2016 Route 66 Raceway Season Recap

It was a record-breaking year at the strip on 66

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JOLIET, Ill. -- It was another action-packed year at Route 66 Raceway. At the world’s premier drag racing facility, we like to heat things up. But that’s not how 2016 started. The year was kicked off with the Hollywood Casino Joliet Snocross National in March. Before claiming his record 10th Pro National Championship, Tucker Hibbert, who is regarded as the Michael Jordan of the sport, was victorious in the Pro Class at ISOC National tour at Route 66 Raceway. Once the snow melted, it was time to fire the engines and burn rubber. Test and Tune presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts and the Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket Series in April started a year of excitement on the asphalt.

Racers and fans alike were treated to a year of fantastic Bracket Series competition with close competition and championship battles that came down to the last race of the season. This year there were eight races scheduled with seven completed. In addition, there were also six Jr. Drag Racing League races. In the big cars, there was a potential of 35 winners, and there were 25 different winners in the five classes.

Of the possible 12 winners in two classes, seven different winners took home top honors. In all the big car classes, it was Sportsman driver Paul O’Keefe that set the bar with three wins. In the Juniors, it was Braden Bowden with four wins to lead all winners in both Jr. classes.

Some of the highlights of the season include Mike Rozin winning on his father’s birthday, Dominic Bowden winning a race on the same day as his son, Braden, Mike Murray winning King of the Track, Nate Kelley doubling up on the same day winning High School and Jr. Modified, Ricky Pena (who hadn’t signed up for points) winning two races and finishing 2nd four times and finally, former Jr. driver Nichole Medeisis winning her first race in the big cars (Super Pro). It was a great season!

Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket Series Class Winners

Super Pro: Mike Rozin

Pro: Don Dumdie

Sportsman: Paul O’Keefe

Bike: Dan McCarten

High School: Tyler Lawson

Modified Jr.: Allison Furman

Sportsman Jr.: Braden Bowden

In May, the first of two Import Face-Off events took place. In addition to the quarter-mile drag racing, fans were treated to a car, truck and bike show, sound-system contests, a model expo, burnout contests, DJ’s, vendors and more in May. May also served as the opening Race Your Ride presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts events.

The highlight for June was Four Seasons Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing Burndown at Sundown! featuring the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Saturday night, June 20, we set the night on fire with jet cars and wheel-standers before Top Alcohol driver Jay Payne and Top Alcohol Dragster driver Brandon Booer won their respective Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series trophies the following day.

July played host to the K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals where “Fast” Jack Beckman won his first race of the season and first-ever in Chicago. Top Fuel’s Antron Brown picked up his third win of the season and his third at Route 66 Raceway. Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners in their respective categories at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Route 66 Raceway. It was a record-setting weekend as we saw five of eight Route 66 Raceway NHRA track records fall. We witnessed the fastest funny car field in history as 13 of 16 qualifiers broke the four-second barrier.

Next up, the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing closed out the month of July as modern day muscle cars provided plenty of exciting entertainment. The annual D’Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic lit up the August night as the first-ever Grudge Match between dignitaries from Will and Grundy Counties squared off for city and county bragging rights. The eventual winner was Will County, setting the stage for some Grundy County revenge in 2017. The participants granted a combined $21,000 to their respective charities.

Grudge Match Results

  1. Will County Executive Larry Walsh (Racing for United Way) def. Former Grundy County Board Chairman David Allen Welter (Racing for Big Brothers Big Sisters)
  2. Grundy County States Attorney Jason Helland (Racing for Morris Cruise Night) def. Will County States Attorney James Glasgow (Racing for the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center)
  3. Will County Sherriff Mike Kelley (Racing for Special Olympics) def. Grundy County Sherriff Kevin Callahan (Racing for Big Brothers and Big Sisters)
  4. Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffes (Racing for Pink Heels) def. Joliet Fire Chief Joe Formhals (Racing for Muscular Dystrophy Association)
  5. Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton (Santa’s Cops) def. Morris Police Chief Brent Dite (Racing for Special Connections of Grundy County)
  6. Mayor of Joliet Bob O’Dekirk (Miracle League) def. Mayor of Morris Richard Kopczick (Racing for Grundy Resource Organization) def.

September continued with more Race Your Ride presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts events before the Route 66 Raceway Swap Meet closed out the Route 66 Raceway event schedule in October.

Just East of Route 66 Raceway, the Dirt Oval showcased the TORC – Off Road Truck series, the wildly popular Team Demolition Derby, Monster Mayhem, Crash Fest and the Eve of Haunted Destruction. Stay tuned to www.Route66Raceway.com for the complete 2017 schedule.

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