On day 2 of the annual 52nd running of the National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway, it was South Beloit's Michael Bilderback taking the Big 8 feature race. With this win, he claims the Big 8 Late Model Series Championship. On Friday night, he won the Weekly Warrior Late Model feature. If he can win today's Super Late Model NSTC feature, he will claim a $1,500 bonus and the first to accomplish this feat
The race had only three cautions with the last one occurring on lap 46. Starting eleventh, Michael charged to the lead and held it the rest of the way. He was followed to the checkers by Dale Nottestad and Jon Reynolds Jr. Some of the best racing was for fourth with Alex Papini and Bobby Wilberg going at it for what seemed like the entire race. Alex eventually took and held the position and Bobby wound up finishing sixth.
Earlier in the evening in the Great Northern Sportsman Series, it was Jason Thoma taking the win followed by Adam Cartwright and Jeremy Wolff.
In the Northern Vintage Series, it was Pat "Hacksaw" Heaney taking the win in a short field of cars. Only seven cars started the race and three finished.
Here is a short video of some of the earlier Heat racing.
And some images from the racing.
The Last Ride - Race Your Ride #12
Tonight was the last Race Your Ride (#12) of the 2017 season for Route 66. The day was warm, but with a wind blowing it started getting cooler, however the racing remained hot. We had everything from Mike Taylor's front end nitro car (above) to junior dragsters.
There were quite a few street cars and a contingent of Corvettes.
It's not often that you see a Ferrari racing at Route 66!
We also had Mark Pappas and Mike Roppo in their Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock cars making some hits.
Then there was crowd favorite, Rocky Ausec, in Solid Rock also making some runs.
In addition to Rocky, there were two other crowd favorite cars, Dave VerShave in the Orange Krate 55 Chevy gasser and Mark Cryer in the Smart Car.
There was good racing all night long.
It's hard to believe the Route 66 racing season has come to end. It seems like it just started. The off-season will go quickly and before you know it, we will be back at it! Til 2018!
To see all the images from tonight's final races, please click here.
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Today was Plote Construction's 13th Invitational at the Byron Dragway. The Invitational is a day at the dragstrip for employees, friends and associates of Plote Construction. This year the event was dedicated to the memory of friend and long time employee Devin Fletcher. Plote would like to remind everyone that September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. There are several organizations that warrant support. These can be found online through an easy search.
The day at Byron was a beautiful day to go racing. The Plote Invitational uses the Bracket Racing formula in four classes, Super Pro, Super Street, Street and Truck. For the kids, there was Matchbox car racing. The racing started with two rounds of Time Trials. In between the first two rounds, the kids had their Matchbox race.
During the Time Trials, I realized that Ron Leek was again behind the microphone. Ron was a long time owner and voice of the Byron Dragway. Here are some of the Time Trials.
After the completion of the Time Trials, the racing began in earnest. Each race was hard fought. The first to be completed was truck with Alyssa Kirkpatrick taking the Class win.
Next up was Super Pro, with Scott Frost taking the win light over Dave Wilkey.
After Super Pro, it was Super Street, where Invitational organizer Patrick Gannon defeated Ron LaFido to take home the trophy.
In Steet it was Daniyel Carpenter over John Nowacki to take the win.
It was a good day of racing filled with good sporstmanship.
Route 66 - Race Your Ride #10
As we talked about in the past, one never knows what or who is going to show up at a Race Your Ride, AKA Test & Tune. That was the case again Friday night. The first indication was when I looked out the window from the Media Center and saw Dave Hirata checking out the track. As soon as I could, I meandered out to the pits and there was Miss Mia's (Tedesco) A/Fuel dragster. I learned that Dave was driving the car tonight. To my left sitting in his car was Dave's dad, the legendary Kenny Hirata. I spoke with Ken for a few minutes and he said they were trying out some new stuff on the car.
Looking around, I also spotted the Kleinhoffer rig with the Tremor Nostalgia Funny Car. Dana is continuing his licensing runs.
Bob Buckley was also on the property with his front engine dragster, Rock n Roll Express.
I knew Rocky Ausec was coming out with the Solid Rock One Evil Mach 1. Rocky never disappoints with some great burnouts. In his one run of the night, he ran 7.21_8, 186.77 mph. Unfortunately, after the run they found some metal shavings in the fuel filter. That was it for the night. Rocky was optimistic being that the season was at its end, so he didn't have to start thrashing immediately to fully diagnose the problem.
Also, the Route 66 Bracket Indy team was out in force testing for next weeks races.
We also had the Adler family out with both their cars, Randy - '57 Chevrolet Pro Mod, Randy Jr. - Junior Modified, crewed by Alisa.
In addition to the Adler JDRL car there were several other Juniors.
Including Hailey Becker. Hailey is six years old and making her licensing runs for the Sportsman Class.
While we have been talking about purpose built drag racing cars, the mantra of the Race Your Ride is to drive your car on the same track as the stars of the NHRA. To that end we had a contingent of street cars running down the track.
The scary ride of the night belonged to Jennifer Zolper. Her husband, the Velocity Channel's Garage Squad lead mechanic Joe, had just put new rear tires on her Pro Mod. On her first run, the wheelie bars dug in throwing the car to the right. Jen immediately backed out of it and with some fanciful driving regained control of the car.
For the second run, they lowered the wheelie bars, settling the car down for a better run.
Onto day three of the US Bracket Nationals at the Byron Dragway. Monday's schedule was a Super Pro Box/No Box Big Bucks race. Interspersed between the bracket rounds was a Test & Tune. The morning was overcast and cloudy and there was a threat of a passing shower. The racing started with a Time Trial and Test & Tune.
After the time trial, the test & tuners were running, when a car had an engine coolant issue and doused the whole length of the track with a water/anti-freeze mix. While that clean-up was taking place, a very light rain shower passed over. I guess it was a fortunate to get both out of the way at the same time so the racing could continue unabated. During the event I saw Don Dumdie's '57 Chevrolet on the line and Don appeared to be crew chiefing. I didn't know this, but at Byron, Don's son Brian drives the car.
All weekend, I kept hearing Ricky Pena's name called out over the loud speaker. It dawned on me that he must be driving more than his normal AMX.
All weekend, Ricky was driving the Vincent Motorsports black GMC Sonoma pick-up dragster.
The racers continued the hot and heavy round robin competition.
In Super Pro No Box, It came down to Darren Burkhardt versus Andrew DiPiazza with Darren getting the win light.
In the Super Pro Box Class it was Brian Foulk against Greg Ruleau, with Brian getting the win.
In the Big Bucks race, it was Brian Folk taking the win when Darren Burkhardt redlighted.
With Chamber of Commerce weather, it was a great day to go racing at Byron. Before we get into Sunday's action, due to the rain near the end of Saturday's event, the racers decided to split the winners purse in both the main event and the High Stakes race.
Now, the second day of the US Bracket Nationals, brought competition in Street Eliminator, Sportsman, Pro and Super Pro Box -No Box. A wally was awarded in each of the five classes for the NHRA All Access Challenge. With a Wally on the line, you can imagine the racing was hot and heavy. Here is Bill Ingraham during Time Trials.
There was a 90 minute delay for an oil down when a car blew its motor. The staff worked diligently to bring the track back to racing conditions. For the day, Super Pro ran an 1/8 mile and all the other classes ran the full quarter mile. After the one Time Trial the racing started in earnest with the eliminations.
As the eliminations continued, the field of cars dwindled until we were down to two cars in each class. In Street Eliminator it was Paul Zimmerman over points leader Joe Zehnder. This was Paul's third Wally.
In Sportsman, it was Fred Trombley defeating Brandon Phillips. This win gave the Track Championship to Fred and was his fourth Wally.
In Pro Eliminator, it was Scott Pitchette taking home the Wally.
In Super Pro Box it was Dominic Bowden with the Wally win. This was Dom's first Wally.
In the Super Pro No Box class it was Jeremy Bousman taking the win light over Steve Marquis and the Wally. In the Big Bucks race Jeremy defeated Dominic Bowden to take home a $5,000 payday.
Congratulations to all our winners!
One of the really neat and my favorite shot at Byron is those at the finish line. If you haven't visited Byron, there is a berm that overlooks runs along the west side of the racing surface. You can sit on the berm and watch the cars come screaming by the finish line. For you photographers it makes a great pan shot opportunity.
This was the first day of the 42nd annual US Bracket Nationals at Byron Dragway. Today, the racing consisted of Super Pro No Box/Box. This was the 11th points race for Super Pro. In between the Super Pro runs there were Test & Tune runs. Today, the competition was running a 1/8 mile track.
While Byron has many racers that primarilly run Byron, there are some that run both Byron and Route 66. Here are a few.
While touring the pits, I ran into Bryan Campbell. This was Bryan's first time out with his car. He has been focusing on his son and daughter's JDRL program.
I met Bob Spelic and his son Bob Jr. Bob lives in Cheswick, Pa. and drove to Geneva to bring the car to his son Bob Jr. to drive. Bob primarily drives IHRA sanctioned tracks in the Pennsylvania area and forgot about getting his chassis NHRA certified. He was not going to be allowed to race the car, but by working with Byron staff and NHRA, he was granted permission to run the car this weekend.
There was plenty of good racing all day.
As the day wore on, the weather started getting a little iffy. When the eliminations were down to nine cars left in each class, a truck driving in the Test & Tune, broke its rear end , spewing rear end oil on the track near the tree. While the staff was cleaning up the oil, the Test and Tune was completed using just the Tower lane. There was just enough delay that the main event eliminations got down to the Finals when the rain came. The High Stakes race only completed one round. With darkness approaching and a wet track. I decided my day was done. Since I didn't receive notification of the winner, I don't believe the racing was restarted. I will update on Facebook in the morning. Here are the four remaining cars.