Today was the culmination of two great days of action at the Route 66 Raceway. This was the first Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket race of the season accompanied by the Midwest Super Comp Series. the weather was magnificent and there was a large car count of over 200. The day started with the time runs, followed by qualifications and finally the round-robin eliminations. The racing was fast and furious and unlike yesterday it was pretty flawless.
The ET Bracket Racing Series is broken down into five classes starting with High School, followed by Sportsman, Pro (Eliminator), Pro Bike and Super Pro. Today, we had two first time winners in High School and Pro. I want to congratulate all our class winners.
High School - Tyler Lawson
Sportsman - Paul O'Keefe
Pro - Jack Coonan
Pro Bike - Dan McCarten
Super Pro - Jerry Cotton
Along with our Route 66 Bracket Racers, the Midwest Super Comp Series ran their second race of the season.
Congratulations to their winner Chad La Mont.
It was a beautiful day to be at the racetrack. The day started a little cool, but warmed to the mid 60's. Perfect for racing. On track activity started at 10:00 a.m. and continued until around Noon when in the second race of the Midwest Super Comp Series there was a serious oil down. After a period of clean-up, the racing resumed. From that point on, we sort stuttered our way through the afternoon. There was just an inordinate amount of little stoppages. There were some very nice cars running and testing.
In addition to the test & tune cars, the Midwest Super Comp Series was running their first race of the season. Due to the afternoon delays, they were unable to complete the final two rounds, but while they were out there, they put on good show.
We also had a brand new driver going for his very first NHRA Juniors license. Cooper Hammelen, age 7, from Tinley Park completed nearly all of his testing. He will need two more rounds next Saturday to earn his license. These kids are the future of drag racing.
As I posted earlier on Facebook, there was a first for me today. For the first time, two former Junior Dragster drivers faced off against each other in the full size cars. Taylor Hanus in the near lane and TJ Trench in the far.
Here are some more images from today's action.
This was a great weekend for racing. Today was the 39th annual Spring Classic at the Rockford Speedway. The folks at Rockford, led by Mrs. Jody Deery, played host to the Big 8 Late Model Series, the Mid-American Stock Car Series and the American Ethanol Super Truck Series. The morning was a rotating practice for all three series.
After practice it was onto qualifications with Michael Bilderback being the fastest qualifier in the Big Eight series with a lap of 14.65.
After a roll of the dice, he would start fifth in race. After qualifications Mrs. Deery led the opening ceremonies.
After Opening Ceremonies the Big 8 and the Mid American Series held series of heats and dashes. The following were the winners:
Showdown One - John Reynolds Jr.
Showdown Two - Kyle Chwala
Fast Dash One - Dale Nottestad
Fast Dash Two - Mitchell Garfield
Last Chance Qualifier - Mike Lloyd
Heat One - Cody Clubb
Heat Two - Scott Dunning
During the heat races the American Ethanol Super Truck Series ran two 20 lap features. The first was won by Ken Calhoun and the second by Chester Ace. By virtue of Chester Ace having a first and a second place in the two features, he won the day.
While the trucks put on a good show, there were only three running today. In talking with some fellow Wisconsin photographers, I learned the original promoters of the truck series have split. We will have to wait to see the results of this separation.
At the conclusion of the Truck race, the Mid American Stock Car Series hit the track for their 50 lap feature. The race was led to the green by Jeremy Bloomberg #18. Jeremy was pressured early and throughout by several drivers like Bill Prietzel #5 and Ken Calhoun #88. In fact Bill Prietzel was running second when he spun and fell to the back of the pack. Bill charged back through the pack to finish second to Jeremy Bloomberg, who had held off everyone to take the checkered flag. Ken Calhoun finished third completing a very good day where he also had won a Truck Feature.
Next up was the final race of the day, the Big 8 eighty-eight lap feature. While Michael Bilderback was the fastest qualifier, because of the dice roll, he started 5th. Dale Nottestad #51 led them to the green. Michael slowly worked himself from fifth to the lead with 34 laps remaining. He then survived four yellow flag restarts to handily take the win. Once he got out front there was no stopping him. Dale Nottestad #51 finished second with Rick Schumann Jr. completing the top three.
What a magnificent day for racing. I can't remember an opening day where the weather was 80 degrees and partly cloudy. The good weather brought out a good crowd and the car count was over 220! Alan Biernacki (Ford Mustang GT) and Roman Sakas (Chevrolet Camaro SS) were the first two cars down the track.
The cars just kept on coming to the line! There were the normal starts and stops associated with an opening day, both with the cars and the track timing and scoring. There were no long track shutdowns until much later in the day. There were two minor spins with no damage. In the middle afternoon, Eric Vollmer, in his Top Alcohol Dragster, got out of shape and seemed to just kiss the retaining wall on the Toyota side. Here is an image of the car on the prior run.
Much later in the day, a car broke its radiator which initiated a lengthy cleanup. Other than these relatively minor issues, the day went very well. There was a variety of cars from a Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Sportsman cars to street cars. One car of interest was the turbo pro mod of Dan Stevenson. This was the first outing for Dan after his nitro pro mod caught fire during a run at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fl. Click here to see that run. Here is the new car.
Here some more images of today's action.
In his seventh try at the WXRX Stone and Double T Enduro 200, Streator's Tyler Griswold brought home the victory. It was a steady drive through the pack for Tyler. He kept his car on the low side for both segments and brought it home with only minor damage. That was a feat because of the 91 cars to start, only 24 finished.
In second place, was last year's winner Jay Orr. Jay had a problem with the left rear of his car and had to back off in order to finish. He stated that this was the last race for the chassis, but the motor will live on in a new enduro car.
Our own Mark Melchiori had problems in both segments and was amongst those that did not fininsh the race.
In the test session, there was a variety cars running. The surprise to most everyone was large number of super late models testing.
This weekend is the first race on the Rockford Speedway schedule, The Stone and Double T 200 Enduro for 4-cylinder cars. Starting at 11:00 a.m., there will be an open practice for all cars and the Enduro starting at 3:00 p.m. The early weather report predicts that it may be a little cool with a high temperature of 39 degrees. If you are coming out and I hope you do, dress warm! I have not seen the entry list yet, however I wouldn't doubt that Jay Orr #18 is entered again to go for his third Stone and Double T Enduro. Of interest to us photographers who cover Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, one of our own is working hard to get his car ready to race. Mark Melchiori tried last year to get a car ready, but ran out of time when they couldn't get the car to run. This year it looks like he has it almost ready to go. Its going to be a fun day to go racing. This will be the first of many car racing events for me this year. Next week it will be the opening day at Route 66 Raceway for the first Test & Tune of the season on Saturday, April 16th, followed by the Rockford Speedway Spring Classic featuring the Big 8 Series, the Mid-American Stock Car Series, and the American Ethanol Super Truck Series, on Sunday.
Here are some images from last year's events.
To see more of last year's action, please click here.
I hope to see everyone out there. If you need a picture next to your favorite car, just grab me.