Three New Track Records Set
Once again it was a great night of racing at Madison International Speedway as five divisions took to the track on Toys for Tots Christmas in July Night. When the final checkered flag waved, five drivers took home wins: James Swan (Midwest Trucks), Jeff Steenbergen (602 Late Models), Dustin Ward (Hobby Stocks), Trevor Chilson (6Shooters), and Scott Koerner (ILLINI Midgets).
Three track records were set tonight as Dan Snyder lowered his mark in the Hobby Stocks while Steenbergen (602) and Doug Orseske (ILLINI Midgets) established new marks.
Even better was the fact that fans donated hundreds of gifts to the Toys for Tots program.
James Swan Takes Home the Checkered Flag in Midwest Truck Series
James Swan took home the checkered flag in the Glassworks of Wisconsin 30 for the Midwest Truck Series race at Madison. It was Swan’s second career truck win on Wisconsin’s Fastest Half Mile as. the largest field of trucks ever to assemble for a single race at Madison was on hand tonight as twenty-nine truckers came to town.
Twenty-eight Midwest Trucks came to the green flag with John Ovadal Jr. and James Swan leading the way. Swan grabbed the early lead with Ovadal Jr. and Todd Kluever second and third. On lap 2 Kluever moved to the inside of Ovadal Jr. to try to take second, but the caution flag would come out one lap later when Mike Corvo spun in turn four.
Swan chose to line up on the outside for the restart giving Ovadal Jr. the inside. He was able to maintain a slight lead with Kluever up to second on the outside of Ovadal Jr. Swan opened up a three truck length lead over Kluever with Ovadal Jr., Kevin Knuese, and Jeff Holtz rounding out the top five as they were able to put some ground between themselves and the sixth place truck of Ryan Goldade.
The trucks of Riley Stenjem and Jeff Watters made contact coming out of turn two on lap 10 bringing out the second caution and sending both to the rear of the field.
Once again Swan would elect to start on the outside with Kluever on the inside. Swan continued to pace the field after the green flag waved as the top five once again tried to break away from the pack. But four laps later the yellow flag came out again when the trucks of Holtz and Knuese got together coming out of turn four. For his involvement, Holtz would go to the rear of the field.
Swan and Kluever would lead the field back to green with Swan getting back out front. Ovadal Jr. moved to the outside of Kluever with Knuese also in the mix and Joe Valento all the way up to fifth. Swan and Kluever were able to put some real estate between themselves and the rest of the field before the caution flag came out on lap 18 when Dave Edwards and Ryan Goldade got together.
Swan was able to get back out front while Kluever and Knuese were side by side for second with Valento up to fourth ahead of Ovadal Jr. Swan opened up a six truck length advantage thanks to the battle for second going on behind him. His lead opened up to ten lengths
With two laps to go Knuese was able to clear Kluever for second, but out front it was all Swan who piloted his truck to the win. Knuese, Kluever, Valento, and Ovadal Jr. rounded out the top five.
“I knew I could trust Todd so I let him run the bottom. The outside worked for us. A big thanks to Mike Carmichael for letting me drive this truck,” said Swan.
Heat winners were Brandon Riedner, Jerry Wood, Joe Valento, and Todd Kluever. Fast time in group qualifying was Rusty Hansen with a lap of 18.778 (95.954 mph).
Clean Sweep for Jeff Steenbergen
There’s No Stopping Jeff Steenbergen in the 602 Late Models as he picked up a clean sweep in the first-ever 602 race at Madison.
The front row of Brian Johnson and Rick Coppernoll ushered the field to the green flag. Coppernoll took the early lead and kept it for the first three laps before Jeff Steenbergen powered his way to the front.
Steenbergen opened up a ten car length advantage with Coppernoll, Johnson, Steve Anderson, and James Storey battling it out behind the leader. The huge lead was negated on lap 14 when a spin brought out the caution flag.
Like a rocket, Steenbergen vaulted back out to the lead and never looked back to see his fellow competitors. Coppernoll finished second followed by Anderson, Matt Berlin, and Johnson.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Steenbergen.
Steenbergen set a new track record in qualifying with a lap of 18.852 (95.481 mph). Steenbergen also won the Big Rig Repair Dash and the heat race.
Dustin Ward Best of the Hobby Stocks
The Hobby Stocks always put on a great show racing on the Ring of Fire and tonight was no exception as a talented field came to Madison for their only appearance of the season.
When it was all said and done, Dustin Ward would take home the win in the 25 lap feature.
Nick Bruley and Dustin Ward paced the fifteen car field to the green flag. Bruley, who was making his first-ever appearance at Madison, took the early lead as the top three rows remained doubled up. Bruley was able to maintain his lead as Ward and Jimmy Robinson were battling it out for third. On lap 7 Ward powered his way to the lead with Bruley in second followed by Scott Riedner and Robinson.
On lap 11 Robinson got loose coming out of turn four but the race stayed green. Ward continued to show the way out front, but Jason Stark was on the move as he was up to second with nine laps to go.
Stark moved to the inside of Ward on lap 17 to take the lead and quickly but distance between himself and Ward. Jim Tate Jr., Scott Riedner, and Brandon Riedner were chasing Ward for second.
Out front, Stark had opened up a five car length lead over Ward who had his hands full with Jim Tate Jr. But Stark was not about to be denied as he crossed the line ahead of the field in his first appearance on the Ring of Fire. Ward finished in second followed by Tate Jr., Scott Riedner, and Brandon Riedner.
However, Stark’s car failed post-race inspection which meant Ward was declared the winner.
Dan Snyder topped his own track record in qualifying with a lap of 14.092 (63.866 mph) Heat winners were Ward and Robinson.
Trevor Chilson Wins the Battle of the 6Shooters
Trevor Chilson won the 18 lap feature for the Roto Rooter 6Shooters.
Brooke Ace and Cory McCarthy brought the twenty car field to the green flag. McCarthy jumped out to the early lead only to see Trevor Chilson power by him on the inside coming out of turn four on lap 3.
The car on the move was Steve Buna who joined Chilson and McCarthy to challenge for the top spot. A spin on lap 6 brought out the first caution flag.
Chilson jumped out to a three car lead when the green flag waved, but he was quickly heading towards lapped traffic. He was able to work his way in and around traffic before the caution flag waved again when two cars made contact on the back stretch on lap 8.
Chilson brought the field back to the green flag as he and McCarthy broke away from the pack. On lap 9 Sean Worman was on the move as he passed Buna for third. Once again the leaders had to work their way through lapped traffic before debris on the track forced another caution on lap 10.
The top two of Chilson and McCarthy continued to pace the field. On lap 14 Steve Mueller moved past Buna for third and with two laps to go was up to challenge the leaders. With one to go, Mueller moved to the outside passing McCarthy for second and came up just short at the finish as Chilson was able to hold on for the win. McCarthy, Buna, and Julie Richter completed the top five.
“It’s been a couple of years since we won a feature here,” said Chilson who told the crowd he had about $300 invested in his car.
Heat winners were Kevin Beyer, Randy Grancorvitz, and Todd Holerud.
Scott Koerner Back in Victory Lane at Madison
Scott Koerner picked up the win in the 20 lap feature for the ILLINI Midgets. He was also a winner here in 2017 the last time the series visited the Ring of Fire.
Ryan Finley and Doug Orseske brought the five car field to their green flag. Orseske quickly jumped out to the lead with Scott Koerner and Tom Eymer up to second and third. On lap 3 Koerner squeezed his way inside Orseske coming out of turn four to take the lead.
Koerner opened up a five car length lead over Orseske, but the gap was closing to less than a car length on lap 8 before a spin brought out the caution flag.
Koerner led the pack back to the green flag to retain his lead. But Orseske was able to keep the leader in his sights as he was able to stay within two car lengths. But that’s as close as he could get as Koerner stepped away and cruised to victory lane. Orseske, Eymer, Christopher Adrian, and Finley rounded out the field.
“I figured Doug was going to be coming so I had to get going,” said Koerner.
Fast qualifier was Doug Orseske of Frankfort, Illinois, with a lap of 13.114 (68.629 mph) which was a new track record. Scott Koerner picked up the win in the heat race.
See the Iron Giants of the Asphalt here next Friday night when the Bandit Big Rig Series comes to town with their semi trucks to take on Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-Mile.
Midwest Trucks (Unofficial)
Feature: (1-10) James Swan, Kevin Knuese, Todd Kluever, Joe Valento, John Ovadal Jr. Mike Corvo, Levon VanDerGeest, Chester Ace, Jason Stark, Rick Corso
(11-20) Jerry Brickner, Michael Raskovic, Rich Hinerichson, Riley Stenjem, Dave Edwards, Tyler Schley, Alex Ertmann, Jeff Watters, Ryan Goldade, Kenny Joosten
(21-29) Jerry Wood, Brandon Riedner, Rock Christiansen, AJ Kreager, Kyle Melton, Brad Gajewski, Jeff Holtz, Rusty Hansen, Ross Christiansen-DNS
Heat 1: (1-7) Brandon Riedner, Rich Hinerichson, Rock Christianesen, Brad Gajewski, Tyler Schley, Kyle Melton, AJ Kreager
Heat 2: (1-7) Jerry Wood, Chester Ace, Michael Raskovic, Alex Ertmann, Jeff Watters, Jason Stark, Kenny Joosten
Heat 3: Joe Valento, Rick Corso, Jerry Brickner, Dave Edwards, Ryan Goldade, James Swan, John Ovadal Jr.
Heat 4: (1-7) Todd Kluever, Kevin Knuese, Jeff Holtz, Rusty Hansen, Levon VanDerGeest, Mike Corvo, Riley Stenjem
Qualifying: (1-10) Rusty Hansen, Levon VanDerGeest, Mike Corvo, Jeff Holtz, Todd Kluever, Kevin Knuese, James Swan, John Ovadal Jr., Ryan Goldade, Rick Corso
(11-20) Dave Edwards, Joe Valento, Jerry Brickner, Michael Raskovic, Jason Stark, Chester Ace, Kenny Joosten, Alex Ertmann, Jerry Wood, Jeff Watters
(21-29) Jeff Watters, Brandon Riedner, Rich Hinerichson, Rock Christiansen, AJ Kreager, Brad Gajewski, Kyle Melton, Ross Christiansen, Riley Stenjem, Tyler Schley-DNS
1. 9W-Dustin Ward, ; 2. 27T-Jim Tate Jr, ; 3. 26R-Scott Riedner, ; 4. 35R-Brandon Riedner, ; 5. 51S-Dan Snyder, ; 6. 23NB-Nick Bruley, ; 7. 10B-Jon Benninger, ; 8. 57S-Kenny Storkson, ; 9. 23B-Jessica Breunig, ; 10. 99K-Chris Kern, ; 11. 2S-Bill Schott, ; 12. 71T-Jamie Tate, ; 13. 33R-Jim Robinson, ; 14. 34M-Mark Melchiori, ; (DQ) 81S-Jason Stark,  Heat 1
1. 9W-Dustin Ward, ; 2. 26R-Scott Riedner, ; 3. 27T-Jim Tate Jr, ; 4. 35R-Brandon Riedner, ; 5. 23B-Jessica Breunig, ; 6. 99K-Chris Kern, ; 7. 2S-Bill Schott, ; (DQ) 81S-Jason Stark,  Heat 2
1. 33R-Jim Robinson, ; 2. 23NB-Nick Bruley, ; 3. 57S-Kenny Storkson, ; 4. 51S-Dan Snyder, ; 5. 10B-Jon Benninger, ; 6. 71T-Jamie Tate, ; 7. 34M-Mark Melchiori,  Qualifying
1. 51S-Dan Snyder, ; 2. 27T-Jim Tate Jr, ; 3. 57S-Kenny Storkson, ; 4. 26R-Scott Riedner, ; 5. 33R-Jim Robinson, ; 6. 9W-Dustin Ward, ; 7. 23NB-Nick Bruley, ; 8. 23B-Jessica Breunig, ; 9. 10B-Jon Benninger, ; 10. 99K-Chris Kern, ; 11. 71T-Jamie Tate, ; 12. 2S-Bill Schott, ; 13. 34M-Mark Melchiori, ; 14. 35R-Brandon Riedner, ; (DQ) 81S-Jason Stark, 
602 Late Models
1. 62S-Jeff Steenbergen, ; 2. 7C-Rick Coppernoll, ; 3. 1A-Steve Anderson, ; 4. 5B-Matt Berlin, ; 5. 17BJ-Brian Johnson, ; 6. 66S-James Storey, ; 7. 11O-Todd Otis,  Big Rig Repair Dash
1. 62S-Jeff Steenbergen, ; 2. 17BJ-Brian Johnson, ; 3. 1A-Steve Anderson, ; 4. 7C-Rick Coppernoll,  Heat 1
1. 62S-Jeff Steenbergen, ; 2. 1A-Steve Anderson, ; 3. 17BJ-Brian Johnson, ; 4. 66S-James Storey, ; 5. 11O-Todd Otis, ; 6. 5B-Matt Berlin, ; 7. 7C-Rick Coppernoll,  Qualifying
62S-Jeff Steenbergen, ; 2. 1A-Steve Anderson, ; 3. 7C-Rick Coppernoll, ; 4. 17BJ-Brian Johnson, ; 5. 5B-Matt Berlin, ; 6. 11O-Todd Otis, ; 7. 66S-James Storey, 
Roto Rooter 6Shooters
1. 101C-Trevor Chilson, ; 2. 84M-Steve Mueller, ; 3. 18M-Cory McCarthy, ; 4. 16B-Steve Buna, ; 5. 03R-Julie Richter, ; 6. 6K-Dylan Klinger, ; 7. 27G-Randy Grancorvitz, ; 8. 54C-Todd Carteron, ; 9. 52Z-Joshua Zacharias, ; 10. 19B-Kevin Beyer, ; 11. 8H-Todd Holerud, ; 12. 51W-Sean Worman, ; 13. 7G-Tom Goetz, ; 14. 30B-Tom Brown, ; 15. 19A-Brooke Ace, ; 16. 9B-Dan Bishop, ; 17. 78Z-Kevin Zemp, ; 18. 5M-Ken Morris, ; 19. 32CS-Charlie Spry, ; 20. 1M-Josh Morris,  Heat 1
1. 19B-Kevin Beyer, ; 2. 1M-Josh Morris, ; 3. 84M-Steve Mueller, ; 4. 101C-Trevor Chilson, ; 5. 52Z-Joshua Zacharias, ; 6. 78Z-Kevin Zemp,  Heat 2
1. 27G-Randy Grancorvitz, ; 2. 6K-Dylan Klinger, ; 3. 51W-Sean Worman, ; 4. 16B-Steve Buna, ; 5. 18M-Cory McCarthy, ; 6. 03R-Julie Richter,  Heat 3
1. 8H-Todd Holerud, ; 2. 5M-Ken Morris, ; 3. 54C-Todd Carteron, ; 4. 9B-Dan Bishop, ; 5. 19A-Brooke Ace, ; 6. 7G-Tom Goetz, ; 7. 32CS-Charlie Spry, ; 8. 30B-Tom Brown, 
Feature: (1-5) Scott Koerner, Doug Orseske, Tom Eyman, Christopher Adrian, Ryan Finley
Heat 1: (1-5) Scott Koerner, Christopher Adrian, Tom Eymer, Doug Orseske, Ryan Finley
Qualifying: (1-5) Doug Orseske, Scott Koerner, Christopher Adrian, Tom Eyman, Ryan Finley