August 30, 2012

This Day in Racing History - August 30, 2002

Alan Vaughn of Belton, Mo., won the late model portion of the "Topless Nationals" at Sedalia's State Fair Speedway on August 30, 2002. — Lance Goins Photo

August 27, 2012

Madison International Speedway - ARCA 200

Photos Courtesy of ARCA Racing Series

Chris Buescher celebrates his victory in the Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 at Madison International Speedway.
Chris Buescher (17) races with Clint King (15) in the Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 at Madison International Speedway.
Chris Buescher (17) spins after contact from Frank Kimmel (44) on Lap 31 in the Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 at Madison International Speedway. Buescher recovered from 13th place and passed Kimmel on Lap 175 before driving to his fourth win of the season.
Chris Buescher takes the checkered flag to win the Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 at Madison International Speedway.
Chris Buescher and his Roulo Brothers Racing crew celebrate victory in the Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 at Madison International Speedway.

August 25, 2012

Hawkeye Downs Speedway - Season Championships

Photos Courtesy of Kyle Ealy

Brian Gibson won the Sportsman season championship feature at Hawkeye Downs Speedway on Friday night. Gibson would also clinch the point's title in the Modified division.

Bryce Bailey (51) stays to the inside of Kevin Korsmo during the Legends feature at Hawkeye Downs Speedway on Friday night. Bailey would hold Korsmo off for the victory.

Griffin McGrath is joined by his family after winning the Late Model season championship feature at Hawkeye Downs.

Matt Petrzelka capped off a dominant season in the Hobby Stock division by winning the season championship feature and the point's title.

Multi-time Modified point's champion Mike Schulte of Norway, Iowa, is interviewed by race director Mike Becker after winning the 20-lap Modified feature.
Shane Hanson earned a hard-fought victory in the Hornet season championship feature on Friday night.

During intermission, young race fans trick or treated as drivers handed out candy and signed autographs. This grateful mom reeps the benefits as her daughter offers up some of her sucker.

Greg Hentrich (35) and Dave McCalla do battle during their Sportsman heat

Former University of Iowa wrestler Mark Ironside caught the racing bug earlier this season and has been competing weekly in the Legends division. He makes his move past a fellow competitor during heat race action.

Thor Anderson was the 2012 Late Model point's champion

Brian Gibson's 2012 championship-winning Modified

Race fans got the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers during intermisson

The Grim Reaper made an appearance during trick or treating festivites on the track

August 22, 2012

Rockford Speedway - Illini Racing Series

Photos Courtesy of Kyle Ealy

Patrick Bruns won the Illini Racing Series 25-lapper at Rockford Speedway

Bob Adams gives the thumbs up after winning his heat for the Illini Racing Series

Freedie Teer Jr. goes three-wheelin through turns 3 and 4

The field gets set to take the green for their heat race

Lamont Critchett took honors in IRS heat #1

Patrick Bruns led green to checker in the Illini Racing Series main event

Sean Murphy set quick time touring the high-banked quarter mile in 13.824 seconds

Scott Koerner (#9) and Loran Critchett Jr. (#33) compete in IRS heat action

Jason Allen

Patrick Bruns (#83) and Mike Anderson (#7) go side-by-side thru the turns

August 21, 2012

Springfield Mile - Allen Crowe 100

Photos Courtesy of ARCA Racing Series

Alex Bowman (22) and Kevin Swindell (55) lead the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards field past the opening green flag in the Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill.

Allen Crowe 100 winner Frank Kimmel celebrates his second win of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season and eighth at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill.

Eventual race winner Frank Kimmel (yellow) drives through Turn 1 in the Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill.

Eventual race winner Frank Kimmel pits in the Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill.

Allen Crowe 100 winner Frank Kimmel celebrates his second win of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season and eighth at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill.

August 20, 2012

Rockford Speedway - 65th Anniversary Celebration

Photos Courtesy of Jim Ambruoso

Walk of Fame Inductee 7-time Rockford Speedway Champion Ricky Bilderback # 02 Rockton, IL

Walk of Fame Inductee # 98.5 Matt Berger, Loves Park, IL receives a hug from speedway CEO Jody Deery for his induction.

Jerry Gille # 99 Roscoe, IL hugs Jody Deery as he is introduce to the crowd on hand for his induction.

An emotional Billy McCoy, Belvidere, IL is announced to race fans of his induction into the Walk of Fame.
Hog Wash Mini Grand Prix participants in victory circle.

Miller Lite American Short Tracker feature winner # 00 Scotty Hoeft, Watertown, Wisconsin.

Rockstar Road Runner feature winner # 24 Robert Roush, Marengo, IL

Mike Beyer # 0, Roscoe, IL salutes to race fans in victory circle as he shows he is #1.

 In victory circle for the first time in 2012 is # 50 Shawn Rickelman who won the Non-Feature Winners Feature for the RoadRunner division.

Patrick Bruns #83, Champaign, IL won the Illini Midget Series feature

The House that Hugh built

Patrick Bruns was the Illini Midget Series feature winner - Kyle Ealy Photo

Loves Park, Ill. – It was a celebration for both Rockford Speedway and for myself as well. Rockford was commemorating its 65th birthday and I was observing my five-year anniversary.
For 65 years, Rockford Speedway has been one of the premier short tracks in the Midwest, entertaining millions of race fans over that period. The drivers that have competed there are numerous; few tracks can boast of the renowned talent that have attempted to tame the famous high-banked asphalt oval. The hot shoes that have succeeded in conquering the quarter-mile are legendary; Trickle, Martin, Shear, Reffner, Kulwicki, Kenseth, Wallace, Knaus, Bilderback, and Carlson…the list goes on and on.
It had been five years to the weekend that I first stepped foot onto these hallowed grounds; and it was then and there I fell in love with a racetrack, the people, and everything that it has represented over those 65 years.
Even though Hugh Deery is no longer with us, the impact he left on the track is still present at each and every event that’s held there. His ideas are still being used to this day for the sole purpose of entertaining the masses that walk through the gates every year. And trust me when I say this; Hugh Deery was all about entertainment.
A lot of the ideas and promotions that are still used at Rockford were that of Hugh Deery, he had a very innovative and creative approach on how to keep the race fan coming back and wanting more. But he wasn’t shy about borrowing someone else’s idea either; especially if he thought he could take the concept and make it even better. And that’s what made the man unique…
The “World Famous” Figure 8 trailer races, Eve of Destruction, the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” and Night of Thrills are Hugh Deery inspired promotions that still pack the place year after year. The Spring Classic, the Bahama Bracket Nationals and of course, the National Short Track Championships are three of the best annual short track events in the Midwest, if not the United States.
It’s Deery’s core ideas and present Rockford Speedway general manager Gregg McKarns’ outside of the box creativity that have kept me coming back to the historic quarter-mile for the last five years. I never know what to expect during one of my visits…
This past weekend’s trip is a shining example…
In addition to the weekly racing program, a special appearance by the Illini Midget Series and some well-deserved Hall of Fame inductions, tonight’s card also included an “Outhouse Race”. What the hell is an “outhouse race” you ask?
A driver would come out of the turn four entrance slowly, approach the start/finish line, and when the flagman gave the signal, the driver would climb out their car, leap over a guardrail located in the front of the outhouse, jump into an outhouse, grab a roll of toilet paper, jump back over the guardrail, climb back into the car and take one lap around the track. Whoever performed all of those steps in the shortest amount of time was crowned “King Shit” (okay, I made that last part up).
Make the leap...

And grab yourself some Charmin...

Some drivers even took it a step further… they would leave their car geared in neutral as they went through the motions. It was funny as hell watching the driver run across the track, leaping rails and retrieving toilet paper as there car is slowly rolling down the track with no one behind the wheel.
The first few drivers had zero problems leaping the guardrail, but one gentleman knew full well he wouldn’t make it over without suffering some sort of injury, so he simply pushed it out of his way. One young lady driver took it a notch higher as she entered the outhouse with a driver’s suit on, disappeared for a few moments, only to reemerge in a wedding dress.
I’ve seen a Flagpole Race, a Pretzel Race, and a Double-Oh! Race, but the Outhouse Race tops them all…
Mike Beyer is joined in victory lane by Rockford Speedway owner Jody Deery after an impressive win in the 30-lap Late Model feature. - Kyle Ealy Photo

The Late Model feature saw Mike Beyer lead green to checker but Jon Reynolds Jr. made it interesting the for most of the race, racing side-by-side with Beyer on several different occasions but never able to get his nose past Beyer for the lead. It was good clean racing between the two competitors and it was a great win for Beyer, who drove a nearly flawless race to claim his first victory at Rockford in nearly five years. He explained in victory lane that several people had told him that it was time for him to hang up his racing gear and call it quits, but as Beyer remarked, “I’m not washed up yet.” No you’re not Mike…
The Rockford Speedway Hall of Fame has its share of legendary inductees and four more were honored on Saturday night. Seven-time Late Model Champion Ricky Bilderback, two-time Late Model Champion Jerry Gille, Matt Berger, the 2010 Sportsman Champion that has won a feature in all four NASCAR divisions as well as longtime car owner and competitor Billy McCoy who claimed the 1996 American Short Tracker crown were all enshrined prior to the evening’s race card. 
Being part of the committee for the Wall of Fame at Hawkeye Downs, I’ve seen people act and react differently upon being enshrined. Some have kept their emotions intact while others couldn’t wipe the smile off their face or let the tears flow. That’s what makes each and every one of us our own unique personality.  But no matter how a person reacts in the moment, you’ll never convince me that it doesn’t mean the world to anyone who is enshrined into their tracks’ Hall of Fame.
Jerry Gille signs his name below his hand prints after being inducted into the Rockford Speedway Hall of Fame - Kyle Ealy Photo

At Rockford, being inducted into the hall of fame is a little more special because as I’ve said time and time again, when you’re apart of Rockford Speedway, you’re family.
Congratulations to all four well-deserving inductees and congratulations to Rockford Speedway on 65 years of racing excellence.
Thanks to Jody Deery, Gregg McKarns, Eric Huenefeld, and Jim Ambruoso for making me feel like one of the Rockford family every time I visit. It’s always good to come home…
Thanks for picking us up,

August 15, 2012

This Day in Racing History - August 15, 1996

Mark Noble of Blooming Prairie, Minn., won the modified "A" main at the Steele County Fairgrounds in Owatonna, Minn., on August 15, 1996. - Eric Neil Miller Photo