The 2020 racing season finally kicked off on May 30 at Wisconsin’s Action Track. In front of a packed house, a strong group of racers took the green flag and put on a show that fan’s had been longing for. After the dust settled, last season’s runner-up in the Late Model standings stood tall with trophy in hand as Utica’s Riley Stenjem laid claim to the Serenity Concepts 50-lap feature event.
Chris Chenoweth and Jerry Eckhardt paced the pack to green with Chenoweth trying to claim the top spot in the early laps. After a great side by side battle, Eckhardt moved ahead of Chenoweth as they exited turn two on lap seven. Dylan Schuyler moved up to work on Chenoweth for second, while the battles for position raged behind them. On lap 13, Schuyler took over the second spot just as five-time champion Dale Nottestad entered the top five. Nottestad continued to pick his way toward the front, stealing the fourth position from Paul Kisow on lap 16 before grabbing third from Chenoweth on the same circuit. Nottestad drew in behind Schuyler, moving under him on lap 18.
After a brief fight, Nottestad claimed second on lap 20. Nottestad reeled in Eckhardt quickly, dropping to the low side of the leader and drawing even on lap 23. A lap later, Nottestad stuck his nose out front and began to stretch his advantage. Meanwhile, Stephen Scheel and Michael Grueneberg were making their way through the field as well. Scheel followed in Nottestad’s tracks, claiming the second position from Eckhardt on lap 35 with Grueneberg in tow. Grueneberg began to apply pressure to Scheel as the duo waged war for the runner up position.
On lap 45, contact between Scheel and Grueneberg resulted in Scheel spinning in turn two to force the sole caution of the race. Both drivers were relegated to the rear of the field on the restart, handing the second spot to Stenjem who had quietly made his way into fourth. Nottestad and Stenjem led the field back to green as they fought wheel to wheel for control. Halfway through the five lap shootout to finish the race, nothing was settled up front. As they raced down the backstretch on lap 48, Nottestad’s machine appeared to shut off and he fell off the pace, handing the lead to Stenjem. Nottestad coasted to a stop on the infield while Stenjem raced away to claim the feature win. Eckhardt came home in second with Noel Ramge, Schuyler and Jason Erickson rounding out the top five.
Chris Jones of Capron, Illinois captured the 30-lap Sportsman main event after holding off a late charge from Randy Breunig.
Jake Biever and Collin Tomlinson led the field to green with Tomlinson grabbing the early lead on lap one. Jones followed into second and began peeking to the low side of Tomlinson for the lead. Jones pulled alongside the leader on lap six, clearing a lap later with Biever moving back up to challenge Tomlinson for second. Biever claimed the position on lap 11 with Tony Ciano in his tracks for third. While Biever and Ciano battled for second, Jones began to slip away slightly until lap 14. A caution erased Jones’ lead just before the midway point of the race, pitting Jones and Biever on the front row for the restart.
As racing resumed, Jones moved back out front with Biever falling back into a battle for second with Breunig. Breunig claimed the position with 7 laps remaining as he began to close in on Jones. Breunig began to shadow Jones as the laps ticked away, searching for a lane to make a pass. Breunig peeked to the high side of the leader in the closing laps, but Jones kept him at bay as he raced under the checkers first to claim the win. Breunig settled for second followed by Mark Deporter, Jason Thoma and Biever.
Tyler Deschaine of Loves Park, Illinois, charged to the front of the field and won the 20-lap International feature event.
Mark Dewey claimed the top spot on lap one from the outside of the front row while Weston Strese dropped into second. Keith Bell drew alongside Strese on lap three, taking over the position a lap later with Deschaine in tow for third. Deschaine quickly went to work on Bell, moving past on lap seven and setting his sights on Dewey at the front. Deschaine began to reel in the leader while Mark English made his way into third place on lap ten. Deschaine caught Dewey on lap 14, moving under the leader as they raced through turns one and two. English closed in on the duo as they battled side by side for the lead.
Deschaine edged ahead of Dewey with two laps remaining, clearing for the lead on lap 18. Deschaine maintained his advantage through the checkers to pick up the win with Dewey holding off English for second. Josh Marx was fourth with Brandon DeLacy completing the top five.
Whitewater’s Chris Flairty laid claim to the 25 lap Hobby Stock feature event.
Chuck Egli and his daughter, Jordy, paced the field to green. After a race opening side by side battle, Chuck grabbed control of the lead on lap three. Flairty pounced on the opening, pulling up next to Jorday Egli on lap five. Flairty moved into second alone on lap six and began to zero in on the early leader. Flairty took to the high groove, trying to draw even with Chuck Egli out front. Flairty got alongside Egli on lap nine, sliding into sole possession of the lead a lap later. Scott Riedner followed Flairty to the outside of Egli to pick up the second spot on lap 13. Riedner began to pressure the new leader, using the low groove to try and draw even.
With five laps to go, Riedner and Flairty were side by side for the lead. Contact between Riedner and Jim Tate Jr., who was running in third, forced Riedner to get sideways and check up, allowing Flairty to retake possession of the lead. As Flairty moved ahead, Jared Vike used the opening to move to the high side and charge up next to Riedner. Vike moved into second on lap 24, but Flairty stayed strong out front to pass the checkers first and claim the win. Vike was second followed by Scott Riedner, Tate and Brandon Riedner.
Bill Sweeney of Lake Mills dominated the 15-lap Road Warrior feature to claim the win.
Miguel Baladez took the initial lead on lap one with Bill Reynolds quickly up to second. Reynolds motored past Baladez on the opening lap to grab the lead while Sweeney charged up to second. Using the low groove, Sweeney slipped past Reynolds on lap three with AJ Accardi in tow for second. Sweeney and Accardi immediately began to pull away from the pack with Sweeney staying ahead and increasing his lead. As the field strung out, Sweeney continued to show the way. At the finish, it was Sweeney for the win with Accardi in second. Jasper Gronert finished third followed by Matthew Thoma and Reynolds.
Fort Atkinson’s Chris Gottschalk charged to the front of the field to claim the 20-lap Bandit feature event.
Ryan Oetzel lead lap one with Gaven Smothers and Matt Krinke fighting for second. Bryan Gottschalk joined the battle for second on lap two. Smothers claimed the spot with Bryan Gottschalk in his tracks for third. Gottschalk quickly got by Smothers and set his sights on Oetzel. By lap five Bryan Gottschalk was in the lead, but his brother, Chris, was quickly filling up the new leader’s mirror. On lap eight, Chris got alongside Bryan, stealing the top spot away. Kyle Riedner followed Chris past Bryan until a caution on lap 15 slowed the pace. Chris Gottschalk and Riedner led the field back to green with Gottschalk reclaiming his advantage. Nick Schmidt moved up to challenge Riedner for second, but Gottschalk was on his way to the win. Riedner held off Schmidt to claim second with Bryan Gottschalk and Karter Stark rounding out the top five.