A Look Back at a Memorable Season of Racing at Route 66 Raceway
History was made during the 15th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals when Erica Enders became the first woman to win in the Pro Stock category of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. New emerging events including the Route 66 Classic and Downright Diesels were introduced to join established special events including the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing as well as the Burndown at Sundown!
The introduction of the Friday Nights at 66 Test & Tune program opened with a bang on Memorial Day weekend with jet car night, later featured two nights of Chicago Outlaw Super Stock racing and a “Race the Cops” Beat the Heat night. The Tri-Chevy, Frankfort and Manhattan car clubs all hosted cruise-ins during the Friday Nights at 66.
We had the distinct honor of hosting the NHRA Illinois Drag Racing State Championships, exclusive to Route 66 Raceway in 2012. The champions included Dave Ancel (Super Pro), Michael Roppo (Pro), Paul O’Keefe (Sportsman), Paul Waters (Pro Bike) and Jimmy Merritt (High School). We continued to host the NHRA National Dragster Challenge, awarding coveted Wallys to John Woolwine (Super Pro), Frank Valencia (Pro), Marvin Cresson Jr (Sportsman), Bob Foster Jr (Pro Bike), David Lyons (High School) and Mike Olenick (Top Sportsman). Al Wagner Sr (Super Pro) won the prestigious Summit NHRA King of the Track, ousting contenders Michael Roppo (Pro), Anthony Riley (Sportsman) and Greg Darm (Pro Bike).
The Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket Series Track Champions are Dave Ancel (Super Pro), Michael Roppo (Pro), Marvin Cresson Jr (Sportsman), Bob Foster Jr (Pro Bike) and Matthew Maciejewski (High School).
Mike Olenick collected two race wins and later captured the Top Sportsman track championship during the Route 66 Classic.
Todd Trench Jr and Brandon Loeschen captured the Junior Modified and Junior Sportsman track championships respectively. NHRA Illinois Drag Racing State Champions in the Junior Dragster ranks were Marc Hammock (Modified) and Taylor Maher (Sportsman). NHRA Junior Drag Racing League Challenge winners were Tori Trench (Modified) and Darcy Ancel (Sportsman).
Several organizations participated during weekly programs including the Midwest Super Comp Series, Car Chix and a Fast Dragster pilot program.
Facility improvements included a new, state-of-the-art PA System and world-class LED scoreboards among many subtle but necessary improvements to maintain a world class motorsports facility.
The Route 66 Raceway dirt oval saw its share of hard hitting and high flying action, with five nights of Team Demolition Derby and two nights of the Traxxas TORC Series before a packed house, every night.
Team Reckoning collected a repeat championship in a season that included Military Appreciation Night, a race for breast cancer awareness with a ladies only team demolition derby, Stars of the Cars night with a huge fireworks display, scout night and amateur night.
The off-road action of the Traxxas TORC Series returned for the third straight year before a packed house. Action sports and television star Travis Pastrana joined the likes of Ricky Johnson, Johnny Greaves and Bryce Menzies for the Traxxas TORC Series event that has come to be known as “Baja Invades Chicagoland.”
Thank you race fans and racers for your continued support and participation in the events we held in 2012. We look forward to 2013 and welcoming you back to Route 66 Raceway for another exhilarating season of racing.