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Max Kahler wins the NSTC at the Rockford Speedway

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Max Kahler wins the NSTC at the Rockford Speedway
Casey Kahler photo

Max Kahler wins the NSTC at the Rockford Speedway

By Scott Leber

It was an ideal day for racing at the Rockford Speedway. The drivers for the Super Late Model National Short Track Championships feature posed with members of the Deery family before the main event. Then it was time to race for 200 big laps.

South Beloit’s Michael Bilderback in the number two car won the Big 8 Series race earlier in the day, so he was going after a huge double.

Jon Reynolds Jr. of Loves Park in the X car got nudged into the wall in turn two early by Landry Potter of Twin Lakes, Wisconsin in the 5 car, so Reynolds Jr. retaliated by backing into Potter’s car during a caution to bring out a black flag.

On lap 130 the 2 car of Dale Nottestad of Cambridge, Wisconsin spun out. Jacob Vanoskey of Hartford, Wisconsin behind him took the brunt of the damage from a collision.

On lap 140 Max Kahler of Caledonia gave a little nudge to the number 2 car of Bilderback. Kahler took the inside path to move in front of Bilderback. But it didn’t look like either one had a chance to catch up to the front two cars of Roscoe’s Austin Nason in the 14 car and Alex Prunty of Kewaskum, Wisconsin in the 11 car. With only two laps to go as they headed into turn one they made contact. Prunty got sent into the wall and both cars got sent to the back of the pack.

After the restart it was the Caledonia kid Max Kahler being aggressive again nudging Nottestad for inside position. Kahler moved ahead and was in the clear coming out of turn two, and he brought the 17 car home for the checkered flag. Max Kahler at age 17 becomes the first teenager since Mark Martin in 1977 to win the National Short Track Championship. He won despite having issues with the car the night before in the shop.

“If you would have talked to me this morning and said we’d be in victory lane or anywhere close or top three I would have told you no way,” said Kahler. “We had some issues yesterday. First of all the car was no good. We couldn’t get a handle on the car and then the ignition switch went out and didn’t have a spare one. Didn’t have time to fix it at night so we just parked it for a minute and hopped in our Big 8 Late Model for the rest of the night and tried to get that thing dialed-in and this morning we ran the Big 8 show and finished fifth I believe. This definitely makes up for that but it’s just, I can’t believe it.”

“Last year it (the NSTC) was over before it started going, the throttle stuck through the fence over there, so this makes up for all that and it’s just incredible.”

“I can’t thank everyone enough all my sponsors Windsor Auto Sales, Machinery Source LLC, Trump-Cabello, Candlelight Chicago, everyone else that helps me in the pits it’s just, it’s incredible! I’m so proud, so happy to be here right now and so proud of all my guys who helped me. It’s incredible!”

As for his racing moves to get by Bilderback and then Nottestad, Kahler said the situation called for aggressive racing.

“Yea, you know, I kind of let everyone run me over all day. I never used anyone up except for Dale there at the end, but it’s the last lap. He used me up two or three times. He had to see it coming. There’s no way you can be mad about that. It was a good race. Most of all I stayed clean. I stayed out of trouble and that’s the key here, and luckily enough we were in second place coming to the white flag and I got it done.”

Bilderback finished in second place capping off a big day for him as well.

By Scott Leber | Nexstar Inc WTVO/WARF | Oct 4, 2020

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