BILDERBACK GOES BACK-TO-BACK TO BEGIN BIG 8 SEASON

By: Skip Erickson

With six different leaders and an unforgettable finish, Friday night’s McGrathAuto.com “Clash at the Downs II” at Hawkeye Downs had a little something for everyone.

The ending of the 48 lap feature played like that old TV catchphrase “the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.”

Young guns Caleb Adrian and Michael Bilderback fought hard for the win over the race’s final few laps, with Bilderback trying to start the season 2-for-2 in Big 8 competition, while Adrian was looking to become a repeat winner of “Clash at the Downs.” As the two drivers hustled through lap traffic and approached the white flag, contact was made between both, with each driver’s machines wiggling off the fourth turn. With Bilderback barley able to straighten his car up just enough, Adrian’s machine would not cooperate, sending the defending race winner backwards into turn one, where his Chevrolet backed into the outer retaining wall.

With the leaders taking the white flag, the race was scored complete. Bilderback gained the victory, his second Big 8 Series win to start 2016 and third Late Model victory of the season overall. Adrian, who lead off and on throughout the 48 lap race and was a contender for the win all evening, was credited with twelfth place in the final running order.

Griffin McGrath, who started the race from the tenth position, was credited with second place, while last year’s event runner-up J Herbst came home in third. Herbst, who lead during the middle stages of the 48 lapper, also set the new Big 8 Late Model Series track record in qualifying.

2012 Big 8 Series Rookie of the Year Jesse Bernhagen came home in fourth place, while veteran Mike Ehde rounded out the top five. Bernhagen and Ehde were among six drivers who battled for the fourth position over the course of the final 20 laps of the event. Jeremy Miller fought back from a slow start to garner a sixth place result, followed by Zach Less, a seventh place finisher in his first ever Big 8 Series start.

Teenagers Brody Willett and Grant Greisbach finished eighth and ninth. The ninth place for Greisbach was his third career Big 8 Series top-ten finish. Elkhorn Wisconsin’s Wayne Freimund picked up the Powersource ‘Power Mover of the Race’ Award, advancing 12 positions from his starting spot outside of row eleven to a tenth place finish.

Preliminary race winners included Ehde and Willett, along with Jerry Mueller and Jared Duda. Twenty-seven Big 8 Series Late Models made the trip to the legendary half-mile oval in eastern Iowa.

“CLASH AT THE DOWNS” BECKONS BIG 8’S BEST!

By: Eric Huenefeld

For the second straight year, the “Best Weekly Warriors in the Country” are set to descend upon Eastern Iowa.

This Friday night June 3, the Big 8 Late Model Series returns to Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids for the running of the McGrathAuto.com “Clash at the Downs II.” Nearly 30 of the most competitive weekly Late Model racers in America are set to test their luck on the 91 year old half-mile, with a strong mix of Big 8 travelers and Hawkeye Downs regulars geared up to battle for a chance to win the 48 lap main event.

Leading the way is reigning Big 8 Late Model Series champion Michael Bilderback, winner of the first Big 8 event of 2016 back in April. On that sunny Sunday at Rockford Speedway, Bilderback was the man to beat, lowering the Rockford track record in qualifying and later dominating the 88 lap “Spring Classic.” Last June, Bilderback was one of the contenders for victory at Hawkeye Downs, before settling for third following a frantic battle for second place with eventual runner-up J Herbst. So far in 2016, Bilderback has lowered the Rockford Speedway track record three more times and has pocketed one feature win and two runner ups at his hometrack, where he leads the point standings.

Last year’s “Clash at the Downs” winner Caleb Adrian and runner up J Herbst have also filed their entries for Friday night’s event. Adrian, who was a multi-time winner at Hawkeye Downs in weekly competition in 2015, makes his first Late Model start of 2016 this Friday night but is considered one of the favorites to win. Herbst is primed for his first-ever Big 8 Series triumph following a strong 2015, which saw him on the podium multiple times with the Big 8 Late Model Series campaign despite running just a limited schedule.

Four-time Big 8 Late Model Series champion Jeremy Miller has thrown his hat in the ring for Friday’s “Clash at the Downs” as well. Miller, a former winner with the now defunct ASA Late Model Series at Hawkeye Downs, is geared up not only to return to victory lane in Eastern Iowa, but to also shake off his tough start to the season in Rockford, which saw him fall out of the 88 lap Spring Classic during the race’s first 20 laps. Cedar Rapids native Griffin McGrath has his sights set on victory in front of the hometown faithful Friday night. McGrath, who set fast time in last years event, looks to improve on last years result at “Clash at the Downs,” which saw him destroy his race car during an incident midway through the 48 lap affair. Always a contender, watch for McGrath to be among the top runners this Friday night.

Other top notch entrants for Friday night’s McGrathAuto.com “Clash at the Downs II” include former Big 8 Series and Rockford Speedway champion “Driver X” Jon Reynolds Jr, reigning Hawkeye Downs champion Brian Gibson, former Dells Raceway Park champions Rich Schumann Jr and Mike Ehde, former Slinger Speedway track champion ‘Insane Wayne’ Freimund, central Wisconsin racing veteran Lyle Nowak and former Hawkeye Downs champion Brad Osborn.

The field at Hawkeye Downs will be filled with great young talent too, including; Minnesota racers Michael Ostdiek, Michael Beamish and Jared Duda, Iowans Brody Willett and Zach Less, former Big 8 Late Model Series Rookie of the Year Jesse Bernhagen, former Rockford Speedway Rookie of the Year Mitch Garfield, 16 year-old Wisconsinite Tyler Hromadka and Oconomowoc Wisconsin’s Adam Peschek, who also campaigns an IMCA SportMod on the dirt along with his Big 8 Late Model Series schedule.

McGrathAuto.com “Clash at the Downs II”
Expected Entries (29)

O3- Cody Kippenhan Ypslanti, MI
OO- Brody Willett Alburnett, IA
2- Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL
3- Tyler Hromadka Brookfield, WI
3- Dave McCalla Cedar Rapids, IA
5- Jeremy Miller Rockton, IL
X- Jon Reynolds Jr Loves Park, IL
15- Michael Clapper Dane, WI
15- Todd Oliver Bangor, WI
17- Brian Gibson Walford, IA
17- Grant Greisbach Waukesha, WI
18- Mike Ehde Prairie du Chien, WI
18- Michael Ostdiek Lakeville, MN
20- Zach Less Manchester, IA
28- Jesse Bernhagen Markesan, WI
29- Caleb Adrian Walcott, IA
32- Lyle Nowak Wausau, WI
40- Michael Beamish Eagan, MN
43- Scott Siems Cedar Rapids, IA
44- Mitch Garfield Pingree Grove, IL
53- Jared Duda St Michael, MN
54- Rich Schumann Jr Portage, WI
64- Griffin McGrath Cedar Rapids, IA
66- Adam Peschek Oconomowoc, WI
72- Brad Osborn Janesville, IA
76- Chad Siems Shellsburg, IA
82- J Herbst West Salem, WI
88- Ken Jacoby Columbus, WI
95- Wayne Freimund Elkhorn, WI

EVENT DETAILS:

What: McGrathAuto.com “Clash at the Downs II”
Where: Hawkeye Downs (located at 4400 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404)
When: Friday June 3

Schedule and Information:
3 PM- Big 8 Late Model Series Pits Open
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM- Two (2) 20 minute Big 8 Late Model Series Practice Sessions
5:50 PM- Ticket Windows Open
6 PM- Big 8 Late Model Series Qualifying
6:45 PM- Big 8 Late Model Series Autograph Session until 7:15 PM (under the Grandstands)
7:30 PM- Racing Begins

Divisions Competing:
Big 8 Late Model Series (complete show highlighted by a 48 lap feature)
Mountain Dew Sportsman
Barron Motor Supply Hobby Stocks
Dublin City Pub Legends
Miller Time Hornets

Admission Prices:
Adults (ages 18 +) & Seniors (ages 62 +): $12
Students (ages 11-17) & Seniors: $7
Kids 10 & under: FREE

REMAINING 2016 BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES SCHEDULE:
Fri June 3- McGrathAuto.com ‘Clash at the Downs II” (Hawkeye Downs, Cedar Rapids, IA)
Fri June 24- Salute to America (Madison International Speedway, Oregon WI)
Fri July 29- Larry Detjens Memorial Race (State Park Speedway, Wausau WI)
Tues Aug 2- Dixieland Delight (Wisconsin Int’l Raceway, Kaukauna WI)
Sat Sept 24- 8th Annual ‘Thunderstruck 93’ (Elko Speedway, Elko New Market, MN)
Sat Oct 1- 51st Annual National Short Track Championships (Rockford Speedway)
Sat Oct 8- 47th Oktoberfest Race Weekend (La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, West Salem, WI)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit www.big8series.com

BILDERBACK SHINES AT SPRING CLASSIC!

Stan Kalwasinski photo

By: Eric Huenefeld

Reigning Big 8 Late Model Series champion Michael Bilderback began his title defense in commanding fashion on Sunday afternoon at Rockford Speedway.

The 24 year old from South Beloit began the day by setting the new Big 8 Series Track Record in Qualifying and ended the day in victory lane as the winner of the 39th Annual Spring Classic, becoming just the seventh man to win the event multiple times.

Bilderback’s road to the front began from fifth position while former Spring Classic winner Dale Nottestad and former Rockford Speedway Rookie of the Year Mitch Garfield led the field of 24 Big 8 Late Models to green for the 88 lap showdown. As the race took flight, it was Garfield who held the early advantage over Nottestad by a matter of a few feet, but on the fourth lap, Nottestad was able to slip ahead of Garfield for the lead. Soon after, Nottestad assumed the lead for himself, with two-time Big 8 Series champion Casey Johnson hot on his trail.

Nottestad and Johnson then raced away from the field, while Bilderback forged ahead to third. As the race wore on, Bilderback began to work over Johnson for the runner up spot. However, the battle never really materialized as Johnson’s car suddenly slowed, bringing out a caution flag and ending his day. With Johnson’s exit at lap 30, it set up a race at the front between Nottestad and Bilderback. Over the course of the next 23 laps, the two racers bobbed and weaved through lap traffic, with Bilderback able to get beside Nottestad at lap 50. After three laps of close-quarters racing, Bilderback steamed ahead of Nottestad for good on the 54th lap.

Bilderback was never seriously challenged again, although three yellow flags in the race’s final 18 laps made things interesting and shook up the rest of the running order. Many top contenders, including Garfield, reigning Rockford Speedway champion Jake Gille and Kyle Shear, fell out of the event over the final 25 laps with varying mechanical woes. When the checkered flag flew, it was Bilderback winning his fourth career Big 8 Series main event, with Nottestad finishing in a distant second. Rich Schumann Jr made big moves over the race’s final 25 laps, advancing from seventh to third in that time frame. Schumann’s podium finish was his best ever showing at Rockford.

Wayne Freimund collected his third career Big 8 Series top five, running as high as third before coming home with a fourth place effort. Jon Reynolds Jr, who started the race in 15th position, was awarded fifth place. Wonder Lake Illinois driver Denny Norton Jr collected the $100 Powersource ‘Power Mover of the Race’ by virtue of advancing from his 23rd starting spot to an 8th place finish.

In other action Sunday, Hampshire’s Jeremy Bloomberg held off the red-hot advances of Bill Prietzel to collect the victory in the 50 lap Mid-American Stock Car Series event. Bloomberg started on the front row and survived a wild race that saw numerous leaders fall out of contention with mechanical woes.

Chester Ace of Oregon Wisconsin was the overall winner of the American Ethanol Super Truck Series Twin 20 lap features, winning one feature and finishing second in the other. Johnsburg’s Ken Calhoun, who also finished third in the Mid-American race, won his first ever feature race in the opening 20 lap Super Truck race.

2016 Spring Classic Results

Big 8 Late Model Series A-Main 01 — 1. Michael Bilderback, South Beloit; 2. Dale Nottestad, Cambridge, Wis; 3. Rich Schumann, Jr., Portage, Wis; 4. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 5. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Loves Park; 6. Michael Ostdiek, Lakeville, Minn.; 7. Grant Griesbach, Waukesha, Wis; 8. Dennis Norton, Jr, Ringwood; 9. Tory Adams, Madison, Wis; 10. Jacob Gille, Winnebago; 11. Brody Willett, Alburnett, Iowa; 12. Adam Peschek, Oconomowoc, Wis; 13. Mitchell Garfield, Pingree Grove; 14. Kyle Chwala, Johnson Creek, Wis; 15. Jesse Bernhagen, Markesan, Wis; 16. Mike Lloyd, Davis; 17. Tyler Hromadka, Brookfield, Wis; 18. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 19. Ken Jacoby, Iron Belt, Wis; 20. Mike Ehde, Prairie du Chien, Wis; 21. Casey Johnson, Edgerton, Wis; 22. J. Herbst, LaCrosse, Wis; 23. Jeremy

Last Chance “A” 01 — 1. Mike Lloyd, Davis; 2. Ken Jacoby, Iron Belt, Wis; 3. Adam Peschek, Oconomowoc, Wis; 4. Tory Adams, Madison, Wis; 5. Cody Kippenhan, Ypsilanti, Mich.; 6. Tyler Hromadka, Brookfield, Wis; 7. Jared Duda, St Michael, Minn.; 8. Dennis Norton, Jr, Ringwood.

Heat 01 — 1. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Loves Park; 2. Brody Willett, Alburnett, Iowa; 3. Mike Lloyd, Davis; 4. Lyle Nowak, Wausau, Wis; 5. Dennis Norton, Jr, Ringwood; 6. Michael Clapper, Dane, Wis; 7. Tory Adams, Madison, Wis; 8. Cody Kippenhan, Ypsilanti, Mich..

Heat 02 — 1. Kyle Chwala, Johnson Creek, Wis; 2. J. Herbst, LaCrosse, Wis; 3. Ken Jacoby, Iron Belt, Wis; 4. Jared Duda, St Michael, Minn.; 5. Adam Peschek, Oconomowoc, Wis; 6. Tyler Hromadka, Brookfield, Wis; 7. Dana Czach, West Chicago; 8. Ty Reedy, Holmen, Wis.

Qualifying Dash 01 — 1. Dale Nottestad, Cambridge, Wis; 2. Casey Johnson, Edgerton, Wis; 3. Michael Bilderback, South Beloit; 4. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 5. Michael Ostdiek, Lakeville, Minn.; 6. Mike Ehde, Prairie du Chien, Wis; 7. Rich Schumann, Jr., Portage, Wis.

Qualifying Dash 02 — 1. Mitchell Garfield, Pingree Grove; 2. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 3. Jacob Gille, Winnebago; 4. Jeremy Miller, Rockford; 5. Jesse Bernhagen, Markesan, Wis; 6. Grant Griesbach, Waukesha, Wis; 7. Jim Olson, Harvard.

Time Trial — 1. Michael Bilderback, South Beloit; 2. Jeremy Miller, Rockford; 3. Casey Johnson, Edgerton, Wis; 4. Jacob Gille, Winnebago; 5. Michael Ostdiek, Lakeville, Minn.; 6. Jesse Bernhagen, Markesan, Wis; 7. Kyle Shear, Roscoe; 8. Rich Schumann, Jr., Portage, Wis; 9. Grant Griesbach, Waukesha, Wis; 10. Dale Nottestad, Cambridge, Wis; 11. Mitchell Garfield, Pingree Grove; 12. Mike Ehde, Prairie du Chien, Wis; 13. Wayne Freimund, Elkhorn, Wis; 14. Lyle Nowak, Wausau, Wis; 15. J. Herbst, LaCrosse, Wis; 16. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Loves Park; 17. Kyle Chwala, Johnson Creek, Wis; 18. Mike Lloyd, Davis; 19. Ty Reedy, Holmen, Wis; 20. Brody Willett, Alburnett, Iowa; 21. Adam Peschek, Oconomowoc, Wis; 22. Dennis Norton, Jr, Ringwood; 23. Jared Duda, St Michael, Minn.; 24. Michael Clapper, Dane, Wis; 25. Dana Czach, West Chicago; 26. Cody Kippenhan, Ypsilanti, Mich.; 27. Ken Jacoby, Iron Belt, Wis; 28. Tory Adams, Madison, Wis; 29. Tyler Hromadka, Brookfield, Wis; 30. Michael Beamish,

A HISTORICAL AND NUMERICAL LOOK AT ROCKFORD’S SPRING CLASSIC

Stan Kalwasinski photo

By: Eric Huenefeld

This weekend marks the 39th running of the Spring Classic and the 37th consecutive year it has been hosted at Rockford Speedway. For the 12th consecutive year, the Big 8 Late Model Series opens its season at Rockford’s high-banked quarter mile. With the “Midwest’s Traditional First Big Race” on the horizon, let’s look at some of the unique facts and figures that relate to this weekend’s race and the event’s glorious history.

1 – Only one driver has won multiple Big 8 Spring Classic races and that driver is Mike Beyer, who won the first two back in 2005 and 2006. Beyer also holds the distinction of winning the first ever Big 8 Late Model Series points race at the 2005 Spring Classic.

3- The number of tracks which have hosted Spring Classic through the years. The tradition began on April 30 1978 at Grundy County Speedway (Morris, IL) with Dick Trickle capturing the 100 lap feature event, besting Indiana racer Dennis Nyari. Then, on April 8 1979, it was Tom Reffner outlasting Trickle for the win at Madison International Speedway (Oregon, WI). The race at Madison was 50 laps in distance. Spring Classic moved to Rockford Speedway for good in April of 1980.

4- The number of former Big 8 Late Model Series champions entered for this weekend’s Spring Classic. Leading the list is Jeremy Miller, a four-time Series champion, who is looking to win his first Spring Classic Sunday. Casey Johnson, a two-time Big 8 Series champion, reigning Series champion Michael Bilderback and 2005 Big 8 Series champion Jon Reynolds Jr are also entered for the 39th edition of Spring Classic.

5- The number of former Spring Classic champions in this year’s field. Reynolds is the most recent event winner entered Sunday, having won in 2012. Cambridge Wisconsin’s Dale Nottestad returns to Rockford and looks to repeat his 2011 Spring Classic victory. Casey Johnson won his only Spring Classic back in 2010, while Michael Bilderback became the youngest Spring Classic winner ever in 2008 at the age of 16. Western Wisconsin racer Mike Ehde captured his only Big 8 Series win at Spring Classic in 2007.

6- The number of Spring Classics won by Steve Carlson, the most of any driver. Not only is Carlson considered ‘King of the Short Tracks,’ but for a while it seemed he was at least a partial owner of Rockford Speedway! Carlson won his six Spring Classic’s over a span of seven years (1998-2004) and is also an 8-time winner of the National Short Track Championship at Rockford Speedway.

8- The number of drivers who have won Spring Classic multiple times. As mentioned above, Steve Carlson has won more Spring Classics than anyone else. And, as is usually the case, any list with Steve Carlson also tends to involve Joe Shear and Dick Trickle. Both Trickle and Shear won four Spring Classics. In fact, from 1981-1989, Trickle and Shear won seven of nine Spring Classics (Al Schill won the other two Spring Classics in that time frame; 1982 & 1985). Scott Hansen, Kevin Cywinski, Steve Rubeck and Mike Beyer have all won two Spring Classics.

40- The number of Big 8 Series wins represented in this year’s Spring Classic field, an all-time series high for any single event. To put it in a different perspective, the Series has run 90 races since September of 2004. This means that the drivers entered in Sunday’s Spring Classic have won 44% of all Big 8 Series events. Four of the five winningest Big 8 Series drivers will be at Spring Classic: Jon Reynolds Jr (11 wins, all-time Series leader), Jeremy Miller (10 wins), Casey Johnson (8 wins) and Dale Nottestad (6 wins). Reigning Series champion Michael Bilderback is a four-time Series winner while Mike Ehde won his only Big 8 Series race by holding off Jeremy Miller at the 2007 Spring Classic.

45- The number of Track and Series championships represented in this year’s Spring Classic field. The following drivers have won Season Championships at either their home track or with a Series (or in some cases, they’ve won both): Michael Bilderback, Casey Johnson, Jeremy Miller, Jon Reynolds Jr, Mike Ehde, Lyle Nowak, Jake Gille, Dale Nottestad, Rich Schumann Jr, J Herbst and Wayne Freimund.

88- Number of laps which will be run in Sunday’s main event for the Big 8 Late Model Series. Sunday marks the third time a Spring Classic feature will go 88 laps. From 1980-1990, Spring Classic feature distances matched the number of the year they were contested, meaning the 1980 race was 80 laps, 1981 was 81 laps and so on.

150- In thirty-six previous seasons, the event has run at a distance of 150 laps eleven times. A 150-lap Spring Classic was contested from 1991-1998 and from 2005-2007. The race has also run at distances of 250 laps (2001-2004), 200 laps (1999-2000), 108 laps (2008, 2010-2013), 88 laps (1988, 2015, 2016) 58 laps (2005-2007) and 80-89 laps in the years of 1980 through 1989.

1980- The first year Spring Classic was held at Rockford Speedway, on Sunday afternoon April 13. The late, great Wisconsin racer Larry Detjens captured that 80 lapper, topping Joe Shear and Dick Trickle for the honors. 33 men attempted to qualify for the 20-car feature that day, including Mark Martin, Bill Venturini, Bobby Dotter, Dave Weltmeyer and Tom Reffner.

The 39th Annual Spring Classic is set for this Sunday afternoon April 17 at Rockford Speedway (9572 Forest Hills Road, Loves Park IL). Spectator Gates open at 11 AM, with Qualifications set to begin at 11:30 and the first green flag at 1 PM. The afternoon racing card includes the Big 8 Late Model Series, the Quest Industrial Mid American Stock Car Series and the American Ethanol Super Trucks. Adult admission is $20, Students (with a valid Student ID) are $10, while Children ages 6-11 are $5 and Kids 5 & under are FREE!

For more information, please visit rockfordspeedway.com, big8series.com or please call 815-633-1500.

LARGE LIST OF CHAMPIONS AND CHALLENGERS EXPECTED FOR SPRING CLASSIC!

By: Eric Huenefeld

There’s plenty of excitement surrounding the 2016 Big 8 Late Model Series season and its traditional opening race at Rockford Speedway. The 39th edition of ‘Spring Classic’ features a loaded field of former event winners, former series champions and area track champions, along with a slew of young up and coming talent!

Leading the list of entries are a couple of multi-time Big 8 Series champions, Jeremy Miller and Casey Johnson. Miller, a four-time Series champion, returns to Big 8 Series competition this season, gunning for an unprecedented fifth Big 8 Series title. Despite his long list of Late Model accomplishments, one win that has eluded Miller is Rockford’s Spring Classic. Back in 2007, Miller worked tirelessly to move past Mike Ehde, ultimately settling for a runner up finish. A more heartbreaking scenario developed in 2012, when Miller led the field by half a lap, until is car lost power just past the halfway point, opening the door for Jon Reynolds Jr to collect his first Spring Classic win.

Johnson has established himself as one of the top Big 8 Late Model racers over the last several years, winning two Big 8 Series championships while climbing to third on the all-time Series Wins List. A Spring Classic champion back in 2010, Johnson has turned in some thrilling runs at Rockford through the years, both in Big 8 and Super Late Model competition. Johnson could become just the second Big 8 driver to ever win multiple Spring Classic’s this Sunday, joining Mike Beyer, who won the first two in 2005 and 2006.

But there are more than just two drivers to watch this Sunday: Former Spring Classic winners Dale Nottestad (2011), Michael Bilderback (2008) and Jon Reynolds Jr (2012) are in the field. Nottestad, a multiple-time champion at both Madison International and Jefferson Speedways, is always a factor at Rockford while Bilderback is the defending Big 8 Series champion and won more than any other Big 8 Late Model driver last year, collecting 8 total Late Model victories in 2015. Reynolds won last year’s ‘Dixieland Delight’ at Wisconsin International Raceway and with the win became the all-time Big 9 late Model Series wins leader.

Reigning Rockford Speedway champion Jake Gille is gunning for his biggest victory ever Sunday at Spring Classic. Gille became one of the youngest Rockford Speedway champions ever last season, while turning in a season for the ages which saw him finish no worse than fourth in any Rockford feature race. Two-time LaCrosse Speedway Champion J Herbst had an impressive 2015 while running part-time, including three top five finishes. One of Herbst’s top five runs came at Rockford in September in the 108 lap National Short Track Championship. Two-time and reigning Dells Raceway champion Rich Schumann Jr will also run Rockford, looking to shake his past bad luck at the high banked quarter mile while former Slinger Speedway champion Wayne Freimund and 2012 Big 8 Series Rookie of the Year Jesse Bernhagen are also set to contend for Spring Classic gold.

There will be plenty of new and young faces at this weekend’s Spring Classic, with no fewer than five drivers running for Loves Park Motorsports Rookie of the Year. Along with those rookies, watch for Minnesota teenager Michael Ostdiek and Wisconsin veteran Lyle Nowak. Ostdiek, a fourth place finisher in last year’s Big 8 Series point standings, finished 2015 as strong as anyone and is primed for a solid 2016. Ostdiek is also a member of the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program. Nowak, the Wausau Wisconsin native who has nearly 40 years of stock car racing experience, will campaign full-time with the Big 8 Series this season. With 16 track championships to his credit and a Mid-American Stock Car Series title on his resume as well, Nowak will no doubt be one to watch all year long!

Spring Classic Expected Entries (36)
As of April 12

OO7– Jim Olson Harvard, IL
O3- Cody Kippenhan Ypslanti, MI
O1– Ryan Gutkneckt Oak Creek, WI
OO- Brody Willett Alburnett, IA
2- Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL
3- Tyler Hromadka Brookfield, WI
5- Casey Johnson Edgerton, WI
5- Jeremy Miller Rockton, IL
X– Jon Reynolds Jr Loves Park, IL
15- Michael Clapper Dane, WI
17- Grant Greisbach Waukesha, WI
18- Mike Ehde Prairie du Chien, WI
18- Michael Ostdiek Lakeville, MN
21- Mike Lloyd Davis, IL
21– Ty Reedy Holmen, WI
22- Kyle Chwala Johnson Creek, WI
28- Jesse Bernhagen Markesan, WI
32- Lyle Nowak Wausau, WI
33- Dana Czach West Chicago, IL
36- Kyle Shear Roscoe, IL
40- Michael Beamish Eagan, MN
44- Mitch Garfield Pingree Grove, IL
49– Tory Adams Madison, WI
49- Jerry Mueller Richfield, WI
50- Jake Gille Winnebago, IL
51- Dale Nottestad Cambridge, WI
53- Jared Duda St Michael, MN
54- Rich Schumann Jr Portage, WI
58- Tyler Kingery Elko New Market, MN
66- Adam Peschek Oconomowoc, WI
71– Mark Greb Coralville, IA
82- J Herbst West Salem, WI
88– Ken Jacoby Marshall, WI
95- Wayne Freimund Elkhorn, WI
96- Denny Norton Jr Wonder Lake, IL
99- Jake Zellmer Waterford, WI

EVENT DETAILS:

What: 39th Annual Spring Classic
Where: Rockford Speedway (located at 9572 Forest Hills Rd Loves Park, IL)
When: Sunday April 17
Schedule and Information:
7 AM- Pits Open, Breakfast in Pit Concession
8 AM- Chapel Service in South VIP Tower
8:45 AM- Big 8 Series Driver’s Meeting in Pit Stands
9:30 AM- Rotating Practice (until 11:25 AM)
11 AM- Front Gate Opens
11:30 AM- Qualifying (All divisions-2 laps)
12:45 PM- Opening Ceremonies
1 PM- WE’RE RACING

Divisions Competing:
Big 8 Late Model Series (complete show highlighted by an 88 lap feature)
Quest Industrial Mid-American Stock Car Series (complete show highlighted by a 50 lap feature)
American Ethanol Super Truck Series (Twin 25 lap features)

Admission Prices:
Adults: $20
Students (ages 12-17) & Seniors: $10
Children (ages 6-11): $5
Kids 5 & under: FREE

2016 BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES SCHEDULE:
Sun April 17- 39th Annual Spring Classic (Rockford Speedway, Loves Park IL)
Fri June 3- ‘Clash at the Downs II” (Hawkeye Downs, Cedar Rapids, IA)
Fri June 24- Salute to America (Madison International Speedway, Oregon WI)
Fri July 29- Larry Detjens Memorial Race (State Park Speedway, Wausau WI)
Tues Aug 2- Dixieland Delight (Wisconsin Int’l Raceway, Kaukauna WI)
Sat Sept 24- 8th Annual ‘Thunderstruck 93’ (Elko Speedway, Elko New Market, MN)
Sat Oct 1- 51st Annual National Short Track Championships (Rockford Speedway)
Sat Oct 8- 47th Oktoberfest Race Weekend (La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, West Salem, WI)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit www.big8series.com

LOVES PARK MOTORSPORTS BACKS BIG 8 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

By: Eric Huenefeld

The stakes have been raised in the race for Big 8 Late Model Series Rookie of the Year in 2016, thanks to Loves Park Motorsports.

This season, with a deep rookie class expected along the Big 8 tour, Loves Park Motorsports has announced its intentions to reward the top rookie during the Series’ twelfth season of operations.

The top finishing Rookie in 2016 Big 8 Late Model Series points will win their choice of either $500 in cash or $500 in apparel from brand names like Arctic Cat, Can-Am, OGIO, Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo and Smith Optics.

Loves Park Motorsports has been severing powersports enthusiasts since 1994. After recently completing a much-anticipated move to their new location in Roscoe Illinois, Loves Park Motorsports continues to proudly carry Arctic Cat, Yamaha, Polaris, Triton Trailers, Ski-Doo, Evinrude, Sea-Doo, Manitou & much more.

For more information on Loves Park Motorsports, please visit www.lovesparkmotorsports.com.

For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series, please visit www.big8series.com.

KLOTZ BECOMES THE OFFICIAL FUEL OF THE BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES

Today officials with the Big 8 Late Model Series and Klotz Synthetics are proud to announce a multi-year partnership between the two entities, making Klotz the “Official Fuel of the Big 8 Late Model Series.”

“For almost 60 years, Klotz has taken tremendous pride in our involvement with grassroots racing by supporting and servicing racers at the local level,” said John C. Klotz Jr., Founder and CEO, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants. “With that commitment in mind, Klotz is proud to forge a new partnership as the Official Fuel of the Big 8 Late Model Series. We’re very enthusiastic to provide Klotz 110 Octane fuel trackside at every Big 8 race and to be able to service the racers throughout the Big 8 community. “

Klotz continued, “Our Fort Wayne (Ind.) manufacturing facility is close in proximity to practically every race on the schedule so we’re invested in the health of the sport. This relationship also provides Klotz the opportunity to showcase our high performance line of synthetic lubricants, additives and aerosols to the competitors and race fans throughout the Midwest. This is an exciting new partnership for Klotz and we’re eager to begin working closely with the teams, engine builders and officials from the Big 8.”

The Big 8 Late Model Series was conceived back in 2004 as a gathering place for the best weekly short track racers in the Midwest. The schedule each year includes stops at some of America’s most well-known and demanding short tracks. The same stars that make each Big 8 Series race unforgettable are the same drivers who compete at short tracks every weekend across the Midwest. This makes Big 8 Series regulars the “Best Weekly Warriors in the Country!”

Rockton Illinois’ Jeremy Miller and Edgerton Wisconsin’s Casey Johnson are the only multi-time titlists in series history, claiming four and two series titles respectively. Former Big 8 Rookie of the Year winners include Ty Majeski, Ross Kenseth, Tanner Whitten and Cole Anderson. Rockford Illinois’ Jon Reynolds Jr is the all-time series wins leader with eleven victories.

The 2016 Big 8 Late Model Series season begins at Rockford (IL) Speedway on Sunday April 17th, with the running of the Midwest’s traditional first BIG RACE, the 39th Annual Spring Classic. Joining the Big 8 Late Models that day will be the Mid-American Stock Cars and Super Trucks. Racing begins at 1 PM.

For more information on Klotz Synthetics, please visit klotzlube.com.

For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series and to view the complete 2016 schedule, please visit big8series.com.

SPRING CLASSIC ENTRY FORM NOW AVAILABLE!

By: Eric Huenefeld

The official Entry Blank for Rockford Speedway’s 39th annual Spring Classic featuring the Big 8 Late Model Series at Rockford Speedway is now available online at www.big8series.com. Click Here!

Set for Sunday afternoon April 17, Rockford Speedway’s Spring Classic kicks off the twelfth season of racing for the ‘Best Weekly Warriors in the Country.’ The popular Weekly Warrior Wages program which rewards each driver up to $250 per event based on their weekly racing and Big 8 Series success also continues again this year.

Racing action begins Sunday April 17 at 1PM, officially bringing the Midwest racing season to life. Joining the Big 8 Late Models at this season opening showcase are the Mid-American Stock Car Series and the American Ethanol Super Trucks.

There are multiple chances for Big 8 teams to get on track at Rockford Speedway for Practice in advance of Spring Classic. Saturday April 9 features an Open Practice session from 11 AM until 2:30 PM, while Spring Classic participants also have a chance to practice Saturday April 16 from Noon to 4 PM.

For additional information regarding the 39th Spring Classic and Rockford Speedway, please visit www.rockfordspeedway.com or call 815-633-1500.

For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series, please visit www.big8series.com.

EIGHT DATES IN FOUR STATES HIGHLIGHT BIG 8 SLATE!

By: Eric Huenefeld

Big 8 Late Model Series officials have released their 2016 Schedule of Events, which includes eight individual racing events at seven facilities in four different states.

Again this season, the Series takes part in some of the most well-known race dates held annually at some of the most storied short tracks in America.

The twelfth season of Big 8 Late Model Series competition begins on Sunday afternoon April 17 at Rockford (IL) Speedway as part of the 39th annual Spring Classic. For the second consecutive season and third time ever, the feature race of Spring Classic will be 88 laps in distance.

For the second straight season, the “Best Weekly Warriors in the Country” head to Iowa, for “Clash at the Downs II’ at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids. Three weeks later, the Series makes its traditional summertime stop at Madison (WI) International Speedway for the “Salute to America,” which includes a full racing program and fabulous Fireworks display!

One month after the Madison event, the Big 8 Late Model Series contests two races in five days as part of a couple major mid-summer events. Friday July 29, the Series makes its fifth all-time appearance at State Park Speedway in Wausau WI, headlining the first night of the Larry Detjens Memorial Weekend. Then, Tuesday night August 2, the Big 8 Late Model Series shares the spotlight with the ARCA Midwest Tour as part of the “Dixieland 250,” with a 38 lap “Dixieland Delight” scheduled for the Big 8 Late Models.

The 2016 Big 8 Series champion will once again be determined by “three races in three weeks,” starting Saturday September 24 at Elko (MN) Speedway as part of the 8th Annual “Thunderstruck.” Then, Saturday night October 1, it’s the most grueling race of the season, the 108 lap National Short Track Championship as part of the 51st anniversary of “One Great Racing Weekend” at Rockford Speedway. Finally, on Saturday October 8, the season comes to a close at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem WI as part of the 47th Oktoberfest Race Weekend.

For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series, please visit big8series.com.

For up-to-the-minute updates, please “Like” Big 8 Series on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter @big8series.

2016 BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES EVENT SCHEDULE

Sunday April 17 – “39th Annual Spring Classic” 88 Laps
Rockford Speedway (Loves Park, IL)

Friday June 3 – ”Clash at the Downs II” 48 Laps
Hawkeye Downs (Cedar Rapids, IA)

Friday June 24 – “Salute to America” 48 Laps
Madison Int’l Speedway (Oregon, WI)

Friday July 29 – “Larry Detjens Memorial” 58 Laps
State Park Speedway (Wausau, WI)

Tuesday August 2 – “Dixieland Delight” 38 Laps
Wisconsin Int’l Raceway (Kaukauna, WI)

Saturday September 24 – “Thunderstruck” 58 Laps
Elko Speedway (Elko New Market, MN)

Saturday October 1 – “51st Nat’l Short Track Championships” 108 Laps
Rockford Speedway (Loves Park, IL)

Saturday October 8 – “Oktoberfest Race Weekend” 68 Laps
La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway (West Salem, WI)