By Zach Tasker
Aaron Willis Jr. took the 2012 Illini Racing Series season off as he looked for a ride. He teamed up in 2013 with Mike Wallace Racing to pilot their #10 midget and it seems like he hasn't missed a beat at all. The driver out of Coal City, Illinois set the fast time in qualifying with a 13.871 on the high banks of Rockford Speedway and would start the 25 lap feature behind Freddie Teer Jr, Scott Koerner and Lamont Ctichett. Teer would jump out to a fairly hefty gap to the rest of the field at the start and look like the early odds on favorite for the upset win. Willis moved up into 2nd in the opening few laps and tried to hunt down the #54 of Teer. As the field battled through lapped traffic with 10 laps to go Willis pounced to the inside of Teer and made his move, the #10 looked like it was shot out of a cannon and would start to stretch his lead in the closing laps. Meanwhile Teer was then in a furious three car battle with Sean Murphy and Patrick Bruns for the runner up spot. Teer would just hold on ahead of Murphy at the finish line. The driver of the #10 On the Rocks Spirits & Gaming/RQ! BBQ/Ridgecrest Trucking MWR Technology Beast/Ecotec was excited but also relieved in victory lane after an exhausting effort "I lost power steering about lap 13 and cut a fuel line and it was blowing methanol all over my leg but it wasn't enough to kill the car. I thank my trainer for six months in the gym before racing season started because it was tough muscling this car around without power steering especially when you are used to it". The first win of the season for MWR in the IRS didn't come easy "At the start of the race it got a little hairy. I made a couple decent moves and got lucky I didn't get tangled up with anybody. Freddie Teer got checked out early, I had a hell of a time catching up with him. Fast Freddie is always quick on the starts but I got lucky enough to run him down." Willis will most definitely be a favorite any time the IRS visits a pavement track this year. "Mike Wallace prepared such a good car and it rolled through the center of the turns so nice. I thought if anybody was going to get me they were going to work for it. Power steering or not I was going to work for it." After leading the most laps of the race Freddie Teer Jr brought the #54 Kendall County Concrete/Hoffie Nursery Stealth/Honda home in the runner up position. "Aaron got around me. He was really fast working really well in the corners. I struggled a little bit in the corners and I got tired. You know its been a long time since I have run this fast." Teers runner up finish is the highest finish for a Honda in the history of the Illini Racing Series "Its been a long time since we have run up front and hopefully we have turned the corner and will start running up front some more and being more competitive." For the first time in almost two years the #5 Potential Ag/SET Racing Engines Twister/Ecotec driven by Sean Murphy didn't set fast time in qualifying at Rockford, however he did make up for it with a hard fought heat race victory over Jason Allen and 3rd place feature finish. "We started in the 4th row inside and I struggled for a long while behind the 24 car, as soon as I got around him I kind of started picking them off one by one all the way up to Teer. Teer and I were just racing down to the finish line and he got the better roll of the corner than I did. The car was good , it could have been a lot better but this race I had to work my butt off. It felt like a 50 lapper. I know it was only 25 laps but there was a lot of traffic and when you are starting that deep in the field it takes a lot of mental concentration and physical effort." The Illini Racing Series will be back at the Grundy County Speedway this Saturday night July 27 along with the STARS national midgets.
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: FEATURE (25 L): 1) #10 Aaron Willis Jr. 2)#54 Freddie Teer Jr. 3)#5 Sean Murphy 4)#83 Patrick Bruns 5)#9k Scott Koerner 6)#77 Lamont Critchett 7)#52 Mike Gass 8)#24 Jason Allen 9)#7 Mike Anderson 10)#22 Basil Hicks 11)#31 Kourtnay Borman 12)#0 Doug Orseske 13)#4 Eric Greenup (DNS)
HEAT RACE #1 (8 L): 1)#52 Mike Gass 2)#83 Patrick Bruns 3)#10 Aaron Willis Jr. 4)#77 Lamont Critchett 5)#9k Scott Koerner 6)#54 Freddie Teer Jr.
HEAT RACE #2 (8 L): 1)#5 Sean Murphy 2)#24 Jason Allen 3)#0 Doug Orseske 4)#7 Mike Anderson 5)#31 Kourtnay Borman 6)#22 Basil Hicks 7)#4 Eric Greenup
QUALIFYING: 1) #10 Aaron Willis Jr (13.871) 2)#9k Scott Koerner (13.981) 3)#77 Lamont Critchett (14.015) 4)#83 Patrick Bruns (14.042) 5)#52 Mike Gass (14.045) 6)#54 Freddie Teer Jr. (14.140) 7)#7 Mike Anderson (14.201) 8)#24 Jason Allen (14.262) 9)#31 Kourtnay Borman (14.267) 10)#5 Sean Murphy (14.304) 11)#0 Doug Orseske (14.437) 12)#4 Eric Greenup (14.482) 13)#22 Basil Hicks (no time) 14)#2a Andrew Hennig (no time)
This article was posted to the website on July 26th, 2013
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