Sunday completed my triumvirate of three completely different events at three different racetracks with the completion of the 49th Annual National Short Track Championship at the Rockford Speedway. Weatherwise, it was a magnificent day. The Championship event started on Thursday with an open practice and ended on Sunday with the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Cars 50 lap race and the 200 lap NSTC for the Super Late Models.
In the Sprint Car "A" Main it was Jimmy McCune who worked himself from fifth starting position to the lead and won the race with David Byrne and Jim Sheets finishing 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
In the Super Late Model finals, Steve Rubeck took the early lead and held it for the majority of the race. In the latter stages, Casey Johnson, who had won the previous night's Big Eight Series 108 Lap race, worked his way to second place and started rubbing on Steve. Casey finally passed Steve and cruised home to score the double!. He was followed by Steve Rubeck and Brian Johnson Jr., 2nd and 3rd respectively. During the race, local favorites Alex Papini and 2014 Track Champion Jon Reynolds Jr. both had engine problems and did not finish.
There were two names being used for Friday nights Team Demolition Derby theme, "Racin for Boobs" and "Banging for Boobs". Whatever the name, it was a night to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. It was a beautiful night for racing and wrecking. I heard early on that there was some concern for attendance. However, that rumor was crushed when a late arriving crowd delayed the start by five minutes to allow everyone to get in and to their seats. Prior to the racing, there was music, a pink car that the fans could beat on and an appearance by Dash dressed in pink. When the racing began, it was obvious that the Mean Green Machine was trying to avenge their first round loss at the last event. They blew through the competition to reach the finals. Their competition was last month's winner Real Steel. In the finals, both teams came out wrecking first and racing second. It came down to a timed final with Mean Green Machine's "Cadillac" Zach Van Allen and Real Steel's Wally Hartung doing everything to keep moving so they could get the win. In the end, it was Cadillac Zach who persevered garnering Mean Green Machines third victory of the season. While not officially clinching the title, it will be very difficult for anyone to overcome their points lead to take the Championship.
In the Spectator Figure Eight race it was Doug McCarty #68 capturing his second win of the season, maintaining his points lead.
In the Spectator Truck race, it was a Lutz winning again, however it wasn't Donnie #13. It was his brother Jim driving #53 who took the win. Donnie, who was undefeated this year, had a problem with the right front tire right from the start. The entire tire eventually came off ending his win streak. He still maintains a large lead in the championship race.
Here are some photos from the night's entertainment. Click here to see the rest of the night's action.
To see all of this year's action please click here.
Friday night was Route 66 Raceway's last event at the dragstrip for 2014. There was everything from street cars, to Gassers to Nostalgic race cars. to "Beat the Heat" race cars. With the weather being spectacular, it was a great night to end a great season of drag racing. There were some minor glitches throughout the night with some cars breaking and some minor scoring issues, however, truth be told, it was a pretty smooth event. Near the end of the event there was even a parade of Fire Trucks! Here are a few images from Friday's event.
To see all the images from Friday night click here and for all the events please click here.
Here is the last car to run in the 2014 season.
Next up is tonight's Team Demolition Derby round 4 at the Rt. 66 Dirt Oval.
As the racing season winds down in the Chicagoland area, I will be busy this weekend. First up is the last Test & Tune of the Route 66 Raceway season Friday night. This one is themed "The Last Blast" with Beat the Heat and an emergency vehicle show. Being a former first responder, I'm looking forward to this night.
On Saturday, its the fourth leg of the season for Team Demo at the Route 66 Dirt Oval. This is the "Racin for Boobs" night in support of Breast Cancer Research. Come out and support a good cause by beating on a pink car and watching the Ladies of Team Demo do their wrecking best!
On Sunday, at the Rockford Speedway, is the 49th Annual National Short Track Championship Finals. While the event starts Friday, I won't be able to get there until Sunday. There is going to be all forms of short track racing, to include, Sportsman, Hobby Stox, Illini Midgets, Big 8 Series, Must See Racing Sprint Cars, and Super Late Models. It will be three days of non-stop action.
On Saturday, there was an 80% chance of rain, which threatened the STARS Promotion races at Grundy County Speedway. On the drive, all the way there, it rained. As I pulled into the Speedway, it was only sprinkling. The rain stopped and the program began. Due to the rain, a hurry up schedule was instituted, however each series was given 10 hot laps rather than the customary eight. The Heat races went off without a hitch , except the Classic Modifieds. As they were coming to the white flag, all five cars wrecked! The evenings Main's began with the Mini-Cup cars and the eventual winner was Derek Doerr in the 20 car. This was followed by the Legends won by Andy Jones in the 5 car. They were able to get all five of the Classic Modifieds back on the track for the Main, however only three actually finished, won by Greg Wills. The Illini Midget Main was won by Jimmy Clark Jr. In the STARS Main, Tyler Baran dominated the race even with several late race caution restarts. Congratulations to all the winners. Here is some of the action.
By the way, as I exited the track the rain again started. So we just got the event in! Kudos to the Grundy County staff to move the program along to get it completed.
To see the rest of the action, please click here.
Now the frustrating part of the night. While at the NASCAR event the previous week, I had to photograph several events. For some unknown reason some of the images were inexplicably blurry. It was a hit and miss proposition. At Route 66 the previous night, again, I had a bunch of images that should not have been blurry, but were. Both times I blamed the guy who pushed the shutter button, me! When I got home, I took a look at the images and found almost every shot taken with the camera that had the 28-70mm lens mounted, were blurry. After switching lens around amongst our cameras, I determined something was wrong with the lens. It's frustrating to learn after the fact. Here I was thinking I was getting some good shots, only to find out just the opposite. The only good thing is that the lens is still under warranty and the repair center is 20 minutes away in Elk Grove. First thing in the morning it is going in for repairs.
After last week's NASCAR event, Friday night was my return to Route 66 for one of the two remaining Test & Tunes of the season. My thoughts were that I would go down, talk to a few folks, snap a few shots and come home. Being so late in the season, I did not anticipate a large car count. WRONG!! I knew Rocky Ausec was bringing out Solid Rock, but did not realize the number of Top Sportsman cars that showed up. There were cars that I had not seen all season. The staging lanes were packed from the front all the way to the back. At times, the fans were standing 4-5 deep at the wall to see the action. Even Scotty Heat, in the Fifty Cal Jet Dragster, was there and ran a 302.14 MPH 5.23 8 ET. It was an impressive run.
I spoke with Dave Meloni and he asked me to get a shot of his car because, since ET Bracket season was over, he was going to let it all hang out. My plan was to shoot his car and then head home. Unfortunately as Dave was awaiting his run, a dragster decided to blow its engine leaving a trail of parts and oil the entire length of the right lane. I believe this was the car. If it wasn't I apologize.
To complete the night's runs, it was decided to use the left lane only. Dave was next up when this Camaro launched with a wheelie. When it came down something broke! Another delay!
Finally, Dave made his run! This was my last shot of the evening.
Here are some more shots from the evening's action.
After a rough weather day Friday, Saturday was a beautiful night for Rockford to name its track champions. Four track championships were decided. In the Late Model Division Alex Papini did everything to snag the championship by winning his ninth feature of the year, but in the end it was Jon Reynolds Jr. to bring it home. In the All American Sportsman Division Howie Ware wins the feature but it was Brett McCoy winning another championship. In the American Shortrackers, Kelly Evink won the feature and the championship. Adam Cartwright won the Roadrunner feature with Bobby Frisch winning the championship. Rich Schinderling Jr. won the novelty "Outhouse" race. The race starts as the car slowly breaks the timing line and stops. The driver has to exit the car, jump a hurdle run into the "outhouse" (actually a porta-pottie), exit the "outhouse", re-jump the hurdle, climb back into the car and complete a lap. The shortest elapsed time is the winner. Here are some photos from the races.
To see more images from the Night of Champions please click here.