By: Eric Huenefeld
As he has done so many times before in his Big 8 Late Model Series career, ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr rose to the occasion in a big race. And as he has done so many times before, Reynolds stole the lead late in the going. And in winning Tuesday night’s Gandrud Chevrolet ‘Dixieland Delight’ at Wisconsin International Raceway, Reynolds also reached a milestone in his Big 8 Late Model Series career.
The Rockford Illinois native captured his eleventh career Big 8 Series victory on Tuesday evening and in the process became the all-time wins leader with the Big 8 Late Model Series, breaking a tie with four-time Big 8 Series champion Jeremy Miller.
Reynolds started the race from the fourth position, next to Michael Ostdiek and behind the front row of Bobby Wilberg and Cole Anderson. At the drop of the green flag, Wilberg pounced to the lead from his pole position, while Ostdiek followed Wilberg forward and claimed the second spot. As the rest of the field jockeyed for position, Wilberg and Ostdiek moved forward on their own, with Ostdiek challenging Wilberg for the race lead. On the ninth lap, the Minnesota youngster was able to scoot ahead of Wilberg and claim the race lead. Shortly after Ostdiek advanced to the front of the field, the first yellow flag of the race flew for outside front row starter Anderson, whose vehicle stopped at the entrance of turn three.
On the restart, Ostdiek accelerated ahead of the pack, while Wilberg faced a stiff challenge for second place in the form of Austin Nason. Nason moved into second place on the thirteenth lap, when the second caution waved for an incident between Michael Bilderback and Bryan Monday. Both cars, including the co-point leader Bilderback, were sent to the tail following the incident.
It then took just two laps for the next yellow flag to wave, when Anderson again had troubles, tangling with Eric Connell in turn one. The fracas sent Anderson sideways and Connell towards the turn one wall. Thirteen year old Grant Greisbach sailed into the incident also, sustaining the most damage of the three. Greisbach’s car was the only vehicle to be towed away.
Following the lap 16 restart, Nason made his move to the front, disposing of Ostdiek quickly. Two laps later, Reynolds made his move for second, getting past Ostdiek for the runner up slot just one lap before the final yellow flag of the race at halfway following a tangle between Adam Peschek and Mike Meyerhofer Jr.
On the final restart, Ostdiek slipped to fourth place, while Reynolds took off after race leader Nason. As the top two began to play their game of cat-and-mouse, Bilderback was blasting back through the field, making it back into the top five just thirteen laps after being at the back of the 20-car field.
Following several laps of filling Nason’s rear-view mirror, Reynolds deployed to the inside of Nason for the race lead with two laps to go. As the two drivers fought for the lead, they slid up the track in the second turn, allowing Ostdiek a chance to sneak beneath both of them for a look at the lead. The three racers went three wide, with Bilderback blasting the gas and sticking his nose into the battle as well! When the dust cleared and the white flag waved, it was Reynolds ahead of Nason. Over the course of the final lap, Reynolds kept a car-length and a half buffer between he and the three-way tango for the second. When the leaders crossed the finish line, it was Reynolds in first place, claiming his second Late Model feature win in four days. The second place race was three wide at the checkers, with Nason holding onto the spot ahead of Ostdiek and Bilderback. Fast qualifier Jesse Bernhagen rounded out the top five.
Gandrud Chevrolet ‘Dixieland Delight’
Tuesday August 4 2015
Wisconsin International Raceway
1. Jon Reynolds Jr Rockford, IL
2. Austin Nason Roscoe, IL
3. Michael Ostdiek Lakeville, MN
4. Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL
5. Jesse Bernhagen Markesan, WI
6. Bobby Wilberg Beloit, WI
7. Lyle Nowak Wausau, WI
8. Brandon Reichenberger Appleton, WI
9. Michael Clapper Dane, WI
10. Mike Meyerhofer Jr Hilbert, WI
11. Adam Peschek Oconomowoc, WI
12. Dave Edwards Salem, WI
13. Jake Vanoskey Hartford, WI
14. Eric Connell Ft Atkinson, WI
15. Tyler Hromodka Brookfield, WI
16. Bryan Monday Appleton, WI
17. Michael Bachaus Whitewater, WI
18. Cole Anderson Northfield, MN
19. Grant Greisbach Waukesha, WI
20. Wayne Freimund Elkhorn, WI
Lap Leaders: Wilberg (pole-8), Ostdiek (9-15), Nason (16-36), Reynolds (37-38)
Fast Qualifier: Bernhagen
Car Count: 20 Big 8 Late Models