There will be a northwest suburban Chicago presence at the Martinsville Speedway this weekend, when Itasca's Camden Murphy competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200. Camden will be driving the #1 Nortown Automotive Chicago and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwestern Indiana Rick Ware Racing truck. This will be Camden's second career start in the Truck Series. His first start was last year at this time at Martinsville, when he started 29th and finished 21st on the lead lap. Camden competes in the Midwest Truck Series, where this season he finished second in the point standings. Three and a half weeks ago, I covered the National Short Track Championships at the Rockford Speedway. Camden finished second. That is Camden on the left.
Here are a few from that day of racing.
Camden is an Ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwestern Indiana, RAD Racing (Racing Against Drugs), Head Start Program (helping kids get the right look on life), Swapadventure.
I want to wish Camden good luck this weekend and if you wish to follow him, click here for his Facebook page:
After battling all the weather elements during the race season, my last auto race of this year turned out to be a magnificent day. The original theme for this entry to the blog was going to be fellow photographer Mark Melchiori's return to competitive racing in the Goblin 250. Unfortunately Saturday, they were not able to get the car to run. So the plan is to race it in the Spring Enduro at Rockford Speedway. Today's festivities started with the kid's costume contest. This was the largest group for the costume contest in everyone's memory. There were some great costumes!
And the winner was... Dorothy!
After the Costume Contest it was time to judge the cars entered in the Beauty Contest. The winner of the Beauty Contest is awarded the pole position for the start of the Enduro..
And the winner is.... The No. 74.
It was then time to start racing. The Goblin Enduro 250 is run in two 125 lap segments with an intermission. The first half is run on the oval and the second makes a jog through the infield and is called the "Monza" course. With around 130 cars on a quarter mile track, you can imagine things got quite crowded.
At the intermission, all the kids were brought out onto the front stretch where they had fun participating in the Candy Scramble.
During the Scramble, the racetrack was re-configured for the "Monza" course. The race re-started and the non-stop action continued. There were a couple of stoppages to clear the track of blockages, but for the most part the racing was bump and grind.
In the end it was Schererville, Indiana's Ryan Lagestee, outlasting and outrunning the gaggle of cars to win the Goblin!
After the Goblin, the final event of the day and season was the "Big Swarm" Demo Derby. Twenty cars participated in the Derby with Rockford's Charlie Schork outlasting the others to take the win. An interesting fact was that this was Charlie's first ever event on asphalt. He is a Dirt Track racer!
After Saturday's cold and blustery weather, today was a welcome change. Partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the 60's made for a better day to shoot a race! The racers did not disappoint, putting on a show that was memorable. After opening ceremonies, the Last Chance Races led off the day. This was followed by the Foo Foo Race won by Don Exline.
And yes, that is a toilet trophy!
After the Foo Foo race the features started with the "AA" Bracket feature. This race was 50 laps and had two cautions. One of the cautions actually involved two different accidents on opposites sides of the track. In the end it was Rick Coppermoll #7 taking the win.
Next up was the "AAA" Bracket Feature. This race was slowed by five Cautions for crashes. In the end it was Bob Ahrendsen #6 taking the victory.
After the "AAA" Feature, it was the fastest bracket that hit the track next, the "A" Bracket. This race was slowed by one crash and one spin. With about a third of the race to go, It was the modifieds, the dirt modified of Danny Church and the asphalt modified of James Swan. These two battled all the way to the end with Danny Church pulling out the win.
In the "AAA" feature it was Dennis Smith #08 taking the victory. It was Dennis' 10th win of the season at Rockford, which also included a Roadrunner Track Championship. The race itself was slowed by five cautions for various causes.
Next up was the 4-cylinder bracket cars beginning with the "B" feature. The race was fairly uneventful when Kelly Evink driving the #98 ran into a problem. As he was attempting to exit the track to the pits, apparently, his throttle stuck open and he launched himself down the ramp. Fortunately, he hit the tires at the bottom of the ramp and came to a stop. There were no apparent injuries. It was a scary moment. At the end it was the 192 of Kyle Stark taking the win.
In the "BB" Feature, the last race of the day, every time a car jumped into the lead, it broke out and was black flagged. With two laps remaining it appeared the #39 of Chris Mahalski had it won when he broke out giving the win to the #51 Kyle Stark. To say Kyle was shocked is putting it mildly!
The racing was terrific all day. There were times when the cars were four wide, three deep all going for the lead. This group of racers should be congratulated for putting on a great show! Here some images of the action.
Bahama Brackets Saturday is a day of qualifying during the day and later, a day of heat races called "Bashes". I decided to get to the track late morning to see some of the qualifying and just get a "lay of the land". The car count appeared to be between 150-200. After qualifying, I counted and the number I came up with from the qualifying sheets, was 179. The actual racing did not start until shortly after 6:00 p.m. Then it went non-stop. Since it was going to be a long night, I decided that 9:00 p.m. would be my target time to call it a night. It had been a very windy, cold day, however as it got close to sunset the wind died down and it actually felt warmer. As the night wore on, the cold did start to take it's toll. My plan didn't go quite as planned as the track stayed hot with bash after bash. Shortly after 10:00 p.m. there was a short break and I was able to exit the infield. While the weather was cold, the action on the track was very hot. There was some excellent racing. Here are some images from the entire day.
Since there was such a short turnaround from the time the Saturday races were completed and the start of the Sunday races, I decided to combine both days into one post. Saturday's Championships were highlighted by the Big 8 Series, the Mid-American Stock Car Series, the Illini Midgets and the Vintage Racers of Illinois. In the afternoon before the features all the series had qualifications including the Super Late Models who would run on Sunday. The Fastest Qualifiers were as follows:
The Vintage Racers did not hold a formal qualifying.
One of the more spectacular crashes during the Big 8 heats was when Jake Vanoskey got together with another car down the backstretch resulting in this.
What was amazing was they were able to get the car back on the track and he finished third in this heat.
The features were led off by the Illini Midgets. There were several early cautions including a spectacular crash in Turn One when Tyler Deschaine and Jason Allen got together. Tyler went end over end losing the front tires off his car. Both climbed from their cars with no apparent injuries.
The final laps were a race between the 10's Patrick Bruns and his teammate Max Pozsgai. Patrick held on for the win, which was his third NSTC.
Next up was the Mid-American Stock Car Series. This was a 50 lap caution free race. Although it was caution free, there was plenty of racing action throughout the race. Ryan Gutknecht in the 01 won the race going away.
The MASCS race was followed by the Vintage Racers of Illinois. There were twelve vintage stockcars in the race which, was slowed by two cautions. In the end it was dirt tracker Matt Ramer taking the win. In Victory Lane, Matt admitted he knew nothing about asphalt racing and had it not been for GNSS racer Chad Smith he couldn't have won.
Finally, the Big 8 Series hit the track for their 108 lap feature. There was a minor early crash in turn 3, but right after the restart there was a five car crash in turn three with three cars suffering severe damage which caused the red flag to be displayed for the clean-up. Fortunately, there were no injuries.
After the restart, the racing was hot and heavy with three more cautions for crashes and one for debris. Eventually, Michael Bilderback got the lead and held on for the victory.
Here are some images from all the day's action.
To see the rest of Saturday's images, please click here.
Sunday morning started out a very dreary, misty, wet day. On the drive to the track there was not one break in the weather. Upon arrival, this was what I was greeted with:
It's never a good sign when track drying is underway and cars are covered! Today's racing was going to highlight the Central States Super Cup cars, the Must See Racing Extreme Sprint Cars, the American Ethanol Super Truck Series and finally the big event, the Super Late Model 200 lapper.
During the heat races, it got very interesting for me when Mark Hartline, driving the #3O Super Late Model, got in a dust-up on the backstretch and came right at me. When I realized he wasn't slowing down and was going to hit the wall a ton, I decided it was time to leave. This image was captured by TJ Harron, American Ethanol Super Truck Series Photographer. Thanks TJ!
The car hit the wall where I was standing. Here is what I shot over my shoulder as I started my run to get out of the way.
To say that was an interesting event is saying it mildly!
After the qualifying and heat races, the features started with CSR Super Cup cars. If you haven't seen the Super Cup cars, they are small, motorcycle engine driven cars made to resemble Sprint Cup cars. The race was won by an animated Zachary Tinkle, age 13.
Next up were the Must See Racing Extreme Sprint Cars. These winged sprint cars put on one great show. While there were no cautions, the racing was hot, heavy and furious. Eventually, Brian Gerster #50 took the checkered flag.
Following the sprint cars, was the American Ethanol Super Truck Series. While there were only 13 trucks entered, it was a great race. The top three drivers in the Series points, battled for the lead with Chester Ace #93 taking the checkered flag followed by Camden Murphy,#85 and 14 year old Derek Krause #9.
The last event of the weekend was the Super Late Model 200 lap race. What a race it turned out to be. Twenty-six Super Late Models started and by the end of the race there were 12 running. Some of those were damaged. The race was slowed by 10 cautions including two red flags. The second red flag was on a caution at lap 92. It started when Alex Papini #39 charged hard under #17 of Brian Johnson Jr. in turn 4. Alex appeared to get lose and bumped Brian causing Alex to spin out. Alex went to the pits and came back out before the green flag dropped. Alex and Brian were having a disagreement on the track, when I heard an engine roar and the next thing I saw was Alex' #39 driving over the top of the 17. Here was the result:
Alex claimed that his throttle stuck open and upon examination there was evidence of a stuck throttle. Because of the red flag, it was decided to take the halfway break. After the break, the racing resumed. The top three cars racing for the win were Steve Rubeck #61, Casey Johnson #5 (with a damaged car) and #X Jon Reynolds Jr. The racing was furious with Jon Reynolds Jr. eventually taking the lead and holding off a hard charging Casey Johnson. In Victory Lane, Jon admitted to the fact he had to block Casey on numerous occasions to keep him from passing.
Rockford Speedway can be proud of putting on a great show. They fought the weather, both the cold and wet, all weekend getting in every lap. I want to thank the Rockford Speedway and especially Jimmy "A" for their/his hospitality. Here some more images from Sunday.
To see all of Sunday's images, please click here.
It was a good night for racing, a little cool, however the racing was hot! The main events were led off by the Great Northern Sportsman Series. The 50 lap feature was led to the green by #2 Dave Trute. The race was slowed by six caution flags with one resulting in a red flag. The red flag was for the clean-up of a back stretch melee involving at least five cars. Fortunately, there were no injuries in any of the crashes. In the end it was Minnesota's Michael Gilomen #15 coming home the victor.
Next up were the American Short Trackers. The feature was a 40 lap race that was led to the green by the eventual winner, Kelly Evink. The race had some good battles throughout the field and there were only two cautions for minor spins. Kelly had a good season finishing second in the Series standings at the Rockford Speedway.
After the Short trackers, it was the Hornet Bandit Challenge. These are the smaller 4-cylinder cars and there were 25 in the race. With 25 cars on the track, you can imagine there was some good racing throughout the pack. Dave Schmidt let them to the green and "Chargin" Charlie Frisch took the victory.
Next was the Roadrunners. This was a 40 lap event, with Dennis Smith Jr. starting from the front and leading most of the race. At lap 25 there was debris caution when a car lost part of its exhaust system in turn 3. On the restart, the back stretch, again proved problematic when five cars got together and brought out the second caution of the event. After the restart, Dennis took command of the race and took the Checkered Flag.
Last but not least was the Women's Championship. There were only seven cars entered in this 25 lap event. The race ran very quickly with Heather Stark taking the Checkered Flag
Congratulations to all our night's winners. Here are some images from the day's action.
To see all the images from the day/night action, please click here.
To see all our images, please click here.
Next up will be the second night of the National Short Track Championships headlined by the Illini Midgets, the Mid-American Stock Car Series and the Big 8 Late Models. The Vintage Racers of Illinois will also be making an appearance in a 20 lap race. It should be another great night of racing. The racing is set to start at 5:05 pm. Come out and enjoy some great short track racing and dress warm!