By: Eric Huenefeld
The longest, most grueling and richest race of the season for the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Models is fast approaching.
The annual ‘Star Spangled 76’ will be contested Saturday night June 29th at Rockford Speedway. This season marks the seventh edition of the holiday special for the Speedway’s premier division. The length of the race, at 76 laps, is over twice the length of the usual Saturday night feature events for the Late Models, making it the most grueling of all Saturday night features during the regular season. This year’s race will also once again serve as Round II of the Gilley’s Cool 5 and includes an increased purse.
This year’s event will pay $976 to the winner and $140 to start. The ‘Star Spangled 76’ may even include a chance for a larger payday for the lucky winner. As of this release, the Gerber Collision and Glass ‘Ultimate Challenge’ Bonus has yet to be collected at Rockford Speedway. The ‘Ultimate Challenge’ is offered each Saturday night to the top three Late Model qualifiers during opening ceremonies. If a driver accepts the ‘Ultimate Challenge’, he/she must start at the tail of the field and advance all the way to first place by the checkered flag in order to cash out. If the ‘Ultimate Challenge’ is not met this Saturday June 22nd, it’s possible that one driver could pocket over $2000 dollars on June 29th! In 2011, “Driver X” Jon Reynolds Jr. doubled his money, winning both the ‘76’ and the ‘Ultimate Challenge.’
Rockford Speedway welcomes all Big 8 legal Late Models to the seventh running of this summertime shootout. Four-time Big 8 Series Champion Jeremy Miller is a former winner of the event, while Reynolds, the 2005 Big 8 Series champion, is a two time winner. Former track champion Tim Sargent (2009) and three time track champion Jerry Gille (2008) are also past winners. Last season, Matt Berger topped 17 entrants, winning his first ‘76’ by over a straightaway.
Along with the Late Models, the Bargain Hunter Sportsman, Miller Lite American Short Trackers and Rockstar Energy Drink Roadrunners will be taking part in the busy Saturday night card. The evening will also be “Stan Burdick Night,” a salute to the long-time Speedway employee who, along with his blue Chevy pickup truck, has been a fixture at the track since its opening back in 1948. A reception for Mr. Burdick will take place starting at 3 pm that afternoon under the Party Pavilion on the Speedway grounds. The public is invited to attend.
Pit gates will open on June 29th at 3 pm with qualifying at 5:55 pm and the first green flag at 7:07 pm. Adult general admission is just $12, students 12-17 are $8, children 6-11 are $5 with kids 5 and under admitted free! For more information on this event or others, call 815-633-1500 or visit www.rockfordspeedway.com.
‘STAR SPANGLED 76’ PAST WINNERS
2006- Jeremy Miller
2008- Jerry Gille
2009- Tim Sargent
2010- Jon Reynolds Jr.
2011- Jon Reynolds Jr.
2012- Matt Berger
This article was posted to the website on June 19th, 2013
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