Bilderback, Thiering clinch Speedway crowns

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LOVES PARK, Ill. - It was a big night for South Beloit drivers as Michael Bilderback and Josh Thiering both captured season championships last Saturday night at Rockford Speedway on "Night of Champions."

Between divisional champions, Dash Series champions and Rookies of the Year, eight different drivers walked away with high honors on Saturday night.

• LATE MODELS: Bilderback became the first driver since Jerry Gille in 2008 and 2009 to repeat as a Late Model Track Champion at Rockford Speedway, thanks to another solid season behind the wheel.

Bilderback, who has won more races than any other Late Model driver at Rockford Speedway over the course of the last three seasons, used his four victories over the summer months to win the championship by 33 points over Matt Berger.

Along with a division-leading four feature wins, Bilderback also picked up the Fast Dash Series championship and the NASCAR State Championship.

Berger finished the season with two victories, while Jon Reynolds Jr. also captured two wins and a third place finish in the final standings. Max Kahler, 14, completed one of the most impressive rookie campaigns in recent memory, with a fourth-place finish in the final standings aided by his historic feature win in June.

Equally impressive were Jake Vanoskey and Dennis Smith Jr. Vanoskey, who made the long trip weekly from Hartford, Wis., ended his season fifth and locked up the Rookie of the Year, while Smith finished sixth in points as a rookie, notching his first-ever Late Model win in mid-August.

Nine different drivers winning a Late Model Feature was the highest number of feature winners in one year at the track since 2009.

• ROADRUNNERS: Josh Thiering had a season to remember, winning 10 of the 18 total Roadrunner features contested on Wednesday and Saturday nights.

Already crowned the Wednesday Night Roadrunner Series champion, Thiering clinched the Saturday night Roadrunner championship a week early and won the title by an incredible 68 points. To add to his terrific year, Thiering also claimed the Fast Dash championship for 2017.

Richie Schinderling finished second, his best-ever points finish. Schinldering, along with third-place Chad Lounsbury and fourth-place Adam Cartwright, collected two Roadrunner wins each, while Kevin Memoli finished the regular season fifth.

• SPORTSMAN: No one was more consistent than Chad Smith (Davis Junction, Ill.) and it showed in the year-end standings. Smith scored a 32 point victory over an almost equally consistent Johnny Robinson II to secure his first-ever Speedway title.

Smith was a two-time feature winner during 2017 and collected more fast times than any other driver in the Sportsman division. To go with all of those accolades, Smith was also the winner of the Dash Championship for the 2017 season.

Robinson won more races than any other driver in the Sportsman division during 2017, collecting four trophies on his way to a runner up points finish. Howie Ware, a one-time feature winner in 2017, came home third and Brian White was fourth.

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