Five Former Winners Among Entries For NSTC

Five Former Winners
Alex Prunty is the two-time defending winner of the National Short Track Championship 200 at Rockford Speedway. (Stan Kalwasinski photo)

LOVE PARK, Ill. — Rockford Speedway will host its 54th annual National Short Track Championships this weekend, Sept. 27-29.

Highlighting the three days of racing will be Sunday afternoon’s National Short Track Championship 250 presented by Crazy Times Pub & Grub.

Five former winners of the event at the banked, quarter-mile oval are among the entries for the late model stock car special which has been extended to 250 laps this year – the first time the race has been more than 200 laps since 2005.

Defending race winner Alex Prunty, of Lomira, Wis., has won back-to-back NSTC 200 lappers and heads the list of former winners ready for action. Last year, Prunty was a regular competitor at Wisconsin’s Slinger Super Speedway and won the track title.

In the 2018 NSTC finale, Prunty wheeled his Chevrolet late model to his second consecutive victory ahead of Casey Johnson, Brian Johnson Jr., Grant Griesbach and Carson Kvapil.

Casey Johnson, of Edgerton, Wis., won the NSTC 200 in 2016. He is currently second in the ARCA Midwest Tour late model standings with two tour wins so far in 2019.

Johnson won his second straight late model track championship this year at Wisconsin Int’l Raceway in Kaukauna, Wis.

Jon Reynolds Jr. grabbed the victory in 2015 in the historic race, dating back to 1966, when the legendary Dick Trickle won the inaugural event. Hailing from Loves Park, Reynolds is a two-time Rockford late model champion, winning those titles in 2014 and again last year.

Second-generation speedster Rick Bickle Jr., of Edgerton, Wis., is a two-time winner of Rockford’s NSTC. Bickle won the NSTC for the first-time in 1990 when the race was co-sanctioned by NASCAR and the ARTGO Racing Series.

Bickle returned to Rockford’s victory podium in 2012.

Josh Nelms, of Lockport, Ill., claimed top honors in the 200 in 2009. Recent years have seen Nelms run a spotty schedule of late model events, but he won a late model feature race this season at Grundy County Speedway in Morris, Ill.

Other notable late model entries for Sunday’s $10,000-to-win race include Austin Nason, who currently leads the ARCA Midwest Tour series standings, and Slinger late model standout Brad Mueller.

Wisconsin late model superstar Ty Majeski is also scheduled to compete.

Looking through the records, the late Joe Shear and Steve Carlson are the all-time NSTC winners, each with eight victories. Eddie Hoffman has four wins and Trickle won three times.

The NSTC weekend gets underway Friday with more racing on Saturday, including the Big 8 Series 108-lap special. Sunday’s racing also includes the Mid American Stock Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.