Route 66 Raceway Enjoys Banner 2017 Race Season

NHRA Route 66 Nationals, Burndown at Sundown, Route 66 Classic highlight an exciting year at The World's Premier Drag Racing Venue


The curtain has fallen on Route 66 Raceway’s 2017 race season, marking yet another exciting year of action on the first true stadium of drag racing.


All eyes were on The World’s Premier Drag Racing Venue July 6-9 as the world’s greatest drag racers stormed into Route 66 Raceway for the 20th Annual Fallen Patriots Route 66 Nationals presented by K&N. In the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Steve Torrence capped off the weekend with his 13th-career win in Top Fuel and his first at Route 66 Raceway. Ron Capps brought home the win in Funny Car, his first at Route 66 Raceway since 2005. In Pro Stock, Drew Skillman won his first race at Route 66 Raceway and first of the season. LE Tonglet, who came into the finals as the top qualifier and ET track record holder, won in Pro Stock Motorcycle.


Crowning Route 66 Nationals champions on Sunday was the culmination of a record-breaking event that saw track records fall in both Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle. During Friday Night on Fire qualifying, Robert Hight blistered down the track, toppling both Funny Car track records. His 3.851 mph at 334.73 rewrote the records in both time and speed. During Saturday PSM qualifying, LE Tonglet set the speed record at 6.805 and Hector Arana Jr. set the mph track record at 197.33.


During JEGS Allstars competition, an event featuring the nation's best sportsman racers, the North Central Division brought home the title. Route 66 Raceway just so happens to be a North Central Division track and we were proud to crown the home team as champions on their home turf.


Route 66 Raceway once again played host to the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, one of six events in the North Central Division and one of 45 scheduled across the country where drivers earn points leading to divisional, regional and national championships as well as a chance at a share of a year-end purse. Amplifying the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series was the Four Seasons Heating Air Conditioning and Pluming Burndown at Sundown! As the sun set behind Route 66 Raceway, fans were treated to jet-propelled, fire-breathing dragsters approaching speeds of 300 miles per hour.


The seventh running of the D’Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic underwent an enhancement of epic proportions this year with an unprecedented level of content that not only paid homage to early drag racing and hot rod culture but presented a quarter-mile blast down memory lane for historical enthusiasts. Fans left the world of 2017 when they entered the gates and were propelled into the era of poodle skirts, pin-up girls and sock hops. The big victory of the day featured John Lawson’s Runaway defeating Tom Motry’s Drastic Plastic in the nitro-fueled headliner. Tom Raider took home the Run Tuff Eliminator Championship in his 1970 Chevrolet Nova.


Grundy County knotted the score in the D’Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic Grudge Match, winning five of six races. The biggest winners of the evening however were the 12 charities selected by each of the Grudge Match competitors to benefit from their participation.


Route 66 Raceway, packed with Will County and Grundy County fans, once again played host to this cross-county showdown on the quarter-mile. Defending Grudge Match Champion Will County was denied their repeat from just a year ago. Grundy County came out swinging as they won the first four consecutive races before Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk gave Will County their lone win. The final showdown of the night was a repeat of last year between States Attorneys Jason Helland (Grundy County) and Jim Glasgow (Will County). Helland, who won the matchup last year, picked up the win by one tenth of a second with an ET of a 15.4 at 94.60 mph in his 2017 GMC Sierra Denali provide by D’Arcy Buick GMC.


Grudge Match Results

Mayor of Joliet Mayor O’Dekirk (Miracle League of Joliet) def. Mayor of Morris Dick Kopczick (Grundy Resource Organization)

Morris Police Chief John Severson (Morris Police Benevolent Society) def. Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton (Easter Seals Joliet Region)

Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffes (Team Make A Difference) def. Joliet Fire Deputy Chief Greg Blaskey (Muscular Dystrophy Association

Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan (Grundy County PADS) def. Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley (Special Olympics Law Enforcement Touch Run)

Grundy County States Attorney Jason Helland (Coal City Soccer Club) def. Will County States Attorney Jim Glasgow (Will County Children’s Advocacy Center)

Will County Executive Larry Walsh (United Way of Will County) def. Grundy County Executive Chris Balkema (Grundy County Community Foundation)


On the heels of last year’s Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket Series, which saw 25 different winners in five classes, this year produced 22 winners in seven races. Kenny King started his Super Pro season with his lone win and ran consistently throughout the entire season, securing the championship over Jerry Cotton by just two points.


Although John Haut didn’t pick up a win on his way to the Pro ET championship, he was the model of consistency, securing the title by 18 points.


Steve Flounders Jr. earned his first Sportsman championship with the series’ largest points margin of the season at 99, winning two of the seven races.


In Pro Bike, Tom Ewig captured three wins en route to his championship. He went on to earn a berth in the Division III ET Bracket Racing Series Finals in Indianapolis, where he beat the entire field. His victory in Indianapolis then earned him a spot in the Summit Racing Series National Championship in Pomona, California.


High School Eliminator racer Julie Nettles also captured three victories and the championship.


Race 5 at Route 66 Raceway featured the King of the Track, where the day’s winners in Super Pro, Pro ET, Sportsman and Pro Bike faced one another in a two-round battle for bragging rights. Troy Bogner, representing the Pro ET Class, cut a .000 light to claim victory over Super Pro’s Jay Allen in the championship round.


2017 Rockett Brand ET Bracket Series Champions

Super Pro: Kenny King

Pro ET: John Haut

Sportsman: Steve Founders Jr.

Pro Bike: Tom Ewig

High School: Julie Nettles


The future of drag racing once again showcased their skills at Route 66 Raceway with the Jr. Drag Racing League’s five-race series. The Jr. Sportsman Class was a one-kid show with Cooper Hamelen sweeping all five races. The Jr. Modified was anything but a runaway as the class produced five different race winners in Samantha Senko, Liz Manaseri, Ryan Elberts, Tori Trench and Nate Kelly. Kelly came into the season finale needing to win, and that’s exactly what he did to capture his championship.


Kelly went on to win the Division III 13-17 year-old Race of Champions in Ohio, representing Route 66 Raceway.


Spring kicked off a series of Test &Tunes presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts events, giving racers an opportunity to make the quarter-mile sprint down Route 66 Raceway.


Race fans were treated to the head-to-head racing between the National Mustang Racers Association (NMRA) and the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) in the 12th Annual Nitto Tire Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing. Following a win in 2016, Team NMCA fell 9-5 at the hands of the NMRA. Manny Buginga’s shootout win clinched the Super Bowl victory for the NMRA and Charlie Booze Jr. added insult to injury when he captured the final paring against Chevrolet Performance Stock.


Hailed as the most innovative import series in the U.S., Import Face-Off headlined their first of two events with quarter-mile drag racing in the trendiest of cars, trucks and bikes, set to the backdrop of burnout contests, sound-system contest and various vendors and more.


Before Import Face-Off made its final stop at Route 66 Raceway, the ninth annual Swap Meet was held under sunny skies with Midwesterners exchanged their goods and displayed their pride and joy in the Show N’ Shine.


The complete 2018 Route 66 Raceway will be announced shortly so stay tuned to Renewals for the 2018 NHRA Route 66 Nationals are around the corner for the May 31-June 3 event. Not only has this year’s race been moved up one month, it will also mark the track’s 20th anniversary.

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500 Speedway Blvd
Joliet, IL 60433
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