By Jeanne & Larry Starr
May 23, 1998; JEFFERSON WI. – A large crowd was on hand to watch as Charlie Mierendorf of Lake Mills claimed his first feature win of the 1998 season in the Jefferson & Palmyra AMOCO 50 lapper on Wisconsin’s Action Track.
Starting from the outside of row 2 Mierendorf began his hard battle to the front. With Gary Krueger of Edgerton out to the early lead holding off Scott Null of Lake Mills, Mierendorf was looking to the front from third. Mierendorf found his way past Null by the third lap and began looking to the inside of a very determined Krueger. The 2 battled side by side until lap 7, when it looked like Mierendorf had made the pass, only to see the first caution of the race come out, for sheet metal on the track.
The restart saw Mierendorf lined up behind Krueger, his position on the last completed lap, to start the battle all again. As the green returned to the track, Mierendorf once again moved to the inside, looking for the way past Krueger. Krueger fought hard on the outside as they battled side-by-side for seven more laps. The battle ended suddenly, on lap 14, as something happened to Krueger’s car, sending him straight off the front stretch, into the turn 1 wall, bringing out the second caution of the race.
Krueger was towed to the pits, where he was able to make repairs and return to the race, but his hopes of a win were dashed. Mierendorf guided the field, over the remaining 36 laps to the checkered, with the battle for second raging behind him. Fighting for the second spot were Null, Bill Leindecker of Janesville, Dan Chesmore of Janesville and Roy Aitchison of Deerfield. The 4 battled 2 and 3 wide over most of the rest of the race, with Null holding on to the spot through the final caution of the race, on lap 36. The final restart saw Mierendorf pulling away with the lead as Chesmore battled with Null.
As Null worked to hold off Chesmore, Leindecker pulled up to enter the fray. Leindecker found his way around the inside of both drivers, on lap 41, with Aitchison close behind. Null was caught on the outside, late in the race, as the freight train flew by on the bottom. At the finish it was Mierendorf for the win, followed by Leindecker, Aitchison, former track champion Andy Wendt of Watertown, Chesmore and Jason Erickson of Cambridge.
Roger Behlke of Jefferson set the fast pace in qualifying with a 14.845 second circuit of the quarter mile.
Ten lap heat race victories went to rookie driver Mark English of Edgerton, Null and Tom Dorn of Ft. Atkinson.
Transferring to the Last Chance race, via the 12 lap Consi, were English and Scott Bleeker of Jefferson.
Moving from the 20 lap Last Chance race to the feature were rookie driver Nick Wendt of Watertown, Russ Goodwin of Beloit, Butch Mierendorf of Waterloo and former rookie of the year Denny Stair of Sullivan.
In International division action Darnell Mepham of Ft. Atkinson powered, from the back of the field, claiming victory in the 20 lap feature. Starting from the inside of row 6 Mepham began his methodical trek to the front. Mepham moved quickly up to the 5th spot, before the first caution of the race came out, on lap 5, for two cars spinning on the back stretch. On the restart the early leader D. R. Moore of Madison continued to pace the field as Mepham battled, one at a time, with the cars between him and the lead.
Mepham moved into the third spot on lap 12, behind Mike Cusick of Edgerton. The battle with Cusick lasted 5 laps, with Mepham finding his way to the inside on lap 15, and setting his sights on Moore. It took just 2 laps for Mepham to reel in Moore, making the winning pass on lap 17. As Mepham guided the field to the checkered flag, rookie driver Brent Nottestad of Cambridge moved up to challenge Moore for the second spot. At the stripe it was Mepham for the win, followed by Brent Nottestad, Moore, Cusick and former defending track champion Justin Nottestad of Cambridge.
Justin Nottestad paced the field in qualifying with a 16.041 second tour of the quarter mile.
Claiming victory in 8 lap heat races were Mike Drays of Milton and Matt Frey of Cambridge.
Transferring to the feature from the 10 lap Last Chance race were Drays, Bob Moore of Madison, Earl Kauffman of Edgerton and Jim Pankow of Oregon.
In Sportsman division action Dave Oswald of Cottage Grove outclassed the field in the 25 lap main event. Starting from the inside of row 7 Oswald began his drive to the front, as Kyle Munro of Ft. Atkinson grabbed the early lead. Oswald moved up to fifth by lap 8, picking his places and his times. Oswald powered through the field, moving up to the third spot before the final caution of the race came on lap 11.
On the restart Oswald made his move on Randy Padfield of Stoughton for the second spot, entering the battle with Munro. Munro held on for one more lap, before succumbing to Oswald’s charge. Oswald guided the field to the checkered flag, as Curt Thompson of Palmyra fought with Munro for the second spot. At the stripe it was Oswald followed by Thompson, Munro, Bob Selsing of Ft. Atkinson and Padfield.
Last weeks’ feature winner Matt Jessie of Milton set the fast pace in qualifying with a 15.971 second loop of the quarter mile.
Claiming victory in 10 lap heat races were Chris Matz of Sullivan, Selsing and Munro.
Transferring to the feature via the 12 lap Last Chance race were Matz, Dylan Schuyler of Dousman, Bill Kettle of Janesville and Joe Wendorf of Jefferson.
In Hobby Stock action Pete Elgas of Janesville notched the win in the 20 lap main event. Starting from the outside of row 3, Elgas was running 4th when the first caution came, on lap 9, for debris on the track. On the restart Elgas moved around Lincoln Keeser of Johnson Creek for third and moved on Ernie Wittie of Johnson Creek for second. Elgas claimed the second spot on lap 12 and went to work on the early leader, Roger Stephenson of Cambridge.
The battle was interrupted by the final caution of the race on lap 12, with Stephenson still at the point. On the restart Elgas moved to the inside of Stephenson, battling for 3 more laps before making the winning pass on lap 16. Jeff Kohlhoff of Watertown followed Elgas under Stephenson, and challenged for the lead. Elgas held off Kohlhoff, as he showed the way to the checkered flag. At the stripe it was Elgas heading for Victory Lane followed by Kohlhoff, Jim Pfeifer of Ft. Atkinson, Stephenson and Dan Schmidt of Jefferson.
Kohlhoff set the fast pace in qualifying with a 16.891 second orbit of the quarter mile.
Eight lap heat race victories went to Pfeifer, Jim Blucher of Madison and Elgas.
Moving to the feature lineup via the 12 lap Last Chance race were Ken Stillman of Madison, Jason Ayers of Edgerton, Nick Golich of Ft. Atkinson and Chuck Egli of Waterloo.
It was WJJO Night at the races and to commemorate the event WJJO DJ’s Johnny Danger and Tommy Rage took to the track for a 6 lap Grudge Match. Hobby Stock cars for the match were provided by Jay Kalbus of Oconomowoc and Jeff Kohlhoff of Watertown. Johnny Danger dominated the match, as Tommy Rage seemed to need the outside walls to guide him around the track. Rage won the honor of detonating the “Dead Music” that had been offered by fans.
Next week at Jefferson Speedway will be the Roll-Over contest, along with a full racing program in all 4 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