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Dorn Claims Career First Late Model win, Cusick Breaks String of Bad Luck at Jefferson Speedway!

By Jeanne & Larry Starr

August 8, 1998; Jefferson, WI. – Rebounding from hard luck, just 4 weeks ago, Tom Dorn of Ft. Atkinson scored the first Late Model victory of his career in the 35 lapper at Jefferson Speedway. Starting from the outside of the front row, Dorn pulled out to the early lead and never looked back, guiding the field all the way to the checkered.

As Dorn pulled out ahead, the battle for second heated up between Luke Westenberg of Palmyra and Kenny Olson of Ft. Atkinson. Behind them Bill Leindecker of Janesville and Eric Gerlach of Palmyra battled for the 4th spot. Olson moved to the inside of Westenberg, looking for second on lap 9, but as Olson began to pull ahead coming down the front straight, the battle ended suddenly. The pair tangled, with Olson going into the front stretch wall bringing out the only caution of the race. On the restart it was Dorn in the lead, with Gerlach lined up on his back bumper. As the green flag waved Dorn found the rhythm that had kept him in front, opening up a couple of car lengths over Gerlach.

Gerlach came back, making several attempts, but was never able to find his way around Dorn. Leindecker found himself locked in a battle with former track champion Andy Wendt of Watertown for the third spot. By lap 16 a four-way battle for third had developed between Leindecker, Wendt, Jason Erickson of Cambridge and former Rookie of the Year Denny Stair of Sullivan. With Dorn guiding the way the battle raged behind him all the way to the finish. As the checkered flag flew it was Dorn making the first trip to Victory Lane of his Late Model racing career. Crossing the stripe behind Dorn were Gerlach, Wendt, Leindecker and Erickson.

Asked in Victory Lane, if “this beats being on your lid,” referring to his disastrous finish a few weeks ago, Dorn indicated that it did. Dorn continued that he and his crew “Stuck in there,” they had a car available and “Whitewater Auto Repair got it going.” Dorn’s first feature win may have taken 9 years, but we’ll bet that his second won’t take nearly that long.

Stair set the fast pace in qualifying with a 14.887 second tour of the quarter mile at Wisconsin’s Action Track.

Claiming victory in 10 lap heat races were Scott Bleeker of Jefferson, Gary Krueger of Edgerton and Rex Weston of Lake Mills.

Transferring to the feature, via the 20 lap Last Chance race, were Bleeker, Weston, Gene Olson Jr. of Whitewater and Russ Goodwin of Beloit.

In International class action, Mike Cusick of Edgerton finally overcame the hard luck, that has plagued him all season, claiming his first feature win of the 1998 season. Starting from the inside of row 4, Cusick moved up through the field, claiming 4th by lap 2, as Mike Bingham of Jefferson pulled out to the early lead. Cusick motored under Chris Quam of Stoughton for third before lap 5, and claimed the second spot from Earl Kauffman of Edgerton on lap 6.

As Cusick closed with Bingham, looking for a way around, it looked like hard luck had struck again. Bingham’s engine blew, going into the first turn, on lap 9, laying down a large trail of oil on the track. Cusick took a wild ride through the oil toward the turn 2 wall but, when the smoke cleared, he emerged undamaged, and in the lead. On the restart it was Cusick at the point, with top rookie contender Brent Nottestad on his back bumper. As the green flag came out, Nottestad made his move, to the inside, driving up beside Cusick, but never quite making it past.

Lap after lap Brent Nottestad continued to try, while defending track champion Justin Nottestad moved up to claim the third spot. Cusick ran the high line, keeping his RPM up, fighting hard for the win. On several laps, Brent Nottestad edged ahead on the back stretch, only to see Cusick come back before they crossed the line. As they charged to the checkered flag, Justin Nottestad took to the bottom, making it a 3 wide dash to the finish. Cusick held on for the win, with a margin of victory of about 12 inches, as Justin Nottestad edged past Brent Nottestad for second. Rounding out the top 5 were Rick Neerland of Ft. Atkinson and Aaron Rude of Cambridge.

Justin Nottestad set the fast pace in qualifying with a 16.031 second circuit of the quarter mile.

Claiming victory, in 10 lap heat races, were Tory Adams of Madison and Chris Quam of Stoughton.

In Sportsman division action Dave Oswald of Cottage Grove logged another feature win in the 25 lap main event. Starting from the inside of row 6 Oswald began his drive to the front as Tony Koepke of Whitewater pulled out to the early lead. Oswald moved under the field, claiming the 5th spot by lap 5. Oswald moved under rookie driver Rich Titus of Jefferson for third on lap 10, moving up to challenge Josh Courtney of Janesville. Courtney slipped to third on lap 11 as Oswald closed with Koepke for the lead. Koepke fought hard, holding off Oswald until lap 15, when Oswald drove under and past, claiming the lead.

The only caution of the race came, on lap 18 Titus lost the handle, spinning on the front stretch. As Titus Spun sideways on the front stretch, Noel Ramge of Hellenville, found himself with nowhere to go, crashing hard into the rear quarter of Titus’ car. After several tense minutes Ramge emerged from his car, shaken but, apparently, uninjured. Titus managed some quick repairs, in the pits, and returned to the race.

On the restart it was Oswald at the point with Koepke lined up in the second spot, and Chad “Squirt” Stevens up to fourth. As Oswald guided the field to the checkered, Stevens motored past Courtney, for third and moved up to challenge Koepke. Koepke held on until lap 21, when Stevens claimed the second spot and tried to close with Oswald. At the stripe it was Oswald for the win, followed by Stevens, Curt Thompson of Palmyra, Koepke and Courtney.

Oswald set the fast pace in qualifying with a 15.851 second orbit of the quarter mile speed plant.

Claiming victory, in 10 lap heat races, were Alan McBride of Janesville and Titus.

Moving to the Feature lineup, via that 10 lap Last Chance race were John Ovadal Jr. of Johnson Creek, Bo Sanden of Newville, Joe Wendorf of Jefferson and McBride.

In Hobby Stock action Jeff Kohlhoff proved that once a driver finds his way to Victory Lane it is a lot harder to keep him out, as he claimed top honors in the 20 lapper. Starting from the inside of row 7, Kohlhoff began his drive to the front, as Nick Golich of Hebron claimed the early lead. As Lincoln Keeser of Johnson Creek moved up to challenge Golich for the lead, Kohlhoff pulled into the 5th spot, flying toward the point. Keeser claimed the lead on lap 4 with Kohlhoff moving around Golich for second.

Once in the second spot, Kohlhoff took his time, looking for the right opportunity, before pulling to the low side, on lap 7, and laying claim to the lead on lap 8. From there it was Kohlhoff guiding the field to the checkered flag as Keeser found himself working to hold off former track champion Dennis Gaserude of Oregon and defending track champion Jim Pfeifer of Ft. Atkinson. A flat tire and spin, in turn 2, brought out the only caution of the race on lap 15.

On the restart it was Kohlhoff in front, with Keeser still holding on to the second spot. As Kohlhoff guided the field to the checkered flag Keeser fought hard to hang on to the second spot. As they took the checkered it was Kohlhoff for his second win, followed by Keeser, Gaserude, Pfeifer and Trent Erdman of Ft. Atkinson.

Pfeifer set the fast qualifying pace with a 16.976 second lap on the quarter mile.

Claiming victory, in 8 lap heat races, were Scott Carson of Whitewater, Randy Strasburg of Jefferson and Keeser.

Rounding out the feature lineup, via the 12 lap Last Chance race, were Jim Williams of Milton, Bart DiMattina of Milton, Chris Jackson of Edgerton and Bill Gay.

Next week Jefferson Speedway presents the Blackhawk 50 Late Model, highlighting Denny’s Den and WFAW Night at the Races. Bring the whole family for an action paced night of racing action, on Wisconsin’s Action Track, with a 50 lap Late Model feature and a full racing program in the 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.

Late Model Division
35 Lap Feature Event
1. # 2 Tom Dorn (Ft. Atkinson )
2. #55 Eric Gerlach (Palmyra)
3. #18 Andy Wendt (Watertown)
4. # 7 Bill Leindecker (Janesville)
5. #14 Jason Erickson (Cambridge)
6. #43 Denny Stair (Sullivan)
7. #62 Scott Null (Lake Mills)
8. # 1 Charlie Mierendorf (Lake Mills)
9. #76 Roy Aitchison (Deerfield)
10. #27 Dan Chesmore (Janesville)
11. #39 Al Pappini (Machesney Park, IL)
12. #44 Roger Behlke (Jefferson)
13. #16 Luke Westenberg (Palmyra)
14. #11 Russ Goodwin (Beloit)
15. #37 Gene Olson Jr. (Whitewater)
16. #35 Rex Weston (Lake Mills)
17. #68 Kenny Olson (Ft. Atkinson)
18. #98 Scott Bleeker (Jefferson)

20 Lap Last Chance:
1.) Bleeker
2.) Weston
3.) Olson Jr.
4.) Goodwin

First 10 Lap Heat:
1.) Bleeker

Second 10 Lap Heat:
1.) Weston

8 Lap Trophy Dash:
1.) Gary Kreuger

Fast Qualifier:
#43 Denny Stair, Sullivan,……….14.887 Seconds

20 Lap Feature Event
1. #18 Mike Cusick (Edgerton)
2. #15 Justin Nottestad (Cambridge)
3. #25 Brent Nottestad (Cambridge)
4. #24 Rick Neerland (Ft. Atkinson)
5. # 9 Aaron Rude (Cambridge)
6. # 2 Matt Frey (Cambridge)

First 10 Lap Heat:
1.) Tory Adams

Second 10 Lap Heat:
1.) Chris Quam

Fast Qualifier:
#15 Justin Nottestad, Cambridge, WI,……..16.031 Seconds

25 Lap Feature Event
1. #31 Dave Oswald (Cottage Grove)
2. #82 Chad Stevens (Beloit)
3. # 6 Curt Thompson (Palmyra)
4. #32 Tony Koepke (Ft. Atkinson)
5. #21 Josh Courtney (Janesville)
6. #67 Dave Quale (Ft. Atkinson)

First 10 Lap Heat:
1.) Alan McBride

Second 10 Lap Heat:
1.) Rich Titus

Fast Qualifier:
#31 Dave Oswald, Cottage Grove, WI,………15.581 Seconds

Hobby Stocks
20 Lap Feature Event
1. #98 Jeff Kohloff (Watertown)
2. #99 Lincoln Keeser (Johnson Creek)
3. #18 Dennis Gaserude (Oregon)
4. #58 Jim Pfeifer (Ft. Atkinson)
5. #11 Trent Erdman (Ft. Atkinson)
6. #52 Pete Elgas (Janesville)

Last Chance:
1.) Jim Williams

First 8 Lap Heat:
1.) Scott Carson

Second 10 Lap Heat:
1.) Randy Strasburg

Third 10 Lap Heat:
1.) Keeser

Fast Qualifier:
#58 Jim Pfiefer, Ft. Atkinson, WI,…….16.976 Seconds

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