On Saturday night, Edgerton Wisconsin’s Casey Johnson led one lap in the 108 lap Big 8 Series feature, the last lap.
Sunday afternoon, Johnson led only nine laps of the 200 lap National Short Track Championship Super Late Model race. The last nine laps.
Johnson edged past Rockford’s Steve Rubeck late in the race and then pulled away on his way to the checkered flag, his second of the weekend and first ever in the 200 lap race.
Rubeck led the race for most of the afternoon, snagging the top spot from polesitter James Swan on the opening lap. Following Rubeck to the front early was Brad ‘JJ’ Mueller. Mueller, who started directly behind Rubeck in fourth, jumped to second by lap five and rode no more than two carlengths off of Rubeck’s back bumper for a majority of the race’s first 100 laps. Rubeck was able to hold off any advance Mueller made, while also benefiting from several yellow flags in the first half of the race.
Behind Rubeck and Mueller, Machesney Park’s Brian Johnson Jr made his push forward. Johnson Jr quickly made the jump to third place and joined the battle for the race lead, which was bumper-to-bumper most of the way. The three racers jockeyed for position, with each taking a shot at the others position, yet neither driver was able to completely make a move on the other for position. The first move made was a move due to attrition, with Johnson Jr claiming second after Mueller’s vehicle fell by the wayside very early in the second half of the 200 lapper.
Rubeck and Johnson Jr then were on their own up front as the list of contenders constantly shuffled behind them. Johnson, who sat on the fringe of the top five most of the race, began to make his move in the second 100 laps, moving into third place by lap 167. Behind Johnson, polesitter Swan made his return to the front of the field after a slow start to the race. Michael Bilderback, who lost a lap at halfway, got his lap back thanks to the ‘Lucky Dog,’ and soon made his way back into contention, battling with Swan for fifth.
On lap 187, Johnson caught Johnson Jr and made the move for second place, then set his sights on the leader Rubeck. The two former Big 8 Series champions raced side-by-side for nearly four circuits, before Johnson strode into the lead on lap 191. Rubeck fell back into second place and held off a furious charge from Johnson Jr for second.
As the checkers waved, it was Johnson who hit the line first, ahead of Rubeck and Johnson Jr. Bilderback eventually slipped past Swan into fourth place. The fourth place effort for Bilderback was his best ever run in the 200 lap event. Swan, competing in his first Super Late Model race at Rockford, rounded out the top five.
All results of the race are pending OEM benchmark comparison of components and are currently unofficial.
National Short Track Championships
1. Casey Johnson Edgerton, WI
2. Steve Rubeck Rockford,
3. Brian Johnson Jr Machesney Park
4. Michael Bilderback South Beloit
5. James Swan Genoa City, WI
6. Jim Olson Harvard
7. Jake Finney Sycamore
8. Erik Pierce Crystal Lake
9. Steve Seligman Vernon Hills
10. Mikie Breiner Wonder Lake
11. Tommy Hromodka Brookfield, WI
12. Larry Epright East Troy, WI
13. Mark Hartline Gilbert
14. Landry Potter Genoa City, WI
15. Travis Dassow West Bend, WI
16. Alex Papini Machesney Park
17. Ricky Bilderback Roscoe
18. Brad Mueller Random Lake, WI
19. Steve Apel West Bend, WI
20. Austin Nason Roscoe
21. Jeff Storm East Troy, WI
22. Jon Reynolds Jr Rockford
23. Trevor Tichy Plainfield
**All Results are pending OEM benchmark comparison of components.
– Rockford Speedway Press Release
Photo Credit: Doug Hornickel/FastLapPhoto.com