Newcomer Josh Nelms claims Late Model victory

Rockford Speedway newcomer Josh Nelms was victorious in the 30-lap NASCAR Late Model feature Saturday night, April 22.

Nelms, a former regular competitor at the Illiana Motor Speedway, has decided to make the quarter-mile oval in Rockford his home track this season.

In only his second weekly start, Nelms managed to stay in front of five-time defending track champion Ricky Bilderback for the win.

Chad Misslich had the early lead in the race and was able to hold his spot until getting bumped. While trying to recoup, Nelms was able to make the pass and stayed in front, despite the heroic efforts of runner-up Bilderback and third-place finisher John Reynolds Jr.

Misslich crossed the finish line just ahead of Ryan Carlson for fourth.

In the American Short Tracker division, it was another win for a Sparkman brother. This week, older brother George Sparkman finished first. Nick Cina Jr. finished ahead of Matt Berger for second place. Dave Wagner edged out Sparkman’s younger brother, Boyce “B.J.” Sparkman, for fourth.

The first repeat feature winner of the year came in the Road Runner division. Dan Carlson made it two for two with his victory. It didn’t come easy for Carlson; he had to work his way through a crowded field during the 20-lap main event. It wasn’t until lap 13 that he was able to pass race leader Alex Papini. Engine problems caused the Papini machine to slow. Papini’s bad luck allowed the faster Carlson to inherit the lead. Gene Marocco finished second.

Action continues Saturday night, April 29, with the first green flag at 7:07 p.m.

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

From the April 26-May 2, 2006, issue

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