HOLLY, Mich. – The Must See Racing Sprint Car Series presented by Engine Pro enters Rockford (Ill.) Speedway this weekend with a greater purpose than simply holding its penultimate event of the year.
The 410ci winged asphalt sprint car tour will honor one of its longtime faces who tragically passed away during the offseason.
J.D. Wilbur, who was the chief starter for Must See Racing from its inception until his death last November, will be remembered during the Saturday portion of National Short Track Championship weekend at the high-banked quarter-mile oval, the series track closest to Wilbur’s Illinois home.
The “J.D. Wilbur Rumble for the Record,” a king-of-the-hill, elimination-style time attack battle which will see the top 16 cars from hot laps battle for an $800 prize and also set qualifying times for Sunday’s portion of the program, will be named in the longtime flagman’s honor, a fitting tribute to his legacy.
“We knew going into this season that we wanted to do something special to honor and remember our friend J.D.,” said Must See Racing President Jim Hanks. “We can think of no better way to do just that than to tribute him by naming Saturday’s Rumble for the Record in his memory at his home track.
“J.D. is missed every day by all of us at Must See Racing, but his legacy lives on and we hope that this weekend’s action at Rockford brings joy to all those in the industry that he touched over the years.”
Prior to his time with Must See Racing, Wilbur was well-known in the motorsports industry for his time in American open wheel racing, serving as a starter for the CART FedEx Championship Series (later Champ Car) for many years.
Saturday’s Rumble for the Record – a format previously used by Must See Racing several years ago at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway – will feature the top 16 cars on speed from Saturday’s hot lap sessions.
Those 16 cars will then make standard two-lap qualifying runs, with the fastest eight drivers from the round moving on to the next elimination segment.
That process will be repeated two more times, trimming the contenders down to four and then to two, before the final pair standing duels for “King of Quick Time” honors in the championship round.
The driver who wins the final round of the Rumble for the Record will be guaranteed a minimum of $800, with a potential $200 bonus on hand if that driver breaks the Rockford track record of 11.380 seconds (79.086 mph), set by Jacob Wilson on July 3, 2011.
A driver’s fastest lap, regardless of round, will be used to pay out series championship points for qualifying and to set the lineups for Sunday’s heat races and the 54-lap main event.
Expected entrants for the Rockford weekend include four-time defending series champion Jimmy McCune, who took over the point lead last time out at Jennerstown; his nephew Anthony McCune; National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Jeff Bloom; Charlie Schultz, who nearly won at Rockford last summer; Canadian Ryan Litt and Brian Gerster, Must See Racing’s all-time fast qualifier over its 10-year history.
Gerster ruled the last Rumble for the Record at Berlin in 2017, setting what was – at the time – a new track record in the No. 50m RAM Engineering-sponsored sprint car for Dick Myers Racing.
Pit gates at Rockford open at 8:30 a.m. CT on Saturday, with hot laps rolling off at 11 a.m. CT and the first round of qualifying beginning at 2:15 p.m. CT. The remaining rounds will start at 5 p.m. CT.