Steve Holzhausen, the veteran racer, and many time champion, from Western Wisconsin made the tow to Rockford Speedway for the WCS opener. He qualified fastest of the 44 entries on Saturday.
WRECKFORD? WHAT WRECKFORD?
Over the years, many drivers have nicknamed the tight, high-banked .25-mile Rockford Speedway, “Wreckford,” due to its propensity to cause lots of wrinkled sheet metal and plenty of hard feelings. However 24 WCS late models put on a very clean show Sunday afternoon.
The 150-lap feature saw just two cautions…and none over the final 85 laps.
Steve Holzhausen goes for a spin at Rockford. (Doug Hornickel Photos)
Aside from the Melbinger/Holzhausen shunt, the only other yellow flew when Adam Royle suffered a flat tire.
NEW HEADLINER AT ROCKFORD
The Spring Classic at Rockford Speedway has traditionally kicked off racing in the upper Midwest. And for over two decades the NASCAR Midwest Series or its predecessor, the ARTGO Challenge Series, have headlined at the Northern Illinois speed plant.
With 2006 set to be the swan song for the Midwest Series, Rockford officials used the opportunity to give the five-year-old WCS a chance to headline.
The move appeared to be a hit with the drivers as 44 teams checked in through the back gate. Yet the field still had a Midwest Series feel as over a quarter of the field had turned a lot laps with the NASCAR series.
“It’s kind of like old home week with me and Nathan [Hassleau] after all we’d been through on the tour,” said Jeremy Lepak. “I’m proud of the way we ran.”
FREQUENT FLIER MILES
Frank Kreyer logged more air miles than he did race track miles this weekend as the Wisconsin driver competed in the ASA Late Model race at San Antonio (TX) Speedway on Saturday night before flying to Rockford compete in the WCS race on Sunday afternoon.
While Kreyer was busy racing in the Lone Star state, former Midwest Series champion Brian Hoppe was practicing and qualifying Kreyer’s mount at Rockford. Hoppe put the #99 in the show and then handed the wheel to Kreyer.
After a few hot laps on Sunday, Kreyer started the Wisconsin Challenge Series 150 from the tail of the field. Kreyer got a lap down early on Sunday and finished 17th. But, nonetheless, he completed a weekend double that any “Race-Chaser” would be proud of.
The racing was mostly clean and green during the running of the new Rockford season opening series feature race.
Returning to the track was like visiting an old friend for Holzhausen.
“It didn’t change,” chuckled Holzhausen. “It’s the same place it was when I was here ten years ago. That and I had a really good car.”
Holzhausen’s day came to an early end on Sunday, however, after crashing into Rory Melbinger after Melbinger had spun.
“He spun high and I was down low and he actually came down across the track and I just ran out of real estate,” said Holzhausen.
There won't be any WCS racing at the Dells this spring.
NO (WCS) RACERS IN THE DELLS
It was announced during Saturday's driver's meeting that the Wisconsin Challenge series would not be running at the Dells. The next show will be at Madison International Speedway on May 7.
WCS PIT STOP
Dating back to the 2005 season, the WCS has had eight different winners in the last eight races…The event marked the first time that the WCS has raced outside Wisconsin.