Rockford Speedway is starting to feel like home for Wisconsin driver Jeremy Lepak.

Rockford Speedway is starting to feel like home for Wisconsin driver Jeremy Lepak.

He was fast-qualifier and won the 200-lap Super Late Model feature at the 2006 National Short Track Championships.

This weekend he tries to defend the title.

“It seems that my driving really adapts to that place,” he said. “I’ve run a total of five to 10 times there and every time I’ve had a really good run. I think only one time have I finished out of the top 10.”

Lepak believes other drivers will target him this weekend because of his 2006 success.

“Hopefully we can roll out of the trailer like we did last year and be good right away,” he said. ”That would be a big plus to the team.”

The premier race of the track’s three-day event will be different, though. The feature won’t be associated with a touring series. The CRA Super Series had sanctioned the race the past few years, but was scheduled to be replaced by the Wisconsin Challenge Series in 2007.

Track officials decided in August to drop the WCS and run the Super Late Model feature without a connection to a series.

“By going with a nonsanctioned event, we have attracted drivers from more tracks in our area like Slinger, Grundy and Illiana,” said Gregg McKarns, Rockford’s general manager.

Some of the top out-of-town drivers scheduled to compete are Frank Keyer, who has driven in the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series; Al Schill, the 1984 NSTC winner; Tom Smith, the Grundy County Speedway champion; and Larry Schuler, who finished third in the race last year.

The top area drivers include Steve Rubeck, who won the 2007 Spring Classic; Ricky Bilderback, Rockford’s seven-time track champ; Tom Gille, who finished second to Bilderback this season; and Dan Lensing, who placed fifth in last year’s race.

“Any of these guys is capable of winning on any given day, so I actually think the level of competition should be better this year,” McKarns said.

Driver loves racing, Packers

Jeremy Lepak of Wausaw, Wis., wishes he had a normal radio in his race car Sunday so he could listen to the Packers’ game while competing in the National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway.

“I think someone will have to give me updates every once in a while, for sure,” he chuckled.

“At Slinger (Super Speedway) a couple of weeks ago, the Packers were playing Philly. Everyone was getting the car ready and I was sitting in the semi listening to the game.”

Green Bay plays Minnesota at noon Sunday. Racing begins at 12:30 p.m.

“Any of these guys is capable of winning on any given day, so I actually think the level of competition should be better this year,” McKarns said.

Reporter Doug Goodman can be reached at 815-987-1386 or dgoodman@rrstar.com.

NSTC schedule
FRIDAY
5:30 p.m.: Qualifying for Weekly Warrior Late Models, All-American Sportsman, American Short Trackers, Roadrunners, Hornet/Bandit
7:07 p.m.: Qualifying races, American Short Tracker, All-American Sportsman, Weekly Warrior Late Models, Roadrunner, Hornet/Bandit; NSTC features, American Short Tracker, All-American Sportsman, Weekly Warrior Late Model, Roadrunner, Hornet/Bandit Challenge II.
SATURDAY
2:15 p.m.: Qualifying, Big 8 Series Late Models, USST Super Trucks, Super Late Models, Area Sportsman, Hobby Stox
5:05 p.m.: Big 8 Series heat races; qualifying races, USST Super Truck, Super L ate Model, Area Sportsman, Big 8 Series, Hobby Stox; NSTC features, USST Super Truck, Big 8 Series (two 58-lap features), Area Sportsman, Hobby Stox
SUNDAY
11:15 a.m.: Qualifying, Mid-American Series
11:30 a.m.: Fan autograph session
12:20 p.m.: Opening ceremonies
12:30 p.m.: Mid-American heats, NSTC features, Big 8/Local Short Track feature winners, Mid-American, Super Late Model