Saturday and Sunday, I attended two days of some great short track racing at the Rockford Speedway for the 26th Annual Bahama Bracket Nationals. There were 178 cars entered in this year's event. Based on qualifying time, the cars are divided equally in their brackets with the 8-cylinder cars being "A" Brackets and 4-cylinder cars "B" Brackets. On Saturday, there are Heat races and Bash races to determine lineups. The 'A' Bracket Heat races were 10 laps and the 'B' Brackets were 8 laps. In the Bashes 'A' were 12 laps and 'B's were 10. To see all the rules pertaining to bracket racing, please click here. Here is some of the racing from the Heats and Bashes, plus a little single car qualifying thrown in.
Here are the winners (at least most, if not all, I think).
Sunday was Championship day that began with the Last Chance races. Here are the winners!
Next up was the Fabulous Foo Foo Race and the famous Toilet Trophy won by Bobbie Jean Wall! The Foo Foo race is a voluntary race for the non-qualified cars.
After the Foo Foo race the Championship racing started. In the 50 lap AA Bracket race it was Jake Gille coming from behind to take the lead on the last lap and taking the checkered flag and Trophy.
This was followed by the AAA 40 lap race. This was won by Ryan Moore.
Next up, was the 50 lap A Bracket. Five laps into this race, the "Big One" happened. I'm not sure how it started, other than #16c Joel Clossey started a slide between turns 3 and 4 with Alex Papini #39 right behind him. Joel started to catch it, but lost it and ended up with Michael Gilomen #15 driving into his driver's side. This collected half the field.
After the red flag was lifted and the cars restarted, Alex Papini had to start from the back of the pack. Driving without a hood and right front fender, Alex put on a clinic of how to drive the Rockford Speedway. Every lap he seemed to drive in farther and lower into the corners than anyone. With 17 laps remaining, Alex took the lead and then the win.
After Alex' spectacular drive, it was the AAAA 40 lap race and what a race it turned out to be! Lap after lap there was 4-6 cars going for the lead. In the end, it was Kevin Memoli taking the checkered flag.
Next up was the 4-cylinder cars with the B bracket 35 lapper up first. The 4-cylinder really put on a show for the fans with cars going 3 and 4 wide. At the checkered flag it was Phil Malouf taking the win.
This was followed by another very competitive BB bracket race. This time it was Terry Ciano Jr. taking the win in the 25 lapper last race of the season.
Sunday's Bahama Bracket Nationals was a great way to end the 2017 season at Rockford Speedway. It was the best of short track racing.
This also was my last scheduled on-track racing event of my season. I want to thank all staff at the tracks I visited in 2017, all the drivers and crew members for putting up with my shoving a camera in their face. It was a great racing season and I'm looking forward to an even better 2018. I hope to see everyone at the off-season race shows!
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Friday night was the first of two nights of racing at the Dirt Oval Rt. 66 for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and the UMP Modified, Sportsman and Street Stock Series. The evening started with the Heat races.
After a short track prep, it was time for the A-Mains. The first out was UMP Modified Series.
Mike McKinney, 96m, got out early and took the win.
The next Main was the Late Models. Twenty-five Late Models answered the Green Flag! Chris Madden took the lead from the front row and led every lap to take the win. The race had four caution periods, one of which involved Steve Sheppard Jr., which led to a red flag. Steve was coming through the pack when he suddenly slowed between turns 3 and 4. It was determined that a rock came up, hitting his helmet. Steve was checked out by track officials. He was cleared medically and pushed to the pits.
Chris' Victory Lane interview.
In the Sportsman Series, it was Martinsville, Indiana's Steve Peeden taking the victory. Steve is now the two time UMP Sportsman Champion. He was joined in Victory Lane by his daughter, Mackenzie and his girlfriend, Jaime.
In the final race of the night, it was Bourbonnais, Illinois' Matt Hammond taking the win in the Street Stock Series.
It was a good night of racing at the Dirt Oval Route 66. Saturday night, the race teams will be back at it, weather permitting.
To see all the images from the night please click here.
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Alex Prunty took the lead on lap 1 and never relinquished it to win his first National Short Track Championship at the Rockford Speedway. That doesn't mean there wasn't racing going on and several crashes. Early on, Jon Reynolds Jr. got rear-ended. That did not deter Jon as he was able to make repairs and eventually finish third.
Rob Braun took second place.
After winning the late model events on Friday and Saturday, Michael Bilderback was running in the front of the pack and then something happened in turn 1. I was unable to see exactly what, other than there was a crash. This incident took Michael out of contention and he was unable to secure the bonus. There were several incidents of which Grant Griesback's was very interesting as he climbed the wall between turns 3 and 4. The race had to be red-flagged while the wall was repaired
Throughout the race Alex had the dominant car and no one was able to keep up. Here is what he had to say in Victory Lane.
The winning car.
In the Mid-American Stock Car Series it was Ron Vandermeir Jr. taking the win for the second time in two years.
This was a race with a lot of cautions, nine in total There were several crashes/dust-ups.
And then there was the Super Cup Invitational. Super Cup cars are 1/2 scale NASCAR style cars with usually a Honda engine. These are race cars and on the right track achieve speeds approaching 100 MPH.
In the Feature race, it was Jamie Domski, of Genoa City, Wi. taking the win.
And the winning car.
It was a great day of racing for the final day of the Rockford Speedway 52nd Annual National Short Track Championships. I want to give a special shout out and thank you to Mrs. Jodie Deery. These races wouldn't be the same without her.
And another special shout out to Wisconsin racing legend Rich Bickle who ran in the Super Late Model race.
Here are a few more images from today's racing.