Seven-time Rockford Speedway Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model track champion Ricky Bilderback made it look easy Saturday night, cruising to his third victory of the season on Windsor Auto Sales Night at the Races. While Bilderback commanded the field en route to victory, defending Late Model track champion Alex Papini was able to pad his point lead on ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr thanks to a solid night coupled with some rough luck for Reynolds.
Bilderback’s road to victory was more like an expressway. The Rockton native started the 30 lap feature from the sixth position and by lap four challenged outside pole sitter Dana Czach for the race lead. Within three laps, Bilderback disposed of Czach and assumed the top spot. Bilderback was never seriously challenged again for first place. Part of the reason Bilderback went largely unchallenged after he assumed the lead was the furious battle that developed for second and third between the two point leaders Papini and Reynolds. Reynolds followed Bilderback forward from his eighth place starting position, settling into second a lap after Bilderback took the lead. Papini, who fought from his seventh starting position, fought to keep pace with Bilderback and Reynolds early on, settling into third around lap eight. Over the next twelve laps, Reynolds and Papini played a high-speed game of poker, with Reynolds holding off the advances of Papini each time. But with nine laps to go, Reynolds’ vehicle slowed suddenly in turn two and the three time feature winner made a quick exit to the infield. Papini assumed second and took the checkered flag behind Bilderback. When the dust settled Saturday night, Papini gained 19 points on Reynolds and now leads the championship standings by 33 points.
Jake Gille finished the 30 lap feature in third place, with Czach holding on to fourth ahead of a hard-charging ‘Insane’ Wayne Freimund, who ended the race in fifth.
Three-time Bargain Hunter Sportsman champion Doug Bennett returned to the drivers seat for only the second time this season and promptly found himself in a place he is very familiar with, victory lane. Bennett, driving the car that took him to his third track championship last year, took command of the 25 lap Sportsman main event from his outside front row starting position and never looked back on the way to the victory. Behind Bennett, Whitelaw Wisconsin’s Daryl Gerke made his patented late-race charge and ended the race in second position following a late race duel with pole sitter Howie Ware. Ware settled for third, while Pat Featherston came home in fourth. Matt Lundberg rounded out the top five.
Current Miller Lite American Short Tracker point leader Kelly Evink continues to stay hot at the right time of the year. Evink passed David Russell on lap eleven and never looked back on his way to victory in the 25 lap feature race. The win was Evink’s fourth of the season and his third win in five weeks. Nick Cina Jr again shadowed Evink and the 2013 American Short Tracker champion finished the night in the second position after climbing from an eighth place starting spot. Cambridge Wisconsin’s Aaron Rude finished a season best third and was followed by Keith Pierce who bounced back from a breakage the week prior to finish in fourth. Russell rounded out the top five.
‘Bullet’ Bobby Frisch may soon have his mail delivered to victory lane at Rockford Speedway, as it seems he spends much of his time there. Frisch made the climb from twelfth position to the front of the field in fourteen laps, snagging the lead from Robby Robinson with just five laps to go in the Kickstart Roadrunner 20 lap feature event. The victory was the sixth of the season for the point leader Frisch, who now leads his nearest competition Dennis Smith Jr by 24 points in the championship chase. Smith was nipping at the heels of Frisch as the checkered flag flew, but had to settle for second. Robinson ended up in third, with Robert Roush in fourth and Gene Marocco finishing fifth.
Justin Lindsay topped Lance Fontain and 22 other competitors in the final event of the night, “Nick’s Beatin & Bangin Boat Race.”
– Rockford Speedway Press Release
Photo Credit: Jim Ambruoso