|Rookie Stevens earns victory at Jefferson Speedway!
By Jeanne & Larry Starr
May 20, 2000; Jefferson, WI. - Rookie driver Chad "Squirt" Stevens of Beloit claimed a, hard won, victory in the "Armed Forces Night" feature, on Wisconsins Action Track. Starting from the pole, Stevens guided the field flag to flag, to notch his first late model feature. The race slowed for one caution, on lap 2, when a blown tire, bunched up several cars in the 2nd turn.
Stevens opened up a healthy lead, over the first half of the race, but by lap 26, Nick Wendt of Watertown and Ron Bishofberger of Ft. Atkinson has closed the gap. Wendt made many attempts, to the inside, but was never able to make the pass. Bishofberger was riding a close third, looking for an opening. As they closed in on the checkered flag Wendt became more determined, leading to a colorful finish, with Stevens ending up in the wall, just past the finish.
Track officials that Wendt had exhibited more determination than was allowable, scoring him at the tail of the lead lap. The official finish was Stevens for the win, followed by Bishofberger, Andy Wendt of Watertown, Dan Chesmore of Janesville, Scott Null of Lake Mills and Bill Leindecker of Janesville.
Andy Wendt subsequently failed the post race technical inspection, moving those behind him in the finish up one position.
Roger Behlke of Jefferson set the fast qualifying mark with a 14.795 second circuit of the quarter mile.
Scott Null of Lake Mills grabbed the gold, in the 8 lap Miller Genuine Draft "Dash for Cash".
Claiming victories, in 10 lap heat races were Ken Piotrowski of Milton, Duane Deppe of Waterloo and Beau Sanden of Janesville.
Moving to the Last Chance race, from the 10 lap Consolation race, were Butch Mierendorf of Waterloo, Brent Strelka of Freedom and Brian Linde of Stoughton.
Making the Feature lineup, via the 20 lap Last Chance race were Jasper Gronert of Jefferson, Duane Deppe of Waterloo, Strelka and Linde.
In International division action Rick Neerland of Ft. Atkinson claimed top honors in the 20 lap feature. Starting from the outside of row 3, Neerland started toward the point, as rookie driver Tim Woollen of Madison pulled out to the early lead. Woollen held the point for 17 laps, fending off challenges by Matt Nickel of Madison and Mike Bingham of Jefferson, as Neerland battled his way through traffic.
Neerland moved under Bingham, for 2nd, on lap 11 setting his sights on Woollen. Closing with Woollen on lap 14, Neerland launched his bid for the top spot. Woollen held on for 3 more laps, before surrendering the position on lap 18. As they flew past the checkered flag it was Neerland for the win, followed by Aaron Rude of Cambridge, Brent Nottestad of Cambridge, Woollen and Pete Weston of Ft. Atkinson.
Brent Nottestad set the mark, in qualifying blistering the track with a new record pace of 15.857 seconds.
Claiming victories, in 10 lap heat races, were Woollen and Chris Quam of Stoughton.
Moving to the feature lineup, from the 10 lap Last Chance race, were Darnell Mepham of Ft. Atkinson, Tory Adams of Madison, Charles Dixon of Waukesha and Bobby Moore of Edgerton.
In Sportsman division action Curt Thompson of Palmyra claimed top honors in the 25 lap feature. Starting from the front row, Thompson pulled ahead at the green flag and never looked back. Dylan Schuyler of Dousman closed with Thompson early in the race, making many attempts to pass.
Schuyler was able to pull along side, many times, but could not quite make the pass. At the stripe it was Thompson for the win, followed by Schuyler, Dave Oswald of Cottage Grove, Tony Koepke of Ft. Atkinson, Mark Deporter of Ft. Atkinson and Noel Ramge of Hellenville. Deporter subsequently failed the post race technical inspection, moving Ramge to the top 5.
Oswald set the fast qualifying pace, with a 15.747 second loop of the quarter mile.
Victors, in 10 lap heat races, were Ben Hallock of Ft. Atkinson, Chuck Egli of Marshall and Rich Titus of Jefferson.
Joining the feature lineup, via the 15 lap Last Chance race were Egli, Chris Ehrhart of Deerfield, Tom Collins of Lake Mills and Kevin Thompson of Palmyra.
In Hobby Stock action Jim Pfeifer of Ft. Atkinson claimed the win, in the 20 lap main event. Starting from the outside of row 5, Pfeifer started his drive to the front, as Roger Stephenson of Cambridge pulled out to the early lead. Caution came on lap 2, for a car spinning on the front stretch, closing the field for the restart, with Stephenson still at the point and Pfeifer running 7th. At the green flag, Pfeifer started his move claiming 5th by lap 4 and 4th by lap 6.
A spin, in the second turn, brought the caution again, on lap 7. On the restart Pfeifer was running 3rd, closing with Jason Ayers of Stoughton for the 2nd spot. On lap 8, Pfeifer claimed 2nd, closing with Stephenson for the lead. Stephenson surrendered the spot on lap 9, guiding the way, from there to the checkered flag. Caution came again, on laps 15 and 16, interrupting Pfeifers charge to the checkered flag. As they took the checkered if was Pfeifer at the front, followed by Ayers, Ken Scott of Rio, Chris Matz of Watertown and Tim Noble of Janesville.
Scott set the fast qualifying pace, with a 17.078 second orbit of the quarter mile.
Victories, in 8 lap heat races, went to Brett Carson of Ft. Atkinson and Ayers.
Transferring to the feature, from the 10 lap Last Chance race were Noble, Lincoln Keeser of Milton, Tim Vargo of Wisconsin Dells and Carson.
Rounding out the nights racing entertainment was the first attempt at the Spin to Win race. This event pitted 6 drivers, in front wheel drive compact cars, for 5 laps. Each driver was required to spin 360 degrees, on each straight-away, on each lap, to be eligible for the win. Top honors were claimed by Jeff Lafave of Ft. Atkinson followed by Chad Ellis of Ft. Atkinson.
Next week Jefferson Speedway hosts the Smith Motors 50 lap Late Model Feature, along with a full racing program in all divisions. The night's action will be capped by the Great American Trailer Race.
Gates open at 4:30pm, qualifying at 5:50pm and racing at 7:30pm sharp.
Jefferson Speedway is on Highway 18, between Cambridge and Jefferson Wisconsin.
Results - Armed Forces Night
FAST QUALIFIER - 44 - Roger Behlke (Jefferson):
FAST QUALIFIER - 25 - Brent Nottestad (Cambridge):
15.857 New Track Record
FAST QUALIFIER - 31 - Dave Oswald (Cottage Grove):
3) - 21 - Rich Titus (Jefferson)
FAST QUALIFIER - 39 - Ken Scott (Rio): 17.078LAST CHANCE: 10 lap - 71 - Tim Noble (Janesville), 99 - Lincoln Keeser (Milton),
97 - Tim Vargo (Wisconsin Dells), 1 - Bret Carson (Ft. Atkinson)Heats: 8 lap: 1) - 1 - Brett Carson (Ft. Atkinson) 2) - 57 - Jason Ayers (Stoughton)
Spin-to-Win: Jeff Lafave (Ft. Atkinson); Chad Ellis (Ft. Atkinson)