By Jeanne & Larry Starr
July 25, 1998; Jefferson, WI – Rookie driver Luke Westenberg of Palmyra claimed his first career Late Model feature win, in the Z104 Night at The Races 35 lap main event at Jefferson Speedway.
Starting from the pole position, Westenberg cruised flag to flag, as drivers behind him fought their way to the front. Kenny Olson of Ft. Atkinson held the second spot early in the race, with Bill Leindecker of Janesville challenging for the spot. By lap 5 Charlie Mierendorf of Lake Mills moved around Leindecker into the third spot, closing with Olson. Despite several good runs, Olson held Mierendorf in the third spot, as they watched Westenberg stretch his lead.
A spin, in turn 4, brought the first caution of the race, on lap 13, closing the field up behind Westenberg for the restart. The restart lasted one lap before another spin, this time in turn 1, brought the second, and final, caution on lap 14. On the restart it was still Westenberg at the point followed by Olson, with former track champion Andy Wendt of Watertown up to fourth. As the green flag flew, Roger Behlke of Jefferson moved under Leindecker, to close with Wendt as the two charged toward the front.
Wendt found his way under Mierendorf for the third spot on lap 19, closing with Olson for 2nd. As Behlke moved under Mierendorf, Wendt claimed the second spot from Olson, closing with Westenberg over the final laps. Behlke took the third spot by lap 26 closing with Wendt as they tried to run down the leader. Westenberg had what he needed to hold off the charging veterans, staying out front to claim his first Late Model checkered flag. At the stripe it was Westenberg for the win, followed by Wendt, Behlke, Mierendorf and Jason Erickson of Cambridge.
Behlke set the fast pace in qualifying with a 14.822 second tour of the quarter mile speed plant.
Claiming victory in 10 lap heat races were Mark English of Edgerton, John Ovadal of Johnson Creek, Randy Breunig of Columbus and Eric Gerlach of Palmyra.
Transferring to the Last Chance race via the 12 lap Consolation race were Duane Deppe of Waterloo and Jerry Parker of Palmyra.
Rounding out the feature lineup via the 20 lap Last Chance race were Nick Wendt of Watertown, Ovadal, Mike Taylor of Stoughton and Butch Mierendorf of Waterloo.
Defending International division champ, Justin Nottestad (#15) had a great evening. Not only did he score a feature win but earlier he set quick time honors. He is shown here passing Mike Bingham (#17) and Matt Frey (#2).
In the International division Justin Nottestad of Cambridge scored top honors in the 20 lap feature. Starting from the outside for row 6, Nottestad avoided trouble as three cars tangled at the green flag, spinning off the front stretch, into the sand pile at the start. As the field lined up for the restart, Nottestad found himself up to 8th when the green flag returned, while Scott Uttech of Beaver Dam sat in the early lead.
This race seemed destined to get off to a rocky start as another caution flew, for a spin on lap 1. Nottestad was now up to the fifth spot, with Uttech still at the point as the green flag flew again. Mike Bingham of Jefferson moved under Uttech to claim the point on lap 2 as Nottestad moved past D. R. Moore of Madison for 4th. Nottestad pulled to the inside of Matt Frey of Cambridge looking for the second spot on lap 3, with Frey holding off Nottestad for 1 lap before surrendering the position on lap 4.
Making a good run under Frey, Nottestad’s momentum carried him past Uttech into the lead. Once at the point Nottestad guided the field, unchallenged, to the checkered flag, unhindered by cautions on laps 12 and 15. The battle for second, between Frey, Darnell Mepham of Ft. Atkinson and Mike Cusick of Edgerton was hot all the way to the finish. Cusick wound up odd man out as Frey and Mepham battled side by side over the last few laps, each fighting for the 2nd spot. At the stripe it was Nottestad for the win, followed by Frey, Mepham, Cusick and Aaron Rude of Cambridge.
Nottestad set the fast pace in qualifying with a 16.007 second circuit of the quarter mile.
Victors, in 10 lap heat races, were Moore and Bingham.
Transferring to the feature via the 10 lap Last Chance race were Earl Kauffman of Edgerton, John Froelich, Tory Adams of Madison and Bobby Moore of Madison.
In Sportsman division action Dave Oswald of Cottage Grove notched his ninth of the season in the 25 lap main event. Starting from the inside of row 7 Oswald patiently picked his way to the front, as Tony Koepke of Ft. Atkinson claimed the early lead. Koepke held on for 1 lap before Josh Courtney of Janesville claimed the point on lap 2.
The only caution of the race came on lap 5, as a car went into the turn 1 wall. The driver was OK and, in fact, returned to the race, after a ride to the pits for repairs. On the restart it was Oswald was up to 8th with Courtney still guiding the way. By lap 9 Courtney was fighting to stay out front as Chad “Squirt” Stevens moved to the inside, trying to make his way to the front. The pair battled side by side for 6 laps before Stevens claimed the point on lap 15. As Stevens assumed the point, Oswald motored up into second.
Moving to the inside of Stevens, Oswald launched his bid for the lead. Stevens put up a good fight before succumbing to Oswald’s attack on lap 18. Oswald guided the field over the remaining 7 laps while Bob Selsing of Ft. Atkinson moving up to challenge Stevens. As the checkered flag flew it was Oswald for the win, followed by Stevens, Selsing, Kale Peterman of Juneau and Kyle Munro of Ft. Atkinson.
Oswald set the fast pace in qualifying with a 15.956 second orbit of the quarter mile.
Claiming victories, in 10 lap heat races, were Dylan Schuyler of Dousman, Richard Titus of Jefferson and Stevens.
Transferring to the main event via the 10 lap Last Chance race were Joe Wendorf of Jefferson, Bo Sanden of Newville, Bill Kettle of Janesville and Chris Matz of Sullivan.
In the Hobby Stock Division, Jim Pfeifer of Ft. Atkinson claimed victory in the 20 lap feature. Starting from the outside of row 6 Pfeifer began his trek to the front, as Dave Gigle of Johnson Creek pulled out to the early lead. Gigle was out ahead of trouble as a pair of cars spun on lap 1, collecting a third on their way, to bring out the first caution of the race. On the restart it was Gigle at the point with Pfeifer up to 9th.
The caution flew for the last time, on lap 4, as a rear wheel came off a car in the 3rd turn. Pfeifer now found himself up to the 4th spot behind Randy Strasburg of Ft. Atkinson with Gigle still out in front. On the Restart Pfeifer moved around Nick Golich of Hebron for the second spot and set his sights on Gigle. Gigle surrendered the point on lap 9 as Pfeifer pulled to the bottom and past. As Pfeifer claimed the lead, Jeff Kohlhoff of Watertown moved around Golich for the third spot, closing with Gigle for Second. Kohlhoff claimed the second spot on lap 12 and tried to close with Pfeifer. Pfeifer guided the field to the checkered with Kohlhoff close behind, followed by Gigle, Pete Elgas of Janesville, Golich, Ernie Witte of Johnson Creek and Strasburg.
Gigle and Golich subsequently failed the post race technical inspection moving those behind them up in the official finishing order.
Kohlhoff set the fast pace in qualifying with a 16.922 second lap on Wisconsin’s Action Track.
Claiming victory, in 8 lap heat races, were Gerald Chapman of Juneau, Dan Schmidt of Farmington and Dennis Gaserude of Oregon.
Transferring to the feature lineup, via the 10 lap Last Chance Race, were Jim Blucher of Madison, Ben Hallock of Ft. Atkinson, Chapman and Scott Carson of Whitewater.
During intermission there was a 6 lap “Grudge match” between Z104 disc Jockeys Marc Anthony and Tommy Bodine. Marc Anthony claimed bragging rights in this match.
Rounding out the evening was the Roll Over contest. After most of the competition was eliminated, it came down to a roll-off between the reigning champion Roy Pfeifer Jr. of Ft. Atkinson and Art Kalbus of Oconomowoc. Pfeifer hit the ramp, just a bit, two fast going further than a full roll, for a score of 3, while Kalbus scored a prefect score of 4 on his final attempt to claim top honors in the event.
Next week at Jefferson Speedway two of the favorite special events at the track are being combined. The Gauntlet race will pit the track promoter Terry Tucker and Chief Scorekeeper John Kamenick, in a full size Cadillac against a herd of 4 cylinders piloted by a number of the track’s top drivers. Among the drivers taking their shot’s at management will be Scott Null of Lake Mills, Roger Behlke of Jefferson, Andy Wendt of Watertown, Denny Stair of Sullivan, Dennis Gaserude of Oregon, Darnell Mepham of Ft. Atkinson and D. R. Moore of Madison.
To this lineup will be added a few celebrity “Mystery Drivers,” to be announced next week. The goal, for the Cadillac is to complete the laps of the event, while the goal of the 4 cylinders is to see that it does not. Did I mention a combination of 2 events? Unlike previous running of “The Gauntlet” this one will combine the thrill of the bubble race. That’s right the Cadillac and the 4 cylinders will compete on soap suds.
The “Bubble Gauntlet” will round 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