The weather Saturday for the Rockett Brand Fuels ET Bracket race 1 was supposed to be bad with rain starting at 9:00 a.m. and continuing off and on all day. I did not expect to get the event in. Mother Nature was very nice to us and the whole event was completed. It started to rain just as the last car turned off the track. However the wind was really blowing with gusts up to 25 knots. There was a hold in the morning until the track temperature was sufficient for grip and due to the wind, the race distance was limited to 1/8 mile. The racing was very good with an emphasis on getting a hole shot because of the shortened distance. It may have been my imagination, but there seemed to be an inordinate number of red lighting, maybe because of the 1/8 mile distance. Congratulations to all the winners!
Super Pro - Kenny King
Pro - John Haut
Sportsman - Tony Lyons
Motorcycle - Bob Foster
High School - Ben Grand
Congratulations to Antron Brown, Robert Hight and Erica Enders-Stevens on their win at the Houston Spring Nationals. Erica's win was the 99th win for a woman in the top three tiers of NHRA racing.
In the NASCAR world congratulations to Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano on their wins at Richmond International Raceway.
This morning my phone starting buzzing at 6:00 a.m. My first reaction was, who is contacting me this early in the morning?! When I checked my email all was forgiven because it was the documentation for our credentials for the INDY 500! Indy here we come!! I'm looking forward to getting back to the Brickyard for an event.
To see all of Sunday's action please click here.
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Today, Saturday, Route 66 held the third Test & Tune of the season. The car count was up due to tomorrow's first Rockett Brand Fuel ET Bracket Series opener. The only thing that wasn't up was the temperature! It was in the mid-50's with a 20 knot wind blowing straight into the face of the race cars as they went down the track. I did not anticipate the wind, so I froze. I will be better prepared for the weather tomorrow! Other than the weather, the story was a Chevy powered Smart Car drag racer. I have to say, that was a new one for me.
Please click here to see the action from today's racing.
There is local racing going on, however I will not be attending. I will be in Las Vegas, not for the gambling, but I'm prevented from saying why. Let's just say it will be a Happy Easter weekend. Rockford Speedway will have their weekly series opener Saturday. Click here for details. This will be the 67th season of racing at Rockford Speedway.
Route 66 Raceway will continue its Test & Tune sessions on Saturday, also. Please click here for additional information.
Since I won't be photographing any racing, that doesn't mean I won't have my camera with me in Vegas. Sunday morning we are going to Hoover Dam and we have a couple of other outings planned. I don't know if it will be a good idea to photograph any of the Vegas showgirls. Janet may not let me live or she may severely maim me! We will have to see how that works out. I'm hoping to get some shots of Vegas at night and the Belllagio Fountains. If I come up with anything, I will post them after we get back. Happy Easter everybody.
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The weather report for Sunday was not a good one. When I woke up, the sun was shining brightly, however the weatherman was still calling for significant storms. I was torn on whether to go or stay home. The thought of a sunny day with racing overpowered my common sense, so I headed to Rockford. I figured the worst thing was that I could shoot a few hours of practice before the rains came. The rains held off all the way through qualifying and half way through the Mid American Series race before it came down and canceled the rest of the program. In qualifying for the Mid American Series it was Mark Pluer #54 setting the pace at a 14.198 second lap. For the Big 8 series it was Ricky Bilderback #02 on the pole with a 13.882 second lap. Unfortunately the Big 8 Series did not get the opportunity to run. The Vintage Series race was won by Tim Hamburg #57. In the Mid American Series all was going well until lap 29 when Dusty Krebs #80 and Ken Calhoun #88 got together between turns 1 & 2. This caused a caution flag. While cleaning the track a light rain started. An attempted restart ended up with the #38, Jeff Holtz, and #95 Jeremy Spoonmore getting together sliding sideways causing chain reaction bumping behind them and another caution flag was displayed. Before things could get sorted out, the rain started falling harder and the red flag was displayed with the racing never to be restarted. Jeff Holtz #38 was awarded the victory.
Please click here to seem images of all today's action from the Rockford Speedway.
Congratulations to Antron Brown, Robert Hight, Jimmy Alund and Andrew Hines for the victories at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Also congratulation go out to Mike Conway for his IndyCar victory at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
While there was weather in the Chicago area, Joliet stayed clear and Rt. 66 had a great opening day. The car count was in excess of 120 cars. We had a few cars break down, but that is what the Test & Tune is all about. All in all, I think it was a very successful day.
Click here to see all the action from today's racing.
Tomorrow, I am scheduled to be at Rockford Speedway, however the weather still doesn't look good. We will have to wait to see how that develops. Also congratulations to Kevin Harvick and the entire SHR team on winning the Bojangles Southern 500.
The hint from yesterday was 1/4 mile. Many may just assumed that meant Route 66 Raceway, but not entirely so. Yes, Saturday I will be at Route 66 for its opening day with the first Test & Tune of the year. The gates open at 9:00 a.m. with on-track action starting at 9:30 a.m. Mother Nature looks to be cooperating, with the best opening day weather forecast in recent memory. Come out and see the all-day's action, then come to the website and see the images from the racing. If you see me, stop and say hello and have your picture taken with your favorite car. Earlier in the week, it was announced that this year the Friday night Test & Tunes will be themed starting with the Memorial Muscle Test & tune on May 23rd. The gates open at 4:00 p.m. and racing starts at 4:30 p.m. Unfortunately, I will miss this opening theme event because of the commitment to be at the Indy 500 the same weekend. Click here to see the complete schedule of events for Route 66 Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway.
Click here to see some of the drag racing test & tune action from last year.
On Sunday, I will move to the Rockford Speedway's high banked 1/4 mile short track for the 37th Annual Spring Classic featuring the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, the Mid-American Stock Car Series and the Illinois Vintage Racing Series. Practice starts at 9:30 a.m., the Front Gate opens at 11:00 A.M. with Qualifying and the racing starts a 1:00 p.m. Click here for the day's complete schedule. The Big 8 Series has 35 entrants with 30 being champions at some level, either series champs or track champs. The lineup is impressive to say the least. When you think that NASCAR puts 43 cars on a 1/2 mile track and we are doing 35 on 1/4 mile track, the action is going to be non-stop. In the Mid-American Series there are 18 entries. It looks to be another great Spring Classic. Last year Alex Papini won his first Big 8 event at the Spring Classic enroute to his Rockford Speedway track championship. The only issue for Sunday may be the weather. The weather forecast is for rain, but for those that live in the Chicagoland area know, just wait awhile, it will change. Hopefully our friend Mother Nature will give us a break and we can get the racing in. That is the least Mother Nature can do for us after this last rough winter!
Click here to see all the action from last year's 36th Annual Spring Classic
Don't forget NASCAR is at Darlington this weekend with the Nationwide VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 running tonight at 7:00 p.m. CT and the Sprint Cup Bojangles' Southern 500 starting at 5:30 p.m CT tomorrow, Saturday.
For the last week or so the NASCAR following have been up in arms about the announcement from Robin Pemberton followed by Brian France of the intent to reduce horsepower in the Sprint Cup Series. First of all, this website is primarily a photographic website focusing on racing in the Chicagoland area, however once in awhile the editorial side of me, just has to speak up. I always try to do it in a positive way to help our fans understand better what is happening in the sport we love. I don't profess to have any special engineering background or special access to the inner minds of the top echelon of NASCAR. I have attended a meeting where this horsepower reduction was discussed by a NASCAR official. A little history lesson is needed here. It wasn't to long ago that we marveled that the teams were running engines that had 650 horsepower. NASCAR started, on a regular basis, taking race run engines and testing them to determine horsepower amongst the different manufacturers/teams. This was done to help level the playing field. The manufacturers developed all new purpose based racing engines. Since then the horsepower has increased incrementally to now we have almost, if not more, 900 horsepower. The issue is not so much that the speeds are to high, but that the engine builders have succeeded too well and are overpowering the cars and the tracks. We are still riding on 15 inch wheels/tires with a 3200 lb. race car. Remember that with 500 horsepower restrictor plate engines, we are traveling at 195 consistently at Talledega and Daytona. By reducing horsepower, we are not going to see any dramatic drop in top end speeds. The issues facing NASCAR is developing an engine package that reduces horsepower, but not the throttle response. When restrictor plates are used, that loss of throttle response is what many drivers complain about the most. This engine package also has to work with the aero package to help produce the downforce that NASCAR is looking for. This is not an easy proposition for the engineers. So I want to say to the NASCAR diehards, RELAX! This plan to reduce horsepower is not a bad thing, its not going to turn the Cup Series into another Nationwide Series. The cars should be easier to control with less power allowing the drivers to drive the cars into the corners and race side-by-side better. I believe this is what we all want!
On another topic, before the season started , I commented on the new aero package that was developed during the "off-season". I felt this move by NASCAR was much more important to the racing than any new points system. After seven races, I'm seeing a trend where there are teams that have figured out the new ride height rules and are fast and those that are behind the curve. Hendrick Motorsports, primarily the 48, were so focused on the winning the championship last year, aren't up to snuff yet on the rules package. The 2014 gen 6 car is not the same as last year. Its a totally new animal. I have confidence that Chad Knaus will catch up and adapt to the new car sooner than later. Right now the Penske boys seemed to have it nailed. Stewart-Haas has been good on the short tracks, but mile and halves have thrown them for a loop. They have had a lot of change at SHR, RCR and MWR that may be contributing to their slower start this year.
Tomorrow, I will give an update on where we will be this weekend. Hint: 1/4 mile.
On Saturday morning starting at 10:00 a.m., Chicagoland Speedway hosted the third annual Easter Egg Dash Presented by Julie. The weather started out a little cool, but quickly warmed. We had an excellent turnout. We didn't have the total before I had to leave for the Rockford Speedway. Everyone seemed to enjoy the event. The kids had a blast writing their messages and leaving the artwork in Gatorade Victory Lane by the use of chalk. We had a blast photographing the event. The photos can be viewed by clicking here to the Chicagoland Speedway webpage and clicking on the link to the photos. Below is the crew who manned the event.
The racing at Rockford Speedway got off to a rousing start with great weather and the WXRX Stone and Double T 4-cylinder Enduro 400. The early part of the race was briefly halted with when several cars, in separate incidents, lost wheels. The race continued until lap 105, when a break was taken and the track reconfigured to the slalom course. The race was restarted and continued until lap 180 when the #96 got upside down. There were no injuries and the race continued. At the conclusion, the #007 of Caleb Shultis of Stockton ,Il., after a dustup with the #1, took the checkered flag. It was a fun way to kick off the Rockford Speedway season. Next up for Rockford, is the 37th Annual Spring Classic on Sunday, April 13th. This day will feature the Big Eight Late Models Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, the Mid-American Stock Car Series, and the Illinois Vintage Racing Series. On the day before, Saturday, a Spring Classic only practice will be held from 12:00-4:00 p.m.
It's finally here, the beginning of my race season in the Chicagoland area! Its been a long, cold winter. I want to thank GLX Snocross' Dennis Whiton for allowing me to photograph snocross snowmobile racing this winter. It helped me get back on my feet after my health issue. I am looking forward to doing it again next year. Now onto auto racing. Tomorrow, Janet and I will be photographing the Easter Egg Dash Presented by Julie. I will be shooting the Gatorade Victory Lane with the Easter Bunny and Janet will be photographing the activities of the day. The weather looks to be very good with the temperature in the mid-50's and mostly sunny. I hope everyone can come out and enjoy the day. The event runs from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. After that event, I will be heading to the Rockford Speedway for the WXRX Stone and Double T 200 4-cylinder Enduro. The day starts at 11:00 a.m. with an open practice until 2:30 p.m. with the Enduro green flag at 3:00 p.m. Next weekend will be busy with Saturday's Route 66's first Test & Tune and Sunday with Rockford's 37th Spring Classic. This is the start to what we hope will be an exciting racing season in Chicagoland!
Check back Sunday for pictures from the Easter Egg Dash and the Enduro.