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Rockford Speedway

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Rockford Speedway
Location Illinois Route 173
Time zone UTC-6 (UTC-5 DST)
Owner Deery family
Operator Deery family
Opened 1948
1/4 mile oval
Surface Asphalt
Circuit Length 0.25 mi (0.40 km)
Banking 22 degrees


Rockford Speedway is a 1/4 mile short track oval in the Rockford, Illinois. It is located in the suburb of Loves Park on Illinois Route 173. 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] the Little Car Nationals endurance races,[2] the Spring Classic, and the National Short Track Championship.

HistoryEdit

The track was built by Hugh Deery and continues to be run by his widow, Jody Deery (as of 2008).[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]

TrackEdit

The track is an asphalt-paved nominal 1/4 mile. The measured length of the track is Template:Convert.[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 Template:Convert-wide corners and 8 degrees in the Template:Convert-wide straightaways. Inside the 1/4 mile oval track is a Figure 8 track.

ProgramsEdit

Weekly programsEdit

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 other series' that change weekly. On Wednesday nights it hosts Hornets, Figure 8's, Legends, Bandoleros, Winged Women on Wheels, and spectator drags.

Notable racers and participantsEdit

Track champions include seven-time champion Bobby Wilberg (1991, 1995 - 2000) and six-time Joe Shear (1967-1972). 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 eventsEdit

The track holds events in the Wisconsin Challenge Series, USAC National Midgets,[9] two Mid American Stock Car Series events, Big 8 Limited Late Model Touring Series, monster trucks, enduros, and the ASA Late Model Series Northern Division. NASCAR RE/MAX Challenge Series events were held at the track until the series closed.[6]

National Short Track ChampionshipEdit

File:RockfordSpeedwayNSTC2008Field.jpg

The track held its 43rd annual national short track championship (NSTC) in 2008.[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] As of 2008, it is not part of any tour.

WinnersEdit

Joe Shear has won the most NSTCs with eight victories.[4] Other multiple winners include Jeremy Lepak, Dick Trickle, Steve Carlson, 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]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Template:Commons cat

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