KALWASINSKI: Chicago Chips

Dennis Erb Jr. hot lapping his late model at LaSalle Speedway on March 29. (Stan Kalwasinski Photo)
Dennis Erb Jr. hot lapping his late model at LaSalle Speedway on March 29. (Stan Kalwasinski Photo)

More Area Openers
With an enduro program already in the books this year, Rockford Speedway will present is 37th annual Spring Classic on Sunday, April 14. Big 8 Series late models, the Mid-American Stock Car Series and the Illinois Vintage Racing Series will make up Sunday afternoon’s racing program. The Big 8 Series cars will compete in a 108-lap feature on the high-banked, quarter-mile paved oval.

Competition in the Big 8 Series should be fierce with plenty of cars on hand. Among the entries is 2013 Big 8 Series champion Casey Johnson of Edgerton, Wis. The two-time Jefferson (Wis.) Speedway champion is looking to duplicate his success of a season ago, which included a late model track title at Wisconsin’s Madison Int’l Speedway and five race wins. Johnson, who is also a past winner of Spring Classic at Rockford, plans to run a majority of the Big 8 Series events this season, while also vying for ARCA Midwest Tour rookie-of-the-year honors.

Rockford gets its regular season of NASCAR-sanctioned competition underway on Saturday, April 26. Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville, Ind., and the Sycamore Speedway also open on April 26.  The night before, Grundy County Speedway in Morris, the “Friday Night Racin’ Place,” kicks off its 44th season of weekly stock car action, while Kankakee County Speedway presents its 64th season opener on Friday, May 2.

Big early season news at Illiana is that the half-mile paved oval will be the scene of Borders Wars II on Monday afternoon, May 26. The event will be highlighted by a 150-lap main event with the racing being co-sanctioned by the ARCA Midwest Tour and the ARCA Champion Racing Ass’n series. The program marks the return of both late model traveling circuits to Illiana.

The last Midwest Tour event was held in 2011 with Ross Kenseth scoring a victory. CRA returns to Illiana for the first time since 2008 when Boris Jurkovic won a 100 lapper and set the all-time Illiana qualifying mark of 18.864 seconds.

Saturday, May 3 should be a busy day for dirt track competitors in northern Indiana. Shadyhill Speedway in Medaryville and the new Daugherty Speedway near Boswell, Ind., both get things underway. The Daugherty race track is the former Kamp Motor Speedway with Mike Daugherty taking over the promotional chores. The Boswell oval has being sitting idle since 2009. Throw into the mix that Plymouth Speedway, which opens on April 19, will also be running on Saturday nights and you have yourself a real battle on Saturdays for drawing both competitors and fans alike.

The Illinois Stock Car Hall of Fame will host its induction ceremonies this Saturday night at the Hoffman House restaurant in Rockford. This year’s inductees include Whitey Gerken, Bryant Tucker, Tom Jones Frank Schickel, Howard Tiedt, Elmer Steinbeck and Bill Koenig. For last minute information, contact Art Fehrman at (708) 254-5196.

The address for news and comments is 9618 Cypress Ave., Munster, Ind., 46321-3418 or email to [email protected]