From fighting through a furious pack early on, to holding off the advances of hard charging challengers late, ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr saw it all on the way to victory Saturday night during Kar Korner World Famous Figure 8 Trailer Race Night at Rockford Speedway.
Reynolds, who started the 30 lap Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model feature from eighth place, climbed to the race lead with thirteen laps remaining en route to the win, his second of 2014 in weekly racing action at his home track.
The thirteen car field was led to green by John Beinlich and Dana Czach, with Beinlich jumping to the early lead from his pole position. As the race moved through its early paces, Beinlich was able to put a buffer between he and the rest of the field. The battle from second on back was furious, as Czach was soon swallowed up by the likes of Jake Gille, point leader Alex Papini and Reynolds. Gille soon jumped to second spot, with Papini taking third and Reynolds fourth.
As the raced moved towards its mid stages, Gille began to close up on Beinlich for the race lead. The two racers fought inches apart for the top spot before Gille was able to steal the lead on lap ten. Reynolds and Papini soon pounced on Beinlich, snagging second and third respectively. As Beinlich slipped back to fourth, he found himself in a battle with seven-time track champion Ricky Bilderback. As the two raced off of the second turn on lap 14, Beinlich’s car snapped sideways, catching a wheel in the door from Bilderback. Czach was also caught up in the incident and yellow flag was displayed for the first time just a lap shy of halfway.
When the race resumed, it was Gille leading Papini and Reynolds back to green. Papini immediately went to work on Gille for the top spot. As the duo wrestled for the lead on lap 16, Papini clipped Gille in turn three, sending the leader into a spin. As the yellow flag was displayed, Papini ‘tapped out,’ admitting guilt in the accident. Per the “Tap Out Rule,’ Papini went to the back while Gille re-assumed the lead. When the race again restarted, Reynolds wasted very little time in taking the top spot from Gille. Meanwhile, Papini went all out on his way back through the field, wowing the large crowd in attendance with his late race charge. When the race reached its conclusion, it was Reynolds hitting the finish line first, two and a half car lengths ahead of Gille. Papini’s dramatic comeback bid netted the 2013 track champion a third place finish, while former Rockford Speedway Late Model Rookie of the Year Mitch Garfield finished his first feature race of the year in the fourth position. ‘Insane Wayne’ Freimund rounded out the top five.
After two feature wins early in the year, Bargain Hunter Sportsman racer Pat Featherston has been through a bit of a dry spell. On Saturday night though, it was Featherston storming back into victory lane, cruising to the win in a caution-free 25 lap event. Featherston, who started the race in the sixth position, ripped the lead away from Howie Ware at lap thirteen and never looked back. Behind Featherston, the ever-consistent Brett McCoy advanced from his eighth starting position to garner a runner-up finish. Chad Smith turned in another solid run, finishing the 25 laps in third. Last week’s Sportsman winner Daryl Gerke made a late-race charge to collect fourth place, while Matt Lundberg rounded out the top five.
After weeks of struggle, defending Miller Lite American Short Tracker champion Nick Cina Jr put his vehicle back in victory lane, claiming the win in another caution-free 25 lap feature event. Cina moved from his sixth starting spot to the lead in just four laps, advancing past Keith Pierce for the top spot on lap number five. Cina cruised to victory by a straightaway over five-time track champion George Sparkman. The win was Cina’s third of the year, tying him with Sparkman and Kelly Evink for the most wins in the division. The aforementioned Evink finished the race third, with Pierce fourth and David Russell fifth.
The 20 lap Kickstart Roadrunner feature included a four-lap dash to the finish and a thrilling last lap pass for the win, with point leader ‘Bullet’ Bobby Frisch out-distancing Robby Robinson for the top honors. Robinson, who led the first 19 laps of the 20 lap race, appeared to be poised for his first ever Roadrunner feature win. But as the the two leaders took the white flag, Frisch deployed to the bottom of the speedway, making his bid for the lead. A small slip from Robinson in the second corner was all Frisch needed to make his move. The two cars hit the checkered flag side-by-side, with Frisch prevailing by half a car length. Dennis Smith Jr finished the race in third, with Gene Marocco fourth and Chris McQuality fifth.
Chris ‘Caterpiller’ Miller prevailed in a hotly contested World Famous Figure 8 Trailer Race over Jeff Fandrich and Don Jenkins. The three drivers outlasted twenty-two other participants in the one-of-a-kind rolling demo derby.
– Rockford Speedway Press Release
Photo Credit: Jim Ambruoso