Bill Hobson claims first Late Model win

Bill Hobson won his first-ever NASCAR Late Model feature Saturday night, June 24. The “Racin’ Rebel” was able to hold off a late-race challenge from division points leader Ricky Bilderback.

Hobson started the 30-lap feature on the pole and maintained the top position during the first 25 laps. On lap 25, with Bilderback on his rear bumper, Hobson got loose coming out of turn two. During the momentary bobble, Bilderback grabbed the lead. A few seconds later on that same lap, Josh Nelms and Brett McCoy collided in turn four, causing the caution flag to fly. After the safety crew cleared the debris, the line-up was reverted back to the last completed lap for the restart. This allowed Hobson to resume the top position. This time, Hobson didn’t make any mistakes and was able to hold off Bilderback for the victory.

Hobson becomes the fifth different Late Model driver to win a feature this season. He joins George Bohn, Josh Nelms and Jeremy Miller with one win each. Bilderback has five.

Matt Berger captured his third straight win in the Budweiser American Short Tracker division. He finished ahead of Aaron Rude in a race that was marred by several cautions.

Pat Smith dominated the night in the Coca-Cola Road Runner division. He not only won the Road Runner challenge race, but also took home the feature trophy. During the feature, Smith worked his way from the 11th starting position to finish ahead of division points leader Dan Carlson.

Vern Brown finished a half-car length ahead of runner-up Neal Gillentine in the 20-lap FIRA feature. Brown began the race in the fifth spot. He was able to pass Gillentine on the eighth lap, and the two battled for the remainder of the race. Gillentine made one final attempt for the lead coming out of turn four on the final lap, but Brown was able to edge him out at the line.

The racing excitement continues tonight (Wednesday, June 28) at 7:07 p.m. The Hornets, Winged Women on Wheels and the Figure 8 cars will be in action. In addition to the on-track activities, Windsor Auto Sales will be giving one lucky fan a bright red Pontiac Sunfire, and The Marines NASCAR show car will make an appearance.

Doug Halberstadt is a local resident and is track announcer at Rockford Speedway. He can be reached via e-mail at

From the June 28-July 4, 2006, issue

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