16-year-old Ross Kenseth did it again tonight, fending off veteran Kyle Jarlsberg to win the 44th annual National Short Track Championships BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet 'Loves Park Motorsports 108' at the Rockford Speedway, and in the process, adding his name to the storied list of National Short Track Champions. The rapidly rising star set a Big 8 Series single season record with his fourth feature victory of 2009 and tied Jeremy Miller for the most career Big 8 Series victories with his sixth Big 8 win. Kenseth started on the outside of the front row, took the lead on lap eight and never looked back, pacing the 25 car field over the final 100 laps to wear the wreath, claiming his second big win at Rockford in two months and adding yet another chapter to his phenomenal season. Kenseth extended his Big 8 Series points lead as well heading into the season finale next weekend at Oktoberfest.
In the Area Sportsman Classic Limousine 50, Ricky Bilderback brought his friend and partner, Fred Nason, to victory lane in Nason's car, passing Kurt Kleven in the late stages of the race to find victory lane. The American Short Trackers Gilley's Heating & Cooling 44 was controlled by Alex Papini, who went wire-to-wire to win, honoring his deceased father's memory by staving off young Kyle Lapier's bid for the victory. Johnny Robinson II brought home the victory in the Hobby Stox Marden Tire 44 while Mark Sontag Jr. found the right combination to fend off Nathan Chandler for the win in the Hornets/Bandit Challenge Stateline Staffing Services 44.
Bobby Wilberg grabbed the early lead in the BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet 'Loves Park Motorsports 108'. Wilberg immediately came under fire from Big 8 Series points leader and rising star Ross Kenseth as the race got off to a quick start.
The caution flew on lap six for a spin by Ed Szelagowski Jr. in turn four, bunching the field back up again. Wilberg got loose in turn three two laps after the restart, allowing the up and coming Kenseth to take away the lead as he looked for his fourth Big 8 Series win of the season. Kyle Jarlsberg began pressuring Wilberg for second as the second caution of the evening flew for a Kyle Lapier spin on lap 14.
Kenseth, Wilberg, Jarlsberg, Ricky Bilderback and Tim Sargent broke away from the 25-car field on the restart, creating a five car freight train out front. The freight train didn't last long as Wilberg commenced his attack on Kenseth for the lead, diving to the bottom before his right front tire exploded on lap 23, sending him careening into the wall before coming to a halt against the turn two wall.
Jarlsberg inherited second on the restart and closed up on Kenseth's bumper in two laps, setting up the points leader as he looked for the lead. The caution came out again for an unassisted Kyle Shear spin with 33 laps completed, bunching up the field for another restart. On the restart, Jerry Gille pushed past two-time defending Big 8 Series champion Jeremy Miller for fifth as John Baumeister Jr. followed Gille up to sixth.
Kenseth continued to steadily pace the field when the third place points man, Scott Broughton, spun around on the frontstretch with 51 laps completed. Broughton's night was over early after he suffered a mechanical failure on the restart. Out front, Jarlsberg slowly crept closer to Kenseth's back bumper at the halfway mark as the young driver slipped up in turn three. Kenseth maintained a steady cushion as Jarlsberg began feeling the heat from Ricky Bilderback for third.
Jon Reynolds Jr. used the outside line to jump two positions, working his way by John Baumeister Jr. and Jerry Gille to push himself into the top five with 25 laps remaining. Kenseth continued to hit his marks, edging away from Jarlsberg and Bilderback as he looked to pad his points lead heading into the final race of the season for the Big 8 Series. The 16-year-old rising star successfully manuevered through lapped traffic as lead held steady with 15 laps to go.
Jarlsberg mounted a final charge for the crown, throwing his powerful machine deep into the corners as he tried to chase down Kenseth. The Jefferson Speedway veteran ran out of time though, as Ross Kenseth held on to claim his fourth Big 8 Series feature victory of the season, extending his points lead to a comfortable margin of 101 points over second place Jeremy Miller in the process.
Kenseth battled a tight car all night long but solidified himself in history with his win, wearing the wreath just two months after collecting the ASA North Series 'All-Star 100'. "It wasn't the best car but it wasn't the worst car either," stated an excited Kenseth in victory lane. "I knew Jarlsberg was there the whole time and I just didn't want him to get close, so I got it out of the turns as smooth as I could with a tight car and held on. It was a good starting position and we had a nice car by the time the race was over. Rockford's a good track to race at, I'm coming around."
Jarlsberg, Bilderback, Sargent and Reynolds Jr. rounded out the top five.
Kurt Kleven snatched the top spot in the early stages of the Area Sportsman Classic Limousine 50. The action was intense in the back of the pack as Chris Gantz challenged Jon Reynolds Jr's Barracuda for the second spot. Gantz finally made the pass happen exiting turn four with 37 laps remaining.
Ricky Bilderback, driving Fred Nason's car, charged up to third, blowing by Tory Bagley and Jon Reynolds Jr. before turning his sights toward Gantz and the second position. Matt Berger, running fourth, brought out the caution for a spin in turn four that quickly became much worse when a streaking Bryan Turtle couldn't slow his car down in time, piling into the back half of Berger's machine. Both driver's days came to an early end, as Berger's chances to back up the new track record that he set during qualifying were dashed.
Kleven pushed himself out to a nice margin on the restart as Gantz and Bilderback battled for second behind him. Bilderback made the inside line work with 13 laps remaining, grabbing second and setting his sights on Kleven and the lead. Tory Bagley fell out of fourth and brought the caution out with 11 laps to go, losing his tire and coming to a halt on the backstretch.
Kleven and Bilderback immediately went at it on the restart, battling each other for the top spot. Bilderback prevailed, snagging the lead with nine laps remaining and holding off Kleven's late effort to collect the victory and take home the title as king of the Area Sportsman.
Kleven, Gantz, Steve Vaughn and Ron Morris finished off the top five.
Alex Papini found his way to the front at the beginning of the American Short Trackers Gilley's Heating & Cooling 44. Scott Hoeft and Aaron Rude tussled for second, as Kyle Lapier joined the fray. Rude edged out Hoeft for second as the caution flag flew for an unassisted spin by Victor Young on the frontstretch with 13 laps in the books.
On the restart, Lapier snuck by Hoeft on the inside as track champion George Sparkman looked to follow suit on the inside and take fourth. Sparkman and Hoeft battled side-by-side for three laps before Sparkman lost control, setting off a chain reaction that ended up collecting both Nick Cina Jr. and Zach Rodriguez on the backstretch. Hoeft and Cina Jr. exited to the pits during the caution that followed, forced to make repairs to their machines.
George Sparkman had to make a quick exit to the pits, two laps after the restart, to resolve some gremlins in his car. Alex Papini continued to pace the field as Rude and Lapier slowly reeled him in. A major chain reaction pileup occured with 17 laps remaining after Steve Erickson Jr. and BJ Sparkman got together. Four cars were involved including Jason Bragg and Keith Pierce as Erickson Jr. was sent to the back of the pack.
Lapier took advantage of the restart that followed to take away second from Rude, turning his attention towards Alex Papini and the lead. Jeffery Turnure, having a good run in fourth, lost a tire and slapped the wall with 11 laps remaining, coming to a rest in turn two as his night ended on a bad note.
Lapier gave Papini a late race challenge for the lead but couldn't quite make the inside lane work, as his last gasp effort with two laps remaining fell just short. Papini went wire-to-wire to collect the win in the Gilley's Heating & Cooling 44 and take home the title of National Short Track Champion in the American Short Trackers. It was an emotional win for Papini as he honored his late father on his victory lap.
Lapier held on for second as Rude came home third. BJ Sparkman rallied back for fourth as his niece, Rachel Sparkman, came from the back to finish fifth and round out the top five.
Jimmy Robinson took the top spot at the beginning of the Hobby Stox Marden Tire 44. Robinson was out front until his motor blew up with 16 laps completed, giving the lead to Johnny Robinson II. Robinson II held off Jim Tate Jr. for the victory and the title of Hobby Stox short track king.
Tony Ciano came home with a strong third place showing as RoadRunner track champion Bobby Frisch collected a solid fourth place finish. Terry Wangsness rounded out the top five with a fifth place effort.
Vinny Mangiaracina grabbed the front spot in the early stages of the Stateline Staffing Services 44-lap Hornet/Bandit Challenge. Nathan Chandler quickly took away the top spot from Mangiaracina while Mark Sontag Jr. followed him up to second. Five laps later, Sontag Jr. stole the lead away from Chandler, pacing the field when the caution came out with 17 laps completed for a piece of debris in turn one.
Sontag Jr. manuevered his way through lapped traffic and held off Chandler's efforts, pulling away late to collect the victory and claim the second Hornet/Bandit Challenge. Cody Clubb, Robin Ulrey and Mangiaracina completed the top five.
Racing action returns to the Rockford Speedway on Saturday, October 17th, as the 18th annual Bahama Bracket Nationals come to the high banks and infuse a bit of summer into the fall chill.
Big 8 Series Limited Late Models
A-Main 01 -- 1. Ross Kenseth, Spring Valley; 2. Kyle Jarlsberg, Cambridge, Wis; 3. Ricky Bilderback, Rockton; 4. Tim Sargent, South Beloit; 5. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Machesney Park; 6. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 7. John Baumeister, Jr., Lake Geneva, Wis; 8. Jeremy Miller, Rockton; 9. Andrew Kulka, Deerfield, Wis; 10. James Swan, Lake Geneva, Wis; 11. Brady Liddle, Oregon, Wis; 12. Steve Dobbratz, Rio, Wis; 13. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 14. Chris Blawat, Eagle, Wis; 15. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 16. Ed Szelagowski Jr, Westfield, Wis; 17. John Paul Odegaard, Brooklyn Center, Minn.; 18. Scott Broughton, Stoughton, Wis; 19. Kyle Lapier (r), Belvidere; 20. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 21. Bob Wilberg, Town of Beloit, Wis; 22. Jacob Gille, Winnebago; 23. Michael Bilderback, South Beloit; 24. Tyler Peterson, Lake Geneva, Wis; 25. John Knaus, Rockford.
Last Chance "A" 01 -- 1. Kyle Lapier (r), Belvidere; 2. Tyler Peterson, Lake Geneva, Wis; 3. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 4. Chris Blawat, Eagle, Wis; 5. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 6. John Beinlich (r), Prairie View; 7. Brad Becker, Burlington, Wis; 8. Joe Darnell, Machesney Park; 9. Tory Adams, Madison, Wis; 10. Brandon Eash (r), Rockford; 11. Casey Johnson, Stoughton, Wis; 12. Bobby Kendall, Montello, Wis; 13. David Russell (r), Rockford; 14. Lincoln Keeser, Johnson Creek, Wis; 15. Kevin Seidler, Adams, Wis; 16. Dave Edwards, Salem, Wis; 17. John Wood, Sun Prairie, Wis.
Heat 01 -- 1. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 2. Brady Liddle, Oregon, Wis; 3. Michael Bilderback, South Beloit; 4. Kyle Lapier (r), Belvidere; 5. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 6. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 7. Brad Becker, Burlington, Wis; 8. Bobby Kendall, Montello, Wis; 9. Kevin Seidler, Adams, Wis; 10. Lincoln Keeser, Johnson Creek, Wis; 11. Casey Johnson, Stoughton, Wis; 12. Rich Hinerichsen, II, Machesney Park.
Heat 02 -- 1. John Paul Odegaard, Brooklyn Center, Minn.; 2. Ed Szelagowski Jr, Westfield, Wis; 3. Jacob Gille,
Winnebago; 4. Tyler Peterson, Lake Geneva, Wis; 5. Brandon Eash (r), Rockford; 6. John Beinlich (r), Prairie View; 7. Tory Adams, Madison, Wis; 8. Joe Darnell, Machesney Park; 9. David Russell (r), Rockford; 10. Chris Blawat, Eagle, Wis; 11. John Wood, Sun Prairie, Wis; 12. Dave Edwards, Salem, Wis.
Time Trial -- 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Machesney Park; 2. Tim Sargent, South Beloit; 3. John Knaus, Rockford; 4. Ricky Bilderback, Rockton; 5. Jeremy Miller, Rockton; 6. Kyle Jarlsberg, Cambridge, Wis; 7. Ross Kenseth, Spring Valley; 8. Bob Wilberg, Town of Beloit, Wis; 9. Jerry Gille, Roscoe; 10. Scott Broughton, Stoughton, Wis; 11. Steve Dobbratz, Rio, Wis; 12. Andrew Kulka, Deerfield, Wis; 13. James Swan, Lake Geneva, Wis; 14. John Baumeister, Jr., Lake Geneva, Wis; 15. Jacob Gille, Winnebago; 16. Brady Liddle, Oregon, Wis; 17. Casey Johnson, Stoughton, Wis; 18. Ed Szelagowski Jr, Westfield, Wis; 19. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 20. John Paul Odegaard, Brooklyn Center, Minn.; 21. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 22. Dave Edwards, Salem, Wis; 23. Michael Bilderback, South Beloit; 24. John Wood, Sun Prairie, Wis; 25. Kyle Lapier (r), Belvidere; 26. Tyler Peterson, Lake Geneva, Wis; 27. Rich Hinerichsen, II, Machesney Park; 28. Chris Blawat, Eagle, Wis; 29. Mark Hartline, Gilberts; 30. Brandon Eash (r), Rockford; 31. Bobby Kendall, Montello, Wis; 32. John Beinlich (r), Prairie View; 33. Brad Becker, Burlington, Wis; 34. Tory Adams, Madison, Wis; 35.Lincoln Keeser, Johnson Creek, Wis; 36. Joe Darnell, Machesney Park; 37. Kevin Seidler, Adams, Wis; 38. David Russell (r), Rockford; 39. Vern Fagerberg, Bloomingdale; 40. Don Wickstrum, Monroe, Wis.