Nason, Rude, Logan Jr., and Stark also collect NSTC wins
By Kevin Ramsell
Friday, September 28, 2007 (Loves Park, IL) – For the first time ever in the 60 year history of the Rockford
Speedway, the three seven-time track champions raced in one feature event. John Knaus, Bobby Wilberg, and Ricky Bilderback were part of the 24-car field in the Weekly Warrior Late Model feature where Knaus made his return to victory lane. Fred Nason, Aaron Rude, John Logan Jr., and Kyle Stark also picked up wins on the first day of the 42nd Annual National Short Track Championships at the Rockford Speedway.
Knaus, who recently got behind the seat of a late model back in July, took advantage of his starting position and jumped out to a huge lead over Noel Ramge.
Knaus had his 2007 Dodge Charger in cruise control as he went on to an uncontested win and a happy return to victory lane with Ramge in second.
Behind the two, Ricky Bilderback, Mike Lloyd, and Jon Reynolds Jr. put on a great battle for the third spot. On the last lap, Bilderback would sneak past Lloyd and take third while Lloyd barely held off Reynolds with fourth.
"We struggled with this car to make it fast and in the heat race we found something and it really hooked the car up and it really made us go fast," an excited Knaus stated in victory lane. "To come back after some time off to win it, it's just great."
Nason had to pass the Riedner family to defend his NSTC win in the Sam's Drive-In All-American Sportsman 42-lap feature.
Nason started tenth and while Brandon Riedner paced the field in the early going of the feature event.
Riedner continued to lead while Nason was already up to fifth by lap ten. Riedner's father, Scott "Chico" Riedner, was battling Brian Johnson Sr. for second until Johnson fell off the pace on lap 12, giving the fans a chance to see son lead with his father in second.
Nason continued to pick off spots as he worked his way to the front. On lap 16, Nason would get past "Chico" for second and set his sights on the son.
Two laps later, Nason would get on the inside of Brandon for the top spot. The two would put on a great side-by-side battle, just like Nason did last year with his father, until Nason would get by him on lap 24.
Nason would go on to defend his All-American Sportsman win with Brandon Riedner in second. Jon Reynolds Jr. and "Chico" Riedner put on an old-fashioned short track battle for third in the late going with Reynolds taking the position at the finish. Bobby Wilberg rounded out the top five.
"He is a very clean driver, just like his dad," Nason stated about Brandon Riedner in victory lane. "They are great people to race against. It would be nice to get them to come down and race with us on a weekly basis."
Rude gains his first NSTC win in the American Short Tracker feature.
George Sparkman looked strong in the early going of the 42-lap event as he quickly moved his fifth starting spot to second by lap two. On lap 3, he would get past pole sitter Randy Nottestad and take over the top spot.
Evink, the fast qualifier, moved from his 12th starting spot to challenge for second by the halfway mark. Evink got past Rude for second just past the halfway mark. He then set his sights on Sparkman for the lead.
The caution flew on lap 24 when Sparkman and Evink got together coming off of turn two causing Sparkman to spin. Sparkman's car stopped on the backstretch and was t-boned by Randy Samples. Jeff Tenure and Keith Pierce were also involved. All of the drivers were able to walk away. Evink, for his involvement was sent to the rear, thus handing the lead over to Rude.
Rude, who started eighth, jumped out to an eight car length lead over Brett McCoy on the re-start. Rude would put his 1973 Ford Pinto on cruise control and take home his first ever NSTC feature win. McCoy would hold on to second with Nick Cina Jr. in third. Evink would rally back to finish fourth and Nottestad would finish fifth.
In victory lane, Rude stated that he came real close to being involved in the Sparkman/Evink crash. "I actually got into George and he hit my right front pretty good and I was afraid it may have cut down the tire," Rude stated. "The car was just as good after that."
Logan Jr. waited until the last lap to take home the O'Reilly Auto Parts RoadRunner 42-lap feature win.
Vachenzia Jester took the lead at the start of the race and it appeared she could be on to an easy victory as she jumped out to a big lead.
A caution on lap 25 when Brad Warthan was parked in the turn two wall allowed Charlie Frisch, who was running second, to catch up to Jester. But, that didn't stop Jester as she continued to jump out to a healthy lead.
Logan started 12th and quietly worked his way up to third by the halfway mark. Logan would then lose a spot to Jason Van Hise and fall back to fourth.
With 10 laps to go, Frisch would develop engine problems and fall off the pace. A lap later, Logan would get by Van Hise for second and begin to chase down Jester.
With two laps to go, Logan would get on the inside of Jester and take over the top spot. On the last lap, Jester's engine would blow and it would allow Logan to cruise to the win.
Van Hise came home second with Corey Teran in third. Harley Jankowski was fourth with Joshua Lundy rounding out the top five.
"This is a great way to end my career as this is my last night of racing," Logan Jr. stated in victory lane. "I have to thank my father, if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here."
Stark survived to win the Stateline Staffing Service Hornet vs. Bandit Challenge II feature.
Leonard Reimer was the early leader in the 25-lap feature event. Reimer had a nice lead until David Treu Sr. spun and was parked sideways on the backstretch on lap 9.
On the re-start, Reimer got loose coming out of turn four and this handed the lead over to Stark. Stark would go on to hold off Matt Mangiaracina to take home the win. Kyle Watters was third. Roger Schultz was fourth and Steve Dickson rounded out the top five.
The five fast qualifiers were given Nason's Landscaping "Faster Than a Speeding Bullet" awards for their efforts. They were: Ricky Bilderback, Weekly Warrior Late Model (13.918 seconds); Jon Reynolds, Jr., All-American Sportsman (14.801 seconds); Kelly Evink, American Short Trackers (15.364 seconds); John Logan, Jr., RoadRunners (16.811
seconds); and Steve Dickson, Hornet vs. Bandit Challenge (16.807 seconds).
Day two of the National Short Track Championships will get underway on Saturday with the front gates opening at 2:00 p.m. Nason's Landscaping "Faster Than a Speeding Bullet" qualifying starting at 2:15 p.m. After qualifying, fans are invited to the pits for an Open Pit Party. The racing action will get underway at 5:05 p.m.
The Big 8 Series Twin 58-lap feature will highlight the racing action along with features in the USST Super Trucks (42-lap feature), Area Sportsman (50-lap feature), and Hobby Stox (42-lap feature). The National Short Track Super Late Models will also be competing with qualifying and qualifying races.
"One Great Racing Weekend" is underway. For more information, please call the track office at (815) 633-1500 or visit the track's website at www.rockfordspeedway.com .
This article was posted to the website on September 28th, 2007
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