By Jordan Kuehne
LOVES PARK, Ill. (Saturday, April 10th, 2010) – Before the start of the season’s opening event at the Rockford Speedway, Chris Czaszwicz noted the warm weather; the sunny skies proved to be a good omen as Czaszwicz burned up the rubber on Saturday afternoon, kicking off the historical 63rd season at the high-banked quarter mile with a convincing victory in the Stone & Double T 200-lap enduro.
The opening event of 2010 featured an impressive field of drivers hailing from four states as 70 cars took the green flag from starter Dave Sankey. Nobody eased into the brand new season as the early action was fast and furious.
Beauty contest winner Samantha Brannam, whose car was adorned with a birthday cake on the roof, faced early troubles and retired along with a host of other cars. The early attrition included the race’s celebrity guest, Jim Stone, who came home 45th after being forced to retire due to a faulty transmission on lap 32.
“My goal was to finish the enduro,” a disappointed but smiling Stone said after the race. “We gave it our best shot and even beat up on some cars out there but the transmission failed me.”
Also retiring early was Stone’s partner-in-crime, Captain Jack, who came home in 55th place after his transmission let go on lap 16. Captain Jack met his pre-race goal of surpassing his previous best of 12 laps completed, managing to top that total by a mere four circuits.
Stone’s radio co-host, Double T, was unable to compete due to injury.
“When you’re out there, you’re just having so much fun and you’re giggling like a schoolgirl,” quipped Double T. “I look forward to returning next year and kicking everyone’s tail.”
The early lead was claimed by Jarrod Sutherland who paced the field over the opening 41 laps. Former race winner Mike Jucius inherited the top spot after Sutherland was forced to make a rendezvous with his crew. Jucius fended off Jay Orr’s challenges over the next ten laps before mechanical failures relegated both drivers to the pit area.
At that point, Chris Czaszwicz seized his opportunity, jumping to the top of the scrap heap and holding off a hungry Jim Klingel as the attrition-laced field maneuvered to the halfway point.
After a short break, 30 cars returned to the track for the final 100 laps and met a new challenge: the Monza course featuring a chicane on the backstretch.
Czaszwicz eased his margin further over the next 50 laps as Klingel felt the heat for second from 2009 Goblin 250 winner Scott Dixon. Klingel’s day came to a crashing halt on lap 160 when his tire came unglued on the chicane, pushing Dixon into the bridesmaid’s position.
Czaszwicz needed his cushion to hold off the hard-charging Dixon, collecting the first trophy of the 2010 season at the Rockford Speedway.
“I have to thank my crew, my family, and my friends,” an exhausted Czaszwicz stated in victory lane. “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it feels great to get this one in the bag.”
Becky Roth rallied to finish third, while Ralph Markham and the highest finishing automatic, Dale Markham, rounded out the top five.
Ron Schilling took home the honors for top wagon while Rich Blakely collected the prize for the highest finishing minivan. Tyler Andrus had a stellar day, taking home the top spot amongst the five drivers competing under the age of 18.
Racing returns next weekend as the Midwest short track scene comes roaring back to life with the 33rd annual Spring Classic on Sunday, April 18th. Headlining the event will be the BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet as they bring a new racing format to the high banks that will culminate in a 58-lap main event. Not to be outdone, the Mid-American Stock Car Series will also be in action with a 50-lap battle of their own. A full Spring Classic racing schedule is available online at www.rockfordspeedway.com.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will return to the legendary facility on Saturday, April 24th, for the 63rd season of weekly racing action at the Rockford Speedway. Racing begins at 7:07pm with gates scheduled to open at 5pm. Qualifying will get underway at 6pm.
For more information on the upcoming 2010 season at the Rockford Speedway, including a full schedule of events and details on Spring Classic, visit the track website at www.rockfordspeedway.com or call the Speedway Box Office at (815) 633-1500.
Stone & Double T 200 (Enduro)
A-Main 01 -- 1. Chris Czaszwicz, Alsip; 2. Scott Dixon, Janesville, Wis; 3. Becky Roth, Hazel Green, Wis; 4. Ralph Markham, Maple Park; 5. Dale Markham, Maple Park; 6. Ryan Decker, Palatine; 7. Kathleen O'Shields, St Charles; 8. Shane Bennett, Warren; 9. Mitch Maloney, Lake Zurich; 10. Alan Bekielewski, Roscoe; 11. Charles Chism, Jr., Roscoe; 12. Jay Orr, South Milwaukee, Wis; 13. Ron Schilling, Bernard, Iowa; 14. Joie Dennis, Marengo; 15. Jacob Haberstich, Belvidere; 16. David Sparkman, Machesney Park; 17. Kyle Stark, Waterloo, Wis; 18. Blake Andrus, Rockford; 19. Paul Milbratz Jr, Wonder Lake; 20. Cody Smith, Marengo; 21. Jim Klingel, Aurora; 22. Tyler Andrus, Rockford; 23. Roger Schultz, Rockford; 24. Jerry Roach, Kingston; 25. Justin Pearson, Belvidere; 26. Jason Dull, Machesney Park; 27. Thomas Otto II, Janesville, Wis; 28. Tony Schnupp, Rockford; 29. Mike Cunz, Cortland; 30. Jon Eggert, Machesney Park; 31. Robby Robinson, Orfordville, Wis; 32. Bernard Robinson, Beloit, Wis; 33. Austin Runge, Lake Zurich; 34. Ryan Lagestee, Dyer, Ind.; 35. Charlie Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 36. Rich Blakely, Huntley; 37. Darin Furar, Granville; 38. Jeff Ogdon, Crete; 39. Blaine McClellan, Jr, Dixon; 40. Matt McCain, Aurora; 41. Carl Thornton, Aurora; 42. Blaine McClellan III, Dixon; 43. Robert Myher, South Beloit; 44. Mike Jucius, Oak Lawn; 45. Jim Stone, Candlewick; 46. Rick Zifko, St. Charles; 47. Scott Vetter, Union; 48. Jim Mayer, Woodstock; 49. Charles Greensly, Cortland; 50. Troy Boss, Rock Falls; 51. Jarrod Sutherland, Machesney Park; 52. Devon Dixon, Janesville, Wis; 53. Corey Marshall, St Charles; 54. Jordan Moore, Rockford; 55. Captain Jack;; 56. Steve Finnern, Des Plaines; 57. Samantha Brannam, McHenry; 58. Trevor Robinson, Rockton; 59. Tim Latta, Amboy; 60. Chandale Swartout, Janesville, Wis; 61. Tyler Young, Woodstock; 62. Mike Smith, Marengo; 63. Douglas Finnern, Des Plaines; 64. Kevin Gentry, Genoa City, Wis; 65. Kyle Martenson, Belvidere; 66. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 67. Jeremy Hardey, Rock Falls; 68. Jose Quinonez, Rochelle; 69. Dave Lembke, Waukesha, Wis; 70. Fred Wittmann Sr., Des Plaines.
This article was posted to the website on April 11th, 2010
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