Wendt Notches Feature Victory at Jefferson Speedway.
By Jeanne & Larry Starr


June 6, 1998; JEFFERSON WI. Watertown’s Andy Wendt found himself in position to claim his second feature win of the season, and ice a "Clean Sweep," in the 35 lapper at Jefferson Speedway.

Starting from the outside of row 7 Wendt, a former Track champion, began his long drive to the front as Eric Gerlach of Palmyra moved out to the early lead. The first caution of the race came on lap 2, for fluid on the race surface. On the restart Gerlach was leading the way, with Jason Erickson of Cambridge running second and Wendt still back in 11th. Wendt continued to work his way through traffic, moving up to the 8th spot before the second caution, for a pair of spinning cars between turns 1 and 2. On the restart Erickson went to work, in earnest, on Gerlach claiming the point on lap 11.

As Erickson claimed the point, Scott Null of Lake Mills entered the battle for second, while Wendt had moved up to sixth. Null claimed the second spot, on lap 13, with Bill Leindecker of Janesville following him into the third spot. The battle between Null and Leindecker allowed Erickson to pull ahead of the field, opening up a several car length advantage. Leindecker moved past Null, closing with Erickson by lap 21 as Wendt moved up to challenge Null for the third spot. Leindecker moved to the inside of Erickson, several times, but could not get enough coming out of the corner’s to make it around. As the battle for the lead entered the first turn on lap 29, Leindecker dug a bit too deep, the two touched, both recovered with Erickson pulling ahead coming off the second turn.

As Leindecker regrouped, Wendt found the way under Null for the third spot, and it looked like Erickson was heading for his first career feature. Leindecker moved back to challenge Erickson and, as the two entered turn 1 on lap 32, Leindecker slipped up from the inside, contacting Erickson in the process, and bringing out the final caution of the race. On the restart Erickson was at the rear of the field, along with Leindecker for his involvement in the incident and Wendt found himself at the point, with 3 laps between him and the checkered flag. As the green flag flew, Wendt lead the charge to the checkered followed by Null, Denny Stair of Sullivan, Tom Dorn of Ft. Atkinson and Dan Chesmore of Janesville.

Wendt set the fast qualifying pace with a 14.862 second circuit of Wisconsin’s Action Track.

Claiming victory in 10 lap heats were Butch Mierendorf of Waterloo, Null and Wendt.

Transferring to the feature via the 20 lap Last Chance race were Mike Taylor of Stoughton, Bart Reinen of Jefferson, Mark English of Edgerton, rookie driver Bret Carson of Ft. Atkinson and Russ Goodwin of Beloit.

In International Class action, defending Track Champion Justin Nottestad notched his fourth of the year in the 20 lap main event. Starting from the inside of row 6 Nottestad began to work his way under traffic as Matt Nickel of Madison moved out in the early lead. Nottestad found his way to the fifth spot by lap 9, as Nickel stretched out a 10 car length lead over the battle for the second spot.

Nottestad found his way under all contenders for the second spot before the first caution of the race came, for several spinning cars, on of which stalled on the entrance to turn 3. Nickel saw his advantage evaporate, in one wave of the yellow flag, as Nottestad lined up on his back bumper for the restart. When the green flag waved, Nottestad made his bid for the lead, motoring under Nickel to make the winning pass on lap 14.

The field closed up one more time as several cars tangled coming out of the 2nd turn on lap 16. On the restart Nottestad guided the field to the checkered flag, followed by Nickel, Mike Cusick of Edgerton, Jim Pankow of Oregon, Bobby Moore of Madison and Matt Frey of Stoughton.

Nickel subsequently failed the post-race technical inspection, moving Cusick up to the "Official" second place finish.

Darnell Mepham of Ft. Atkinson set the fast qualifying pace with a 15.919 second tour of the quarter mile.

Victors, in 10 lap heat races were Tory Adams of Madison and D. R. Moore of Madison.

Moving to the feature via the 12 lap Last Chance race were Adams, Mike Bingham of Jefferson, Bobby Moore of Madison and Scott Uttech of Beaver Dam.

In Sportsman Division action former Track Champion Dave Oswald of Cottage Grove continued his quest for another championship, claiming top honors in the 25 lap feature. Starting from the outside of row 6 Oswald began another journey to the front, motoring around the bottom of the track, as Todd Goldade of Stoughton moved out the early lead. Oswald moved into the third spot, behind Curt Thompson of Palmyra by lap 7, as Thompson closed the gap with Goldade.

Thompson moved under Goldade, on lap 11, with Oswald right on his rear bumper. The two cruised past Goldade on lap 13 and Oswald went to work on Thompson. Thompson fought hard on the outside, holding off Oswald for 5, side by side, laps before surrendering the point. Oswald guided the field from lap 18 to the checkered flag, notching his fifth feature of the season. At the stripe it was Oswald, followed by Thompson, Goldade, Randy Padfield of Stoughton and Ryan Ley of Rome.

Oswald turned in the fast qualifying pace with a 15.931 second orbit of the quarter mile speed plant.

Claiming victory in 10 lap heat races were George Smazel of Janesville, Noel Ramge of Hellenville and Thompson.

Moving into the feature lineup via the 12 lap Last Chance race were John Ovadal Jr. of Johnson Creek, Chad Stevens of Beloit, Josh Courtney of Janesville and Mark Deporter of Ft. Atkinson.

In Hobby Stock racing action Jay Kalbus of Oconomowoc grabbed top honors in the 20 lap feature. Starting from the inside of row 5 Kalbus moved to the third spot by lap 3, with Jeff Kohlhoff of Watertown right behind as Chuck Egli of Waterloo held on to the early lead. On the fourth lap, Kalbus moved under Chris Jackson of Edgerton and Egli to claim the top spot with Kohlhoff moving with him into second.

Kohlhoff hung with Kalbus all the way to the checkered flag, making many moves to the inside. Kohlhoff managed many good run’s at the lead, but could never, quite, make it stick. As they flew past the checkered flag it was Kalbus for the win, by a narrow margin over Kohlhoff, followed by defending Track Champion, Jim Pfeifer of Ft. Atkinson, former Track Champion Dennis Gaserude of Oregon and Pete Elgas of Janesville.

Kohlhoff set the pace in qualifying with a 16.980 second orbit of the quarter mile.

Motoring to victory in 8 lap heat races were Jason Ayers of Edgerton and Elgas.

Transferring to the main event from the 8 lap Last Chance race were Jim Blucher of Madison, Roger Stephenson of Cambridge, Lincoln Keeser of Johnson Creek and Jody Purdy of Milton.

Rounding out the evening’s racing action was The Gauntlet. This round being won by the Flagman and Chief Scorekeeper in the Cadillac cruiser as they beat the herd of sub-compacts across the line.

Next week it’s Ladies Night at Wisconsin’s Action track, with One-on-One Street drags, for ladies only, in 4, 6 and 8 cylinder classes. These vehicles must be street legal, titled and licensed. The night will also present Powder Puff races in both the Sportsman and Hobby Stock divisions. This will round out a full racing program in the Late Model, International, Sportsman and Hobby Stock divisions.

Gates open at 4:00, qualifying at 5:30 and racing to begin at 7:30 sharp. Jefferson Speedway is located on highway 18 half way between Jefferson and Cambridge.