CAMBRIDGE — On an evening when track champions were crowned and American heroes were remembered, the action on the track was hot and heavy. While Dale Nottestad was putting the finishing touches on his unprecedented sixth Late Model track title, it was a rookie who captured the Griffin Ford Lincoln Season Championship 60 lap main event. Wausau’s Kolton Guralski charged to the front of the field, taking over the lead and surviving a late caution to secure the victory and his first career feature win.
Scott Patrick grabbed the early lead on lap one from the pole with Chris Chenoweth challenging Russ Grossen for second. Chenoweth made the pass on lap two and quickly drew in behind the leader, Patrick. Chenoweth moved past Patrick to take over the top spot on lap five. Meanwhile, Jason Erickson was quickly making his way toward the front of the field. Erickson moved into fourth on lap seven with Dale Nottestad in tow for fifth. Moving past Seth Reamer, Erickson took over second on lap 11 and began to close on Chenoweth at the front. On lap 23, Chenoweth got crossed up in turns one and two, allowing Erickson to slip past and take over the lead. Erickson began to stretch his advantage while Guralski entered the top five. Guralski maneuvered up to second on lap 35 as he looked the cut into Erickson’s large lead. A caution on lap 39 helped his cause, pitting Erickson and Guralski on the front row for the restart. Guralski gained the advantage as racing resumed, clearing for the lead on lap 46. But another yellow on lap 48 slowed the pace, setting up another side by side battle between Guralski and Erickson. The duo battled side by side as the green flag waved once again. Erickson slipped out front, clearing for the lead on lap 50. But two laps later, Guralski charged under Erickson as they raced into turn one. A lap later, Guralski returned to the point, holding off Erickson over the final circuits to secure the win. Erickson settled for second followed by Dale Nottestad, Dylan Schuyler and Jacob Nottestad. As mentioned, Dale Nottestad laid claim to his sixth Late Model track championship, a feat unmatched in the history of the class. Nottestad’s eight feature victories in the 2021 season aided in his command of Jefferson Speedway’s premier division.
Janesville’s Tony Ciano dominated the 35 lap Sportsman feature event en route to picking up the victory. Starting outside the front row, Ciano rocketed into the lead as they raced out of turn two on the opening lap. Mike Bleecker and Jake Biever battled for second behind him with Bleecker taking control of the position with Biever falling in line behind him. Ciano continued to command the top spot, stretching his lead over the course of the event. Further back in the pack, it was Bobby Selsing Jr trying to maintain the advantage over Jason Thoma, both on the track and in the standings. Entering the feature event, Selsing owned a 42 point lead over Thoma in the standings. At the checkers, it was Ciano for the win with Bleecker, Biever, Mark Deporter and Selsing rounding out the top five. With his fifth place finish, Selsing secured the Sportsman track title, his first in the division.
Karter Stark of Marshall entered the 25 lap International feature with a deficit of 17 points in the standings to Rio’s, James Junget. Stark drove to the front of the field to capture the race, but it wasn’t quite enough to overtake Junget in the standings. Tyler Edmundson led early while Stark and Junget moved through the field together. Carson Strese got by Edmundson to claim the top spot on lap four with Junget and Stark in tow behind him. The trio launched a battle for the lead with Stark moving under Strese on lap nine. A caution on lap ten slowed the pace, setting up a restart with Stark and Strese on the front row. As racing resumed, Stark gained the advantage, clearing for the lead on lap 13. Junget followed into second as they raced towards the checkers. At the finish, it was Stark for the win with Junget coming home in second. Jason Uttech, Mark Dewey and Strese completed the top five. When the dust settled, it was Junget owning the title by a narrow margin over Stark. The championship is Junget’s first in the International division.
Another tight battle in the standings was settled in the 30 lap Hobby Stock feature event. Entering the race, Jim Tate Jr owned an 11 point lead in the standings over Brandon Riedner of Waunakee. Racing began with Chuck Egli and Jason Dunn on the front row, battling for the lead. Dunn took control of the position on lap five with Egli and Tucker Bodendorfer fighting for second. Meanwhile, Tate and Riedner were mired in traffic deep in the field. Jevin Guralski moved into second on lap ten, just before a caution slowed the action on lap 11. As racing resumed, Guralski grabbed the lead while Riedner entered the top five. Riedner began to pick his way through the leaders with Tate trying to keep pace behind him. While Guralski led the way, Riedner made a late race pass for second. As the laps ticked away, Tate needed to pass one more car to maintain his lead in the standings. As the checkers flew, it was Guralski for his first feature win the Hobby Stocks followed by Riedner, Shane Radtke Jr, Tate and Scott Riedner. With his second place finish, Brandon Riedner overtook Tate in the standings to capture his second championship in the division at Wisconsin’s Action Track by a mere nine points.
Zach Barnes of Sullivan captured his first career feature win in the Bandit division while Carson Phillips was putting a bow on his division championship in the 25 lap feature event. Gaven Smothers moved into the lead on lap four with Barnes charging up behind him on lap five. The top two began to break away from the field until a caution on lap 12 erased their lead. Barned moved out front on the restart with Ryan Oetzel making his way to second. Oetzel began to challenge the new leader while Phillips looked to join the battle. Another caution on lap 19 set up a six lap shootout to the finish. On the restart, Barnes retook control of the lead with Phillips moving up to challenge. But Barnes kept him at bay in the closing laps to secure the feature win. Phillips settled for second followed by Brandon Johnson, Nick Newton and Oetzel.
Matthew Thoma of Jefferson picked up his third feature of the season in the Road Warrior division while AJ Accardi of Janesville completed his championship in the class.
Bill Reynolds grabbed the lead from Rodger Stephenson on lap four with Thoma in his tracks for second. On lap eight, Reynolds lost a wheel as he crossed the stripe, ending his evening and forcing a caution at the midway point of the race. Thoma and Stephenson led the team back to green with Thoma pouncing on the lead on the restart. Accardi followed up to second. But Thoma remained in control through the checkers to get the win with Accardi, Garrett Meister, Stephenson and Kevin Zimmerman rounding out the top five.
Next Friday and Saturday is the 41st annual Wisconsin State Championships presented by GlassWorks of Wisconsin.