By Eric Huenefeld
Director of Media and Sales, Rockford Speedway
LOVES PARK, Ill. — Once again this year, the Big 8 Late Model Series Spring Classic at Rockford Speedway will be a “Clash of the Champions.”
The 37th annual event, happening this Sunday, April 13, at the high-banked quarter-mile in northern Illinois, boasts an entry list featuring a combined 30 track and series championships between the 35 entrants.
The “Best Weekly Warriors in the Country” kick off their 10th anniversary season at Rockford Speedway this weekend, with a 108-lap feature race headlining the afternoon. Spring Classic is the first of 10 races on the 2014 Big 8 Series schedule, making it the busiest Big 8 season ever.
Rockford Speedway regulars have enjoyed great success at their home track through the years, winning 13 of the 21 Big 8 Series events held at Rockford, including the last four.
One year ago, Alex Papini started his 2013 campaign with a win at Spring Classic, Papini’s first Big 8 triumph. “Driver X,” Jon Reynolds Jr., has won five Big 8 Series races at Rockford, including the last two National Short Track Championships and the 2012 Spring Classic.
Papini is also the defending Rockford Speedway track champion, joined this weekend on the entry list by past Rockford Speedway track champions Ricky Bilderback, Bobby Wilberg and Tim Sargent. They’ll be joined by drivers who have captured track championships throughout the region, like “The Cruiser” Chris Marek (Elko), Casey Johnson (Madison, Jefferson), Mike Ehde (Dells), “Rocketman” Dan Lensing (Dells), Mike Meyerhofer Jr. (WIR), J Herbst (LaCrosse), “Insane” Wayne Freimund (Slinger) and Reynolds Jr. (Slinger).
Joining the Big 8 Series Sunday afternoon will be the Mid-American Stock Car Series and the Illinois Vintage Racing Series. The Mid-American cars open their season at Rockford for the 22nd consecutive year with a 50-lap feature event, while the Illinois Vintage racers race for 20 laps in their “Hall of Fame Classic.”
Spectator gates open at 11 a.m., Sunday, with qualifying getting under way at 11:30 a.m. The first green flag flies at 1 p.m. Adult general admission is $20, students age 12-17 are admitted for $10, children 6-11 admitted for $5 with ages 5 and younger admitted for free.
For more about Rockford Speedway, 9572 Forest Hills Road, Loves Park, Ill., and the 37th Annual Spring Classic, visit www.rockfordspeedway.com or call (815) 633-1500.
For more about the Big 8 Late Model Series, visit www.big8series.com.
Following, by car number, is the complete Big 8 Late Model Series entry list for the Spring Classic:
02 — Ricky Bilderback, Rockton, Ill.
2 — Kyle Kirberger, Ramsey, Minn.
2 — Tim Sargent, South Beloit, Ill.
3 — Chris Marek, Lakeville, Minn.
5 — Dave Edwards, Salem, Wis.
5 — Casey Johnson, Edgerton, Wis.
7 — John DeAngelis Jr., Hubertus, Wis.
9 — Tony Brutti, Dyer, Ind.
X — Jon Reynolds Jr., Rockford
14 — Austin Nason, Roscoe, Ill.
17 — Eric Connell, Ft. Atkinson, Wis.
17 — Gregg Pawelski, Muskego, Wis.
18 — Mike Ehde, Prairie du Chien, Wis.
19 — Dan Lensing, Roscoe, Ill.
23 — Casey Strese, Johnson Creek, Wis.
27 — Collin Olson, Hugo, Minn.
28 — Jesse Bernhagen, Markesan, Wis.
28 — Bobby Wilberg, Beloit, Wis.
30 — Mark Hartline, Gilberts, Ill.
32 — Mike Meyerhofer Jr., Hilbert, Wis.
38 — Jeff Holtz, Muskego, Wis.
39 — Alex Papini, Machesney Park, Ill.
46 — Ryan Miles, Crystal Lake, Ill.
46 — Tom Jasinski, Pewaukee, Wis.
50 — Jake Gille, Machesney Park, Ill.
51 — Sam Redmond, Crystal Lake, Ill.
52 — Steve Dobbratz, Rio, Wis.
55 — Craig Phillips, Edgerton, Wis.
57 — Mark English, Edgerton, Wis.
66 — Michael Bilderback, South Beloit, Ill.
66 — Adam Peschek, Oconomowoc, Wis.
79 — Jeff Nowak, Weston, Wis.
82 — J Herbst, West Salem, Wis.
84 — Jake Vanoskey, Hartford, Wis.
95.3 — Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis.
Posted April 10, 2014