By Kevin Ramsell
Sunday, September 30, 2007 (Loves Park, IL) – For a lot of racers, a win is more satisfying when they pass cars to win, rather than start up front and lead all the laps. Jeremy Lepak had that kind of a run today as he moved from his 12th starting position to take home his second consecutive National Short Track Championship at the Rockford
Speedway. Also, Mike Lloyd held off Ricky Bilderback to win the Del Taco Feature Winners Invitational.
Mike Beyer, who was not feeling well, looked strong in the early going as the leader with Eddie May and Bobby Wilberg right on his back bumper.
Brad "JJ" Mueller, who started 13th, was working his way to the front until he spun in turns three and four on lap 11 while trying to past Pete Moore. Mueller re-joined the field at the back of the pack.
Beyer's illness would get the best of him as he fell off the pace on lap 35 and would call it a day, handing the lead over to May.
May held off a few challenges from Bobby Wilberg and hold on to the lead at the halfway break. Steve Rubeck was running third with Jerry Gille in fourth. Adam Royle rounded out the top five. Defending champion Jeremy Lepak was running sixth with fast qualifier Dan Lensing in seventh. Brian Johnson Jr. was eighth with Larry Schuler in ninth. Josh Bauer rounded out the top ten. Mueller recovered from his earlier spin to move back to eleventh.
May continued to lead at the start of the second half of the 200-lap event. Josh Bauer fell off the pace on lap 118 when his window net came down. He would go down four laps after his repair.
It got a little scary in the top five on lap 121 when Adam Royle got loose going into turn three, his right front tire would go down and as he was trying to get around the track he went into the wall in turns one and two collecting Jeff Way.
On the re-start, Rubeck would get by Wilberg for second with Gille following Rubeck for third.
Mueller's charge towards the front came to a halt on lap 133 when he appeared to have a tire go down after he and Lepak made contact coming off of turn four. He made hard contact with the turn one wall. Bauer was also collected causing both of the Random Lake, WI residents to be done for the day.
On the re-start, Lepak started to make his charge to the front. On lap 149, he would get past Wilberg for fourth with Lensing in tow. Seven laps later, he would get past Gille for third. Then he would get on the inside of Rubeck for second on lap 165. Two laps later, Rubeck's left front tire would go down and he was done for the day.
Lepak made his bid to the top of the leader board on lap 168 as he went on the inside of May for the lead. "I had the four barrel and I saved the right rear to the end to where I had the power to use the bottom near the end," Lepak stated after the race.
Lepak would take over the top spot on with 31 laps to go and pull away from the rest of the field.
Lensing started to show is muscle in the last 30 laps. With 26 laps to go, Lensing was on the inside of Schuler for position when the two made contact causing Lensing's right side to get airborne. He would try to gather his car up but spun as he came out of turn two in the infield. Lensing would re-join the rear of the field and he quickly charged his way back to the front.
With 12 laps to go, Gille and Lensing would get past May for second and third respectively. A lap later, the final caution of the day would fly on lap 189 as May and Campbell would spin in turns one and two.
On the re-start with eight laps to go, Lepak would pull away while Gille had to hold off a charging Lensing.
At the checkers, it was Lepak scoring his second straight National Short Track Championship win with Gille holding off Lensing for second. Pete Moore, who started 18th, came home with a strong fourth place finish. 1984 NSTC Champion, Al Schill, made a great return with a fifth place finish.
"Unbelievable, you know it's just incredible" an exhausted Lepak stated in victory lane. "You know to do it with Jerry
(Gunderman, car owner), who didn't win it until last year and we got it for him and now we got him two. Its great have my name with the likes of Shear, Trickle, Carlson and others; I don't know what else to say. They are incredible names to have your name next to. I am probably going to need the next year to think about this, it's just awesome."
For Gille, this was a good small dose of medicine after losing the season championship at Rockford by one point to Ricky Bilderback. "I want everyone to know I am not so far off the seat that I can't handle this," Gille stated. "We had quite a bit of disappointment, there is no way we will ever get that back, that in some ways changed my life in a lot of ways. This helps a little bit, but doesn't get everything back."
Lensing, suffering from brake problems all day was happy with his third place run. "If I would have had a good ten lap run at the end I think I could have gotten by all of them," Lensing stated.
Lloyd held off Bilderback to win the Del Taco 25-lap Feature Winner Invitational.
Lloyd and Ricky Bilderback put on a great side-by-side battle over the last 13-laps in the feature event. Lloyd had the momentum on the outside line as Bilderback would try to keep a hold of his late model on the bottom line.
With five laps to go, it became a three car battle for the top spot as Jon Reynolds Jr. joined Lloyd and Bilderback for the lead.
At the checkers it was Lloyd by a bumper over Bilderback with Reynolds close behind. Tim Sargent was fourth and Gary Bock wasfifth.
"That was a little bit harder than I wanted to work today," a happy Lloyd stated in victory lane.
Kenny Joosten took home the 75-lap Mid-American Feature win. Jeremy Spoonmore was second with Johnny Senerchia in third. James Swan was fourth with Bill Prietzel in fifth.
The Bahama Bracket Nationals will be the next big event for the Rockford Speedway. The 16th Annual event will take place on October13-14th. For more information, please call the track office at (815) 633-1500 or visit the track's website at www.rockfordspeedway.com.
Feature Winner Invitational
A-Main 01 -- 1. Mike Lloyd, Davis; 2. Ricky Bilderback, Rockton; 3. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Roscoe; 4. Tim Sargent (r), South Beloit; 5. Gary Bock, Kaukauna, Wis.
A-Main 01 -- 1. Ken Joosten, Wonder Lake; 2. Jeremy Spoonmore, Somonauk; 3. John Senerchia, Orland Park; 4. James Swan, Lake Geneva, Wis; 5. Bill Prietzel, Richfield, Wis; 6. Kevin Damrow, Manitowac, Wis; 7. Jeremy Bloomberg, Hampshire; 8. Bobby Gutknecht, Oak Creek, Wis; 9. Lyle Nowak, Wausau, Wis; 10. Jacob Finney, Sycamore; 11. Andrew Kulka, Deerfield, Wis; 12. Troy Shear, Jr., Roscoe; 13. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 14. Hank Tews, Batavia; 15. Adam Mass, Hebron; 16. Scott Null, Lake Mills, Wis; 17. Dave Obermeyer, West Bend, Wis; 18. Scott Lawver, Roscoe; 19. Shaun Wiltjer, Calumet Township, Ind.; 20. Max Schultz, Reedsville, Wis; 21. Dean Patterson, Bridgeview; 22. Jimmy Becker, Burlington; 23. Erik Pierce, Lake in the Hills.
Heat 01 -- 1. Andrew Kulka, Deerfield, Wis; 2. Scott Null, Lake Mills, Wis; 3. Kevin Damrow, Manitowac, Wis; 4. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 5. Max Schultz, Reedsville, Wis; 6. Scott Lawver, Roscoe; 7. Hank Tews, Batavia; 8. Dave Obermeyer, West Bend, Wis.
Time Trial -- 1. James Swan, Lake Geneva, Wis; 2. Bobby Gutknecht, Oak Creek, Wis; 3. Adam Mass, Hebron; 4. Lyle Nowak, Wausau, Wis; 5. John Senerchia, Orland Park; 6. Dean Patterson, Bridgeview; 7. Ken Joosten, Wonder Lake; 8. Bill Prietzel, Richfield, Wis; 9. Jacob Finney, Sycamore; 10. Jeremy Bloomberg, Hampshire; 11. Jeremy Spoonmore, Somonauk; 12. Erik Pierce, Lake in the Hills; 13. Shaun Wiltjer, Calumet Township, Ind.; 14. Jimmy Becker, Burlington; 15. Troy Shear, Jr., Roscoe; 16. Kevin Damrow, Manitowac, Wis; 17. Scott Null, Lake Mills, Wis; 18. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 19. Andrew Kulka, Deerfield, Wis; 20. Max Schultz, Reedsville, Wis; 21. Hank Tews, Batavia; 22. Dave Obermeyer, West Bend, Wis; 23. Scott Lawver, Roscoe.
NSTC Super Late Model
A-Main 01 -- 1. Jeremy Lepak, Wausau, Wis; 2. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 3. Dan Lensing, Poplar Grove; 4. Peter Moore, McFarland, Wis; 5. Al Schill, Franklin, Wis; 6. Adam Royle, Northfield, Minn.; 7. Stevie Campbell, Lisle; 8. Eddie May, Crystal Lake; 9. Larry Schuler, Minooka; 10. Tom Smith, Tinley Park; 11. Jeremy Spoonmore, Somonauk;
12. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 13. Steve Rubeck, Cherry Valley; 14. Bob Wilberg, Beloit, Wis; 15. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 16. Brad "JJ" Mueller, Random Lake, Wis; 17. Josh Bauer, Random Lake, Wis; 18. Jeff Way, Burlington, Wis; 19. Brian Johnson, Jr., Machesney Park; 20. Ryan Carlson, Loves Park; 21. Josh Nelms, Lockport; 22. Mike Beyer, Machesney Park; 23. Jack Kalwasinski, Dyer, Ind.; 24. Bill Hobson, Roscoe; 25. Matt Kocourek, Franklin, Wis.
This article was posted to the website on September 30th, 2007
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