Track champion finally finds way to victory lane

Prior to last Saturday night, May 12, Rockford Speedway’s defending Late Model track champion Ricky Bilderback had not won a feature race this season. His early absence from victory lane in 2007 was a bit of an anomaly for the veteran driver looking to pick up his seventh consecutive track championship this year.

Bilderback started the 30-lap feature in the sixth spot. On lap seven, he pulled to the inside of early race leader Bill Hobson. The two drivers staged a single lap, side-by-side battle before Bilderback grabbed the lead on lap eight.

Bilderback defended his lead the remainder of the race despite two restarts caused by cautions on laps 16 and 17. A three-car pile-up caused the first yellow flag on lap 16. One lap later, another multi-car melee occurred on the front stretch, causing the second yellow of the main event. After sorting out the mess caused by the two collisions, 11 of the 14 starting cars went on to finish the race.

Current Late Model points leader Jon Reynolds Jr. finished second. Brett McCoy finished ahead of Nick Shutkas for third. Ryan Miles rounded out the top five.

George Sparkman won his second American Short Tracker feature of the year. Sparkman started the 25-lap feature in fourth. He worked his way to the lead by the fourth lap, and remained up front the remainder of the race. Tim Melvin finished second. Matt Berger was third. Sparkman’s brother “BJ” finished fourth, and Jason Bragg came across in fifth.

In the Road Runner division, Jon Logan Jr. earned his second win of the season. He finished the 20-lap feature ahead of Charlie Frisch. Alex Papini came in third. Shannon Stoltz and Dan Carlson rounded out the top five.

In the visiting divisions, Michael Bilderback (nephew of Ricky) won the Legends feature, and Jesse Bernhagen took the checkered in the Bandoleros.

This Saturday night, May 19, is Kids’ Night at the track. All children 11 and younger get in free. In addition to the weekly racing action, there will also be a kids’ candy scramble and the first-ever Burpee Museum Dinosaur Demo Derby. The action begins at 7:07 p.m. For more information, call the track office at (815) 633-1500, or visit their Web site at

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

from the May 16-22, 2007, issue

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