2018 Rockford Speedway Schedule
WILD WEDNESDAY OPENER (JUNE 13)
 
By: Clem Easterly
 
ROADRUNNERS
 
A torrid four-car battle led a caution-free 20 lap feature for the Roadrunners. After getting to the lead early, it appeared Austin Fowler was going to hold off the persistent challenges of Arlyn Roush, Chad Lounsbury and Greg Pruitt for the win. But a flat tire with under five laps to go removed Fowler from the lead and ended his shot at victory.
 
With that small break, Lounsbury assumed the lead on the 16th lap and skated away for the win, his third combined Roadrunner win of the year. Pruitt nosed past Roush in the race's final two laps two claim second, regulating Roush to third. Fast qualifier Dave Lumsden Jr finished fourth while Nick Schneider rounded out the top five.
 
 
BANDITS
 
Two-time Winged Women on Wheels champion Cassidy Frisch started the Wednesday night Bandit season on a strong note, winning the Fast Dash, her Heat Race and the 15 lap Feature race for the class. Frisch got to the lead on the race's third lap and held a steady lead of three carlengths or more for the balance of the race.
 
Fast qualifier Nick Schmidt fought off a slow start to climb back to second place by the race's conclusion, followed by Ashley Matts in third. Saturday night winner Duane Lounsbury finished fourth and was followed by fifth place Todd Snow.
 
 
ORIGINAL SIXERS
 
Eleven drivers took to the track for the first Original Sixer racing program of the season and staged some of the most exciting action of the night. At the end of 15 laps, Thomas Andrus stood tall above the competition as the Rockford native got to the front early and was able to keep his closest competition at bay.
 
Steve Dover took second place after winning a tight battle with Bobby Frisch for the runner up position. Sean Worman came home fourth place behind Frisch while Machesney Park's Nate Swain rounded out the top five.
 
 
WINGED WOMEN ON WHEELS
 
Overall it was a solid night for Ashley Matts. Not only did the Rockford native come home third in the Bandit feature, but she also claimed her first ever Feature win in the Winged Women on Wheels feature by holding off a hard-charging Cassidy Frisch for the win. Nikki Mueller finished a distant third with Lily Allen fourth.
 
 
DOUBLE FIGURE 8
 
2015 Figure 8 champion Nick Schneider was fast and fearless in the opening Roadrunner Figure 8 race of the season, winning by a wide margin in the 10 lap race, while Charlie Frisch claimed victory in the first ever Bandit Figure 8 race.
PAPINI, RUDE, ROBINSON & BROCKMANN VICTORIOUS ON KIDS NIGHT
 
By: Kip Ripley
 
Great weather and an enthusiastic crowd witnessed another exciting Saturday night of racing at Rockford Speedway as part of Northwest Bank Kids Night.
 
When the dust cleared, Alex Papini (Late Models) and Aaron Rude (American Short Trackers) found victory lane once again while Robby Robinson (Roadrunners) and Bart Brockmann (Bandits) nabbed their first feature wins of 2018.
 
In the 30 lap Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model feature, Matt Lundberg was the car who was the most impressive in the race and crossed the finish line first, taking the lead on lap 14 and holding off the late race advances of Papini to apparently take the win. However, during post-race technical inspection, Lundberg's car was deemed to have oversize wheels and was disqualified from the race. The ruling moved Papini to the top of the chart, as the Rockford resident notched a third feature win in four tries during the 2018 season, Michael Bilderback came from 10th starting spot to claim second, while 'Driver X' Jon Reynolds Jr was credited with third. Through four nights of racing, Reynolds and Papini are tied atop the Late Model point standings.
 
Veteran racer Mike Lloyd persevered to a fourth place finish and was followed by Dennis Smith Jr who rounded out the top five.
 
Cambridge Wisconsin's Aaron Rude made a slick move to the front of the field on the ninth lap of the Miller Lite American Short Tracker feature, holding the lead for the rest of the 25 lap main event while holding off a furious late-race charge from point leader Franc Beldowski. After Rude nabbed the lead, Beldowksi wrestled side-by-side with Shannon Stoltz over the next six laps before settling into second spot and beginning his  pursuit of Rude for the lead. Over the course of the next 8 laps, Beldowski chased down Rude and made two attempts at the lead before falling short at the checkered flag.
 
Rude claimed his second win of the season, while Beldowski settled for second, coming up just one position short of a 'clean sweep' after earning fast time, a trophy dash win and a heat race win. Stotlz finished third, while David Russell earned fourth.
 
Robby Robinson cruised to the lead on the sixth lap of the 20 lap Kickstart Roadrunner feature and held on for his first win of 2018 while outrunning Roadrunner point leader Nick Schneider to do so. Kevin Memoli was credited with third place, followed by Brent Garnhardt and Terry Gerber.
 
The 20 lap T.E,D. Transit Bandit feature showcased a three-car battle for the lead in a non-stop affair which ended with Rockford's Bart Brockmann in victory lane after squeaking past Kelsey Dobbs at the line to claim the victory. Brockmann earned his first career Rockford Speedway win by half a car-length over Dobbs after the two drivers traded the lead multiple times throughout the race. Benji Rucker came home third, with Haley Roberts fourth and Ashley Matts fifth.

BILDERBACK BAGS BONUSES, BELDOWSKI SWEEPS AWAY THE COMPETITION

By: Kip Ripley

A solid crowd turned out Saturday night at Rockford Speedway and were greeted with outstanding weather and a thrilling night of short track racing.

Side-by-side action and close finishes were the name of the game on this night, with each feature race providing its own unique sort of drama.

STANLEY STEEMER NASCAR LATE MODELS

Two-time and reigning NASCAR Late Model track champion Michael Bilderback returned to action on Saturday evening and made his presence known. After qualifying second, Bilderback accepted the $400 Gerber Collision and Glass Ultimate Challenge and was slotted in the 11th and final starting spot in the 30 lap Late Model main event. When the dust settled, it was Bilderback standing tall in victory lane with his fifteenth feature win since 2015 after taking the lead late in the race following a thrilling duel with ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr.

Dennis Smith Jr paced the field early, taking the early lead from polesitter Jeff Wakeman. As Smith slipped out to the early advantage, the rest of the field began to wage war. The first yellow flag flew on lap 7, bringing the balance of the field back to Smith’s bumper. Five laps after the initial restart, Reynolds swung into the lead and by the race’s halfway point, Bilderback was in second place.

The final yellow of the race flew on lap 17 and set the stage for the epic finish, which not only included Reynolds and Bilderback but also Alex Papini, in pursuit of his third straight win. On the restart, Reynolds was able to give himself a small yet short lived cushion. Bilderback soon chased down the leader and over the course of the final ten laps, the two racers put on a terrific side-by-side race with Papini right on their bumpers.

With three laps remaining, Bilderback was able to nose ahead for the lead, taking the top spot for himself with two laps to go. When the checkered flag flew, it was Bilderback beating Reynolds to the line by two carlengths. Bilderback not only claimed the $400 Ultimate Challenge Bonus, but also an additional $100 bonus courtesy of L&B Coin and Collectables.

Reynolds and Papini both continued their solid starts to the year. Reynolds started the race eighth and finished second for a second straight week, while Papini went from seventh to third and also was the evening’s fast qualifier. Smith came home in fourth for a second straight week while Jake Gille rounded out the top five.

MILLER LITE AMERICAN SHORT TRACKERS

Franc Beldowski finished of an impressive night on an impressive note, sweeping the evening in the Miller Lite American Short Tracker division thanks in part to a last lap, last corner pass for the win.

Beldowski started the evening by claiming his second fast qualifier award of the year and then won the CoLin Metals Fast Dash. Beldowski would later go on to win his heat race, setting himself up for the clean sweep and a possible $100 bonus from Rosebud Transportation if he could complete the sweep.

Beldowski’s quest for the broom would not be easy, starting the race from the eighth spot while also trying to contest with last week’s feature winner Aaron Rude. Rude, who started ninth, got to the front first, passing Destiny Genore for the lead on lap seven. As the race neared halfway, Beldowski found the front and began to challenge Rude for the lead. Things got serious in the last five laps of the race, when the drivers swapped the lead officially three times in five laps and unofficially once every corner. Rude led by a bumper at the white flag, but pushed his Ford Pinto just a little too high in the first and second corner, giving Beldowski a glimmer of hope. The two drivers raced through turns three and four with Beldowski taking the lead and the win at the finish line by half a car length.

The victory was Beldowski’s second of the season, while Rude turned in a second straight solid finish after a rough opening night. Todd Snow was the big winner late in the race, using the final restart to move himself from eighth to third. The third place finish was Snow’s best career result in the Short Tracker division. Genore, a Rookie of the Year contender, ended the race a solid fourth place, while Steve Dickson rounded out the top five.

KICKSTART ROADRUNNERS

Chad Lounsbury threw the monkey off his back in emphatic fashion, winning the caution-free 20 lap Roadrunner feature by over a straightaway. While Lounsbury sailed off into the night, wild battles raged for second and fourth. Nick Schneider held off a furious charge from Opening Night winner Arlyn Roush to claim second place, while Roush settled for third. Justin Wagner had to withstand a three-wide tussle for fourth position, holding off Kevin Memoli and Robby Robinson.

ILLINI RACING SERIES MIDGETS

Joliet’s Scott Koerner led flag-to-flag in the 15 lap Midget feature while holding off a persistent challenge from Tom Eyman in route to the win. Eyman settled for second while Doug Orseske claimed third.