After completing the Junior Drag Racing event at Route 66 Raceway, I was off for the 106 mile drive to the Rockford Speedway for the ARCA Midwest Tour Kar Korner 'All-Star 100' event.. Accompanying the ARCA Midwest Tour was the Star Spangled 76 late model race and the Central States Super Cup. After the preliminary heats, the program was led off by the Central States Super Cup series. The Super Cup series consists of small cars resembling NASCAR Sprint Cup cars and usually powered by motorcycle engines. The 22 lap event was run with several minor caution flags. The race was won by #2 Trevor Addams.
In the Star Spangled 76 Late Model event, Michael Bilderback #2 won the pole but elected to start from the rear with the chance to win an additional $800 bonus. As the green flag fell, Jon Reynolds Jr., Driver X, drove to the front and held the lead. In the meantime Michael Bilderback was charging through the field. As they approached the 30 lap remaining point of the race, Michael Bilderback and Jon Reynolds Jr. were 1-2 and banging on one another. At lap 28 a caution was called. During the caution Jon Reynolds was black flagged and sent to the rear of the pack. I think this may have had something to do with it.
After the restart with Jon at the back of the pack, Michael cruised home to the victory. Jon did battle back by driving through the pack to finish third. Jacob Gille #50 finished second. Kar Korner decided to up the bonus by $200 to an even $1,000 meaning Michael's total winning's were $2,000.
In the All-Star 100, the green flag dropped and another flag wasn't seen until a caution flag at lap 93. the race was led almost entirely by the 2014 ARCA Midwest Tour Champion Ty Majeski. As the green flag fell for the re-start, he was challenged by #88 Trent Snyder, but Ty was able to get free and complete the last seven laps to take the victory.
Saturday dawned with beautiful weather, FINALLY! After another event rainout on Friday, the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Junior Drag Racing League was anxious to hit the track. First, I want to wish a Happy 10th Birthday to one of our racers, Madison Drafke.
At the conclusion of two rounds of qualifying, Bobby Churchill had the Best Reaction Time in Sportsman and Brandon Loeschen had the Best Reaction Time in Modified.
Immediately after Qualifications, Eliminations started. The racing in both classes was fast and furious. In the end, Mikayla Highland defeated Braden Bowden in the Sportsman Final. In the Modified Final, it was TJ Trench going head to head with Keilan Demetropoulos. Both TJ and Keilan had been running extremely well and in the end Keilan redlighted by mere hundreds of a second. This being the Junior Drag Challenge, both Mikayla and TJ were awarded Wally's. For TJ this completed the family Trench triple, for Dad, Todd and sister, Tori, had previously won Wally's. Next year, the plan is for TJ to move up to his Dad's car and Todd Sr. will be taking a step back from racing.
Here are some images from the day's action.
I was unsure if I was going to write anything this week about the NASCAR XFINITY Series/ ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards racing. This blog is a photo centric racing blog and on the NASCAR weekends I usually do not get to do a lot of photography. Besides doing our job, I like this weekend because I get to see some friends I haven't seen since September's Sprint Cup Race for the Chase. Not to drop names, but it was nice to see and have a good conversation with Adam Alexander. Larry McReynolds stopped in several times and Janet had a nice conversation with him. Friday and Saturday we interacted with the Fox Sports pit road on-air talent of Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Chris Neville. They are a fun group. I had a surprise when Dan Peters of the Suburban Journal of Chicago was accompanied by Kim Kemperman. I have shot with Kim numerous times at the Rockford Speedway. Kim was accompanied by Sue Majeski also shooting for the Suburban Journal. At the time, I didn't realize that Sue's son was Ty Majeski, the 2014 Midwest ARCA Tour Champion and Rookie of the Year.
Practice #1 for the NASCAR XFINITY Series began at 2:30 p.m. and ended at 3:55 p.m. Practice was led by #3 Ty Dillon followed by #22 Ryan Blaney and Ty's brother #33 Austin Dillon. I was able to run out to pit road and shoot about ten miniutes of practice and here are a few of those.
NASCAR XFINITY Series practice was immediately followed by the ARCA Racing Series practice, which was led by Ryan Reed followed by Daniel Suarez and long time ARCA Champion Frank Kimmel. Again, it was another 10 minute dash!
And for a third time, a quick run to pit road to capture some Final Practice action. This time it was the #33 of Austin Dillon who led, followed by #28 JJ Yeley and the #22 of Ryan Blaney.
Saturday started out as a beautiful day. We knew early on that the weather was iffy for the XFINITY race. All day, we were intensely watching the weather report. Janet was in constant communication with former ABC Meteorologist Mike Caplan. Mike was providing us with a steady flow of updates. We want to thank Mike for his timely and accurate forecasting. We were highly appreciative that he took the time to help us during an active and busy weather day. One of the highlights of the day was the appearance of the Grand Marshals for the XFINITY race of Rob Gronkowski, his father and four brothers for a media availability press conference. It was a fun press conference to say the least as the youngest brother of the five took over. A good time was had by all.
I didn't know it at the time, but this would be the last of my photography for the weekend. By the time the ARCA race started shortly after 6:00 p.m., we knew the XFINITY race was in deep trouble and we already had a contingency plan in place. Early on, the ARCA race was plagued by on-track incidents, spins, crashes, etc. We were able to complete the ARCA race with Ryan Reed #16 winning his first ever ARCA race. As the starting time for the XFINITY race got closer, it started to rain and didn't stop for a long time. The race was postponed until Sunday at 11:00 a.m. While waiting for the official postponement announcement we were able to gather the photography and PR staff for our annual photo. A funny sidebar was Nascar's Matt Humphrey taking a cell phone picture and commenting, "The most experienced rain delay PR staff in Nascar!".
Sunday started out as a cloudy day, but soon turned into a beautiful day for racing. The race started after a great National Anthem rendition by Jessica Rae. The racing was fast and furious and with 10 laps to go, Eric Jones shot to the lead and took the Checkered Flag. It was the third win of the week for Eric. He had previously won the Camping World Truck race in Iowa and the ARCA/CRA Super Series race at the Berlin Raceway in Michigan.
This Friday I will be at the Route 66 Raceway for an O'reilly Auto Parts Test & Tune along with a make-up NHRA Junior Drag League race. On Saturday, I will be attempting a double with a NHRA Junior Drag League race at Route 66 and the Kar Korner Allstar 100 with the ARCA Midwest Tour at the Rockford Speedway. It should be a fun weekend! See you at the track!!
What an eventful day at Route 66 for ET Bracket race 5 and Jr. Dragsters. Like the old Bobby Fuller 4 song, "We fought the law and the law won" except substitute Mother Nature for the law! The day started out beautifully! Blue sky and white clouds and it was warm in contrast to the night before's cool weather. The racing started right on time and continued into the early afternoon when dark clouds starting rolling in out of the west. There were a couple of minor delays when rain droplets were felt. The racing continued until there was a deluge. As the storm passed, it was strange looking to the east seeing dark rain clouds and to the west, sunny blue skies! As the rain began to stop, Route 66 staff started track drying. I must give Kudos to the staff, because they did a magnificent job of getting the track dried and ready to race.
We restarted the racing with threatening skies around the track, however it was like we were in a hole. As the afternoon wore on, the racing continued hot and heavy. Some of the drivers that seemed to have it dialed in were, Todd Trench, Andy Campbell, Troy Bogner and Dave Ancel amongst others.
We were able to complete two classes before the rains came again and we were unable to continue racing. Congratulations to this season's three time High School winner, Austin Headrick and Bruce Damewood in Pro Motorcycle.
Here are some more images of the ET Bracket racing.
As far as the Junior Dragsters, they were able to get at least at least one round of qualifying completed before everything was delayed and canceled. When I left the track, staff was extremely busy and I was not able to determine how this event was going to be concluded, including the ET Bracket race and King of the Track. Here are some images from the Juniors.
Route 66 Test & Tune
The weather was testy all day with intermittent rain. However the weather map showed clearing in Joliet. Due to bad Friday traffic, I arrived at Route 66 a little later than normal. The track was pretty quiet so I went directly to Race Control. I learned that, so far, only ten cars had registered. Soon that number increased and eventually the total was around 50 cars. While not a great number, there were some very nice cars and I was able to get some nice images. There were some interesting moments when a silver/gray with orange stripes Camaro got a little sideways after launch and was coming straight for me. I was a little undecided whether to jump off my ladder or take the shot. I took the shot!
When it came down, it veered more to the right and came within inches of scraping the wall. Also, there was an older Funny Car, however it was experiencing some electrical/mechanical issues. Eventually, they did get it to the line, but it broke down again and was not able to make a run.
Here are some more images from tonight. The first image below is Marv Cresson, who was at Rt. 66 on his birthday, racing!
Another interesting car was the purple '57 Chevy, "To Hell & Back", of Dale Letterly (sp?) (See Above). It did some great wheel stands. When I spoke with Dale, he stated he had been splitting transmissions. After working with Strange Engineering, they discovered his drive shaft was too long and was causing the problem. The driveshaft was reconfigured and now the car is running great.
To see all tonight's images, please click here.
Next up, is Saturday's Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket Series with the NHRA King of the Track. Also the NHRA Junior Drag League will be running.
Saturday was a beautiful for racing at Route 66 Raceway for the Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning Burndown at Sundown. This event is run in conjunction with day 2 of the NHRA Lucas Oil Series Regional Division 3 race. The racing started early with the final time trials and qualifications, followed by the start of eliminations. There was non-stop racing, all day, as we approached the 5:00 p.m. start of the first Burndown at Sundown show. The National Anthem was sung by Nickey Farr
This year's show presented the wheel-standing Detailers Studebaker Fire Truck of Rick Ream, Dave Modder's Dragon's Fyre jet fire truck dragster, Barry Richter's jet funny car Hypersonic, Scotty Heat's jet dragster Fifty Cal, Danny Sullivan's Chicago Rush jet dragster and Al Zukasukas' Hot Blade jet dragster.
They put on a spectacular show. The only issue was shortly after the launch, Chicago Rush had a flame out. All the jets were set to return for the 9:00 p.m. show. This was when a set of circumstances occurred to start the Perfect Storm scenario. The racing continued but due to some unforeseen minor incidents things got backed up. Everyone was working hard to catch up when Brian Brown crashed his Top Sportsman car. Fortunately, Brian was uninjured, however the car was extensively damaged. After the cleanup, it was decided to continue the racing and delay the second Burndown show to the end. Here are some images from the day's racing:
We were able to complete the day's events and as a finale, the second Burndown show was really spectacular.
You will notice that the shape of the flame on Chicago Rush is not quite the same as that of the Hypersonic. Something let loose inside the jet engine showering the track with red hot metal fragments. Fortunately, there were no injuries.
At the conclusion of the day, the Wally's were handed out to the Motorcycle winners.
Now, the second part of the Perfect Storm. Due to a poor weather report for the next day, it was decided to start early at 8:00 a.m. to take advantage of a window of opportunity to complete the event. This was how it started and ended.
The decision was made to cancel the day's remaining races and to complete the race at Columbus.
To see all of Saturday's events, please click here
Today's activities were scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Because of a doctor's appointment I was going to be a little late. When I arrived, at approximately 10:15 a.m., the track was eerily silent. When I looked into race control, I saw the timing and scoring computer along with another computer sitting on the desk. It appeared staff was swapping parts. This was not a good sign! After awhile there was some type of work being done with the on-track scoring lights. This delay took four hours to resolve. While waiting for the repairs to be completed, I took a walk through the garage. I was stunned to see the number of cars. After looking at the lineup sheets, it appeared that somewhere around 900 and maybe a few more, checked in to race today. The racing started at 1:00 p.m. It was apparent the time trials and qualifications were going to go way into the night. I decided I was not going to stay late because Saturday was going to be a long day with the Burndown at Sundown. So, I left at 7:30 p.m. Here are some images from today:
To see all the day's images, please click here.
Because of today's delays the schedule for Saturday was changed. The day will start at 9:00 a.m. and every car in every class will have a time trial followed by first round eliminations.