CAMBRIDGE — One man has dominated the Late Model portion of the annual Wisconsin State Championships at Jefferson Speedway in recent years. That trend continued in 2019 as Casey Johnson once again asserted himself as one of the best pilots in the state. Johnson set the pace in qualifying on Friday evening and paired that with top finishes in all three features during the two-day event to claim the overall championship.
This marks the Edgerton driver’s fourth consecutive title and fifth in the last six years at Wisconsin’s Action Track.
The first of two 60 lap feature events began with Jacob Nottestad and Jordan DeVoy on the front row. After a great side by side battle to open the action, DeVoy cleared for the lead on lap seven. Nottestad fell in line behind DeVoy but continued to apply heavy pressure to the leader. On lap 12. Nottestad dove under DeVoy to launch another battle for the lead between the duo. This time, it was Nottestad taking command of the top spot, clearing for the lead on lap 15. Casey Johnson moved up to challenge DeVoy next, this time for second. Johnson got underneath DeVoy on several occasions with DeVoy holding him off each time. But on lap 31, Johnson got his best run under DeVoy, drawing even while Nottestad stretched his lead. Johnson claimed the second position on lap 37. Johnson began to close in Nottestad at the front. A caution on lap 49 aided his cause, closing up the field for the final 11 laps. Johnson began to pressure Nottestad on the restart, trying to get alongside the leader. As they raced off turn two on the final lap, Johnson got a good run under Nottestad. They raced side by side down the backstretch and through turns three and four. But Nottestad held the very slight advantage as he raced under the checkers to score the win. Johnson settled for second with DeVoy, Michael Grueneberg and Dale Nottestad rounding out the top five.
The second 60 lapper started with Jerry Eckhardt and Kyle Smith battling for control of the lead. Two early cautions on lap three handed the lead to Smith. Luke Westenberg moved to the high side of Eckhardt, taking over second on lap seven. Westenberg continued forward, using the outside groove to draw even with Smith. Westenberg claimed the lead on lap nine with Riley Stenjem moving up to battle Smith for second. After clearing Smith, Stenjem charged up alongside Westenberg on lap 14. Two laps later, Stenjem was out front and pulling away. Meanwhile, Casey Johnson was picking his way into the top five. Johnson took over third from Jason Erickson on lap 40. A late race pass of Westenberg netted him the second position. But Stenjem was well on his way to scoring the win. Johnson was second followed by Westenberg, Erickson and DeVoy. As mentioned earlier, with his combined finishes, Johnson was crowned the 2019 Wisconsin State Champion.
Twin 35 lap features highlighted the evening for the Sportsman division.
The first feature began with Josh Thiering and Trevor Robinson fighting for the lead from the front row. Robinson eventually took the position for himself on lap eight when Thiering dropped off the pace and retired from the race. Tim Coley moved up to challenge Robinson for the top spot on lap ten. After drawing even, Coley grabbed the lead on lap 11 with Tyler Deporter in tow for second. Deporter moved up to battle with the new leader on lap 13. Two laps later, Deporter took over the top spot with Robert Hansberry Jr following into second. Hansberry began to apply heavy pressure to Deporter, searching for an opening. But contact between the two on lap 31 ended with Deporter spinning in turns three and four to force a yellow flag. Both drivers were forced to restart in the rear, handing the lead to Jason Thoma ran the final laps unchallenged to pick up the win with Mark Deporter, Coley, Bobby Selsing Jr. and Robinson rounding out the top five Thoma combined his two to finishes to claim the overall Sportsman championship, his second in a row.
Twin 25 lap feature highlighted the action in the International division with Kyle Stark of Marshall claiming both wins as well as the overall title.
The first of twin 30 lap Hobby Stock features began with Jared Vike and Scott Riedner battling for the lead. VVike took the point on lap four with Riedner dropping back in a battle for second with Phil Wuesthoff. Riedner reclaimed the second position before the first of four cautions on lap ten. Vike led the field back to green followed by Riedner and Kolton Guralski. Brandon Riedner entered the top five on lap 14 and continued to slice his way toward the front. By lap 20, Riedner was up to second. Riedner began to use the outside groove to challenge Vike at the front. But a caution with six laps to go slowed the pace. As the field took the green on the restart, Brandon Riedner fell off the pace and pulled off the racing surface. Vike ran to the checkers from there to get the win followed by Scott Riedner, Wuesthoff, Chester Williams and Dustin Ward.
Jim Tate Jr. charged into the lead to begin the second Hobby Stock feature with Dustin Ward in his tracks for second. Tate continued to lead over Ward and Phil Wuesthoff until the caution waved on lap 15. On the restart, Wuesthoff and Ward began to battle for second while Brandon Riedner once again made his way forward. On lap 23, Riedner dove to the low side to launch a three wide battle for second with Wuesthoff and Ward. Riedner cleared for the position a lap later but ran out of time to catch the leader Tate. At the checkers, it was Tate for the win followed by Riedner, Wuesthoff, Ward and Chris Flairty. With his two top five finishes, Phil Wuesthoff claimed the overall title for the Hobby Stock division.
Twin 25 lap features for the Legends started with Jared Apel leading on lap one. At the stripe, it was Aaron Moyer with a slight advantage to claim the win. McNamara settled for second followed by Schwanbeck, James Lynch and Jared Deming.
The second Legends feature once again began with Jared Apel on the point. Apel and Gary Lamonte got together on lap three to force a caution. On the restart, Dave McCalla charged into the lead with James Lynch in tow. Another quick yellow set up McCalla and Lynch on the front row for the second restart. McCalla took the lead into turn one, but Lynch crossed over to grab the top spot. Max McNamara moved up to challenge McCalla for second. After clearing for the spot, McNamara moved up to challenge Lynch. McNamara moved out front alone on lap eight. Meanwhile, Aaron Moyer was charging through the field and into the top five. Moyer combined his first and second place finishes to claim the overall title for the Legends division.
Jevin Guderski crossed the stripe first, but following post-race inspection, was forced to vacate his finishing position. Guderski was awarded the win with Robbie Rucks, Anna Price, Karter Stark and Tucker Bodendorfer rounding out the top five. With his two wins, Guderski was crowned the overall champion for the Bandoleros.