By Doug Halberstadt
Only one week remains in the hotly-contested battle for the 2009 track champions in the Stanley Steemer NASCAR Late Model division and the Bargain Hunter Sportsman divisions at the Rockford Speedway. Both contests will come down to the final races of the year during next Saturday’s (Sept. 12) championship night at the track.
Jerry Gille is seeking his second consecutive title in the Late Model division. Gille was able to help his own cause with a victory in last Saturday night’s feature. The win was his third victory of the season.
Gille’s most recent win helped him maintain his lead over seven-time track champion Ricky Bilderback. The two veteran drivers are separated by a mere 13 points as the regular season nears its end. Jon Reynolds Jr. is 26 points behind Gille, and may have to look ahead to next year to collect his first championship.
Another contentious battle is going on in the Bargain Hunter Sportsman Division. Doug Bennett and Fred Nason are breathing down one another’s backs for this year’s title. Only 8 points separate division-leading Bennett from his hard-charging challenger Nason.
This Saturday’s action on the track will determine the champions in both of those two tightly-contested divisions. Champions will also be crowned in the Budweiser American Short Trackers and the Mountain Dew Road Runners divisions.
In addition to the championship racing scheduled to take place, it is also fan appreciation night at the track. Fans will be treated to a huge post-race bonfire with live music and lots of other fun and surprises. Gates to the track open at 5 p.m., qualifying begins at 6 p.m., and the championship racing begins with the wave of the green flag at 7:07 p.m. sharp.
Adult tickets are $10. Children ages 6-11 are $5, and all children younger than 5 are admitted free. For more information about Whelan Engineering Championship/Fan Appreciation Night, call the Rockford Speedway box office at (815) 633-1500.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the September 9-15, 2009 issue