Close to the finish line

By on August 15, 2014

Exclusive group of area drivers stake claim at Speedway

SYCAMORE—Friday and Saturday nights during the summer months bring a lot of action to Sycamore Speedway.

That atmosphere draws familiar and enthusiastic crowds, but only a handful of racers from the Elburn area.

Racers that include husband and wife Frank and Rebecca Stubitsch of Virgil and Anthony Hansford of Virgil have a real passion for hitting the Speedway grounds, with an added benefit of it being as close as you can get.

As a demolition derby and spectator class competitor, Hansford, of Virgil, takes Ford Crown Victorias to smash and Chevy Caprices to excel.

“I just turned 28 last week and I’ve been racing since 2005. I’ve been going to the Speedway forever,” Hansford said.

Hansford enjoys the close proximity, with a locally renowned track providing benefits other tracks cannot.

“I love the fact that it’s close to home,” Hansford said. “I used to drive up from Yorkville and that was still better than travelling out of state for six to 10 races each year.”

Hansford looks toward a future where it’s likely just one night of competition, rather than two, making the Speedway outpost a great option to burn rubber.

“The cost gets up there for fixing your vehicles and then you have to get them up to the truck, so I like that it’s close,” Hansford said.

Drivers from the immediate area and beyond give a sense of camaraderie, no matter their place of origin.

“A lot of my friends are from St. Charles and Sycamore, and they come up and see me race. The other drivers I compete with are like my family. We have our bumps and bruises but we’re a family,” Hansford said.

Hansford looks to get more involved with working on cars for C3 Racing out of Dwight, Ill.

The Stubitsch clan has been able to excel in this activity with success, and it was something that could have a level of participation for both.

“It’s something we started doing five years ago when we moved to Virgil from Elgin, Ill.,” Rebecca said.

In powder puff and spectator classes, Rebecca loves the benefits of racing so close.

“It’s three miles down the road, and it’s great. It takes you a little while to get used to racing on the weekends, but we love it. We checked it out when one of Frank’s friends did it and we tried it; it just snowballed from there,” Rebecca said.

In some of her races, the benefits to her cars are minimal, but the intangibles to the driver are many.

“It’s made me more able to try new things, where I wasn’t willing to before,” Rebecca said. “I want to try the 25-lap races more, because you actually have to try and go somewhere for a time.”

Frank has fixed cars like Chevy Malibus and driven Ford Crown Victorias during his weekend warrior time, and he has noticed changes, as well.

“It’s really nice to go out there as a couple, and I notice I’m calmer, actually, and there are some aggressive drivers out there,” Frank said.

An electrician, Frank finds that racing on the weekends is somewhat of another full-time job, but something he and his wife continue to enjoy—a thread going through most local drivers.

“You need to fix what’s wrong with your cars and haul both of them up to the track. But you pick up stuff and you learn to read the track,” Frank said.

“We’re pretty happy there,” Rebecca said.