MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The late owner of the Rockford Speedway Hugh Deery was remembered Saturday night, fittingly with a major race
Deery, who passed away in 1984, would have been 99 years old on Sunday. So in honor of the Rockford Speedway’s longtime owner a 99 lap super late model race was held the inaugural Hugh Deery Classic.
13 cars started the race. Driving the 45 car was former NASCAR Cup racer Rich Bickle Jr. who got his start racing in Rockford in 1980. It was a clean race until lap 85. That’s when South Beloit’s Michael Bilderback in the number two car tried to get by leader and two-time defending National Short Track Champion Alex Prunty. Bilderback made contact spinning Prunty’s 11 car toward the infield. Bilderback was sent toward the back of the pack snuffing out any shot at victory for either racer.
Then on lap 93 six cars went out in a crash in turns three and four leaving seven cars still running.
Winnebago’s Jake Gille in the number 50 car quickly took the lead after a restart. It was Bickle Jr. in second pushing him, but Gille took the checkered flag with Bickle Jr. finishing second.
“This means so much for me growing up here to win the first one I think my family is going to enjoy this. I enjoy it,” said Gille. “That was a hell of a race!”