Saturday’s inaugural Hugh Deery Classic 99 super late model event is shaping up to be a battle between Rockford Speedway veterans and super late model experience. Over a dozen track championships and ten touring series championships will be represented for the second super late model event of 2019 at Rockford Speedway. Bilderback, Reynolds, Gille and Kahler battle Prunty, Nason, Zehr and Bickle to wear the legendary wreath in victory lane. With every starter a potential winner, there will be no shortage of action or suspense for 99 laps around the historic high banks. The winner will earn a guaranteed starting spot in the $10k to win 2019 National Short Track Championship 250.
In addition to the four commemorative awards and $100 Five Star certificates, ARCA champion and car owner, Bill Venturini has donated an additional $100 to the leader at lap 25. The second generation racer got his start many years ago at Rockford Speedway and has remained a close friend and supporter.
Along with the Super Late Models, the NASCAR Late Models, NASCAR Roadrunners, Super Cups and Illini Midgets will battle for their picture and trophy in victory lane. Spectator gates open at 5PM with qualifying at 6PM and the first race at 7:07PM. Get tickets at RockfordSpeedway.com or at the Rockford Speedway Box Office. Contact the Rockford Speedway at 815-633-1500 for more information. Below are some of the favorites for this special event.
#45 Rich Bickle, Jr. – The Midwest legend who started at Rockford Speedway in 1980 in a late model and rose all the way to the NASCAR Cup Series, Rich Bickle loves Rockford. The two-time National Short Track Champion headlines a strong group of contenders for the first Hugh Deery Classic. Bickle has chronicled his motorsports career in a new book, Barnyard to Brickyard. A limited number of books will be available and Rich will be signing them after the races.
#11 Alex Prunty – Few drivers have had a streak of success at Rockford Speedway like Alex Prunty. Prunty defended his 2017 NSTC victory in 2018 and joined the likes of Shear, Carlson, Trickle and Hoffman, among others, to earn multiple NSTC championships. Prunty currently finds himself third in points at Slinger Super Speedway. On his off week, he aims to claim another super Rockford victory.
#2 Michael Bilderback – Two-time Rockford Speedway NASCAR Late Model champion, Michael Bilderback built a new super late model for the 2019 season. The current late model point leader is looking to add a super late model win at his home track. The Crazy Times Pub and Grub ride is ready to carry Bilderback to victory lane.
#14 Austin Nason – The former Rockford Speedway sportsmen champion has risen through the ranks and currently is one of the premier super late model contenders in the upper Midwest. Claiming racing’s return to the Milwaukee Mile earlier this season, Nason finds himself second in ARCA Midwest Tour points only four markers behind leader Casey Johnson going into this weekend. Combine Nason’s Rockford history and his super late model experience, he is one of the top favorites for the inaugural Hugh Deery Classic title.
#119 Dalton Zehr – The 2018 ARCA Midwest Tour champion and former TUNDRA and CWRA champ, Zehr looks to tame the historic quarter mile in a rare Illinois appearance. Zehr has teamed with Beale Racing for the 2019 season as crew chief for John Beale, but has done double duty as driver in select events. Zehr’s Rockford history has been rocky, but he looks to right the ship and use the Hugh Deery Classic as a launching pad into September’s National Short Track Championships.
#X Jon Reynolds, Jr. – Two-time and defending Rockford Speedway NASCAR Late Model track champion wheels his dad’s super late model once again. Reynolds is looking to add one more Rockford super late model win to his ever-growing resume. He is on a roll capturing the last two late model feature events during weekly competition at Rockford.
#5 John Beale – “The real deal” John Beale is making a name for himself in the super late model ranks. The current Wisconsin Challenge Series point leader, Beale has raced to two wins so far this season at Marshfield Motor Speedway and State Park Speedway. He had a good run going in this year’s All-Star 100, but got caught in one of the many accidents. Beale looks for revenge this weekend.
#50 Jake Gille – Another former Rockford Speedway NASCAR Late Model champion who has climbed to the next level, the youngest Gille pilot has a dedicated super late model for the 2019 season. During his debut, Gille lead laps early in the All-Star 100, but fell out with a broken trailing arm bracket. Running a limited schedule, Gille has dedicated his team to all the super late model races at Rockford. He would like nothing more than carry his family’s name to the first ever Hugh Deery Classic win.
#17 Max Kahler – In only his second season of NASCAR Late Model competition at Rockford Speedway, the young racer is battling for wins on a weekly basis. Kahler has posted the fast time in all but one event this season. In his first ever super late model race, Kahler was one of only four drivers who finished all the laps in the wreck marred All Star 100. He is maturing and hopes his ride takes him right to victory lane.
#26 Chris Blawat – Currently sitting 11th in Slinger Super Speedway points, the Palmyra, WI pilot has competed in only eight features out of eleven, but raced to the top five in half of them. The Rockford high banks have not been overly kind to Blawat, but he looks to change that in this weekend’s contest. Blawat is one of the drivers racing the new Five Star Gen 2 body.
#29 Matt Berger – The Rockford Speedway NASCAR Late Model driver has a closet full of wins during weekly competition in multiple divisions, but the Machesney Park driver is looking for his first super late model win. Borrowing a car just this week from Predator Chassis’ Ron Bridges, Berger makes his return to racing in the Hugh Deery Classic. Always exciting, Berger is sure to have more than a few fans cheering him to glory.
#24 Jim Olson – The occasional Rockford racer will be one of five drivers pulling double duty. The Harvard, IL resident is looking for his first event win of the 2019 season.
#84 Jacob Vanoskey – Racing is deep in the blood of this young man. Competing at both Rockford Speedway and Slinger Speedway this season, Vanoskey’s program is getting faster and more consistent. He will be piloting two cars in two different divisions as well.
CONFIRMED ENTRIES - HUGH DEERY CLASSIC 99
SATURDAY, AUGUST 17, 2019
2 Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL
5 John Beale Verona, WI
9 Mike Coleman Rockford, IL
11 Alex Prunty Lomira, WI
14 Austin Nason Roscoe, IL
17 Max Kahler Caledonia, IA
24 Jim Olson Harvard, IL
26 Chris Blawat Palmyra, WI
29 Matt Berger Machesney Park, IL
40 Curt Tillman South Beloit, IL
45 Rich Bickle, Jr. Edgerton, WI
50 Jacob Gille Winnebago, IL
84 Jacob Vanoskey Hartford, WI
119 Dalton Zehr Verona, WI
X Jon Reynolds, Jr. Machesney Park, IL
Additional Entries are being confirmed.