Thursday, April 10, 2014

1989 - Shear remains king of Rockford Speedway

Rockford, Ill. (April 10, 1989) - They don’t call him “Joe Rockford” for nothing. 
For the past 20 years, Joe Shear has ruled the Rockford Speedway, winning a countless number of races there. Sunday, the driver from Clinton added another by capturing the 12th-annual ARTGO Spring Classic late model stock car race at the speedway.
As in the past, Shear was dominant on the paved one-quarter mile raceway. This time, however, the job was a bit easier as he started the race from the pole position.
“The track was really cold when we qualified today,” said Shear, in reference to the 32-degree weather and the unusual starting grid spot. 
“I just couldn’t get a hold of the track because the tires were so cold. Once the race got going, the tires heated up and when they did, the car really went.” 
Shear didn’t take the lead immediately in the 89-lap event as the other front row starter, Don Leach of Beloit, got the drop on the green flag and Shear to assume the top spot.
Shear calmly tucked in behind Leach, working the bottom groove while looking for an opening. Leach obliged on lap six, sliding up the raceway in turn one. Shear quickly steered by and wasted little time leaving Leach and the rest of the field in his wake.
“This car has a brand new Lefthander chassis and I want to tell you, it works,” said Shear. “I could just put the car anywhere I wanted to, even in traffic.”
Back in the pack, Green Bay’s Scott Hansen was working through the field from his ninth starting position. The day's top qualifier with a time of 13.492, Hansen was struck to the bottom of the racetrack, moving into the sixth position by lap 10. 
“There were some guys that gave me a pretty good run, but it just took me too long to get through the pack,” said Hansen. “My car was working just great down on the bottom and I could pretty much do whatever I wanted to do. 
Ten laps later, Hansen’s Buick Regal was battling Leach for the runner-up spot. Meanwhile, Shear had run off to nearly a half of a lap lead and was already lapping some of the backmarkers that started the 22-car event 
By the time Hansen got by Leach on lap 36, Shear was long gone. In the end, only Hansen was on the lead lap, as Shear breezed to the win by nearly three-quarters of a lap.
“I knew with Joe starting up where he was, I’d need a miracle to catch him,” said Hansen. “The race went green all the way, which I was surprised to see. Maybe if we'd have had a caution somewhere in there, I’d have been able to do something with him.”
“Seems like second place at Rockford and me get along pretty good,” added Hansen. “I was second in the National Short Track Championships here last fall and while I'd have liked to win today, while I’d have liked to win today, starting out the season place finish in the first race of the year is still okay.
Leach held off Steve Holzhausen of Bangor and Dousman’s Conrad Morgan over the last three laps to take third place with Kevin Cywinski, Steve Carlson, Tim Fedewa, Terry Baldry and Dennis Lampman rounding out the top 10.
“I really love racing here,” said Shear of the Rockford oval. “This is where I started racing and I’ve always felt comfortable here."
Results –

  1. Joe Shear
  2. Scott Hansen
  3. Don Leach
  4. Steve Holzhausen
  5. Conrad Morgan
  6. Kevin Cywinksi
  7. Steve Carlson
  8. Tim Fedewa
  9. Terry Baldry
  10. Dennis Lampman
  11. Jeff Finley
  12. Al Schill
  13. George Prziborowski
  14. John Olson
  15. Jerry Wood

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