An exciting NASCAR Weekly Racing program, high quality special events all with the best drivers in the Midwest combined for another great year of racing at Madison International Speedway in 2017.
Here’s a look back at the weekly racing program plus all of the special events.
Two in a Row for Bobby Wilberg
Bobby Wilberg won for the second straight season in the Whelen All American NASCAR Late Models. He now has a total of 13 championships at Madison in five different divisions and when combined with the seven crowns at Rockford has a total of twenty track championships in his career.
The chase for the championship went down to the final night (September 1st) of the season as Wilberg and Jeremy Miller were neck and neck in the standings with twin features on tap. After the first race Wilberg led Miller by one point meaning that whomever finished higher in the second feature would be the champion. Unfortunately for Miller, mechanical issues in the second feature ended his hopes for a title.
Wilberg finished the season with 1089 points and picked up three feature wins. In eleven feature starts he finished in the top 5 in ten races. Miller finished second with 1041 points and two victories while Zack Riddle was third with two wins and 987 points. A pair of rookies, Will Rece (827), and Brian Beale (793) rounded out the top five.
Other feature winners included Rece, Beale, Michael Bilderback, and Nick Panitzke. Miller led the way in qualifying by setting fast times on five nights including the fastest lap of 18.485 turned on August 4th.
Riddle was the overall winner in the RA Heating and Air Conditioning Dash Series with 45 points including four wins.
Rece was Rookie of the Year for the division.
Back to Back Titles for Robert Hansberry Jr.
Robert Hansberry Jr. made it two in a row in the Dave’s White Rock Sportsman. His 2017 championship gives him four overall titles at Madison with previous championships coming in 2011, 2012, and 2016.
Hansberry Jr. finished the season with 1149 points fueled by a division high five feature wins that gives him an all-time total of 18 victories. He also finished in the top five ten times out of eleven races. Mike Taylor was runner-up after winning a pair of feature events and tallying 1071 points. Completing the top five were Trevor Robinson (908), Ray Hellenbrand (887), and Tim Wondrash (840).
Other feature winners were Jason Thoma (2), Trevor Robinson, and Chris Weber. Hansberry Jr. also led the way in qualifying by setting fast time on five nights which included the fastest qualifying lap of the season (19.854) on August 4th.
Hansberry Jr. won the RA Heating and Air Conditioning Dash with 38 points.
Bryan Hellenbrand was Rookie of the Year.
Dave Schmidt Wins First Madison Track Championship
Dave Schmidt was the “King of the Ring” for 2017 as he picked up the title in the Pellitteri Waste Systems Bandits.
Schmidt won five features enroute to his championship as he finished with 1080 points outdistancing runner-up Dan Snyder who finished with 994 points. Both Schmidt and Snyder finished in the top five in all ten feature events. McKayla Adams finished in third place with 913 points followed by Steve Dickson (829) and Lyle Phillips (827).
Dickson notched three feature wins with Snyder and Nick Schmidt each picking up a checkered flag. Dave Schmidt led the way in qualifying with five fast times including a new track record set on August 4th when he toured the “Ring” in 14.751 seconds.
Powered by four wins, Dickson won the RA Heating and Air Conditioning Dash Series. Dickson and Schmidt each tied with 36 points, but Dickson won on a tie-breaker with a 4-2 advantage in wins.
6Shooters are All About Fun
Madison’s very own Roto Rooter 6Shooters took to the Ring of Fire for their third season in 2017. This “For Fun” division features six cylinder cars that easily be converted into “race ready” with no more than $500-$700 invested.
Trevor Chilson, Ken Morris and Mike Bollinger each picked up a pair of feature wins while Don Ledwidge also took home a checkered flag.
Dan Fredrickson Wins Super Late Model Triple Crown Challenge
Fredrickson made the long haul to Madison worth it in 2017 as he picked up the overall championship for the three race Super Late Model Triple Crown Challenge. Fredrickson won the June race while Rich Bickle Jr. took the win in July and Paul Shafer Jr. captured the victory in the Howie Lettow Classic in August.
Fredrickson finished with 355 points followed by Bickle Jr. (285), Shafer Jr. (284), Travis Sauter (254), and Bobby Wilberg (252).
The Minnesota driver became the fifth different Triple Crown Challenge winner in the six year history of the event. He joins an impressive list that includes Casey Johnson (2), Nathan Haseleu, Chris Wimmer, and Jeremy Miller.
Special Events Add to the Excitement
A wide variety of special racing events added to the excitement in 2017.
Andrew Morrissey became a two-time winner in the ninth annual ARCA Midwest Tour Joe Shear Classic in May. Morrissey also won the Classic in 2012.
Austin Theriault won the Montgomery Ward 200 for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. It was the ninth visit from ARCA going back to 1970 when Ramo Stott took the checkered flag.
One of the most anticipated events of the season was the first-ever visit by the Bandit Big Rig Series on July 28th as fifteen trucks took to Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-Mile with Tommy Boileau getting the win.
Jeremy Miller won the 48 lap feature for the Big 8 Late Models. It was his fourth Big 8 win at Madison. It was the series’ eighteenth race at Madison dating back to 2005.
The third annual Badgerland Challenge made a stop at Madison with Bobby Wilberg and Mike Taylor winning on their home track. Dale Nottestad (Late Models) and Terry Wangsness (Sportsman) were overall champions in the series that also races at Slinger and Jefferson.
The Midwest Truck Series was here for four events with Kevin Knuese taking home two of the wins with Chester Ace and Nick Egan also victorious. The trucks have had 180 feature races at Madison since 1997.
Dan Snyder was the overall winner in the Benninger Concrete Hobby Stocks who ran a two race schedule at Madison in 2017. Brandon Angileri and Jim Robinson picked up feature wins on the “Ring of Fire.” Snyder set a new track record for the Hobby Stocks with a lap of 14.201 on May 26th. Angileri, Kenny Storkson, Robby Robinson, and Jon Benninger completed the top five in points.
The Legends and Bandoleros were here on three occasions with Aaron Moyer (2) and Riley Stenjem getting wins in the Legends while Kole Guralski, Alex Hartwig, and Karter Stark all took home a victory in the Bandoleros.
Other winners included Dave Trute (Great Northern Sportsman), Scott Koerner (Illini Midgets), Bill Prietzel (Mid American), Don Rufener III (Midwest Compact), George Sparkman (Midwest Dash), Brian Gerster (Must See Sprint Series), Bobby Frisch (Northern Illinois Vintage), and Jamie Domski (2)in the Central States Super Cups.
Morrissey Sets Madison All-Time Stock Car Speed Record
Andrew Morrissey took the challenge to set a new track record in a stock car and did so with a lap of 16.639 (108+mph) in an Outlaw-style car.
Street Drags Continue to Grow in Popularity
It was the second year of monthly One on One Street Drags and the event continues to become more and more popular. This event is all about having fun with drivers competing for trophies and more importantly, bragging rights. There’s something for everyone with over a dozen divisions taking to the 300 foot dragstrip.
In September a new all-time record for entries at Madison was established when nearly 250 vehicles signed in at the pits.
It was a great year in 2017 at Madison and track owners Gregg and Angie McKarns are looking forward to an even bigger and better year in 2018.