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Rockford Speedway: Papini outduels Gille, snags second Saturday checkers

May 8, 2013

By Eric Huenefeld

After three weeks of racing at Rockford Speedway, the field is chasing Alex Papini.

For the second time in three successive Saturday nights, and for the third time in four races this season, the Machesney Park, Ill., driver again found himself the victor, topping his rivals in the division’s 30-lap main event on Tractor Town Kids’ Night.

As has been the case for Papini in each of his wins this season, his triumph did not come easy. Papini would start the race from the fourth spot, and battled early with Steve Rubeck for the runner-up spot. As the two drivers continued to tussle, a wild accident would occur behind them, bringing the field to a halt.

On the race’s fifth lap, Salem, Wis., driver Dave Edwards would have his car suddenly snap sideways in turn three, finding the turn-three wall and collecting Steve McBride and John Beinlich. The incident would fill the corner with debris and fluid, and force the red flag to fly. The field was halted for more than 20 minutes as the track was cleared.

This would give the drivers several minutes to collect their thoughts before racing would resume. When the green flag again waved, Jake Gille would lead the field. However, Gille was quickly under siege from Papini. After disposing of Rubeck, Papini would wrestle the lead from Jake Gille on lap seven. As the race reached halfway, Papini’s lead was at five carlengths. But very soon, his mirror would be full, courtesy of last week’s feature winner and three-time track champion Jerry Gille. With fewer than 10 laps to go, Gille would reel in Papini, taking several peeks inside the leader. But despite Gille’s best efforts, Papini would hold on. Gille settled for second, followed by Rubeck in third. Mitch Garfield would take a season-best fourth place, and rookie Joel Clossey rounded out the top five.

In the Bargain Hunter Sportsman division, the field chased Matt Lundberg. Lundberg, who started on the outside front row, was the man to beat in the division’s 25-lap feature event. Lundberg would outrun Johnny Robinson II on the way to his first win of 2013. Behind those two drivers, a frantic battle would rage on throughout the race. When the dust settled on the action, week one winner Brett McCoy would end up in third, followed by Justin Sellers and Daryl Gerke. Fast qualifier Doug Bennett would fall out of the top five near halfway, and finish deep in the field. The misfortune would drop Bennett from the points lead to sixth in the season-long standings.

A first-time winner would grace victory lane in the Rockstar Energy Drink Roadrunners. Trevor “Magic Shoes” Robinson would snare his first-ever Roadrunner feature win, holding off the charge of another youngster, Austin Fowler. Robinson, who started in eighth spot, moved into the top three early on, biding his time before making a late move for the lead. Behind Robinson and Fowler, a side-by-side race through lap traffic would decide third- and fourth-place. As the checkered flag waved, Terrance Robinson would hold off Ricky Nielson for third. Robinson took third after starting the 20-lapper in 20th position.

The Allison Legacy Cars made their first Saturday night appearance in several years, and provided an exciting late-race duel for the win. At the end of 20 laps, it was Michigan teen-ager Corey Cootware outlasting Machesney Park veteran Dwight Dunlap for the trophy. Jordan Caskey finished third, ahead of Justin Oertel.

NASCAR All American Sportsmen

A-Main 01 — 1. Matt Lundberg, Rockford; 2. Johnny Robinson, II, Beloit, Wis; 3. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 4. Justin Sellers, Carol Stream; 5. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 6. Scott Lawver, Roscoe; 7. Joshua Lundy, Loves Park; 8. Rob Goodman, McHenry; 9. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 10. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 11. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 12. John Dietrich, Carol Steam; 13. Deanna Chandler (r), Machesney Park; 14. Doug Bennett, Brodhead, Wis.

Heat 01 — 1. Justin Sellers, Carol Stream; 2. Rob Goodman, McHenry; 3. Joshua Lundy, Loves Park; 4. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 5. Deanna Chandler (r), Machesney Park; 6. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 7. John Dietrich, Carol Steam.

Heat 02 — 1. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 2. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 3. Johnny Robinson, II, Beloit, Wis; 4. Matt Lundberg, Rockford; 5. Doug Bennett, Brodhead, Wis; 6. Scott Lawver, Roscoe; 7. Howie Ware, South Beloit.

Time Trial — 1. Doug Bennett, Brodhead, Wis; 2. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 3. Johnny Robinson, II, Beloit, Wis; 4. Daryl Gerke, Whitelaw, Wis; 5. Matt Lundberg, Rockford; 6. Scott Lawver, Roscoe; 7. Howie Ware, South Beloit; 8. Justin Sellers, Carol Stream; 9. Bobby Frisch, Beloit, Wis; 10. Patrick Featherston II, Byron; 11. Rob Goodman, McHenry; 12. John Dietrich, Carol Steam; 13. Joshua Lundy, Loves Park; 14. Deanna Chandler (r), Machesney Park.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. Johnny Robinson, II, Beloit, Wis; 2. Brett McCoy, Belvidere; 3. Matt Lundberg, Rockford; 4. Doug Bennett, Brodhead, Wis; 5. Scott Lawver, Roscoe.

NASCAR Late Models

A-Main 01 — 1. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 2. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 3. Steve Rubeck, Rockford; 4. Mitchell Garfield, Gilberts; 5. Joel Clossey (r), Beloit, Wis; 6. Jon Reynolds Jr., Rockford; 7. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 8. Dave Edwards, Salem, Wis; 9. Steve McBride, South Beloit; 10. John Beinlich, Prairie View.

Heat 01 — 1. Dave Edwards, Salem, Wis; 2. Steve Rubeck, Rockford; 3. Steve McBride, South Beloit; 4. John Beinlich, Prairie View; 5. Joel Clossey (r), Beloit, Wis.

Heat 02 — 1. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 2. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 3. Mitchell Garfield, Gilberts; 4. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 5. Jon Reynolds Jr., Rockford.

Time Trial — 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford; 2. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 3. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 4. Mitchell Garfield, Gilberts; 5. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 6. Steve Rubeck, Rockford; 7. Dave Edwards, Salem, Wis; 8. Steve McBride, South Beloit; 9. Joel Clossey (r), Beloit, Wis; 10. John Beinlich, Prairie View.

Trophy Dash 01 — 1. Mitchell Garfield, Gilberts; 2. Alex Papini, Machesney Park; 3. Steve Rubeck, Rockford; 4. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 5. Jacob Gille, Machesney Park; 6. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Rockford.

NASCAR Road Runners

A-Main 01 — 1. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 2. Austin Fowler, Loves Park; 3. Terrance Robinson, Beloit, Wis; 4. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 5. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 6. Robert Stoltz, Rockford; 7. Robert Myher, South Beloit; 8. Jason Van Hise, Loves Park; 9. Gene Marocco, Machesney Park; 10. Arlyn Roush, Woodstock; 11. Rick Rickelman, Machesney Park; 12. James Gregory, Winnebago; 13. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 14. Steve Gregory, Machesney Park; 15. Daniel Opsahl, Rockford; 16. Jeff Allendorf, Belvidere; 17. Joey Thomas, Rockford; 18. Adam Cartwright, Belvidere; 19. Curt Nighswonger, Rockford; 20. Raymond Hardesty, McHenry; 21. Derek Nichol, Rockford; 22. Josh DiGiovanni, Machesney Park; 23. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis.

Heat 01 ­— 1. Jason Van Hise, Loves Park; 2. Trevor Robinson, South Beloit; 3. Robert Stoltz, Rockford; 4. Steve Gregory, Machesney Park; 5. Rick Rickelman, Machesney Park; 6. Josh DiGiovanni, Machesney Park; 7. Joey Thomas, Rockford; 8. Curt Nighswonger, Rockford; 9. James Gregory, Winnebago.

Heat 02 ­­— 1. Shawn Rickelman, Rockton; 2. Raymond Hardesty, McHenry; 3. Robert Myher, South Beloit; 4. Jeff Allendorf, Belvidere; 5. Austin Fowler, Loves Park; 6. Daniel Opsahl, Rockford; 7. Ryan Ostenson, Beloit, Wis.

Heat 03 — 1. Arlyn Roush, Woodstock; 2. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 3. Terrance Robinson, Beloit, Wis; 4. Dennis Smith Jr., South Beloit; 5. Adam Cartwright, Belvidere; 6. Gene Marocco, Machesney Park; 7. Derek Nichol, Rockford.

Challenge 01 ­— 1. Jason Van Hise, Loves Park; 2. Daniel Opsahl, Rockford; 3. Adam Cartwright, Belvidere; 4. Joey Thomas, Rockford; 5. Arlyn Roush, Woodstock; 6. Raymond Hardesty, McHenry; 7. Josh DiGiovanni, Machesney Park; 8. Robert Stoltz, Rockford.

Trophy Dash 01 ­— 1. Adam Cartwright, Belvidere; 2. Dennis Smith, Jr, South Beloit; 3. Arlyn Roush, Woodstock; 4. Gene Marocco, Machesney Park; 5. Ricky Nielsen, Rockford; 6. Terrance Robinson, Beloit, Wis.

Allison Legacys

A-Main 01 — 1. Cory Cootware, Iron Mountain, Mich.; 2. Dwight Dunlap, Machesney Park; 3. Jordan Caskey, West Chicago; 4. Tyler Brown, Carol Stream; 5. Justin Oertel, Lincolnshire; 6. Leeann Noe, Lincolnshire.

Heat 01 — 1. Dwight Dunlap, Machesney Park; 2. Cory Cootware, Iron Mountain, Mich.; 3. Justin Oertel, Lincolnshire; 4. Tyler Brown, Carol Stream; 5. Jordan Caskey, West Chicago; 6. Leeann Noe, Lincolnshire.

Time Trial — 1. Dwight Dunlap, Machesney Park; 2. Cory Cootware, Iron Mountain, Mich.; 3. Justin Oertel, Lincolnshire; 4. Tyler Brown, Carol Stream; 5. Leeann Noe, Lincolnshire; 6. Jordan Caskey, West Chicago.

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