(September 22, 2023 - Kankakee, Ill.) Friday night at the Kankakee County Speedway marked the conclusion of track promoter Billy Knippenberg Jr's second year at the helm of the 1/4-mile dirt oval facility and with that six track champions were crowned and will be honored and celebrated at the annual awards banquet to be held at the Kankakee County Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall on Saturday, January 27, 2023.
For the second year in a row and overall, Matt Hammond of Bourbonnais, IL captured the Romar Transportation UMP Pro Late Model title by notching his second straight victory of the season. It was the third win in the last four weeks for Hammond and his 11th career victory in the division moving him into solo third on the all-time Pro Late Model wins list.
In total Hammond (1164) competed in 19 events, scoring three triumphs, 15 top fives, and 18 top tens.
Austin McCarty (1091) would finish second on the season followed by Ben Kirchner (938), Amber Crouch (936) and Dan Kuhn (730)
In the CR Towing UMP Modified division it was veteran driver Jamie Lomax of Lake Village, IN earning his fourth track championship, securing that honor several weeks ago. It marked the fourth time Lomax has laid claim to the top spot since he won his first track championship in 2012.
Lomax netted five wins on the season to go along with 14 top fives and 15 top tens in 16 events entered. Lomax has now amassed 32 career wins which ranks him third all-time behind only Nick Allen's 40 and Mike McKinney's 35. He also ranks tied with Joe Weaver and Todd McGarr for 15th all-time in the history of Kankakee County Speedway.
The top five in track points were Lomax (1021), McKinney (870), Braiden Bohlmann (764), Jason Hastings (694) and Steven Brooks (575).
The 3 Sons Auto Salvage UMP Stock Car track champion was again Jerrad Krick of Earl Park, IN having earned his first title last year. Krick's consistency has been his recipe for success over the years as his record this year clearly indicates. Krick tallied four wins on the year, along with 16 top fives and 17 top tens in 17 events entered. Krick now has 18 total career wins at Kankakee which ranks him tied for 11th all-time with Dave French and Joe Brown Jr. in the division while also ranking tied with five others for 52nd all-time in the history of Kankakee County Speedway.
Krick is also currently the national points leader in the UMP Stock Car division heading into the UMP Fall Nationals this weekend at Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, IL.
Finishing behind Krick (1147) in the final points rundown were Don Hilleary (1044). Austen Hubbard (865), Cody Clubb (827) and Steve Perkins (722).
The Express Powersports UMP Factory Stock track championship came down to the final night of the season between two drivers, Lee Joseph Hall and Trevor Bitterling. Hall of Oxford, IN came into the night with a 20 point margin over Bitterling and early on it looked as if Bitterling of Star City, IN might have things under control, but it was the sixth starting Hall who bided his time and kept his nose clean to hound Bitterling until finally moving past him midway through the 20-lap season finale.
Hall would go on to score an emotional win, his fifth of the season, and earn the same track championship his late father Lee J. Hall won a season ago. Hall honored the memories of his late father Lee J., mother Felicia and younger sister Madison, who were killed by a drunk driver late last season, with three Polish victory laps.
With the five wins Hall sits in a tie for third all-time in UMP Factory Stock wins with Sheldon Oberle and Austen Hubbard. On the season Hall also attained 14 top fives and 16 top tens in 17 entered events.
The top five in points were Hall (1066), Bitterling (1041), Nathan Arterberry (1007), Hayden Lomax (855) and David Hurst (798).
For the second consecutive year and third time in the past four seasons, Deece Schwartz of Ashmore, IL continued his dominance in the Miller Hydraulic UMP Pro Modified division. Schwartz rolled to 11 feature victories in 2023 and has now been victorious 25 times in the 42 features ran since the Pro Modified division began. Schwartz obviously ranks number one in the UMP Pro Modified ranks but has now put himself into solo 32nd on the all-time wins list amongst all drivers in the history of Kankakee County Speedway. Schwartz also joined a very elite group of drivers becoming just the 9th driver in the history of the speedway to claim victory more than eleven times in a single season.
In 17 events entered, Schwartz also earned 16 top fives and 16 top tens on the season.
Behind of Schwartz's (1201) points were Ryan Kohler (1095), Pete Argianas (973). Curtis Caldwell (933) and Meara Tilstra (773).
Lastly, in the First Place Oils UMP sport Compact division it was "The Travelin' Man" Jimmy Dutlinger of Peoria, IL earning his first ever track championship in his first season at Kankakee by scoring seven wins on the year, coupled with his 16 top fives and 17 top tens in 17 total events entered. With the seven triumphs, Dutlinger already sits tied with Skylar Antonelli for 15th on the all-time UMP Sport Compact wins list.
Even more important than his track championship here at Kankakee, Dutlinger has all but secured the 2023 UMP Sport Compact national championship.
Finishing behind Dutlinger's (1170) points, were David Lauritson (1076), Evan Eckhoff (1017), Joshua Wright (1004) and Dale Kohler (914).
The staff of Kankakee County Speedway would like to extend our gratitude to all of our marketing partners, race teams, race fans, employees and volunteers who have continued their support of the Speedway this year and everything we do to keep the racing spirit alive and well here in Kankakee County.
2023 Kankakee County Speedway Track Champions
Pro Late Models - Matt Hammond, Bourbonnais, IL (2nd title)
Modifieds - Jamie Lomax, Lake Village, IN (4th title)
Stock Cars - Jerrad Krick, Earl Park, IN (2nd title) (Leading National Championship Points)
Factory Stock Cars - Lee Joseph Hall, Oxford, IN (1st title)
Pro Modifieds - Deece Schwartz, Ashmore, IL (3rd title) (Leading National Championship Points)
Sport Compacts - Jimmy Dutlinger, Peoria, IL (1st title) (Leading National Championship Points)