Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model point leader Alex Papini stayed a step ahead in his pursuit of a second consecutive Rockford Speedway track championship Saturday night by collecting his eighth feature win of the 2014 season on Bryden Motors Kids Night. Papini jumped to the lead early, then kept last week’s feature winner ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr at bay throughout the races late stages.
Mark Hartline and Justin Sellers led the twelve car field to green, with Sellers slipping to the lead ahead of Hartline. The race got off to a slow start, with two caution flags flying during the race’s first six laps. On lap two, a bottleneck in the middle of the field caused a multi-car spin in turn two. Joe Darnell’s Chevrolet suffered the brunt of the damage, while the balence of the field carried on. When the race resumed, a battle for the lead developed. Papini, who started the race from eighth, used a couple of early passes and the restart cone to help his progress to the front. When the race restarted, it was Papini on the bottom of the track, ready to challenge Sellers. By lap five, the lead belonged to the defending track champion.
One lap later, the yellow flew once more, bunching up the field again. This stoppage allowed Reynolds to close to Papini’s bumper, setting up a potential duel between the top two drivers in current Late Model point standings. When the green flag reappeared, both Papini and Reynolds moved away from the pack. Reynolds kept Papini in sight for the balance of the race, yet was never able to climb close enough to challenge for the victory. Papini took the checkered flag first, winning the race by four carlengths over Reynolds. Jake Gille ended the 30 lap race in third, with Ricky Bilderback in fourth and Jerry Gille fifth.
Bargain Hunter Sportsman point leader Brett McCoy has been as steady as anyone this season. With just three races remaining in the 2014 Sportsman campaign, McCoy continues to blaze a trail towards his fourth Rockford Speedway championship. Saturday night, the Belvidere native captured his fourth feature win of the season, outrunning fellow point leader Pat Featherston for the victory in the division’s 25 lap main event. McCoy, who started the race in the sixth position, fought with Sportsman rookie John Logan Jr for the lead during the race’s first ten laps, before finally obtaining the lead on lap eleven. McCoy stretched his lead to as many as five carlengths on the field until Featherston slipped into second with under ten laps to go. Featherston’s late race push got him to within a carlength of McCoy at the checkered flag, yet the Byron native settled for a runner up finish behind McCoy. Logan pocketed his best Sportsman finish with a third place, while Daryl Gerke came home fourth, with Howie Ware fifth,
Chris McQuality survived a six-car free-for-all to win his first Kickstart Roadrunner feature of the year, edging Robert Myher by a matter of feet. Both McQuality and Myher raced side-by-side for the balance of the 20 lap race. As the two racer’s race-long duel continued, the rest of the leaders caught the two leaders. With the race speeding towards its conclusion, Adam Cartwright, Kyle McQuality, Gene Marocco and Austin Fowler all closed in on the lead and began to battle each other. When the checkered flag flew, Chris McQuality was able to hold off the final lap charge of Myher for the win, while Cartwright stayed ahead of Kyle McQuality for third. Gene Marocco came home in fifth, just ahead of Fowler.
Montgomery’s Justin Mikel made the long haul to Rockford Speedway worth it, winning his first ever Hornet feature over point leader Mark Bielefeldt and Stephan Hillary. Mikel inherited the lead during a wild battle through lap traffic with Ross Lamont on lap ten of the fifteen lap race.
Brian Baldyga also claimed his first ever feature win at Rockford Speedway, leading all 25 laps of the American Super Cup Series feature race. Ken Jones finished second, with Erle Hoth placing third.
-Rockford Speedway Press Release