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!
To see all the action from Saturday and Sunday, please click here.
If you see something you would like to order, please click here.