70th CELEBRATION A SHOWCASE OF FAMILY AND ENTERTAINMENT
By: Eric Huenefeld
On a warm yet perfect Saturday night, fans and drivers gathered at the corner of State Road 173 and Forest Hills Road to do what they have done since May of 1948.
It’s become part of people’s weekly routines. Fascinations have started here. Friendships have began here. Careers began here.
For over 70 years, Rockford Speedway has been that place. It’s withstood all of which time has thrown at it. Sometimes things haven’t been easy. But through it all, Rockford Speedway has persevered.
Businesses and industry have come and gone. Sports franchises have came to town and left just as quickly. But since 1948, Rockford Speedway has carried on.
Saturday night was a celebration of 70 years. A celebration of speed, of entertainment and of family.
When speaking of Rockford Speedway and of family, one must look no further than the Deery family and matriarch Jody. The 92 year old still is sharp as ever and an ever-present figure at each Rockford Speedway event. It was her, along with her late husband Hugh, who helped put Rockford Speedway on the map starting in the late in 1960’s. From National Short Track Championships to ‘Rockford Rules” Late Models, to Trailer Races and Spectacular Drags, the Deery legacy not only lives on at Rockford Speedway, but at short tracks across America.
Further evidence of family playing a huge role at Rockford Speedway can be found in the results of the 70th Anniversary Feature races. The Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model Feature was an example of that, with names like Reynolds and Bilderback battling for the win. When the checkered flag flew, it was Jon Reynolds Jr narrowly holding off Michael Bilderback for the victory. Reynolds called his win “the second biggest of my career,” trailing only his 2015 National Short Track Championship triumph. In the Bargain Hunter Sportsman feature, Trevor Robinson bested Johnny Robinson II for the win, making it a 1-2 sweep for the Robinson family, a very familiar name at Rockford Speedway. The Robinsons have been long associated with Rockford Speedway, the color purple and the number 99. Meanwhile, Miller Lite American Short Tracker winner Zach Rodriguez bagged his division leading fourth feature win Saturday night in a division he has become one of the top dogs in. That’s fitting, because Zach’s father Andy was one of the originals in the Short Tracker class back in the 1980’s.
In the name of excitement, look towards the Kickstart Roadrunner main event. 20 straight laps of green flag racing, with Adam Cartwright outdistancing point leader Josh Thiering and hard-charging Chad Lounsbury for the win. The three cars raced in tight formation all race, with Cartwright barely beating Thiering to the line at the end. Despite sporting one of the smallest starting fields in Roadrunner history, the race was a fitting 70th Anniversary tribute to the class known for thrilling, side-by-side racing. And during the 20 laps, not one of the fans was consumed with the quantity of cars, but were thrilled by the quality of the racing.
Excitement also came in the form of free food giveaways, an appearance by the DOC Drift Racers, who wowed the enthusiastic crowd with their daring deeds during intermission. The grand climax to the night, an outstanding 70th Anniversary Fireworks show, was a fitting close to a special night.
It was said years ago by Hugh Deery himself that while “Daytona and Indianapolis are in the racing business, we are in the entertainment business.” This fact was on display Saturday night at the facility he helped make famous.
Over the next few weeks, a variety of racing and fun sweep into Rockford Speedway as the 70th Anniversary season heads into its homestretch. This Saturday July 29 features the ‘Worlds Fastest Short Track Show’ as the Must See Racing Sprint Cars take to the high banks with their unmatched speed. On Saturday August 5 it’s ‘the wildest show on wheels’ with Kar Korner’s World Famous Figure 8 Trailer Race. Then on Saturday August 12, it’s Cintas Kids Night featuring FREE admission for Kids 11 and under plus Kids Bike Races and the Great Bike Giveaway.
Racing continues at Rockford Speedway until late October. Make sure and find some time to visit the track and bring your family and friends. For more information
Bilderback, Ware, Lounsbury and Olson Take the Money to the Bank
By Steve Reeves – While a calm summer evening breeze cooled the excited race fans, at Rockford Speedway on Saturday July 15th, the declared winners of the four competing divisions all blew away their competition for decisive Northwest Bank Kids Night victories. It was Michael Bilderback flying to another Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model win, Howie Ware gliding to Bargain Hunter Sportsman victory lane for the first time in 2017, Chad Lounsbury carrying away the Kickstart Roadrunners trophy, and Boomer Olson sweeping the Legend car event. Thanks to Northwest Bank, there was a host of activities on the night for the younger fans too, including a Kids Coin Scramble at Intermission!
Bilderback took the green from sixth place, worked his way around the early race leaders and set sail for the last two-thirds of the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model main event. Jacob Vanoskey had one of his best night’s on the high banked 1/4 mile and paced the field from the outside front row starting spot, but by the time lap five settled in, top drivers of the division – Jon Reynolds, Jr, Bilderback, and Matt Berger – made their way by. Reynolds led the field in the preferred high groove for a handful of circuits, holding of Bilderback’s charge from second place. As ten laps were recorded, Mikey cinched his hold on the top spot, using the low line and to pull ahead of Jon. All eyes remained on Reynolds though, with Berger continuing his self-inflicted charge from the back – as quick qualifier in time trails; he had opted to take the Gerber Collision and Glass Ultimate Challenge. After dueling for second place, most of the remainder of the contest, Matt’s attempt fell one spot short to Bilderback’s domination. Reynolds followed in their tail winds. With Berger ahead of Bilderback (by two points) in the championship standings, the three remain preeminent in the season rankings.
Howie Ware lined up on the outside front row of the Bargain Hunter Sportsman field, and utilized the optimum spot to drift away from the flock. Polesitter Garrick Fry and Cody Houseweart’s modified street car bodied racers made slight contact, and created a mid-pack skirmish allowing Ware, John Logan, Jr., and Johnny Robinson, II to draft at the front of the pack. Robinson broke from the nose-to-tail formation, for some early looks under Logan, but the running order remained the same though-out. The win was Howie’s initial of the year, while Logan secured a noteworthy runner-up, and Robinson held fast in third. Ware solidified third in the division’s season tally, while Robinson sits a workman’s second, behind point leader Chad Smith – who methodically took 4th in the feature.
Knocking on the door of a Kickstart Roadrunner victory, Chad Lounsbury breathed down the back of Kevin Memoli’s black #3, almost the entire closing affair. Making serious charges for a trip to Victory Lane, Memoli – from the pole – felt the presence of Chad’s #37 in the air of the night. Although Kevin lead from start to finish and did cross the finish line first, he had an issue in post-race tech, resulting in a short encumbered celebration of the track’s “entry level” V-8 division. Lounsbury was named an over-due winner. Robert Myher and Adam Cartwright made return trips to the top of the finishing order.
Boomer Olson swooped in from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, to record the top spot in the A-main, heat, and qualifying for the Legend car class. Olson had the whole night covered, but an incident on lap one of the feature found Michael Hoffman’s racer against the retaining wall, entering turn two. Lucas Stevenson kept Olson honest the remainder of the race, scoring second place.
This Wednesday July 19, get ready for a Wild Wednesday Beach Party! Both the Bandit and Winged Women on Wheels division will be competing Double Features! The Roadrunners, Super Cups, Figure-8s, and MacCloskey Kesler & Assoc. One-on-One Spectacular Drags are also set to run. Gates open at 5:30 PM, with racing at 7:27 PM. Admission is $9.
Saturday night, Rockford Speedway officially celebrates its 70th Anniversary! July 22 is 70th Anniversary Night and it will be a night to remember! Racing is set to include the four core divisions at Rockford Speedway; the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models, Bargain Hunter Sportsman, Miller Lite American Short Trackers and Kickstart Roadrunners. At the end of the night, Fireworks will light up the night! PLUS there will be several “70” themed specials and a special appearance by the DOC Drift Racers as part of their Pro Throwdown! Racing begins at 7:07 PM next Saturday night.
Wed July 19 7:27 pm- Wild Wednesday Beach Party
Sat July 22 7:07 pm- 70th Anniversary Night with LM, Sp, AST, RR and Fireworks
Wed July 26 7:27 pm- Equipment Depot Wild Wednesday
Sat July 29 7:07 pm- Must See Racing Sprint Car Spectacular plus AST, RR, Vintage
Wed Aug 2 7:27 pm- Wild Wednesday Trucker Night
Sat Aug 5 7:07 pm- Kar Korner presents the World Famous Figure 8 Trailer Race
Rockford Speedway Results from 07.15.17
NASCAR Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models
A-Main — 1. Michael Bilderback, South Beloit; 2. Matt Berger, Loves Park; 3. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Loves Park; 4. Jacob Vanoskey, Hartford, Wis; 5. Max Kahler (r), Caledonia; 6. Dennis Smith, Jr (r), South Beloit; 7. Steve Vaughn, Maple Park; 8. Jeff Wakeman, Streator.
Heat 01 — 1. Steve Vaughn, Maple Park; 2. Dennis Smith, Jr (r), South Beloit; 3. Jacob Vanoskey, Hartford, Wis; 4. Jeff Wakeman, Streator.
Heat 02 — 1. Michael Bilderback, South Beloit; 2. Matt Berger, Loves Park; 3. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Loves Park; 4. Max Kahler (r), Caledonia.
Time Trial — 1. Matt Berger, Loves Park; 2. Michael Bilderback, South Beloit; 3. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Loves Park; 4. Max Kahler (r), Caledonia; 5. Jacob Vanoskey, Hartford, Wis; 6. Dennis Smith, Jr (r), South Beloit; 7. Steve Vaughn, Maple Park; 8. Jeff Wakeman, Streator.
Co-Lin Metals Fabricating Trophy Dash — 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Loves Park; 2. Matt Berger, Loves Park; 3. Michael Bilderback, South Beloit; 4. Max Kahler (r), Caledonia; 5. Jacob Vanoskey, Hartford, Wis; 6. Dennis Smith, Jr (r), South Beloit.
NASCAR Bargain Hunter Sportsmen
A-Main — 1. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 2. John Logan, Jr., Loves Park; 3. Johnny Robinson, II, Beloit, Wis; 4. Chad Smith, Davis Junction; 5. Brian White, Belvidere; 6. Garrick Fry (r), Durand; 7. Cody Houseweart, Machesney
Heat 01 — 1. Johnny Robinson, II, Beloit, Wis; 2. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 3. Cody Houseweart, Machesney Park; 4. Brian White, Belvidere; 5. Chad Smith, Davis Junction; 6. Garrick Fry (r), Durand; 7. John Logan, Jr., Loves
Time Trial — 1. Chad Smith, Davis Junction; 2. John Logan, Jr., Loves Park; 3. Brian White, Belvidere; 4. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 5. Garrick Fry (r), Durand; 6. Johnny Robinson, II, Beloit, Wis; 7. Cody Houseweart, Machesney
Co-Lin Metals Fabricating Trophy Dash — 1. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 2. Garrick Fry (r), Durand; 3. Brian White, Belvidere; 4. Chad Smith, Davis Junction; 5. John Logan, Jr., Loves Park; 6. Johnny Robinson, II, Beloit, Wis.
NASCAR Kickstart Roadrunners
A-Main — 1. Chad Lounsbury, Beloit, Wis; 2. Robert Myher, South Beloit; 3. Adam Cartwright, Roscoe; 4. Rich Schinderling, Jr, Winnebago; 5. Josh Thiering, South Beloit; 6. Jeff Allendorf, Belvidere; 7. Pat Ligue, Chicago; 8. Kevin Memoli, Geneva.
Heat 01 — 1. Pat Ligue, Chicago; 2. Robert Myher, South Beloit; 3. Jeff AllenPdorf, Belvidere; 4. Kevin Memoli,
Heat 02 — 1. Rich Schinderling, Jr, Winnebago; 2. Josh Thiering, South Beloit; 3. Chad Lounsbury, Beloit, Wis; 4. Adam Cartwright, Roscoe.
Co-Lin Metals Fabricating Trophy Dash — 1. Chad Lounsbury, Beloit, Wis; 2. Rich Schinderling, Jr, Winnebago; 3. Adam Cartwright, Roscoe; 4. Josh Thiering, South Beloit; 5. Jeff Allendorf, Belvidere; 6. Kevin Memoli, Geneva.
A-Main — 1. Boomer Olson, LaCrosse, Wis; 2. Lucas Stevenson, Beloit, Wis; 3. Michael Hoffman II, Darien,
Heat 01 — 1. Boomer Olson, LaCrosse, Wis; 2. Michael Hoffman II, Darien, Wis; 3. Lucas Stevenson, Beloit, Wis.
Time Trial — 1. Boomer Olson, LaCrosse, Wis; 2. Michael Hoffman II, Darien, Wis; 3. Lucas Stevenson, Beloit, Wis; 4. John Magnuson, Davis. (dns)
Cambridge Wisconsin’s Aaron Rude made it look easy in the 25 lap Miller Lite American Short Tracker feature, getting past Shannon Stoltz on lap 11 and never looking back on the way to his second win of the year. Stoltz finished the race a season-best third, behind reigning track champion Nick Cina Jr, who nailed down the runner up position. Franc Beldowski was fourth, with Justin Pearson rounding out the top five. The 25 lap race for the Short Trackers went caution free.
Chris 'Caterpillar' Miller was voted the winner on the 'Original Trailer Race of Destruction.' Miller, along with Gary Oscarson, Richie Schinderling and John Leedle, all found themselves attached to one-another at the end of the slam-bang affair, with a crowd vote overwhelmingly favoring Miller. An all-time record thirty-six competitors entered Saturday night's Trailer Race.
FREIMUND, CINA, LOUNSBURY, THIERING AND FRISCH FIND OPENING NIGHT VICTORY LANE
By: Kip Ripley
After waiting a full week due to weather, the Rockford Speedway finally opened its 70th Anniversary season with Opening Night this past Saturday. The night featured great weather and terrific action and five divisions of racers entertaining fans in attendance. When the dust settled on the busy season opener, some familiar faces found their way to victory lane, accomplishing that feat in a variance of ways.
STANLEY STEEMER NASCAR LATE MODELS
Wayne Freimund, a two-time feature winner in 2016, started the new year off in grand fashion, collecting the win in the 30 lap NASCAR Late Model feature, holding off several challenges and surviving a race full of twists and turns. Freimund started the race from outside the front row and battled during the race’s first six laps with polesitter Dennis Smith Jr for the lead. The top six cars battled side-by-side during the first six laps before the yellow flag flew for Jon Reynolds Jr’s stopped vehicle. Reynolds would rejoin the field at the tail and begin his charge back to the front. Over the course of the next five laps, Matt Berger and Michael Bilderback busted to the front of the field and began a tight battle for the lead. On the eleventh lap, Bilderback and Berger collected outside of turn four, sending Berger spinning and bringing out the yellow flag. The incident sent both drivers to the back of the pack. On the ensuing restart, three-time Track Champion Jerry Gille took the lead and seemed to be on-track for a season opening win. Yet Gille’s chance to win ended with six laps to go, as his vehicle coasted to the infield, handing the lead back to Freimund, who went on to score the victory. Reynolds charged back to take second place, while Smith finished a career-best third. Berger and Bilderback charged back too, finishing fourth and fifth respectively. Reynolds also set the new Late Model Track Record in qualifying earlier in the evening.
MILLER LITE AMERICAN SHORT TRACKERS
Two-time and reigning Track Champion Nick Cina Jr returned to a familiar spot on Saturday night, as the Belvidere native collected the victory in the 25 lap Short Tracker main event. Cina was in the middle of a tight pack of cars battling for the lead in the first half of the race, a pack which broke apart on lap 13, when Keith Pierce slowed at the front of the field and was the contacted, creating a scatter of race cars behind him. Just three vehicles were impacted in the incident, including Pierce who led the first 13 laps, along with Todd Snow and Franc Beldowski. When the race resumed, Cina sprinted ahead of the cars that remained on track and cruised to the win. Second-year racer Kyle Voss finished a career-best second and was followed by 2015 Track Champion Zach Rodriguez in third. Shannon Stotlz soldiered to a fourth place finish, while David Russell rounded out the top five.
It was quite a debut for Duane Lounsbury in the Bandit division, as the Beloit resident set fast time and won the opening night feature for the four cylinder division. Lounsbury took the lead of the 20 lap race near the halfway point of the race and held off a late race charge from Destiny Genore on his way to victory lane. Genore finished a close second, with Terry Ciano third, Dan Schmeissing fourth and Bart Brockmann fifth.
Josh Thiering took the lead on lap 8 of the 20 lap Roadrunner feature and outran Kevin Memoli for the win in a caution-free event. Thiering and Memoli were followed by Richie Schinderling in third, Robert Roush in fourth and Adam Cartwright in fifth.
WINGED WOMEN ON WHEELS
Cassy Frisch led the 12 lap Winged Women feature from start to finish, outrunning Destiny Genore for the win.