At any given ARCA Midwest Tour race, the touring stars go toe-to-toe with some of the strongest local contingent the region has to offer. For Saturday’s Kar Korner All-Star 100 at Rockford Speedway, the local drivers will be led by the driver known simply as “Driver X”.
Loves Park, IL’s own Jon Reynolds Jr. will jump from the weekly NASCAR Late Models to the more powerful Super Late Model for this weekend’s ARCA Midwest Tour All-Star 100. The inaugural Big 8 Late Model Series champion is off to a strong start at Rockford as he tries to defend his track crown from one year ago. His success at his hometown track has him ready to go when the Midwest Tour invaders come to town.
“The season’s gone pretty good. We’ve been in the top three basically every week, so it’s been pretty steady,” Reynolds told Speed51.com. “It’s going to be a hot one, should be a pretty hot, slick track.”
The two-time Late Model track champion has two fifth place finishes in ARCA Midwest Tour races at the Illinois bullring. With racing at the Illinois bullring on a weekly basis, he always feels like he has an advantage anytime outsiders make their way to Northern Illinois.
“You always feel like you’ve got a little advantage being at Rockford,” he said. “Rockford’s such a different animal when it comes to setup stuff. Usually when the out-of-towners come in, they usually have a hard time getting around the high banks, so there’s a little advantage there.”
One of the more unique races that has taken place in short track racing in recent years was a match race Reynolds and four-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion Ty Majeski competed against each other in. All three of the best-of-three match races were decided by a fender, with Reynolds prevailing over the former NASCAR Xfinity Series driver in the end. He looked back on that match race three years ago, saying it was an experience he will never forget.
“It was pretty tight racing, that’s for sure,” he said. “I don’t think neither of us intended on running that hard, but when you get two guys like us with our helmets on, it turns into quite a show. It’s something to be proud of, getting to watch the video from time to time. People enjoyed the race and to see Ty’s success since then, it’s cool to hang your hat on it.”
With the heat and the level of competition expected for Saturday’s All-Star 100, it will be a tough race to win for he and the Midwest Tour invaders. This race is extra important for Reynolds as he looks to scratch off one of the few big races at the tight quarter-mile that he has yet to win.
“It’s going to take some luck, it’s pretty hard to pass,” he said. “The All-Star 100 is usually the hardest race to pass, the track’s real slick and the weather’s real hot. It’s going to take a car that really gets around the bottom well. It’s one of the few races at Rockford I haven’t won, so it’s something that we need to get done.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) - Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Doug Hornickel