‘FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS’ AND ‘WISCONSIN’S FASTEST HALF MILE’ AWAIT BIG 8 LATE MODELS!
By: Eric Huenefeld
Back on June 28th, rained ruled the night at Madison International Speedway.
When those rains set in, both MIS track officials and Big 8 Series officials were forced to postpone the traditional Fourth of July week program, which included the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet and the huge Thundercat Fireworks display. Thankfully, all parties were able to find a suitable make up date for the “Salute to America” program, and the ‘Best Weekly Warriors in the Country’ will be back at ‘Wisconsin’s Fastest Half Mile’ this Friday night, August 2nd, looking to ‘light up the night.’
For the 13th time in series history, the Big 8 Late Models will battle on the high banked half-mile oval located just south of Wisconsin’s capitol city. The best drivers the Big 8 Series has to offer will compete in the ‘Salute to America 48’ lap Late Model feature, looking to add their name to a long list of winners at the historic southern Wisconsin speedway.
The Big 8 Late Model Series is just one week removed from their most recent event, a Friday night tilt at State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin. On that chilly Friday night, Edgerton’s Casey Johnson set the fastest time among 35 Late Models and later motored to the front of the field en route to his second straight Big 8 Series win. Along with his success along the Big 8 Series trail this season, Johnson also has won at Jefferson Speedway while bagging Round One of the Super Late Model ‘Triple Crown Challenge’ at Madison back in June.
Last year’s Madison International Speedway track champion Dale Nottestad will be one of the favorites to win Friday night’s 48 lap main event. Nottestad, who also claimed the 2004 track championship at MIS, is a former Big 8 winner at the track and sits second in the current Big 8 Series points, behind Johnson. Nottestad is also a four-time feature winner this season at Jefferson Speedway and sits just four points out of the points lead at ‘Wisconsin’s Action Track’, despite missing one night of racing.
Multi-time Madison champion Bobby Wilberg is looking to get his Big 8 season headed in the right direction Friday night. Last Sunday, Wilberg finished fourth in the latest ‘Triple Crown Challenge’ Super Late Model event at MIS and may have momentum on his side. Several other drivers with Madison experience are also on the entry list, including Shane Morrissey, who last week was the Late Model feature winner at Dells Raceway Park. Madison favorites ‘Flyin’ Ryan Goldade and “Pastor Don” Wickstrum will return to the half mile Friday night, along with Menomonie Falls native Andy Evraets and Waukesha’s Kevin Knuese
There are a host of other drivers who have captured track championships throughout the region who have yet to capture a Big 8 checkered flag and will be looking to do so Friday night. Those names include Dan Lensing and Rich Schumann Jr, both former champions at Dells Raceway Park and J Herbst, a two-time champion at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway. Schumann, the current Dells Raceway point leader, finished fifth in last Friday’s Big 8 event in Wausau. Herbst, a multi-time feature winner at LaCrosse this year, returns to Big 8 action Friday night after a hard impact with the turn four wall ended his night last week in Wausau.
Young hard chargers like 2012 Big 8 Rookie of the Year Jesse Bernhagen, 2012 Rockford Speedway Rookie of the Year Austin Nason and former Slinger Nationals LLM winner John DeAngelis Jr have also filed their entries and will try their hand against the Big 8’s best this Friday night.
Joining the Big 8 Late Model Series on card will be the Midwest Trucks and the IMCA Vintage Racers. After the races, the famed “Thundercat Fireworks” Display will light up the night sky. Pit gates open Friday afternoon at 3:30 PM, with rotating practice starting at 4:45 PM. Qualifying, including Quartermaster Time Trials for the Big 8 Late Models presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, will begin at 6:08 PM. Green flag racing commences at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $15.00 (Ages 13 and up), $5.00 (Ages 6-12), Free for 5 and under
For more information on Madison International Speedway, call 608-835-9700 or visit www.madisoninternationalspeedway.com. For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series, check out www.big8series.com.
BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES
Pre Entries (as of 8/1/13)
Salute to America 48
Madison International Speedway
1K- Jody Krueger Edgerton, WI
2- Tim Sargent South Beloit, IL
5- Dave Edwards Salem, WI
5- Casey Johnson Edgerton, WI
6K- Gary Krueger Edgerton, WI
07- Cory Kemkes Appleton, WI
7- John DeAngelis Jr. Hubertus, WI
7- Don Wickstrum Monroe, WI
X- Jon Reynolds Jr. Rockford, IL
12- Bill Baumeister Lake Geneva, WI
14- Austin Nason Roscoe, IL
17- Eric Connell Fort Atkinson, WI
18- Mike Ehde Prairie Du Chein, WI
19- Dan Lensing Poplar Grove, IL
21- Shane Morrissey Cuba City, WI
23- Casey Strese Johnson Creek, WI
23- Brian Ulrich Union Grove, WI
28- Jesse Bernhagen Stevens Point, WI
28- Jake Finney Sycamore, IL
28- Bobby Wilberg Beloit, WI
33- Kevin Knuese Waukesha, WI
39- Danny Church Williams Bay, WI
39- Ryan Goldade Stoughton, WI
46- Tom Jasinski Pewaukee, WI
49- Andy Evraets Menomonie Falls, WI
51- Dale Nottestad Cambridge, WI
52- Steve Dobbratz Rio, WI
54- Rich Schumann Jr. Portage, WI
71- John Ovadahl Jr Watertown, WI
82- J Herbst West Salem, WI
87- Jay Foster De Kalb, IL