ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The final season of racing at the Rockford Speedway is underway. It started Sunday with the 46th annual Spring Classic.

There was racing in three divisions. The first feature race was the Bandit Blast, a 25-lapper. It was won by Dick Schmidt.

Then came the Mid-American 40-lap feature. Josh Nelms of Lockport won that one.

Next up, the big 88-lap feature for the Big 8 Series racers. A field of 18 cars took the track. It included five previous Spring Classic winners. One was last year’s champion Max Kahler in the WTVO 17 car. He started in the seventh spot.

Machesney Park native Alex Papini made it all the way back from his new home in Pensacola, Florida to race in the 02 car that Ricky Bilderback made famous.

It was a clean race for the most part. Jeremy Miller of Rockford in the number 5 car was in command leading by a quarter of a lap with five laps to go. That’s when Jeremy Mueller spun out in the 49-car bringing out the caution.

That tightened the field for the restart, Miller couldn’t hold the lead. Dale Nottestad in the 2-car passed him up on lap 85. Kahler now in second was pushing to try to take the lead when he got nudged from behind by Miller and spun out on lap 86.

Nottestad of Cambridge, Wisconsin cruised through the final two laps for the win. Jon Reynolds Jr. took second and Papini third. This is the third time Nottestad has won the Spring Classic. He was the Big 8 Series champion last year, and now he grabs the series lead again.

“It’s pretty unbelievable,” said Nottestad. “I never really thought it would happen. I wasn’t sure I was going to come down, and a bunch of guys talked me into it so, so we came. It’s awesome! I love racing here!