Photos courtesy of Jess Riedner
The loyal supporters of Madison International Speedway had to wait until August for the first race of the year, but the wait was worth it as they witnessed one of the closest finishes ever at the track as Michael Bilderback of South Beloit, Illinois, edged Zack Riddle of Oregon, Wisconsin, by inches in the second NASCAR Late Models feature on Friday night.
The “Drive In” style event saw fans remaining with their vehicles either on the concourse or in the infield giving them a slightly different perspective of the action. But one thing at Madison remained the same and that was highlighted by the last lap of the night.
Riddle, a two-time track champion at Madison, joined Stephen Scheel and Bilderback as the early leaders. Riddle passed Bilderback for second on lap 3 and then took the lead on lap 4 when he worked his way past Scheel. Three laps later defending champion Bobby Wilberg joined the top three when powered his way past Scheel while things were heating up in a spirited battle for fifth between Jacob Goede and Brent Edmunds.
Out front Riddle was able to build a two car length lead over Bilderback as the race continued under green flag conditions. The big question at this point was whether or not Bilderback or anyone else would have enough time to catch the leader.
With five laps to go it was clear that the Illinois driver was cutting into Riddle’s lead, but time was running out.
Bilderback was down to one last chance to get past Riddle and it came on the final turn of the final lap. A successful bump and run allowed him to get ahead of the leader as the two drag raced down the stretch to the finish line with Bilderback picking up the win by inches over Riddle in one of the tightest finishes at Madison in many years. Scheel, Wilberg, and Goede completed the top five.
“We put on a helluva show for the fans tonight,” said Bilderback who also thanked the McKarns family for putting the event together.
Jacob Goede of Carver, Minnesota, won the first 25 lap feature for the NASCAR Late Models.
Brady Liddle and Bobby Wilberg had the honors of leading the eighteen car field to the green flag. The two battled side by side followed closely by Jon Reynolds Jr. and Jacob Goede. On lap 4 Liddle took a slight advantage with Wilberg taking the lead one lap later. The pair built an eight car length lead over Goede who had moved up to third. Wilberg’s lead over Liddle grew to four lengths after ten laps, but Goede was the car on the move taking second from Liddle one lap later.
Goede was on Wilberg’s bumper on lap 14 and took the lead coming out of turn four. Moving up quickly was Brent Edmunds who was running third behind Goede and Wilberg.
But out front Goede was building up a solid lead over Wilberg who had his hands full with the hard charging Edmunds. Edmunds was able to work his way past Wilberg with two laps to go but nobody was going to catch the speedy Goede. Liddle finished fourth with Zack Riddle rounding out the top five.
“It definitely took a lot to get going, but once it did it really worked well,” said Goede. “It’s great to see the fans come out to support the track and the McKarns family.”
Zack Riddle was quickest in qualifying with a lap of 18.439 (97.619 mph)
Edwards Back in Victory Lane at Madison
Defending champion Dave Edwards of Salem, Wisconsin, won the 25 lap feature for the Dave’s White Rock MISfitz.
Bobby Frisch jumped out to the early lead in the MISfitz 25 lap feature. Tim Wondrash passed Frisch for the lead on lap 3 with Dave Edwards and Chris Wangrow running side by side for second. On lap 8 Edwards powered by Wondrash on the backstretch to take the top spot.
From there it was a two car battle between Edwards and Wangrow with Edwards picking up the win by a car length.
“It was great. We made an adjustment for the feature. It was a great time tonight,” said Edwards who thanked the McKarns family for this racing opportunity.
Dave Edwards set fast time with a lap of 20.077 (89.655 mph). The eight lap heat race was won by Ray Hellenbrand.
Three in a Row for DeLacy
Brandon DeLacy won the 25 lap feature for the Midwest Dash Series and for the third straight season won the Badger Cup.
Madison Hall of Famer Rich Bickle Jr. alongside Josh Rusch paced the field to the green flag with Rusch showing an early burst of speed to take the lead. John Handeland was up to third by the second lap and took the lead from Rusch one lap later.
But on the move was quick qualifier Kyle Stark who was up to second on lap 4 with Brandon DeLacy right behind him in third. On lap 6 Stark and DeLacy both worked their way past Handeland to take the top two positions.
The caution flag waved on lap 9 for a spin in turn two.
For the restart Stark and DeLacy would line up side by side. DeLacy vaulted out to the lead after winning the sprint to turn one against Stark. Unfortunately for Stark he was forced to the pits with mechanical issues. This allowed DeLacy to build a sizeable lead over Malouf and Bickle Jr. Lyle Phillips moved into third on lap 15.
DeLacy was cruising out front building a huge lead over Malouf whose best hope seemed to be a caution flag. But nobody was going to catch the leader as he easily led the rest of the way to pick up the win. Rounding out the top five were Malouf, Phillips, Handeland, and Justin Pearson.
“It’s awesome to win three in a row here. There is so much history. I have to thank the McKarns family for letting us race here tonight,” said DeLacy.
Kyle Stark set a new track record in qualifying with a lap of 20.979 (85.800). Rich Bickle Jr. and Stark took home the wins in the eight lap heat races.
Next racing action at Madison will be Friday, August 28th when the ARCA Midwest Tour comes to town for the Howie Lettow Classic 100. They’ll be joined on the racing program by the Midwest Trucks and 602 Late Models.
NASCAR Late Models
Feature 1 25 Laps
1. 72G-Jacob Goede; 2. 87E-Brent Edmunds; 3. 28W-Bobby Wilberg; 4. 18L-Brady Liddle; 5. 14R-Zack Riddle; 6. 2MB-Michael Bilderback; 7. 4S-Stephen Scheel; 8. X-Jon Reynolds Jr; 9. 12M-Nick Murgic; 10. 15R-Pat Richgels; 11. 37R-Seth Reamer; 12. 19H-Michael Haggar; 13. 12B-Billy Baumeister; 14. 97S-Kyle Smith; 15. 99W-Phillip Wuesthoff; 16. 99D-Hunter Drefahl; 17. 32D-Paul Dygon; 18. 8S-Shaun Scheel
Feature 2 25 Laps
1.2MB-Michael Bilderback; 2. 14R-Zack Riddle; 3. 4S-Stephen Scheel; 4. 28W-Bobby Wilberg; 5. 72G-Jacob Goede; 6. 87E-Brent Edmunds; 7. 15R-Pat Richgels; 8. 37R-Seth Reamer; 9. 19H-Michael Haggar; 10. 97S-Kyle Smith; 11. 99W-Phillip Wuesthoff; 12. 99D-Hunter Drefahl; 13. 32D-Paul Dygon; 14. 12B-Billy Baumeister; 15. 12M-Nick Murgic; 16. 18L-Brady Liddle; 17. X-Jon Reynolds Jr
1. 14R-Zack Riddle; 2. 72G-Jacob Goede; 3. 87E-Brent Edmunds; 4. X-Jon Reynolds Jr; 5. 12M-Nick Murgic; 6. 28W-Bobby Wilberg; 7. 18L-Brady Liddle; 8. 8S-Shaun Scheel; 9. 15R-Pat Richgels; 10. 2MB-Michael Bilderback; 11. 4S-Stephen Scheel; 12. 37R-Seth Reamer; 13. 99W-Phillip Wuesthoff; 14. 19H-Michael Haggar; 15. 97S-Kyle Smith; 16. 12B-Billy Baumeister; 17. 99D-Hunter Drefahl; 18. 32D-Paul Dygon
Dave’s White Rock MisFitz
A Feature 1 25 Laps
1. 5E-Dave Edwards; 2. 31W-Chris Wangrow; 3. 2H-Tyler Hansen; 4. 84W-Tim Wondrash; 5. 92F-Bobby Frisch; 6. (DNS) 78H-Ray Hellenbrand; 7. (DNS) 4T-Mike Taylor
1.78H-Ray Hellenbrand; 2. 5E-Dave Edwards; 3. 31W-Chris Wangrow; 4. 2H-Tyler Hansen; 5. 84W-Tim Wondrash; 6. 92F-Bobby Frisch; 7. 4T-Mike Taylor[4
1. 5E-Dave Edwards; 2. 4T-Mike Taylor; 3. 78H-Ray Hellenbrand; 4. 92F-Bobby Frisch; 5. 84W-Tim Wondrash; 6. 2H-Tyler Hansen; 7. 31W-Chris Wangrow
Midwest Dash Series
Feature 25 Laps
1.119D-Brandon DeLacy; 2. 32M-Phil Malouf; 3. 35P-Lyle Phillips; 4. 19H-John Handeland; 5. 19P-Justin Pearson; 6. 92R-Josh Rusch; 7. 41B-Ashley Bell; 8. 19O-Ronnie Osborne; 9. 21E-Tyler Edmundson; 10. 37J-Chris Jackson; 11. 51B-Rich Bickle Jr; 12. 57E-Mark English; 13. 192S-Kyle Stark Heat 1
1. 51B-Rich Bickle Jr; 2. 35P-Lyle Phillips; 3. 19O-Ronnie Osborne; 4. 92R-Josh Rusch; 5. 41B-Ashley Bell; 6. 21E-Tyler Edmundson; 7. 37J-Chris Jackson Heat 2
1. 192S-Kyle Stark; 2. 32M-Phil Malouf; 3. 19H-John Handeland; 4. 19P-Justin Pearson; 5. 57E-Mark English; 6. 119D-Brandon DeLacy Qualifying 1
1. 192S-Kyle Stark; 2. 119D-Brandon DeLacy; 3. 19H-John Handeland; 4. 32M-Phil Malouf; 5. 57E-Mark English; 6. 19P-Justin Pearson; 7. 92R-Josh Rusch; 8. 51B-Rich Bickle Jr; 9. 41B-Ashley Bell; 10. 35P-Lyle Phillips; 11. 19O-Ronnie Osborne; 12. 37J-Chris Jackson; 13. 21E-Tyler Edmundson