Photos courtesy of JR Photography
Wilberg, Cottone, and Dahlberg Winners Too
Casey Johnson (Big 8 Late Models), Bobby Wilberg (602 Late Models), Ralph Cottone (Upper Midwest Vintage Series), and Jayden Dahlberg (HSRA) were all winners at Madison on Finish Line Towing / Racers’ Reunion Night.
A group of forty former racers were on hand for the Madison Racers’ Reunion and were able to meet the fans and shake hands with all of the drivers during pre-race introductions for the Big 8 Late Models.
Casey Johnson Best of the Big 8 Late Models
Casey Johnson took the lead on lap 22 and won the Racers’ Reunion 48 for the Big 8 Late Models. It was the series’ twentieth race at Madison dating back to 2005.
Jeff Holmgren Jr. and Dale Nottestad had the honors of bringing the talented field of twenty-three Big 8 Late Model drivers to the green flag. From his outside position, Nottestad was able to clear Holmgren Jr. to take the lead and open up a six car length advantage over Ryan Goldade. Goldade quickly cut into Nottestad’s advantage and closed the gap to two lengths after four laps. The duo checked away from the field with Nick Egan, Jon Reynolds Jr., and Casey Johnson in pursuit.
On lap 14, Bobby Wilberg broke into the top five when he passed Reynolds Jr. A lap later Casey Johnson powered his way into third place. Goldade took the lead on lap 17 with Johnson also getting by Nottestad who was off the pace and dropped to fifth on lap 21.
On lap 22 Johnson slid to the inside of Goldade coming out of turn three to take the lead shortly before the caution flag came out on lap 23 for a spin on the backstretch. Johnson would be followed by Goldade, Wilberg, Egan, and Jeremy Miller. But now it was “cone” time.
Johnson would lead the field back to the green all alone with Goldade choosing the inside and Wilberg the outside in the second row with Egan and Miller lining up side by side in row three. Following the waving of the green flag, Wilberg moved up to second followed by Miller, Goldade, and Egan. Johnson opened up an eight car length lead over Wilberg. On lap 30, Miller passed Wilberg to take the second position but was nearly fifteen lengths behind Johnson.
Johnson’s biggest challenge with ten laps to go was working around lapped traffic which he was able to do successfully. The only thing that could slow Johnson down at this point would be a caution flag. And with four laps to go that’s exactly what happened when two cars got together right in front of Johnson. The good thing was he avoided making contact, but the bad thing was his large lead disappeared when the caution flag waved.
Now it was time for the second restart. Johnson would be out front by himself with Miller on the inside and Wilberg on the outside of the second row with Goldade and Austin Nason in the third row. Time for a four lap shootout on Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-Mile.
Johnson was able to keep the field behind him after the green flag waved with Miller getting back to second followed by Wilberg, Goldade, and Reynolds Jr. Johnson’s lead grew to six car lengths but another caution with two laps to go would take that away and set up another restart.
It was now green, white, checkers time and it would be another great start for Johnson who jumped back out to a two car length lead while Miller and Wilberg battled it out for second with Miller getting the advantage. But out front it was all Casey Johnson who raced his way to victory lane.
“We’ve run this car twice and won twice. It was fun running with all of these guys again,” said Johnson. “Once I heard the caution flag came I just said ‘Let’s do it.’”
Heat races were won by Ryan Goldade, Jon Reynolds Jr., and Dale Nottestad. Johnson set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 18.648 (96.525 mph).
Bobby Wilberg Wins a Thriller in the 602 Late Models
After going to the back of the pack on lap 14, Bobby Wilberg fought his way forward to the front and took home the win in the 25 lap feature for the 602 Late Models. It was his second win of the season in the division.
The front was comprised of Rick Coppernoll and Jason Stark. Stark was able to get a half car lead over Coppernoll with Carlson on the outside looking in from third. On lap 3 Coppernoll was able to take the lead getting by Stark on the inside. Stark and Carlson were in a tight battle for second which allowed Coppernoll to increase his lead just before the caution flag waved for a spin on lap 5.
Carlson’s lead was down to two car lengths with three laps to go. With one lap to go, Wilberg looked to the inside of Carlson and raced down the backstretch to take the lead and pick up the checkered flag.
Coppernoll paced the field back to the green flag followed by Stark, Carlson, and Bobby Wilberg. On lap 6 Wilberg was able to overtake both the second and third place cars and set his sights on the leader who had a four car length advantage. Coppernoll, Wilberg and Carlson distanced themselves from the field until disaster struck on lap 11 when the cars of Wilberg and Coppernoll got together coming out of turn four bringing out the caution and sending both drivers to the back of the field and making Carlson the new leader.
Carlson brought the field back to the green and opened up a two car length lead over Stark as the field raced around the half-mile in straight alignment. Moving up from the end of the line was Wilberg who climbed his way back into third with nine laps to go. On lap 19 Wilberg motored his way past Stark to take second with two lengths to go in order to catch Carlson.
Wilberg was closing fast while Carlson was narrowly hanging on to his lead. With one lap to go, Wilberg worked his way to the inside of Carlson and the two drag raced down the backstretch with Wilberg getting the advantage and picking up the win.
Wilberg, who was driving a Johnny Ziegler tribute car, was joined by the Madison Hall of Famer in victory lane.
Tom Carlson won the heat race. Bobby Wilberg set fast time with a lap of 19.081 (94.335 mph).
Ralph Cottone Gets Vintage Win
Ralph Cottone won the 12 lap feature for the Upper Midwest Vintage Racing Series.
Chris Matz and Johnny Vaasch brought the field to the green flag. But it was Ralph Cottone who wasn’t about to wait and he quickly raced out to the lead followed by Brian Lee and Ken Baum. The trio built up a large lead over their fellow competitors. On lap 5 Lee looked to take the lead from the outside coming out of turn three but was unable to do so which allowed Cottone to pick up a six car length advantage.
On lap 11 the caution flag came out for a car in the wall in turn four and the race was called “complete” giving Cottone the win. Lee, Baum, Bob Fitzpatrick, and Mark Beinlich completed the top five.
“We just bought this car this year. My brother bought it and I get to drive it,” said Cottone in a post race interview.
Four Straight for Jayden Dahlberg
Jayden Dahlberg won the 15 lap feature for the High School Racing Association.
Jackson Martindale and Ashtin Whitt brought the field to the green flag. Jake Mathison took the early lead and held the top spot for the first twelve laps as he was able to keep the quick Dahlberg at bay. On lap 13, Dahlberg could wait no longer and tapped Mathison causing him to spin into the infield and allowing him to take the lead and race the final laps to the checkered flag.
“This place is fun,” said Dahlberg.
Jayden Dahlberg won the heat race.
Racing continues at Madison on Friday, August 6th for Union 464 Night with the NASCAR Late Models, Dave’s White Rock MISfitz, Pellitteri Waste Systems Bandits, and Roto Rooter 6Shooters all in action. There will also be bike races and bike giveaways for the kids plus an autograph session. Grandstands open at 6:00 with qualifying at 6:15 and racing at 7:30.
Big 8 Late Models
Feature: (1-10) Casey Johnson, Jeremy Miller, Bobby Wilberg, Ryan Goldade, Austin Nason, Jon Reynolds Jr,. Brent Edmunds, Nick Egan, Dale Nottestad, Jerry Mueller
(11-20) Landry Potter, John Beinlich, Mitch Haver, Zach Braun, Pat Richgels, Mike Lloyd, Randy Sargent, Tyler Hromadka, Jake Vanoskey, Hanna Raley
(21-24) Paul Dygon, Jerry Stafford, Grant Brown, Jeff Holmgren Jr.
Heat One: (1-8) Ryan Goldade, Casey Johnson, Bobby Wilberg, Randy Sargent, Jeff Holmgren Jr.,Grant Brown, Zach Braun, Mike Lloyd
Heat Two: (1-8) Jon Reynolds Jr., Landry Potter, Jeremy Miller, Nick Egan, Jerry Mueller, John Beinlich, Tommy Hromadka, Mitch Haver
Heat Three: (1-8) Dale Nottestad, Austin Nason, Jake Vanoskey, Pat Richgels, Brent Edmunds, Jerry Stafford, Hanna Raley, Paul Dygon
Qualifying: (1-10) Casey Johnson, Jeremy Miller, Austin Nason, Bobby Wilberg, Nick Egan, Brent Edmunds, Ryan Goldade, Jon Reynolds Jr., Dale Nottestad, Jeff Holmgren Jr.
(11-20) Jerry Mueller, Pat Richgels, Randy Sargent, Landry Potter, Jake Vanoskey, Grant Brown, John Beinlich, Jerry Stafford, Mike Lloyd, Mitch Haver
(21-24) Hanna Raley, Zach Braun, Tyler Hromadka, Paul Dygon
602 Late Models
Feature: (1-8) Bobby Wilberg, Tom Carlson, Jason Stark, Ray Hellenbrand, Brian Johnson Sr., Colton Morgan, Rick Coppernoll, Chris McQuality
Heat One: (1-8) Tom Carlson, Ray Hellenbrand, Bobby Wilberg, Jason Stark, Brian Johnson Sr.,Rick Coppernoll, Colton Morgan, Chris McQuality
Qualifying: (1-8) Bobby Wilberg, Tom Carlson, Ray Hellenbrand, Jason Stark, Rick Coppernoll, Brian Johnson Sr., Colton Morgan, Chris McQuality
Upper Midwest Vintage Racing
Feature: (1-10) Ralph Cottone, Brian Lee, Ken Baum, Bob Fitzpatrick, Mark Beinlich, Justin Jessup, Ray Burrows, Jay Bozart, Chris Matz, Butch Mierendorf
(11-12) Ken Hutchens,Paul Dolphy
Heat One: (1-7) Justin Jessup, Ray Burrows, Bob Fitzpatrick, Chris Matz, Butch Mierendorf, Paul Dolphy, Johnny Vaasch
Heat Two: (1-6) Ralph Cottone, Brian Lee, Ken Baum, Mark Beinlich, Ken Hutchens, Jay Bozart
Feature: (1-4) Jayden Dahlberg, Jake Mathison, Ashtin Whitt, Jackson Martindale
Heat One: (1-4) Jayden Dahlberg, Jake Mathison, Ashtin Whitt, Jackson Martindale