By Jordan Kuehne
LOVES PARK, Ill. (Saturday, October 16th, 2010) – One of the longest days in racing came to a close with a lot of questions answered and even more up in the air. The opening day of the 19th annual Bahama Bracket Nationals at the legendary Rockford Speedway helped set the majority of tomorrow’s feature fields as 206 cars qualified and set a time, looking to set themselves up for success in the main event.
Perhaps the driver who has the best handle on how to work the Bahama Bracket Nationals’ unique system is Wisconsin hotshoe James Swan. For the second consecutive year, the versatile driver set the overall fast time with a near perfect 14.301 second lap during Happy Half Hour Qualifying.
“We’ve just got a good car for this event,” Swan admitted afterwards. “That and I’m really lucky. Bahama Brackets are so much fun and all you have to do is look in the pits to see what makes this event special for everyone. Hopefully, we keep the car in one piece tomorrow and get up front pretty quickly.”
Fans don’t even have to look in the pits to see what makes this weekend stick out from a racing standpoint. All night long, drivers went three and even four-wide on the tight high banked oval, making daredevil passes to try and secure their place in the 50-lap headliners tomorrow. With Late Models racing Dirt Modifieds and RoadRunners racing Bandits amongst other fascinating combinations, there’s nothing else like it.
“This is a special event all the way around,” Kyle Shear added after a strong first day. “It’s the only event where I’ll have my (Mid-American) car out there beating and banging on a dirt track car or a late model. It’s just really, really good racing and it’s pretty sweet to see something like this.”
Shear notched the fourth fastest time for qualifying as six brackets were set during a marathon day of racing. Utilizing qualifying speeds instead of set divisions, the Bahama Brackets force drivers to race their way into the features and give them the chance to decide their own fate. The dreaded ‘breakout’ struck several drivers during heat races and Bermuda Bashes, adding another element of fun to the action. A driver breaks out when they run over two tenths faster than their qualifying time during racing action, and are forced to join the tail end of the higher bracket.
For the first time in 2010, 4-cylinder brackets debuted as Rockford Speedway regular George Sparkman set the fast time with a lap of 15.618 seconds. 54 cars set a time during the 4-cylinder ‘B’ bracket qualifying while 152 ‘A’ bracket cars laid down a lap during time trials. With over two-thirds of each feature field already set in place, several drivers have work to do heading into the last chance races tomorrow.
Once the grid is completed, there will be six 50-lap feature events with lineups ranging from the fastest cars in the ‘A’ bracket to the slowest 4-cylinders in the ‘BB’ bracket. Another original idea found only at the Brackets lies in victory lane as each feature winner will be offered the option of a trip for two to the Bahamas or the prize money for their race. Each driver who takes home a feature win will also add perhaps the most unique trophy in short track racing to their hardware collection, an authentic TIKI Torch.
The action resumes tomorrow with the green flag waving on a full slate of action at 12pm. With last chance races preceding six features, racing fans will not be disappointed by another long day of exciting on-track excitement. The Fabolous Foo Foo Races will follow the features as everyone gets their time to shine on the quarter-mile speed plant.
For more information on the 19th annual Bahama Bracket Nationals, including a full schedule of events, visit the track’s website at www.rockfordspeedway.com or call the Speedway Box Office at (815)633-1500.
**RESULTS TO FOLLOW SHORTLY**
This article was posted to the website on October 17th, 2010
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