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.