by Jason Luter
September 30, 2018 - Rockford, IL - Why settle for one, when two is so much sweeter?  That was

Alex Prunty’s thoughts in route to earning his second National Short Track Championship Sunday

afternoon at the Rockford Speedway.  Prunty joined the likes of Trickle, Shear, Carlson, Hoffman

and Lepak with successfully defending their NSTC win and was the first to do so in eleven years. 

But the title didn’t come easy.

Prunty’s strategy was to do what he had to do to get in the lead and save his equipment.  Starting

sixth, he charged to second quick.  Bettenhausen winner, Paul Shafer, Jr., took the early lead, but

Prunty was coming hard.  In just three laps, he was on Shafer’s bumper.  Prunty drifted high and

slid by Shafer on lap ten and never looked back.  “I told him to be aggressive, but not quite that

aggressive,” his spotter said in victory lane.

Prunty held the lead for the remaining 190 circuits and through six cautions including one with

ten laps to go when James Swan had a right rear tire go down and spun in turn one.  “My first

thought was ‘what are you doing James?  He normally doesn’t cause cautions.  But then I was

happy because we had to race for it’,” smiled Prunty in victory lane.  There was something to

prove.  “I know we won two in a row here, but people forget we also won the championship at

Slinger (Speedway) this year.  We have a good team.”

Runner-up Casey Johnson shared his strategy also.  “If you keep your head on straight, you can

usually run up front.”  Johnson, a former winner himself, races hard.  “I tried to get him the clean

way, but it didn’t happen.”  Johnson came from deeper in the field and methodically worked his

way to battle for the win.

The driver who passed the most cars was Carson Kvapil.  Kvapil had to start shotgun on the field

after a post-qualifying inspection violation.  Taking advantage of the cone style restarts, Kvapil

worked his way into the top five by halfway.  After the break, he charged third behind Shafer. 

Kvapil used a pass reminiscent of his dad during his years at Rockford Speedway to get by

Shafer and two laps later, Shafer collected the turn one wall and ground to halt to end his day.

Kvapil’s charge fell short with about fifteen laps to go with a puff of smoke.  In the final stages

while Prunty was battling Johnson, Kvapil fell victim to Brian Johnson, Jr and Grant Griesbach

who finished fourth.  Griesbach was able to battle back from an earlier incident which forced

him to the rear.  Johnson, Jr lamented in victory lane, “A top three finish is good, but I really

wanted to win.  I’ve tried for twenty years to win this race and couldn’t do it.  This is likely my

last one.”

It wasn’t Prunty’s last effort.  “I’m glad we are winning.  I am happy to follow in my uncle’s footsteps, but want to make a name for myself.”  With back to back National Short Track Championship wins, his name is in the record books forever.  And that is something his uncle has not achieved.​




1. Alex Prunty, Lomira, Wis; 2. Casey Johnson, Edgerton, Wis; 3. Brian Johnson, Jr., Machesney Park; 4. Grant Griesbach, Waukesha, Wis; 5. Carson Kvapil;; 6. Rich Bickle, Madison, Wis; 7. Josh Nelms, Lockport; 8. Jeremy Spoonmore, Leland; 9. Jon Reynolds, Jr., Loves Park; 10. Mike Beyer, Machesney Park; 11. Jim Olson, Harvard; 12. Jacob Vanoskey, Hartford, Wis; 13. James Swan, Genoa City, Wis; 14. Jeff Holmgren, Jr, East Troy, Wis; 15. Paul Shafer, Jr, Portage, Ind.; 16. Jacob Gille, Winnebago; 17. Alex Papini, Rockford; 18. Brad Mueller, Random Lake, Wis; 19. Mike Meyerhofer, Burlington, Wis; 20. Curt Tillman, Rockton.


September 30, 2018 - ROCKFORD, IL - A former NSTC 200 champion, veteran hot shoe Steve Rubeck battled through the vintage field and captured his second NSTC in the division.  After claiming the lead from last year's NSTC champ Pat "Hacksaw" Heaney, Rubeck drifted high and Heaney jumped back into the lead.  It was short lived, however, as Rubeck powered back to the point and cruised to the win. 

20 lap FEATURE --  1. Steve Rubeck, Rockford; 2. Pat "Hacksaw" Heaney, Greenfield, Wis; 3. Franc Beldowski, Rockford; 4. Joe Darnell,
Machesney Park; 5. Cody Houseweart, Machesney Park; 6. Brian Ashmore, Silvis; 7. Dick Kath, Janesville, Wis; 8. Jeremy Clement, Cedar
 Rapids, Iowa.