ROUTE 66 MOMENTUM ROLLING AFTER SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NORTH CENTRAL DIVISION FINALS

Route 66 Raceway has much to be proud of after this year’s Summit Racing Equipment North Central Division ET Bracket Finals at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.

The track’s team claimed four awards – including the much-coveted National Dragster Team Spirit award – in one of the strongest showings the Chicago-area track has ever had.

Fueled by this year’s team motto “We’re on a Mission,” inspired by Blues Brothers “Joliet Jake” and Elwood Blues, Route 66 Raceway’s weekend started strong when the track’s Bike Champion, Donnie Banaski, won the Super Pro Bike category in the special race-within-a-race VP Racing Fuels Race of Champions.

“The entire staff is extremely proud of the strong performance by our Route 66 team,” said Craig Rust, president of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway. “Our racers work hard all year long and we could not be more appreciative of their efforts!”

Racers compete at each track in the NHRA North Central Division to qualify for the race. At the Finals, former competitors become teammates in the hopes of bringing home titles for their home track. Route 66’s team featured drivers from Illinois and Indiana.

Each driver competes in his or her category for points that are added together for a team score. Route 66 finished 16th with 24 points out of 22 tracks.

Al Wagner Sr., a Super Pro driver from Algonquin, Ill. claimed the Best Appearing Crew award. Plainfield, Ill.’s Joe Rivecco brought home the Best Appearing Car award in the Pro category.

Five of Route 66’s drivers advanced to the fourth round, including: Pro’s Ron Headrick, the track’s champion from Wilmington, Ill.; John Savarino (Ashkum, Ill.) and John Schmitz (Chicago) in Super Pro; and Banaski (Hobart, Ind.) and Tom Florey (Manteno, Ill.) in Super Pro Bike.

Scott Flounders, of Homer Glen, Ill. and Eva Henderson, of Lockport, Ill. represented the High School category. Flounders advanced to the third round.

Team drivers included: Dave Ancel; Todd Trench Sr.; Schmitz; Bill Hurst; Marty Gibson; Savarino; Bob Chase; Jerry Cotton; John Schober; John Beyer; Wagner; Headrick; Herman Zehnder; John Haut; Matt O’Connell; Rivecco; Matt Lambert; John Singleton; Ken Kamba; Johnny Robinson; Gino Cimarolli; Donald Mucker; Paul O’Keefe; Steve McDonald; Michael Slaviero; Steve Opielinski; Michael Pryka; Banaski; Bob Foster; Paul Waters; Florey; Greg Darm; Flounders; and Henderson.

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