By: Eric Huenefeld
The state of Minnesota has become a hotbed for Big 8 Late Model Series racing in recent years.
It started in 2012 with the introduction of ‘Big 8 style’ Late Models at Elko Speedway and was followed in September of that same year with a non-points Big 8 race at the ‘Thunderstruck’ Race Weekend, featuring local racers and some of the Big 8’s best.
The competitive style of short track excitement that the Big 8 Late Model Series is known for has been one that’s caught on in the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes.’ The number of Minnesota racers trying their hand at running across the Midwest with the ‘Best Weekly Warriors in the Country’ has also increased. Last year, Maplewood native Collin Olson was crowned Big 8 Series Rookie of the Year, while in 2013 Lakeville’s Chris Marek won two of the series’ final three shows.
This season, a pair of Minnesota racers has thrown their hat in the ring to compete for the Big 8 Late Model Series Rookie of the Year. First is Elko native Adam Bendzick, a driver who is no stranger to the high banks of Rockford (IL) Speedway, the first stop of the season for the Big 8 Late Model Series this Sunday April 12. Bendzick won the Mid American Stock Car Series ‘Spring Classic’ at Rockford Speedway two years ago and has also saw success at his home track in his hometown, finishing second in Mid American Sportsman points at Elko Speedway in 2008 while also being voted ‘Driver of the Year’ in the division.
Northfield Minnesota’s Cole Anderson also intends to chase the Big 8 Rookie of the Year in 2015. Anderson, currently a Junior in High School, had a stellar showing at his home track last year, finishing fourth in points with three feature wins and three fast times at Elko. Anderson and crew also made the voyage to Florida last December, participating in the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola Florida. This weekend’s season opening race at Rockford Speedway will be Anderson’s first ever trip to the historic northern Illinois facility.
Bendzick, Anderson and the rest of the Big 8’s best will open their season this Sunday afternoon April 12 as part of the 38th Annual Spring Classic at Rockford Speedway. The main event of the afternoon will be an 88 lap feature for the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet. Joining the Big 8 on the Sunday afternoon card is the Quest Industrial Mid-American Stock Car Series and the American Ethanol Super Truck Series. Grandstands open at 11 AM, with Qualifying at 11:30 AM and the first race at 1 PM. Adult admission is $20, Students (age 12-17) & Seniors are $10, Children (ages 6-11) are $5 while Kids 5 and under are FREE.
For more information on Rockford Speedway and the 38th Annual Spring Classic, please visit www.rockfordspeedway.com or call 815-633-1500.
For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, please visit www.big8series.com.