "Gamblers" race. Adam Sweet took the victory.
Saturday's "Gamblers" race was won by Collin Estes.
Here's more of the day's action.
On Monday at Byron Dragway, it was the final day of the Triple $10k's Memorial Day Weekend Brackets. In speaking with many of the drivers and teams, the weekend was a great success. Three days of Super Pro racing with $10K to win, what was there not to like!
In Super Pro Box, after a round one loss and a buy back, Dion Degnitz marched through the field to reach the Final runoff. In his round one loss, Dion had a .052 reaction and broke out by .001 trying to catch Steve Marquis. In round two, he started a string of reaction times that left the competition in the dust. Look at these reaction times:
Round 2 .006
Round 3 .003
Round 4 .007
Round 5 .014
Round 6 .005
Round 7 .005
In the Box final, Dion was up against Zach Lewis, who lost in his first round, but did a buy-back . In the second round, he beat one of the faster cars driven by Dennis Divalerio. To get into the final round, he faced Josh Goike in a close race, Zach .024/463/4.648, Zach .022/5.36/5.377, to take the win light.
In the final, it was a very competitive race, Dion had a R/T of .002 and Zach .005, with Dion taking the win light.
In the No-Box class, it was Brian Folk who raced through five rounds to reach the Final against Jace Deering. In the five rounds, his opponents redlighted four times! He must have been making them very nervous! Jace Deering had more of a traditional route. He lost in the first round, did a buy-back and in the third round took out Troy Bogner, Sunday's $10k winner. In the Final, Brian had a .011 light with the slower car to Jace's .029. Jace tried to run Brian down and at the stripe lost by .002. That put Brian in the Final Runoff against Dion.
In the Runoff, it was Dion with another great light, .008 to Brian's .031, that he couldn't make up at the stripe. Dion took home the $10k Big Check.
On Friday night there was a Test & Tune and Blind Squirrel Race. The winner was Ryan Fasano.
.On Saturday, Troy Bogner won the Super Pro No-Box and the Overall Big Check, $10K. Gary Siedschlag won Super Pro Box (no photo).
After the completion of the Sunday Racing Program, it was decided to run a golf cart race. I was told 58 golf carts were entered with double entries and buy-backs. The golf cart racing went late into the night with Nate Kelley taking the win. Here is Nate driving his "Gone Batty" Super Pro dragster.
As I was leaving the track Monday evening, my wife notified me that a Flight for Life helicopter was flying a driver from Great Lakes Dragaway to the hospital after an accident. When I arrived home, I learned Dave Douthit driving the Douthit Motorsports wheelstander "Scallywag" had crashed and caught fire. Dave suffered some burns, but is in good shape, but will need some time to recover. Dave and his team were at Byron a week ago Sunday, licensing a new driver, Dave Gates, in the jet funny car, "Quartermaster". Please keep Dave, his wife Robyn and daughter Kathryn and the entire Douthit Motorsports Team in your thoughts. In the below image Dave is on the far right with Dave Gates licensing.
The Memorial Day Weekend at Byron Dragway was a four day event of all types of racing, Test & Tune, Blind Squirrel, Pro Eliminator, Super Pro and don't forget golfcarts! Mother Nature was kind to the racing community this weekend with great weather. What a weekend!
To see all of Monday's images please click here.
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Memorial Day weekend at Byron was the cause of excitement as the Super Pro bracket racers were going for $10,000 to win, three straight days-Trip 10 K's. It was an all-out battle in both Box and No-Box to make into the runoff for the $10,000 Big Check! Above is Charlie Hamma blasting by Kevin Swartz to take a second round Box win. Charlie's closing rate caused Kevin to take too much of the stripe and he slightly broke out, 7.284 on a 7.29 dial-in. In the Box class, Charlie had it going all day, both in his door car and his dragster. It was the dragster that took him to the runoff. All day he was cutting down the tree with his worst reaction time being .022! In round 4, he cut a .001 against the dragster of Hayden Bailey. In the Box final, it was Charlie Hamma in the dragster against Nick Folk in his dragster.
Nick ran closer to his dial-in, 4.56/4.573, to Charlie's, 4.52/4.538, a difference of .005, however Charlie beat Nick on the tree, .016/.024, a difference of .003, to give a holeshot win to Charlie.
In the No-Box class it was Shane Pope's day. In round one, there was a scoring era in his race against Patrick Hill. In the re-run, Patrick was a little quick on the tree redlighting by -.012. From there through all six rounds he was unbeatable. The same could be said for Jim Laughlin. He beat all comers, to reach the No-Box final. It was a great final with Shane just edging out Jim for the win: .030, 6.76, 6.763 to .038/6.41, 6.418.
.That put Shane Pope in his Pinto against the dragster of Charlie Hamma in the runoff. Shane launched first in the slower car and Charlie had to chase him down. At the stripe it was Charlie Hamma taking the win light and the Big Check. Since both drivers were winners, they decided to have both cars in the tower Winner's Circle.
In the Pro Eliminator class, Dusty Winrich and Mark Langfoss were the cars to beat through the six rounds to get to the final. Mark had a slightly easier route with two single runs in the fifth and sixth rounds to Dusty's second round single run.
As the Christmas Tree lights ticked down Mark was a little anxious went red by -.027 to give the win to Dusty.
Here are some of the images of the days action:
About two thirds through the scheduled event, it was decided to have a "Gamblers" race. Jason Schadt took the win and the cash!
When I arrived at the track Saturday morning, the first thing I saw was a light blue, chopped top 1967 Buick Regal, the Wine-O. The week before at the Sportsman/Street bracket race, I forgot take ask Steve Mroz if he was intending to bring out the family race car normally driven by his brother, Bill. Bill had a medical issue over a year and a half ago, is still recovering and currently unable to drive the car. As Steve put it, Bill was allowing him to drive the car Saturday in Super Pro! It was good to see Bill at the track.
When I saw Jeff Highland pull his dragster into the water box, it reminded me of a story that Dana Highland related to me from the previous week's Junior race. On Saturday, Jeff had to work, so Dana and family took care of getting Maddie and her car to the race track. Dana had to leave for a graduation party and the Bacon family, Ben and Michelle took over the crew chiefing job for Maddie. They took her to the Finals! Upon returning to the track Mom, Dana, was not allowed to touch the car.
All told it was a great day of racing and competition. Congratulations to all the winners! In a way, we were all winners to participate in and witness this day's racing.
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The day at Rockford Speedway started as cold and blustery. It didn't take long for the action to heat up the track as Dale Nottestad won his third Spring Classic race in the Big 8 Series. In the first half of the race there were a couple of dustups. Here is one.
Both Randy Sargent in the #11 and the #99 Trevor Robinson would be able to continue. However, Trevor would do so without his hood and Randy would play a part later in the race.
As the race neared the halfway point, Nottestad had worked his way to the front to battle with Jeremy Miller for the lead but had to settle for second at the break.
At the break, there was a flurry of activity preparing the cars for the second half of the 88 lap affair.
At the restart for the second half, Jeremy Miller was off to the races and without any cautions for the next 39 laps took a straightaway lead.
In the meantime, Nottestad was battling with Jon Reynolds Jr. for second place.
Nottestad was finally able to get by Reynolds Jr., however by that time Miller was gone. As the race was nearing the end, I noticed two cars in mid-pack putting on a great race and were leaning on each other quite heavily at times, Randy Sargent #11 and #49 Jerry Mueller.
This culminated on lap 83, when in turn one Mueller went spinning suffering what was reported as a broken oil line, which resulted in this!
The caution closed up the field and gave Nottestad the chance he had been needing. At the restart Nottestad got under Miller.
It took several laps but Nottestad finally was able to pass Miller for the lead. Just when he thought he was in the clear Max Kahler #14 and Miller got together causing a Green-White-Checker.
At the final restart, Nottestad claimed the lead and battled two former Classic champions, Jon Reynolds Jr. and Alex Papini to take the win.
And the spoils!
Second and third place Jon Reynolds Jr and Alex Papini with Track Announcer Eric Huenefeld.
In the companion races, the Mid Am Racing Series held a 44 lap race with Lockport, Ilinois' Josh Nelms taking the win over Clay Curts, Clay led a good portion of the race. Third place was Dale Lectus Jr.
Some of that action.
In the 25 lap Bandits Blast it was Nick Schmidt from Watertown, Wisconsin taking the caution filled race. Schmidt was followed to the checkered flag by Bart Brockman and Zachary Chanda.
More of the action.
Before the race, I met with Alex Papini. Alex was the Rockford Speedway 2013 Track Champion and Spring Classic winner.
A few years back Alex moved to Pensacola, Florida with his wife Jamie. He has done a little racing there and I was curious about his return to Rockford. Here is the interview.
As I was leaving the track, I looked back and saw Alex drive his racecar and stop between Turns one and two. As many know, Alex' dad Al passed away from a heart attack while racing and crashed there on April 1, 2001. Alex always pays tribute to his Dad!
As I said earlier, it was a cold and blustery day with light snow flurries during the day, however the racing was excellent! It is sad that this will be the last Spring Classic at Rockford Speedway. I hope the memories that have been created over the years will be remembered!
On August 19, 2022, the long-rumored sale of the Byron Dragway was announced. Kevin Robertson, a Byron Dragway racer, banker and Port Washington, WI. resident with his wife Lori, made it official. Kevin's background is in the health insurance industry and currently the Senior Vice President of the HSA Bank, a division of Webster Bank, N.A. Kevin has been a long time Super Pro bracket racer.
In the announcement, Jake Steder was made the General Manager and Jeff Spierling was appointed as Race Director. Jake is a long time, intermittent small tire drag racer and Jeff is a Midwest Super Comp Series competitor and the Byron Dragway Chief Starter. When Jake was asked how he and Kevin got hooked up, he stated that he thought about purchasing Byron himself. He just could not get the numbers to work out. When Kevin stepped in, he was looking for a management team. BJ (Vangsness) told Kevin he knew someone and the rest is history.
As Byron moves forward, we would be remiss for not mentioning it's past. In 1964, Bob Metzler, Dick Paul (owners of Great Lakes Dragaway) and Don Love built the Rockford Dragway, later renamed to the Byron Dragway. The dragway was originally built as a four-wide racing surface. In 1969, the legendary Ron Leek purchased the Dragway. As a boy in Chicago, Ron had a rough life. In an effort to improve his life, Ron migrated to Rockford. There he met Hugh and John Deery. Hugh took a liking of Ron and told John he should give the kid a chance. Having no place to live, Hugh and his wife, Jody, offered a free furnished apartment. They literally adopted Ron. If you are not aware Hugh and Jody built the Rockford Speedway. This was later repaid as Ron gave the Deery's a 10% interest in Byron. With an interest in cars, Ron took an entry level job at Byron which led to his purchase. In the early years of his ownership, Ron hired a ten-year-old boy to clean up around the track. That boy was BJ Vangsness. We know what that led to!
When I arrived at Byron on Wednesday, the first noticeable change was the missing ticket building.
The concrete pad for the new building was there along with the construction materials. The plan is to complete the construction soon, along with the new Souvenir and Fuel Sales building. Jake's wife Veronica will take over the duties that Rhonda used to have. She stated for 2023, the entrance to the track will be different in that they are currently installing a Point-of-Sale computer system from Trackside Ticketing & Event Technology. This will allow drivers, teams and fans to purchase tickets and sign their waivers by whatever computer device they use, ahead of time. Upon arrival, their QR code will be scanned allowing a quicker access to the track.
As I was walking around the track, I came across the new scoreboards along with the old.
To mount the new scoreboards, the supports had to be extended as can be seen in the below images. There is one extension left and it will be installed when the wind settles down. There is hope they can be up and running for the early events. If not, the racers can still run because the scoreboard does not affect timing and scoring.
The track surface is currently being prepped for the start of the season. The launch area has been ground and is ready to start taking rubber.
Down track, the entire quarter mile is being scraped and prepared for opening day. Jeff, Terry and Ian were scraping on Wednesday
One of the questions I have seen asked, was about the lights for night racing. The 2023 schedule is an expanded schedule that includes many night events. For this year, the lighting will be provided by temporary but expanded lighting. It will be there for use all season. The plan is to eventually install permanent lights. This could not be accomplished this year.
While we are looking forward to a New Byron Dragway, we have to thank BJ, Rhonda and their family for ensuring we have a racetrack to go to. Many racetracks have closed recently due to the fact the land has become more valuable for other uses than keeping it as a racetrack. Bj and Rhonda have spent their lives providing Byron to the racing families. Thank you!
I, for one, am looking forward to the upcoming race season and all the future holds for Byron Dragway. Now. LET'S GO RACING!
Check back throughout the season for race updates and photos on Facebook and at terrymcgrawphotography.com.