Rockford Speedway

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Rockford Speedway
RockfordSpeedwayArc.jpg
Location Illinois Route 173,
Loves Park, Illinois
Time zone UTC-6 (UTC-5 DST)
Owner Deery family
Operator Deery family
Opened 1948
1/4 mile oval
Surface Asphalt
Length 0.250 mi (0.400 km)
Banking 22°

Rockford Speedway is a 1/4 mile short track high banked asphalt oval. It is located in the city of Loves Park on Illinois Route 173 near Rockford. Rockford Speedway is the only racetrack running under NASCAR sanction in Illinois.[1]

It hosts weekly local-level events during the summer racing season as well as occasional regional- and national-level events. Notable special events at the track include trailer races,[2] endurance races,[2] the Spring Classic, ALl-Star 100, Bahama Bracket Nationals, and the National Short Track Championship.

History[edit]

The track was built in 1947 by a farmer and group of investors. Hugh Deery eventually bought into the speedway and was the sole owner by 1966. It is run by his widow, Jody Deery (as of 1984).[3] It opened in 1948 as a midget car racing venue.[4] Despite a death in the pits at the speedway several weeks after opening, on June 16, 1948,[5] the track continued operation. Rockford Speedway is known for being the first track to develop an economical late model program as well as being an early adopter of the short track Saturday night racing program.[3]

Track[edit]

The track is an asphalt-paved nominal 1/4 mile. The measured length of the track is 0.29167 miles (0.46940 km).[6] It is highly banked at the turns and relatively flat on the front and back stretches. It is banked at 22 degrees in the 50-foot (15 m)-wide corners and 8 degrees in the 40-foot (12 m)-wide straightaways. Inside the 1/4 mile oval track is a Figure 8 track.

Programs[edit]

Weekly programs[edit]

2013 track champion Alex Papini

The tracks offer two weekly programs during much of the season. On Saturdays it hosts a NASCAR-sanctioned Whelen All-American Series late model race, along with All American Sportsmen, American Short Trackers and Road Runners. On Wednesday nights it hosts The Road Runner Super Summer Series, Bandits, Winged Women on wheels, Figure 8's, Legends, Bandoleros,and spectacular drags.

Notable racers and participants[edit]

Track champions include seven-time champions Bobby Wilberg (1991, 1995 - 2000) and John Knaus (father of Hendrick Motorsports Crew Chief Chad Knaus). Joe Shear (1967-1972) won six titles. Travis Kvapil started racing at Rockford at age 16 and was the 1994 track champion in the American Short Tracker division.[7] Rich Bickle was the track's sportsman rookie of the year in 1980.[8]

Several notable people started their racing careers at Rockford. NASCAR crew chief Chad Knaus was his father's crew chief for his championship race car. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series official John Darby got his start at Rockford in 1971 as an owner of a street stock. In 1976 he became crew chief for a late model that he owned which won the 1977 championship. He stopped owning the racecar in 1982 and became a track official. He moved up the NASCAR ranks as a technical official, and by 1994 he was the director for the NASCAR Busch Series (now Nationwide Series). After three years he was named the NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series director of competition.

Stock car special events[edit]

The track holds events in the ASA Midwest Series, Jeg'sCRA All-Star Tour, Must-See Xtemem Sprint Car Series, Mid American Stock Car Series events, Big 8 Limited Late Model Touring Series, monster trucks, and enduros. Series that held races at the track include: NASCAR RE/MAX Challenge Series,[6] the Wisconsin Challenge Series, ASA Late Model Series Northern Division, and USAC National Midgets.[9]

National Short Track Championship[edit]

2008 field

The track held its 45th annual national short track championship (NSTC) in 2010.[4] The three day event had 12 divisions racing as of the 2007 championship.[4] Track promoters decided to host the first 200 lap event in late 1966 to pit the best drivers in Chicagoland against the best drivers in the Central Wisconsin Drivers Association.[10] Drivers competing at the event are primarily from Illinois and Wisconsin, although drivers from other states often participate.[11] The event was sanctioned by ARTGO for several years,[4] and it became part of the CRA Super Series tour in 2004.[11] In 2005, it was part of the ASA Late Model Series.[12] It was not part of any tour for several years until the ASA Midwest Tour took over in 2011.

Winners[edit]

Joe Shear was the first driver to win eight NSTCs[4] and Steve Carlson tied his record in 2011. Other multiple winners include Jeremy Lepak, Dick Trickle, and Eddie Hoffman.[4]

The first event was won by Wisconsin short track racer Trickle by a lap over Chicagoland stock-car champion Roy Martinelli.[4] Trickle was billed as the winningest short track driver in history[13] with estimates of his win total between 1,000 and 1,200 races. Years later, Trickle commented, "I really do treasure that one in 1966. There were a lot of behind-the-scenes things that went on there. Number one, I had never run outside my own backyard, you might say, which is the central Wisconsin area. I never ran somewhere except in my own little circuit, but I had won there. The first time I ever stepped out of the central Wisconsin area was to the Rockford Nationals in 1966."[4]

Steve Carlson after winning the 2011 race, his eighth
Year Winner
2013 Eddie Hoffman[14]
2012 Rich Bickle[14]
2011 Steve Carlson
2010 Brett Sontag[15]
2009 Josh Nelms
2008 Josh Vadnais
2007 Jeremy Lepak[10]
2006 Jeremy Lepak
2005 Eddie Hoffman
2004 Eddie Hoffman
2003 Ron Breese Jr.
2002 Steve Rubeck
2001 Eddie Hoffman
2000 Steve Carlson
1999 Steve Carlson
1998 Steve Carlson
1997 Joe Shear
1996 Steve Carlson
1995 Steve Carlson
1994 Scott Hansen
1993 Steve Carlson
1992 Steve Carlson
1991 Butch Miller
1990 Rich Bickle
1989 Tim Fedewa
1988 John Ziegler
1987 Joe Shear
1986 Mike Alexander
1985 Joe Shear
1984 Al Schill, Sr.
1983 Joe Shear
1982 Joe Shear
1981 Junior Hanley
1980 Jim Sauter
1979 Dick Trickle
1978 Dick Trickle
1977 Mark Martin
1976 Dave Watson
1975 Joe Shear
1974 Joe Shear
1973 Mike Miller
1972 Joe Shear
1971 Bill Retallick
1970 Wayne Stallsworth
1969 Ramo Stott
1968 William "Whitey" Gerken
1967 Marlin "Shoes" Walbeck
1966 Dick Trickle

Images[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NASCAR home tracks". NASCAR. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  2. ^ a b Shepard, Robin (2003). The Best Breweries and Brewpubs of Illinois. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 30. ISBN 0-299-18894-9. 
  3. ^ a b "Jody Deery". 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Tradition Is The Keyword For Rockford’s Annual Biggie". National Speed Sport News. 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-30. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Bob Brown". Motorsport Memorial. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  6. ^ a b "MWS: Rockford Speedway October 19th preview". Motorsport.com. 2002-10-15. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  7. ^ Ramsell, Kevin (2007-03-06). "Rockford Speedway is a "NASCAR home track"". wirace.come. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  8. ^ Grubba, Dale (2000). The Golden Age of Wisconsin Auto Racing. Oregon, Wisconsin: Badger Books. pp. pages 158–162. ISBN 1-878569-67-8. 
  9. ^ "Rockford Speedway". USAC Mopar Midget National Championship. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  10. ^ a b Ramsell, Kevin (2008-09-23). "Getting Ready for "One Great Racing Weekend"". Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  11. ^ a b Bolles, Bob. "National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway - A Day At The Races". Circle Track Magazine. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  12. ^ "The Outdoor Channel to Televise 10 ASA Late Model Challenge Series Events in 2006". 2005-10-20. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  13. ^ Grubba, Dale (2000). The Golden Age of Wisconsin Auto Racing. Oregon, Wisconsin: Badger Books. pp. page 214. ISBN 1-878569-67-8. 
  14. ^ a b Huenefeld, Eric. "Hoffman Hustles to Fourth NSTC Crown". Rockford Speedway. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  15. ^ Kuehne, Jordan. "Sontag Surges Into History, Slips On NSTC's Crown at Rockford". Rockford Speedway. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°21′47″N 89°01′01″W / 42.363°N 89.017°W / 42.363; -89.017