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.
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.
Rockford Speedway Spring Classic
The weather report for Sunday was not a good one. When I woke up, the sun was shining brightly, however the weatherman was still calling for significant storms. I was torn on whether to go or stay home. The thought of a sunny day with racing overpowered my common sense, so I headed to Rockford. I figured the worst thing was that I could shoot a few hours of practice before the rains came. The rains held off all the way through qualifying and half way through the Mid American Series race before it came down and canceled the rest of the program. In qualifying for the Mid American Series it was Mark Pluer #54 setting the pace at a 14.198 second lap. For the Big 8 series it was Ricky Bilderback #02 on the pole with a 13.882 second lap. Unfortunately the Big 8 Series did not get the opportunity to run. The Vintage Series race was won by Tim Hamburg #57. In the Mid American Series all was going well until lap 29 when Dusty Krebs #80 and Ken Calhoun #88 got together between turns 1 & 2. This caused a caution flag. While cleaning the track a light rain started. An attempted restart ended up with the #38, Jeff Holtz, and #95 Jeremy Spoonmore getting together sliding sideways causing chain reaction bumping behind them and another caution flag was displayed. Before things could get sorted out, the rain started falling harder and the red flag was displayed with the racing never to be restarted. Jeff Holtz #38 was awarded the victory.
Please click here to seem images of all today's action from the Rockford Speedway.
Congratulations to Antron Brown, Robert Hight, Jimmy Alund and Andrew Hines for the victories at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Also congratulation go out to Mike Conway for his IndyCar victory at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The racing at Rockford Speedway got off to a rousing start with great weather and the WXRX Stone and Double T 4-cylinder Enduro 400. The early part of the race was briefly halted with when several cars, in separate incidents, lost wheels. The race continued until lap 105, when a break was taken and the track reconfigured to the slalom course. The race was restarted and continued until lap 180 when the #96 got upside down. There were no injuries and the race continued. At the conclusion, the #007 of Caleb Shultis of Stockton ,Il., after a dustup with the #1, took the checkered flag. It was a fun way to kick off the Rockford Speedway season. Next up for Rockford, is the 37th Annual Spring Classic on Sunday, April 13th. This day will feature the Big Eight Late Models Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, the Mid-American Stock Car Series, and the Illinois Vintage Racing Series. On the day before, Saturday, a Spring Classic only practice will be held from 12:00-4:00 p.m.
To see all photos from the Rockford action, please click here.
For our complete collections of photos, please click here.
Up next for me will be the Route 66 Raceway's first Test & Tune of the season as drag racing returns to Chicagoland.
Let's Get it On
It's finally here, the beginning of my race season in the Chicagoland area! Its been a long, cold winter. I want to thank GLX Snocross' Dennis Whiton for allowing me to photograph snocross snowmobile racing this winter. It helped me get back on my feet after my health issue. I am looking forward to doing it again next year. Now onto auto racing. Tomorrow, Janet and I will be photographing the Easter Egg Dash Presented by Julie. I will be shooting the Gatorade Victory Lane with the Easter Bunny and Janet will be photographing the activities of the day. The weather looks to be very good with the temperature in the mid-50's and mostly sunny. I hope everyone can come out and enjoy the day. The event runs from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. After that event, I will be heading to the Rockford Speedway for the WXRX Stone and Double T 200 4-cylinder Enduro. The day starts at 11:00 a.m. with an open practice until 2:30 p.m. with the Enduro green flag at 3:00 p.m. Next weekend will be busy with Saturday's Route 66's first Test & Tune and Sunday with Rockford's 37th Spring Classic. This is the start to what we hope will be an exciting racing season in Chicagoland!
Check back Sunday for pictures from the Easter Egg Dash and the Enduro.
The auto racing season is getting ready to kick off in the Chicago area, if the snow ever stops. My first event will be the WXRX Stone and Double T 200 Enduro. The following Sunday, April 13th, will be Rockford's Spring Classic. I received my credentials for those two races last week, so I'm feeling good about the start of the season. At Route 66, the first Test & Tune of the season is on Saturday, April 12th, with time trials beginning at 9:30 a.m. Grundy County Speedway opens their stock car program in April and their open wheel STARS midget racing in May. I am very much hoping to be able to get there to photograph the midgets.
In the NASCAR arena, I was happy to hear Robin Pemberton announce their plan to reduce horsepower for the Cup series. We were made aware of this several months back, but we weren't able to discuss it until the formal announcement. Optimally, we were told that they would like to get the horsepower down to around 650, but that will be determined at a later date. You ask why reduce horsepower? The way it was explained, was that with today's car package, the engines are overpowering the cars and the racetracks. The engine builders have done too good a job optimizing the package. NASCAR needs to reduce horsepower to complete their plan for better side-by-side racing. So far this year, I have been impressed by the racing even though there were tire issues at Auto Club Speedway. All the teams claim it wasn't Goodyear's problem, but it was caused by the teams using an over aggressive suspension package on the cars. It appears the teams have yet to determine that fine line between fast and crash fast! This week the Cup series and the Trucks will run at the Martinsville Speedway. In the Cup Series, Martinsville has been a Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin playground. Here's hoping Denny, after missing last week's race, is healthy enough to compete. I have been impressed with the NASCAR racing this year. On the mid-size tracks we are seeing the ability to run side-by-side, draft and slingshot by. As soon as the teams get a better handle on the total car package, it can only improve the on-track performance. If the on-track performance is better, hopefully that will result in more butts in the seats.
It's an exciting day with the Sprint Cup Cars scheduled to start Pre-Season Thunder Testing. Unfortunately, it is raining in Daytona this morning. I'm still hoping to see cars on the track today.
Janet and I have been going over the race schedules from the tracks where we shoot. This year, I have been invited to add Grundy County Speedway to my schedule. My goal is to shoot the open wheel cars this year. I want to thank Phil Rider for his help in spearheading this effort.
My friend, Randy Simpson, has left his position with the Route 66 Raceway and has become the General Manager of the Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis (formerly IRP). Before he left, he invited Janet and I to come down for the US Nationals. They also have brought the ARCA Series back to the oval track. It looks to be an exciting year for Randy and Lucas Oil Raceway.
Speaking of Route 66, it looks like they have 34 events scheduled plus five Team Demolition Derbies. Add to that, the NASCAR weekends, it looks like our season is going to be very busy. It kicks off on April 5th at the Rockford Speedway with the Stone and Double T 200. On April 13th at the Rockford Speedway, the 37th annual Spring Classic will kick off. That is one of my favorite races of the season and we will see if Alex Papini can repeat. Overall, it looks to be the start of a great season.
To view the action from last season, click here. Check back often for schedule updates and new photo albums.
I (Terry) was at the Rockford Speedway Bahama Brackets Nationals yesterday. As I drove to Rockford it started raining. As I arrived, the cars were just pulling off the track as the rain had started to come down harder causing everyone to scramble to cover the cars.. A short time later, the rain let up and track drying began. Shortly thereafter, the cars hit the track to aid in track drying, followed by the continuation of the qualifying laps. The skies completely cleared and it was beautiful the rest of the day and night. The racing began in earnest shortly after 6:00 p.m. The action was continuous with several crashes and/or near-crashes! A few cars got bent, but there were no injuries to the drivers. It was a great night of racing. Unfortunately my knee starting acting up causing me to have to miss Sunday's main events. However, I did get some nice shots of Saturday's activities. Click here to see the action.
For Terry and Janet's complete portfolio please click here.
This weekend, Terry will be at the Rockford Speedway for the Bahama Bracket Nationals. I (Terry) missed this race last year so I'm looking forward to some great racing. The cars are grouped by speed and not necessarily by division into brackets. There should be some close side-by-side racing that the short tracks are known for. The heats and qualifiers will be run on Saturday night and the Mains will be contested on Sunday. Click here for more information. This will be my final racing event for 2013, in that I will be having replacement knee surgery on the Tuesday following the Brackets. I achieved my goal this year of "getting through" the season! I will only miss one racing event and that is the Rockford Speedway Goblin 250. You can also read about that event by clicking the above link. By clicking here, you can view a few images from last year's Goblin. I hope everyone can come out to the Rockford Speedway over the next couple of weeks and enjoy the fun. My plan is to be back fully functional by December1st in time for the Chicagoland Speedway Christmas event and then onto the 2014 season. Besides recovering I will be updating and enhancing the website. So check back often and see what we are up to. We will keep all apprised of any information pertaining to the upcoming season as it becomes available. Thanks to all the teams, fans and track personnel for your support this past season.
By the time we had gotten home from the Team Demolition Derby event and I cleaned the mud from my camera equipment, it was 2:30 a.m. Knowing that the actual racing didn't start at Rockford until 12:30 p.m., I (Terry) knew I could get some sleep, have a good breakfast and drive up to Rockford in time to catch some of the practice prior to the actual event starting. However, what I didn't know was, unlike Joliet, Rockford was hit with a persistent rain which postponed the Saturday night event! The plan was to schedule Saturday's events on Sunday morning followed by the actual Sunday's events. I discovered this when I checked my email on my phone and saw a double header scheduled for Sunday. I threw my gear in the car immediately and drove the 45 miles to the Speedway. I arrived at the conclusion of the first race of the day. The next race up was the Illini Midget cars. I wasn't disappointed when the No. 8 car lost control, hit the wall, pirouetted, rolled several times before coming to a stop upside down. The driver walked away relatively unharmed. The rest of the day was just as eventful with some great racing. The Big 8 Late Model Series final was won by Jon Reynolds Jr. It was one of the best races I had witnessed all year. "Fast Eddie" Hoffman won the Super Late Model final. Click here to see all the official results. Prior to the Super Late Model event, Rich Bickle was honored with his induction to Rockford Speedway's Walk of Fame. Rich was the defending champion of the race. It was good to see many of the Rockford "regulars" : Jimmy A., Doug Hornickel, Brett Moist, Mark and several others.
Click here to see the images from all of Sunday's racing.
Click here to see Terry and Janet's complete portfolio.
Janet and I are contemplating attending the Route 66 Swap Meet & Show 'n Shine next Sunday at the Route 66 Raceway. It looks like a fun event. Click here to see the particulars on the event. My next race on the schedule is the Rockford Speedway Bahama Bracket scheduled to run October 11-13. Click here for more information.