By Jeanne & Larry Starr
July 11, 1998; Jefferson, WI – Jason Erickson of Cambridge claimed his first feature in the Mid-Season Championship 50 lapper at Jefferson Speedway. Starting from the inside of row 2 Erickson avoided involvement in the first lap caution as the pole-sitter lost the handle entering the first turn, collecting the car on the outside as he went around.
On the restart Erickson was on the pole, with Eric Gerlach of Palmyra on the outside. The Green flag saw Erickson pull ahead of Gerlach, with Denny Stair of Sullivan close behind, moving into the second spot. As Erickson and Stair began to open up a lead, the battle for fourth between Tom Dorn of Ft. Atkinson and Roger Behlke of Jefferson brought everyone to their feet. Dorn seemed to lose the handle, making contact with Behlke, and then the wall, coming out of turn 4.
Dorn went up the wall, barrel-rolled and slid the length of the front straight-away on his roof, bringing out the red flag on lap 4. After a few tense minutes Dorn climbed from his car, waving to the crowd apparently unhurt. With the track cleaned and the driver’s welfare verified, it was time to get back to racing. Erickson lead the field back to the green flag, with Stair close behind. As the battle for the lead carried Erickson and Stair ahead of the field again, things were heating up behind them. The race saw one more caution, for a car spinning off the front straight on lap 12.
The final restart saw Erickson at the point, with Stair running 2nd. Stair spent most of the race looking for the way around Erickson, as they pulled ahead of the field, on the way to the checkered flag. Stair managed to pull alongside Erickson many times, but was never able to find his way around. As they ticked off the laps to the checkered flag, the battles for third and fourth was as tight as the fight for the lead. Rookie driver Roy Aitchison of Deerfield moved up to the fourth spot, challenging Gerlach, while Scott Null of Lake Mills drove up to 5th, trying to find his way around Aitchison. As they flew past the checkered flag it was Erickson, running flag to flag for his first main event of the season, holding off Stair in second. Rounding out the top five were Gerlach, Aitchison and Null.
Aitchison set the fast pace in qualifying with a 14.957 second tour of the quarter mile speed plant.
Claiming victory, in 10 lap heat races were Gene Olson Jr. of Whitewater, Nick Wendt of Watertown and Dorn.
Transferring to the feature lineup via the 20 lap Last Chance race were Luke Westenberg of Palmyra, Mike Taylor of Stoughton, Bart Reinen of Jefferson and Gene Olson Jr.
In International class action Chris Quam of Stoughton claimed his first career feature in the 25 lap main event. Starting from the outside of row 2 Quam moved up to second, behind Rick Neerland of Ft. Atkinson on the start. The only caution of the race came, on lap 6 for a spin in turn 1. On the restart it was Neerland at the point followed by Quam.
Matt Frey of Cambridge and Darnell Mepham of Ft. Atkinson, came through the field, driving up behind Quam by lap 9. Quam fought hard but Frey moved under him for second on lap 11, and Mepham followed for third on lap 12, as Neerland pulled ahead several car lengths in the lead. The battle for second, between Frey and Mepham, gave Neerland some breathing room, for several laps, as he fought to stay out ahead for his first feature win.
Frey moved ahead of Mepham on lap 23, closing with Neerland as the white flag signaled one lap to go. Moving to the inside of Neerland, on the white flag lap, Frey lost the handle in turn 1, collected Neerland and Mepham in the spin. Quam, who had been running 4th, avoided the spinning leaders, covering the final ¾ lap to grab the first main event checkered flag of his career. Following Quam at the line were D. R. Moore of Madison, Justin Nottestad of Cambridge, Charles Dixon of Waukesha and Jim Pankow of Oregon.
Mepham paced the field in qualifying with a 16.036 second loop of the quarter mile.
Claiming victory in 10 lap heat races were Bob Moore of Madison and D. R. Moore.
Transferring to the main event from the 10 lap Last Chance race were Mike Bingham of Jefferson, Earl Kauffman of Edgerton, Scott Uttech of Beaver Dam and John Froelich.
In Sportsman division action Dave Oswald of Cottage Grove continued his quest for the season championship with a win in the 30 lap feature. Starting from the outside of row 7 Oswald began his long drive to the front, as Tony Koepke of Whitewater moved out to the early lead. As Oswald followed Bob Selsing of Ft. Atkinson through the field, the battle for the lead kept the fan’s attention as Koepke, Randy Padfield of Stoughton and Ryan Ley of Sullivan battled, sometimes 3 wide, for the top spot.
Ley slipped out of contention by lap 16 as Selsing moved around him into the third spot, followed by Oswald for fourth. Koepke spun in the 2nd turn on lap 18, losing the lead and bringing out the only caution of the race. On the restart it was Padfield in the lead with Selsing and Oswald lined up on his back bumper. On the restart Selsing moved to the inside of Padfield, making his bid for the top spot. Padfield fought hard on the outside but surrendered 2 positions by lap 20 as Selsing and Oswald motored under him.
Once at the point Selsing had a mirror full of the “Cow Car” as Oswald worked to find his way to the front. Oswald moved to the inside of Selsing, coming out of the 4th turn on lap 20. As they entered turn 1 Oswald held the inside line, powering out of 2, it was Oswald into the lead going down the back stretch with Selsing dropping into the second spot. As Oswald and Selsing pulled out ahead, the race behind them was just as close, with third through sixth running 2 and 3 wide, working to move up one more position. At the stripe it was Oswald holding off Selsing, followed by Curt Thompson of Palmyra, Ley and Chad Stevens of Beloit.
Oswald set the pace in qualifying with a 15.982 second orbit of Wisconsin’s Action Track.
Victors, in 10 lap heat races were Dylan Schuyler of Dousman, John Ovadal Jr. of Johnson Creek and Todd Goldade of Stoughton.
Transferring to the feature via the 10 lap Last Chance race were Josh Courtney of Janesville, Jay Kalbus of Oconomowoc, Alan McBride of Janesville and Mark Deporter of Ft. Atkinson.
In Hobby Stock action Jeff Kohlhoff of Watertown notched his second of the season in the 25 lap feature. Starting from the inside of row 7 Kohlhoff was well behind the first lap caution as a car spun in the 2nd turn. On the restart Kohlhoff began his drive to the front as Chuck Egli of Waterloo drove out to the early lead. Kohlhoff moved through the field, followed by defending track champion Jim Pfeifer of Ft. Atkinson, claiming the 3rd spot by lap 9.
By lap 17 Egli was locked in a battle for the lead with Ernie Witte of Johnson Creek as Kohlhoff and Pfeifer, battling for third, began to close on the leaders. Witte spun, out of harms way, on lap 18, leaving Egli alone at the point. Egli’s advantage vaporized, one lap later, as a pair of spinning cars brought out the second caution of the race. On the restart it was still Egli at the point with Kohlhoff lined up on his back bumper.
As the green flag waved, Pfeifer made his move to the outside of Kohlhoff, while Kohlhoff tried to move to the inside of Egli. Egli fought hard for 3 laps before Kohlhoff made the winning pass, on lap 23. As Kohlhoff moved to the point, Pfeifer moved under Egli to challenge for second. Pfeifer moved past Egli, on the final lap, to claim the second spot. At the stripe it was Kohlhoff for the win, followed by Pfeifer, Egli, Pete Elgas of Janesville and Witte.
Kohlhoff set the fast qualifying pace with a 17.062 second circuit of the quarter mile.
Victors, in 10 lap heat races, were Roger Stephenson of Cambridge, Ron Coppernoll of Madison and Lincoln Keeser of Jefferson.
Making the feature lineup via the 8 lap Last Chance race were Chris Jackson of Edgerton, Brian Jensen, Jim Blucher of Madison and Scott Carson of Whitewater.
Next week, the One-on-One Street Drags, return to Jefferson Speedway. Spectators will be able to compete in their own street legal, licensed and titled, cars and trucks, in 4, 6 and 8 cylinder classes. The Street Drags 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.