New for 2018, the Badgerland Challenge will now be a four race mini-series for the top Late Model and Sportsman competitors at Madison International Speedway and Jefferson Speedway. Team Jefferson’s Dale Nottestad bested Madison’s Zack Riddle to claim his second straight Late Model Badgerland Title last season. The 2015 Badgerland Sportsman Champion Terry Wangsness finished five markers ahead of 2016 Badgerland front man Jason Thoma to claim his second crown in three years. Now entering its fourth year of competition, the Team Championship, in which each drivers earns points for their home track, has been won by Team Jefferson all three previous seasons. ‘George the Badger’, the traveling trophy displayed proudly by the winning track has taken a permanent residency in Jefferson’s Turn One Tap.
Madison International Speedway will play host to the first and third rounds of the Badgerland Challenge. Last August race fans witnessed 27 Late Models take the green flag at ‘Wisconsin’s Fastest Half Mile’ in a race which would be won in the late stages by two time defending track champion Bobby Wilberg. Mike Taylor hustled his Ford on the high side to claim the winner’s hardware at Madison in Sportsman competiton. Memorial Day Friday night May 25 marks the first visit with a return visit to the ½ mile Oregon, WI oval on Friday August 3.
Young gun Jacob Nottestad wheeled his Late Model to victory in front of his home crowd during last year’s Badgerland at ‘Wisconsin’s Action Track’, an event in which 33 drivers attempted to compete. ‘Team Taylor’ once again was victorious, this time with Mike’s brother Jim capturing the Sportsman feature event. The first of two Badgerland stops at the ¼ mile oval located between Jefferson and Cambridge, WI will take place on Saturday night June 16. The Badgerland Challenge Championships will be decided on Saturday night August 25.
Once again at this year’s Badgerland, teams can compete at all four events without negatively impacting their home track tire bank. All Late Model teams will be allowed up to two new tires for each event, additionally they must run two used tires from within their home track tire bank. Those teams competing at the Badgerland events will then be allowed one additional opening in the tire bank at their home track following each Badgerland event. That bonus opening can then be filled with one of their existing Badgerland tires or a new tire. Sportsman teams will be allowed up to one new tire per event, utilizing three used tires from their home track tire bank, but will also receive the one bonus opening as outlined above. Teams without an established tire bank will still be allowed to compete, but will be required to utilize used tires out of an existing bank or have their qualifying time disallowed, having to race their way into the feature field through preliminary and/or last chance events. All races will again be contested on the ‘racer friendly’ American Racer 870 compound.
Race procedures will again remain the same, with 14 drivers qualifying into the field based on time trials, with the remainder of the field set by heat races, last chance events and a provisional based on each track’s top 15 points. The Late Model feature events will pay $225 to start and $750 to win with the Sportsman main events paying $400 to win and $100 to start. Additionally a $1500 point fund for the Late Models and $750 point fund for the Sportsman has been established. For additional information visit any of the tracks’ websites: www.jeffersonspeedway.com or www.misracing.com.