This Sunday afternoon, the top weekly racers from Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota will begin their 2010 campaign on the high banks of Rockford Speedway. A total of 9 current and past short track champions have filed entries for the 33rd annual Spring Classic, which will see both the Big 8 Series Late Models and Mid-American Stock Cars in action. Three drivers looking to defend their 2009 triumphs will tighten their belts for the first time this season including two time defending Rockford Speedway titlist Jerry Gille, Madison International and 2007- 2008 Big 8 Series Champion Jeremy Miller as well as Dells Raceway Park Champ Corey Jankowski.
Miller has had his share of success at Rockford in Big 8 Series competition with two of his six career series wins coming at the Northern Illinois speed plant. Gille who has been the man to beat at Rockford in recent years has yet to record a Big 8 win while the up and coming Jankowski impressed onlookers last season in just two series starts during his first season behind the wheel of a late model.
2005 Big 8 Series Champion Jon Reynolds, Jr who also recorded two Championships at Slinger Super Speedway is looking to score his second series win at Rockford on Sunday, a track where he won six feature events just one season ago. But wins do not come easy against this level of competition, just ask Bobby Wilberg, a sixteen time Champ between Rockford and Madison, he has yet to find victory lane. Wilberg makes his first return to the track where he experienced his hardest hit in racing, during last fall’s National Short Track Championship while contending for the win.
Former Lake Geneva Raceway Champion Eddie May, two-time National Short Track Champion Jeremy Lepak and Wayne Freimund, a past modified titlist at Madison will be joined by four time Mid-American Stock Car Champion and 2009 Big 8 Series Rookie of the Year James Swan in a heavy hitting field. Amongst the challengers include the Rockford Rookie of the Year recipients from the past 3 seasons, Mikie Breiner, Alex Papini and Tim Sargent. Many report that Papini and Sargent will be amongst those to watch Sunday due to impressive pre-season testing.
A triple threat from neighboring Jefferson Speedway will exist Sunday, as front runners Kyle Jarlsberg, Casey Johnson and Steve Dobbratz have all proven they can get the job done at Rockford. Jarlsberg has two series triumphs, including last September at Jefferson. Ryan Carlson will not be in competition on the track however. The four time series winner is now the mentor to young Tanner Whitten who comes from the USAC open wheeled ranks to make his first stock car start this weekend.
The racing season officially begins in the Midwest this Sunday afternoon. Known as a Midwest tradition, the 33rd annual Spring Classic will begin at 1pm. Spectator gates open at 11am with qualifying at 11:15am. Adult tickets are $20, ages 6-11 are $5 with ages 5 and under Free. This will be the first event run under the new Big 8 Series progressive racing format which will set the 58 lap feature field through a combination of heat race finishes, qualifying and last chance races. The Mid-American Stock Cars will contest a 50 lap main event. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.rockfordspeedway.com or call the Speedway Box Office at 815-633-1500.
This article was posted to the website on April 15th, 2010
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