Route 66 national snocross recap and photo gallery

Here’s a recap from the 2015 Hollywood Casino Snocross National in Joliet, Illinois

by Austin Calderone

David Joanis snocross racer flies through the air in a race.
David Joanis flying high above the drag strip on an Arctic Cat mod sled during Pro Open practice. This rhythm section contained a huge triple, doubles and massive rollers. Austin Calderone photo

Last year, for the first time in race history, the U.S. national snocross race circuit made its way to Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, on February 20 and 21, 2015. This snocross track was built on top of the drag strip area of the raceway. It was definitely a different perspective to see Route 66, as I had been there a handful of times when I was younger to watch the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) drag racing series. It was pretty cool to be back at the raceway, yet with a very different perspective.

Logan Christian snocross racer powers through a corner in a race.
Logan Christian of Christian Brothers Racing, based in Fertile, Minnesota, smashes through the elevated corner during his Pro Open practice on Friday. The snow was falling hard throughout the day, making it pretty hard to see the course. Austin Calderone photo

From an aerial view, the right side of the course had the finish line, along with a giant triple and rhythm section, and the left side of the course contained massive rollers, which took out a few racers throughout the weekend.

Kyle Pallin snocross racer with a big smile on his face holding a trophy.
Kyle Pallin was super stoked on his podium finish on Saturday night, especially since he took a third place podium on Friday as well. This is what pure happiness and excitement looks like. Austin Calderone photo

Friday was bitter and cold, with strong flurries off and on for most of the day. This left a lot of fresh powder throughout the track, which made for some great photos of riders blasting through the corners and spraying snow outwards. Additionally, many riders were trying different lines through the rhythm section after the finish line and many of the Pro Open riders were hitting the triple, which catapulted them high above the course. Some of the Pro Lite riders also took this line, but very few Sport riders attempted this tactic. The Pro Open Final was the last race of the night, where Tucker Hibbert took first place, Canadian racer Tim Tremblay took second place and Kyle Pallin took third place.

The weather on Saturday was significantly better. The sun was out for parts of the day, and it felt much warmer. I recall taking my jacket off at one point, and a lot of the track workers were in T-shirts. I spent a lot of time on Saturday with my good friend, Grant Glashagel, back at his site, and at his teammate Keagan Bachara’s site as well.

Bachara, who raced in the Junior 14-15 class, ended up crashing during his final, due to a broken suspension component, and Gashagel crashed during his heat as well, after leading in first. He ended up finishing the race and received a seat in the last-chance qualifier, but he ended up withdrawing from the race due to pain, which was later determined to be due to a fractured tailbone.

Grant Glashagel snocross racer sitting on his green sled.
Grant Glashagel waits in staging for his Sport heat. During this heat race he was in first, and ended up overshooting a jump, causing him to injure his tailbone and remain out of the races for the rest of the evening. Austin Calderone photo

The Pro Open final later that evening yielded Tucker Hibbert taking home first place again, Logan Christian with second place and Kyle Pallin with third place.

What to watch for this year

On March 4 and 5, 2016, Route 66 Raceway will once again play host to the ISOC National snocross series. For more information and tickets, see the Hollywood Casino Snocross National webpage.

The series will then head north to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, for Nielsen’s Snocross Grand Finale on March 18 to 20. For more info, see the webpage.

Both races will include action-packed racing along with battles for second and third place in the Pro Open points standing. There will also be big battles in the Pro Lite and Sport classes, as the current top three points positions are very close and can easily shift throughout a weekend of racing. Check back for snocross galleries from both events on SnoRiders.

John Stenberg snocross racer takes the outside line in a race.
John Stenberg takes the outside line of the corner leading up to the finish line during his practice session. If you look closely, you can see his eyes fixed on the prize. Austin Calderone photo
Jake Scott jumps through a corner during a snocross race.
Jake Scott jumping through the corner during his Pro Open practice session. This outside line was very popular amongst the racers, not many rode the inside line. Austin Calderone photo
Tim Tremblay snocross racer leans to the inside of his black sled in a snocross race.
Canadian racer Tim Tremblay leans far off the side of his sled to maintain his momentum through the corner. Austin Calderone photo
Tucker Hibbert powers past the audience in an Illinois snocross race.
Champion and points leader, Tucker Hibbert, soars past the crowd during his heat race. Hibbert took home a win from the Friday and Saturday night final. Austin Calderone photo

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