(Ricky Bassman photo)
By: Eric Huenefeld
Being in the right spot at the right time was the right formula for Michael Bilderback.
The reigning Big 8 Late Model Series champion ran a steady race throughout the 38 lap ‘Dixieland Delight’ Tuesday night at Wisconsin International Raceway, and found himself in the lead following a tangle between the race’s top two runners with five laps to go. The tangle, between race leader Jeremy Miller and second place Jesse Bernhagen, resulted in Miller’s car being towed away and Bernhagen being sent to the back of the field. The incident also resulted in Bilderback finding his way to the front of the line.
But the job wasn’t yet complete, as Bilderback had to sustain the lead throughout three restarts within the race’s final laps. Each and every time the green flag flew, Bilderback was able to outdistance the competition. The South Beloit Illinois native beat Rich Schumann Jr to the finish line by one and a half carlengths. The runner up finish for Schumann was the high point of a “feast or famine” 2016 along the Big 8 Series trail, which has featured a third place run at Rockford in April and a breakage at Hawkeye Downs in June that sent Schumann home before Qualifying.
Lakeville Minnesota’s Michael Ostdiek continued his recent hot streak, with a third place finish in the 38 lap event. Ostdiek, who picked up his first-ever Big 8 Series win last Friday at State Park Speedway along with earning the victory at his hometrack (Elko Speedway) last Saturday, also climbed to second place in the Series standings.
Making his move on late race restarts, J Herbst pocketed another Big 8 Series top five with a fourth place finish on Tuesday night. The fourth place effort for Herbst comes on the heels of a thrilling third place finish last Friday night at State Park Speedway, where the two-time LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway champion came back to third place from from dead last after sustaining a flat tire while leading.
Central Wisconsin racing veteran Jeremy Lepak rounded out the top five at Kaukauna, with a fifth place effort. Lepak, who will return to the Big 8 tour at the season finale at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in October, also came home int he runner up position last Friday at State Park.
Big 8 Late Model Series
1. #2 Michael Bilderback South Beloit IL
2. #54 Rich Schumann Jr Portage WI
3. #18 Michael Ostdiek Lakeville MN
4. #82 J Herbst West Salem WI
5. #40 Jeremy Lepak Ringle WI
6. #28 Jesse Bernhagen Markesan WI
7. #18 Mike Ehde Prairie du Chien WI
8. #95 Wayne Freimund Elkhorn WI
9. #7 Joey Pontbriand Norway MI
10. #03 Cody Kippenhan Ypsilanti MI
11. #3 Tyler Hromadka Brookfield WI
12. #20 Zach Less Manchester IA
13. #49 Jerry Mueller Richfield WI
14. #12 Jim Duchow Appleton WI
15. #99 Hunter Drefahl Evansville WI
16. #5 Jeremy Miller Rockford IL
17. #17 Grant Griesbach Waukesha WI
18. #01 Bryan Monday Appleton WI
19. #53 Jared Duda St Michael MN
Did Not Start- Jon Reynolds Jr, Brody Willett
Fast Time- Duchow (20.243 New Track Record)
Car Count- 21 Big 8 Late Models