The Grundy County Speedway proudly announces that on September 17th they will continue the tradition and host the Bettenhausen Classic 100 for Super Late Models. For 54 years the premier year end race in the Chicagoland area was ran at the Illiana Motor Speedway. Local race fans were saddened with the news that Illiana was sold in July and there would be no more racing at the facility. The tracks were close in proximity and often attracted the same drivers and fans so it seemed only natural for Grundy to carry on the tradition and host the 55th running of this event.
The event will be very similar to what people have seen over the years at Illiana Speedway including qualifying, qualifying races, last chance event and a 26 car starting field to take the green for 100 laps of Super Late Model action. Support divisions will include the Broadway Towing & Auto Salvage Pure Stock division and the newly formed Illini/Midwest Paved Midget Series. A full show of qualifying, heats and features will take place in both classes.
Elite Tradeshow Services and Joliet U-Pull-It & Scrap have jumped on board to be title sponsors of this event. With their support, the race will pay a hefty $5000 to the winner with start money being $675. Intermodal Maintenance Group, Wilkens Rebuilders and Scrap Metal Services have all signed on as associate sponsors. Powersource Racing Engines has signed on as the fast qualifier sponsor, while T1 Racing has signed on to pay bonus qualifying spots 2nd-5th in the late model field. Billy Knippenberg/BDK Tools will be sponsoring a “Hard Charger” award giving the driver that advances the most spots in the main event a Snap On impact gun. Another Illiana tradition will stay in place and that will be bonus lap money where fans and sponsors can help contribute (over $1700 so far) money on laps listed 1-100 with their money going to the driver leading that lap.
Pits will open at Noon on race day with practice starting at 2:30PM. Qualifying will begin at 5:30 and the first race will be at 7PM. Grandstand gates will open at 4:30PM. With no area tracks running late models events that day and the 3 main touring series in the area all off that weekend, a large car count is expected. Chicagoland Speedway will be hosting their NASCAR weekend at the same time, however the Xfinity Series runs in the early afternoon. With our track only 30 minutes away, we invite all the NASCAR fans to come out later that evening to fill up on their racing action Saturday September 17th. An open practice will be held on September 16th from 4PM to 9PM. For more info you can check out our website at www.GrundyCountySpeedwayOnline.com and you can also follow us on Facebook under (Grundy County Speedway).
The inaugural Bettenhausen race was held in 1962 and became the top Chicagoland short track race for 54 years. This race is in honor of one of the areas greatest racers, a resident of Tinley Park, IL. the late Tony Bettenhausen who began racing midgets in 1938. He raced midgets and won at Mazon on the old fifth mile dirt track as well as on the high banked Mazon SpeedBowl. He was a member of the “Chicago Gang” that raced at Raceway Park, Illiana, Soldier Field and any other oval they could trailer to. His hard charging style of driving made him a favorite among the fans in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Tony ran in the INDY 500 14 times and finished in the top 10, 5 times. Two time Indy Car National Champion Tony Bettenhausen was tragically killed while testing a car for a friend at the Indianapolis Speedway on May 12th, 1961.