By: Tom Ace
Race fans at Rockford Speedway were treated to both comfortable weather and thrilling feature races as part of Metro Medical Kids Night.
STANLEY STEEMER NASCAR LATE MODELS
Division point leader Jon Reynolds Jr finally put one in the win column on Saturday night, charging to the lead on lap five of the 30 lap Late Model Feature and holding on for his first win of 2018.
Reynolds had to withstand several challenges over the race’s final eight laps from Alex Papini en route to the checkers. During those final eight circuits, Papini took numerous looks at the lead while using his front bumper to massage the backside of Reynolds car in looking for the right opportunity to take the lead. Despite coming ever so close, Papini could not slip past Reynolds and snag his fourth win of the season.
The two former track champions had the crowd on their feet as the checkered flag waved, with Reynolds keeping his car straight off turn four after one final nudge from Papini. Despite falling short of victory, the win was a solid bounce-back for Papini, who had to scratch his entry following qualifying one week ago after discovering rear end issues.
Tom Gille finished third in the caution-free race, followed by Matt Berger in fourth. Jake Vanoskey, making his first start at Rockford since a violent wreck on Opening Night, rounded out the top five.
BARGAIN HUNTER SPORTSMAN
After working hard on the track and coming painfully close to victory one week ago, Adam Cartwright overcame early obstacles and endured some hard work off-the-track this week. The reward was a second win of the season for the Roscoe resident, who inherited the lead after a lap 15 restart and sailed to victory in the 25 lap feature race.
Cartwright began the night with rear end issues on his car, forcing him to miss some practice while only receiving one lap of qualifying. When the green flag flew on his main event though, Cartwright and Terrance Robinson waged an epic 15 lap tussle for the top spot, while each car behind them found a dancing partner…creating up to four continuous battles for position on the track! An incident between Richie Schinderling and Cody Houseweart brought out the race’s only yellow and shook up the field in several ways. Schinderling left the track and Houseweart went to the back, while Josh Thiering, who held a top five position, made his way pitside during the caution flag.
The driver who inherited the most good fortune during the yellow was point leader Howie Ware, who was running seventh before the yellow. but found himself fourth in the order after the chaos and elected to restart on the bottom groove when the race restarted. Robinson lead the field back to green but stumbled out of the blocks, handing the lead to Cartwright. Robinson’s car then struggled to negotiate turn one and tickled the wall, ending his chances for victory. Ware continued to benefit from the madness, making his way to second place by lap 17. But Ware’s run ended there, as Cartwright won the race while Ware settled for second place. Johnny Robinson II finished third, with Houseweart battling back to fourth and Garrick Fry rounding out the top five.
MILLER LITE AMERICAN SHORT TRACKERS
For the fifth time this season, Franc Beldowski collected a feature win in the Miller Lite American Short Trackers. Beldowski, who’s had a flare for the dramatic in 2018, got past leader Aaron Rude on lap 15 when Rude’s car bobbled in turn two, opening the door for Beldowski to take the lead and sail off to victory. Rude settled for second, followed by Todd Bridges, who finished a career best third. Todd Snow, who won the Bandit feature on Wednesday night, came home in fourth, while Destiny Genore rounded out the top five.
Robby Robinson scored his third feature win of the year during the 20 lap Roadrunner main event, holding off several challenges from point leader Kevin Memoli on his way to victory. Robinson joined Chad Lounsbury as the only three-time winner in the class this year. Austin Fowler followed Robinson and Memoli across the line in third, with Brent Garnhardt in fourth and Lounsbury fifth.