Stair Claims First of Season at Jefferson Speedway
By Jeanne & Larry Starr


July 18, 1998; Jefferson, WI Denny Stair of Sullivan notched his first feature win of the 1998 season, in the "WMAD Night at The Races" 35 lap Late Model Feature.

jeff9813a.jpg (9653 bytes) Denny Stair (#43) last seasons Late Model Rookie of the Year powered under Jason Erickson (#96) on his way to his first feature win of the year on WMAD Night at the Races.

Starting from the inside of row 3, last year’s co-rookie of the year, began his drive to the front. The first five laps saw Bart Reinen of Jefferson and rookie driver Nick Wendt of Watertown side by side, locked in a battle for the lead. Stair moved up to the third spot, by lap 5, moving behind Wendt as Wendt managed to pulled ahead of Reinen, with Stair claiming the second spot. Stair closed with Wendt, looking to the inside, with Wendt fighting hard to hang onto the lead.

Stair finally found the opening he needed, moving under Wendt to make the winning pass on lap 8. As Stair guided the field toward the checkered flag, the battle behind him heated up, with Eric Gerlack of Palmyra moved up to challenge Wendt for the second spot. Charlie Mierendorf came up, by lap 11, to join the battle for second. Stair stretched out good lead as Wendt, Gerlach and Mierendorf waged a 3 way battle for the second spot. Gerlach made his way under Wendt on lap 21 as Dan Chesmore of Janesville moved up to the 5th spot.

On lap 22, Mierendorf moved under Wendt for third, with Chesmore following to claim the 4th spot. Stair’s lead vaporized, on lap 24, as a spin brought out the only caution of the race. On the restart Stair pulled ahead as Mierendorf worked to the inside of Gerlach for the second spot. With the battle for second raging behind him, Stair guided the field to the checkered flag, with Gerlach and Mierendorf side by side right behind him. At the stripe it was Stair, claiming his first of the season, followed by Gerlach, Mierendorf, Chesmore and Jason Erickson of Cambridge.

Erickson paced the field in qualifying with a 14.969 second tour of the quarter mile.

Claiming victory, in 10 lap heat races, were Rex Weston of Lake Mills, Nick Wendt and John Hornby of Sun Prairie.

Transferring to the feature via the 20 lap Last Chance race were Gary Krueger of Edgerton, Russ Goodwin of Beloit, Hornby and Luke Westenberg of Palmyra.

In International class action Justin Nottestad, the defending track champion, claimed top honors in the 20 lap main event. Starting from the inside of row 6 Nottestad moved quickly through traffic as Scott Uttech of Beaver Dam moved out to the early lead. Uttech held onto the lead for 3 laps, before Matt Frey of Cambridge took his turn at the point, as Nottestad made his way to the front.

Nottestad had claimed the fourth spot before a spin in the second turn brought out the only caution of the race on lap 6. On the restart Frey pulled ahead as Rick Neerland of Ft. Atkinson moved to the inside of Uttech for the second spot. Neerland took over second as Nottestad moved under Uttech for the third spot on lap 8. Nottestad moved to the inside of Neerland on lap 11, battling side by side for two laps before finding the right line to slip past both Neerland and Frey, claiming the lead on lap 12. Nottestad Guided the field over the remaining laps, bearing down on another checkered flag. As the checkered flew it was Nottestad for the win followed by Frey, Neerland, Aaron Rude of Cambridge and Darnell Mepham of Ft. Atkinson.

Nottestad set the fast qualifying pace with a 16.125 second circuit of the quarter mile.

Claiming victory in 8 lap heat races were Jim Pankow of Oregon and Mike Cusick of Edgerton.

Bob Selsing claimed his third Sportsman feature win of the 1998 racing season holding off current point leader in the class Dave Oswald. jeff9813b.jpg (12282 bytes)

In Sportsman division action Bob Selsing of Ft. Atkinson notched his third of the season in the 25 lap feature. Starting from the outside of row 3 Selsing began his move to the front, avoiding trouble as the front row tangled on the first lap, bringing out an immediate caution. On the restart Selsing was up to second, behind Richard Titus of Jefferson. As the green flag waved, Selsing made the winning pass, pulling ahead of the field on lap 2. As Selsing pulled ahead, Chad "Squirt" Stevens of Beloit was moving through the field.

Right behind Stevens was former track champion, and current point leader, Dave Oswald of Cottage Grove. On lap 8 Stevens passed Titus for the second spot with Oswald following for third. Once up to third Oswald began working the inside of Stevens, looking for a way to the front. Oswald pulled along side Stevens on lap 10, with Stevens holding tough on the outside for 5 laps, before Oswald claimed the second spot. A pair of cars tangled coming out of turn 2, spinning on the back stretch to bring out the final caution on lap 17. On the restart it was Selsing at the point, with Oswald right on his back bumper. As the green flag waved, Oswald made his move, but Selsing held on, holding Oswald to second as they flew through the remaining laps. As the checkered flag flew it was Selsing for the win, followed by Oswald, Stevens, Dave Quale of Ft. Atkinson and Randy Padfield of Stoughton.

Oswald set the fast pace in qualifying with a 15.917 second orbit of the quarter mile.

Claiming victory in 10 lap heat races were Joe Wendorf of Jefferson, Chris Matz of Sullivan and Selsing.

Moving to the feature lineup via the 12 lap Last Chance race were Jay Kalbus of Oconomowoc, Bo Sanden of Newville, Dave Pankow of Madison and Rick Stenli of Stoughton.

In Hobby Stock action former track champion Dennis Gaserude of Oregon powered to the front of the 20 lap feature. Starting from the outside of row 6 Gaserude came out on top of a 3 way battle for fifth place on lap 3, as Randy Strasburg of Jefferson pulled out in the early lead. Several cars tangled on the front stretch, on lap 5, sending last week’s feature winner Jeff Kohlhoff of Watertown hard into the front stretch wall. Kohlhoff was OK but finished for the evening.

On the restart it was Strasburg at the point with Gaserude right behind. As they took the green flag, Gaserude moved to the inside of Strasburg, making the winning pass on lap 6. As Gaserude guided the field to the checkered flag, the battle was for second, between Roger Stephenson of Cambridge and defending track champion Jim Pfeifer of Ft. Atkinson. Pfeifer claimed the position from Stephenson on lap 11 and began closing the gap on Gaserude. Pete Elgas of Janesville came up to challenge Stephenson by lap 17, claiming the spot by lap 18. As they took the checkered flag it was Gaserude for the win followed by Pfeifer, Elgas, Stephenson and Ron Coppernoll of Madison.

Kohlhoff set the fast qualifying pace with a 17.122 second loop of Wisconsin’s Action Track.

Claiming victory in 10 lap heat races were Scott Carson of Whitewater, Stephenson and Kohlhoff.

Making the feature lineup through the 12 lap Last Chance race were Jim Zachow of Janesville, Ben Hallock of Ft. Atkinson, Trent Erdman of Ft. Atkinson and Gerald Chapman of Juneau.

Rounding out the night’s racing action were the One-on-One Street Drags, with 4, 6 and 8 cylinder cars and trucks competing on the quarter mile oval. Claiming top honors in the 4 cylinder division was Jerry Clarke of Jefferson. Jason Thom of Watertown claimed best of show in the 6 cylinder division. Chris Rowley of Cottage Grove dominated the 8 cylinder cars and Branden Gustafson of Madison won the 8 cylinder truck class.

Next week at Jefferson Speedway it’s Z104 Night at The Races. The Roll Over contest returns to Wisconsin’s Action Track, rounding out a full night of racing action 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.