NASON HOLDS OFF HARD CHARGING JOHNSON FOR SECOND SERIES WIN!

By: Jana Wimmer

Austin Nason’s win Saturday night at Elko Speedway was no easy feat.

After jumping out to the early lead, Nason held off two of the best the Big 8 has to offer, but he did so successfully and picked up his second Big 8 Series win of the year.

“It was a pretty exciting race,” said Nason, “I didn’t think I could hold off two of the best people in the series.”

Nason, who qualified fifth, took the lead early and held it until the first caution flew on lap 12. Minnesota’s Joe Neisius got a good jump on the start next to Nason when the race resumed and took the lead, yet Nason didn’t let him get away. Just two laps later, Nason was all over the bumper of Neisius looking for a way to take the lead back. Nason stalked Neisius for three more laps then jumped to the outside line to make his move. The two then raced side by side before Nason got a good run and was able to reclaim the top spot just two laps later
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As Nason took the lead, John DeAngelis then pressured Neisius for second. DeAngelis made an effort for second, but soon both he and Neisius had a mirror full of Chris Marek. Marek, the two-time and defending Elko Speedway champion, first made the move to the inside of DeAngelis for third on lap 23 and then set his sights on Neisius for second. Within two laps, Marek moved past Neisius and placed himself into second.

One lap after Marek moved to second, the caution flew as Jerry Mueller spun out in the corner. The stoppage allowed Marek to close himself up to the leader Nason. On the ensuing restart, Nason helped himself with a great start and held stepped back into the lead. Marek, however, stayed within a car length of the leader Nason. Lap after lap, Marek stalked Nason, unable to find a way around. With eight laps to remaining, Nason opened his lead up to three car lengths, the his biggest margin of the race, but the lead was short lived as the yellow flag waved for the final time with six laps to go.

The yellow flag allowed Big 8 Series point leader Casey Johnson, who had been working his way through the field, to close up on Nason and Marek. On the restart, Nason jumped to the lead again but this time Johnson, who restarted third, followed Nason past Marek and into second place.

Johnson closed to the bumper of Nason and pressured for the lead as the laps wound down. When the while flag flew, there was contact between Johnson and Nason, but Nason held off Johnson’s charge to win the 58 lap feature event
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“If he would have gotten to me sooner I don’t think I could have held him off,” said Nason, “It took patience and for me to hit the right line every lap and protect the bottom.”

Johnson holds a 38 point lead over Nason in the Big 8 Series standings with two races remaining (September 27 at Rockford Speedway and October 4 at LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway).

CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE ‘THUNDERS’ INTO MINNESOTA THIS WEEKEND!

What: 6th Annual ‘Thunderstruck 93,’ celebrating the life of Dan Ryan

Where: Elko Speedway (located at 26350 France Avenue Elko New Market, MN)

When: Saturday September 20

Schedule and Information:
9 AM- Pit Gates Open
1PM-2:30 PM- Rotating Practice (Big 8, Mid Am, Thundercars, Mini Stocks, Legends)
3 PM- Spectator Gates/Concessions Open
3:30 PM- Driver’s Meeting inside Champions
4 PM- Time Trials
5:30 PM- Heat Racing Begins
7:00 PM- Opening Ceremonies followed by Dashes, Last Chance Racing and Features!
HUGE FIREWORKS DISPLAY follows racing

Admission:
Adults- $20
Children (ages 4-12)- $5
Kids 3 & under FREE

Current Big 8 Series point standings (Top 6)

1. #5 Casey Johnson 626
2. #X Jon Reynolds, Jr. 589
3. #14 Austin Nason 587
4. #51 Dale Nottestad 566
5. #28 Jesse Bernhagen 495
6. #7 John DeAngelis, Jr 445

LAST YEAR AT ELKO: Hometown favorite ‘Cruiser’ Chris Marek protected his home turf with a commanding performance during the 2013 ‘Thunderstruck Weekend.’ On Friday evening, Marek set the fastest time in qualifying then followed that up with a win in the Big 8 Late Model Series 58 lap feature event. Marek held off all challengers and survived numerous yellow flags en route to the win, his first ever in Big 8 Series competition. Eventual 2013 Big 8 champion Casey Johnson and youngster John DeAngelis Jr dueled for second over the race’s final laps, with Johnson edging DeAngelis for the runner up position.

THIS YEAR: Heading into Elko, defending series champion Casey Johnson leads the Big 8 Series point standings, after a solid weekend at his ‘home track’ Jefferson Speedway during the Wisconsin State Championships. Johnson won both 65 lap features and captured the overall Wisconsin State Championship, his first ever in the prestigious event. As kind as Jefferson was to Johnson, many of the rest of the Big 8 Series title contenders battled their share of rough luck. Three-time series winner ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr left Jefferson second in points, just two points ahead of Austin Nason in third. Dale Nottestad fell to fourth place in points and is still just 23 markers out of second place.

REMAINING BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES EVENTS:
Sat Sept 20- 6th Annual ‘Thunderstruck 93’ at Elko (MN) Speedway
Sat Sept 27- 49th Annual ‘National Short Track Championships’ at Rockford (IL) Speedway
Sat October 4- Oktoberfest Racing Weekend at LaCrosse (WI) Fairgrounds Speedway

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit www.big8series.com or www.elkospeedway.com

34th WISCONSIN STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS BELONG TO JOHNSON!

(From Jefferson Speedway PR)

JEFFERSON, WI (Sunday, September 14, 2014) Sporting the Dan Chesmore tribute paint scheme, Edgerton’s Casey Johnson captured wins in both of the twin 65 lap Wisconsin State Championship Late Model features. The wins marked Johnson’s seventh and eighth trip to victory lane this season at Jefferson Speedway and also won him his first Wisconsin State Championship.

The first of two Big 8 Series Late Model main events got underway with Dale Nottestad and Kyle Jarlsberg leading the field of 24 competitors to green. Nottestad grabbed control on lap one as Jarlsberg dropped back into a battle for second with Noel Ramge. Two cautions in the early going slowed the pace with Nottestad still showing the way with Jarlsberg and Ramge in second and third respectively. On lap 21, Alex Papini joined the leaders taking over the fourth position behind Ramge. Another caution on lap 29 for fluid on the racing surface served as an extended break in the action while cleanup ensued. Once racing resumed, Papini continued his climb toward the front as he took third from Ramge on lap 30 and second from Jarlsberg on lap 32. Papini began to size up Nottestad on the point while the leader tried to keep him in his rear view mirror. Meanwhile, Johnson pulled his machine into the third position on lap 48. After another yellow flag period on lap 58, Papini began to apply heavy pressure to Nottestad with Johnson continuing to watch from third. Nottestad and Papini made contact several times, eventually resulting in Johnson spinning to avoid an incident and force another caution. Johnson was allowed to keep his position on the restart behind Nottestad and Papini with only six laps to go. Nottestad and Papini renewed their battle for the top spot once racing resumed. After swapping paint several time, Nottestad spun on lap 63 to bring out one final caution. Nottestad and Papini were relegated to the rear of the field on the restart for their involvement in the caution, handing the point over to Johnson with only two laps remaining. Johnson remained in control through the checkers to claim the win with Ramge, Stephen Scheel, Shaun Scheel and Dylan Schuyler completing the top five.

Jon Reynolds Jr took control on the opening lap of feature number two with Jason Schuler battling Don Gaserude for second. Gaserude made hard contact with the turn three wall on lap two to force a caution. Racing resumed with Reynolds out front and Schuler riding in second. Meanwhile, Johnson was picking way toward the front as he looked to secure the overall championship. Johnson entered the top five on lap 34. Johnson continued forward, taking fourth on lap 40 and third three laps later. By lap 45, Johnson was alongside Schuler for second with Papini riding in his tracks. Johnson cleared for the second spot and pulled up behind Reynolds on lap 49. Johnson made quick work of Reynolds to secure the lead and begin to pull away from the pack. Papini followed into second in the closing laps, but Johnson was already well on his way to another feature victory. At the checkers, it was Johnson for the win followed by Papini, Reynolds, Schuler and Austin Nason. With his victories, Johnson was awarded the overall title with Noel Ramge second and Luke Westenberg in third.

—IMPORTANT! Friday WI State Championships POSTPONED—

(From Jefferson Speedway PR)

Friday WI State Championships POSTPONED

Due to poor weather conditions, tonight’s events at Jefferson Speedway have been POSTPONED. Day 1 of the Pepsi Wisconsin State Championships will now be tomorrow, SATURDAY Sept 13. Gates open at 1pm, time trials at 5pm and racing at 7:30pm. Day 2 will be SUNDAY, Sept 14 with gates open at 11am and the first race at 2pm.

LOOKING AHEAD TO THIS WEEKEND’S WISCONSIN STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

What: 34th Annual Wisconsin State Championships

Where: Jefferson Speedway, located between Jefferson and Cambridge WI on US Hwy 18

When: Friday and Saturday September 12 and 13

Schedule and Information:
Thursday Sept 11- Practice Night (Gates open at 4 PM, Track Open from 4 PM-9 PM)

Friday Sept 12- Gates open at 1 PM, Practice at 2 PM, Time Trials at 5 PM, Racing at 7:30 PM
(Full program including qualifying races, Preview Features and the Race of Champions)

Saturday Sept 13- Gates open at 3 PM, Practice at 4 PM, Racing at 7 PM
(Full program of Last Chance Races and Features including Twin 65 lap Late Model Features)

Admission:
Friday- $15 for adults, $12 (ages 12-15 & seniors) $8 (ages 8-11) Ages 7 & under are FREE
Saturday- $20 for adults, $15 (ages 12-15 & seniors), $10 (ages 8-11) Ages 7 & under are FREE

Current Big 8 Series point standings (Top 6)

1. #5 Casey Johnson 511
2. #51 Dale Nottestad 507
3. #14 Austin Nason 498
4. #X Jon Reynolds Jr 492
5. #7 John DeAngelis Jr 445
6. #28 Jesse Bernhagen 443

LAST YEAR AT JEFFERSON: 2013 Jefferson Speedway Track Champion Dale Nottestad shook off his Friday frustrations and felt Saturday sensations, sweeping the 33rd Annual Wisconsin State Championships. After issues in qualifying on Friday evening, Nottestad was forced to fight through a Friday night qualifying race. Nottestad avoided an early race wreck and won the qualifier, putting him in the 15th starting spot for Saturday’s first 75 lap feature. Nottestad raced through the field in both events, claiming both 75’s and the overall Wisconsin State Championship. Eventual Big 8 Series champion Casey Johnson was the weekend’s fast qualifier and finished second in both 75’s and overall.

THIS YEAR: For the second straight season, the Wisconsin State Championships at Jefferson kick off ‘four races in four weeks’ to determine the 2014 Big 8 Late Model Series champion. Defending series champion Casey Johnson leads his chief nemesis from 2013 Dale Nottestad by just four points in this year’s chase. Slinger Big 8 winner Austin Nason sits third, just thirteen points off the lead. ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr, a three-time Big 8 winner in 2014, sits six points behind Nason and nineteen points behind Johnson. Young guns John DeAngelis Jr and Jesse Bernhagen are still in the battle for the championship and are separated by just two points in fifth and sixth.

REMAINING BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES EVENTS:
Fri-Sat Sept 13-14- 34th Annual Wisconsin State Championships at Jefferson (WI) Speedway
Sat Sept 20- 6th Annual ‘Thunderstruck 93’ at Elko (MN) Speedway
Sat Sept 27- 49th Annual ‘National Short Track Championships’ at Rockford (IL) Speedway
Sat October 4- Oktoberfest Racing Weekend at LaCrosse (WI) Fairgrounds Speedway

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit www.big8series.com or www.jeffersonspeedway.com

NEARLY SEVENTY ‘WEEKLY WARRIORS’ ALREADY ELIGIBLE FOR ‘JMcK 63’ AT ‘FEST!

WEST SALEM, WI – The popular Big 8-style Late Models compete at ten different tracks throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Hundreds of Big 8 Late Model racers or ‘weekly warriors,’ compete against each other at these speedways and are involved in some of the toughest short track racing in the country.

Those ‘weekly warriors’ who have notched wins at their home tracks in 2014 are among the Late Model drivers eligible for the ‘JMcK 63’, which will be held Sunday October 5th at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway as part of the Oktoberfest Race Weekend . The Late Model invitational event, honoring the late short track auto racing promoter John McKarns, returns to the final day of Oktoberfest for the fifth consecutive season.

Modeled after the Dick Trickle 99 race format McKarns introduced to ‘Fest in 2007, the JMcK 63 is contested in three 21 lap segments with the first segment being lined up by draw, the second by inversion and third based on the overall point total heading into the final segment. ‘JMcK’ was an abbreviated version of John McKarns’ signature over the years.

This invitational event is open to 2014 weekly late model and Big 8 Series feature winners, former Big 8 Series Oktoberfest Champions, past ARTGO Challenge Series top guns as well as the top six in Big 8 Series points.

The first installment of the JMcK back in 2010 saw local favorite Skylar Holzhausen take the win in dramatic fashion. In 2011, Kyle Shear claimed top honors as he passed an impressive 34 cars throughout the day to capture victory. In 2012, Zach Riddle capped off an unforgettable Oktoberfest Weekend, winning the JMcK one day after finishing first in the Big 8 Series’ championship race on the half-mile oval. Last season, Minnesota’s Chris Marek nearly became the first driver to sweep all three segments of the event on his road to victory.

For additional information regarding the Oktoberfest Race Weekend including camping, call 608-786-1525 or visit www.oktoberfestraceweekend.com.

JMcK 63 Big 8 Late Model Invitational
Oktoberfest Race Weekend
Sunday Afternoon October 5, 2014
La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway
(68 Eligible Drivers as of 8/26/14)

DRIVER NAME- ELIGIBILITY
Adam Degenhardt- LaCrosse Speedway
Alex Papini- Rockford Speedway
Alex Prunty- Slinger Speedway
Alex Stumpf- Wisconsin Int’l Raceway
Austin Nason- Big 8 Series
Bobby Wilberg- 2012 JMcK Segment Winner
Brad Powell- LaCrosse Speedway
Brady Liddle- Columbus 151 Speedway
Brent Strelka- Wisconsin Int’l Raceway
Brett Wenzel- Wisconsin Int’l Raceway
Casey Johnson- Jefferson Speedway/Big 8 Series
Chris Marek- Elko Speedway/2013 JMcK winner
Chris Quam- Jefferson Speedway
Cole Anderson- Elko Speedway
Corey Jankowski- LaCrosse Speedway
Corey Manders- Wisconsin Int’l Raceway
Cory Kemkes- Wisconsin Int’l Raceway
Dale Nottestad- Jefferson Speedway
Dan Lensing- Dells Raceway Park
Danny Church- Slinger Speedway
David Cabelka- State Park Speedway
Don Gaserude- Columbus 151 Speedway
Doug Brown- Elko Speedway
Dudley Fleck- Hawkeye Downs
Gary Krueger- ARTGO Star
Griffin McGrath- Hawkeye Downs
J Herbst- 2012 JMcK Segment winner
Jack Stern- Slinger Speedway
Jake Carpenter- Wisconsin Int’l Raceway
Jason Schuler- 2011 JMcK Segment Winner/ARTGO Star
Jesse Bernhagen- Dells Raceway Park
Jim Duchow- Wisconsin Int’l Raceway
Jimmy Ganski- State Park Speedway
Joey Gase- Hawkeye Downs
John DeAngelis Jr- Madison International Speedway
Jon Lemke- Elko Speedway/ARTGO Star
Jon Reynolds Jr- Rockford Speedway/Big 8 Series
Kevin Nuttleman- Over 100 career La Crosse wins
Kyle Shear- 2011 JMcK Winner
Kyle Smith- Jefferson Speedway
Lawrence Berthiume- Elko Speedway
Lincoln Keeser- Columbus 151 Speedway
Luke Westenberg- Jefferson Speedway
Michael Gruenberg- Jefferson Speedway
Michael Ostdiek- Elko Speedway
Mike Brooks- State Park Speedway
Mike Ehde- Columbus 151 Speedway
Mike Koeneke- LaCrosse Speedway
Mike Meyerhofer- Slinger Speedway
Natalie Decker- State Park Speedway
Nick Beaver- Elko Spedway
Nick Nolden- Dells Raceway Park
Ricky Bilderback- Rockford Speedway
Ron Bishofberger- Columbus 151 Speedway
Ryan Kamish- Elko Speedway
Ryan Zielski- Slinger Speedway
Shane Morrissey- Dells Raceway Park
Shaun Scheel- Jefferson Speedway
Skylar Holzhausen- Past Big 8 ‘Fest Winner/2010 JMcK Winner
Stephen Scheel- Slinger Speedway
Steve Carlson- La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway/ARTGO Star
Steve Rubeck- Past Big 8 ‘Fest Winner
Tim Plummer- Hawkeye Downs
Todd Korish- La Cross Fairgrounds Speedway/Past Big 8 ‘Fest Winner
Tory Adams- Columbus 151 Speedway
Tory Bagley- Jefferson Speedway
Ty Majeski- LaCrosse Speedway
Wayne Freimund- Slinger Speedway
Zach Riddle- Past Big 8 ‘Fest Winner/2012 JMcK Winner

To Enter this event or for eligibility questions please contact Gregg McKarns at 815-703-0285

REYNOLDS REIGNS AT STATE PARK SPEEDWAY!

Story By: Jana Wimmer

Jon Reynolds Jr. made Big 8 Series history Friday night at State Park Speedway. He picked up the win and in the process tied Jeremy Miller for most Big 8 Series wins of all time. “That’s pretty cool,” said Jon Reynolds Jr. in Victory Lane, “He’s a stellar driver and it’s definitely a cool thing.”

Reynolds Jr. and last year’s event winner, Casey Johnson were the class of the field for the 58-lap Big 8 feature at State Park Speedway. The two started on the front row and it was Johnson who was able to jump out to the lead right away. Johnson and Reynolds Jr. checked out from the field and Johnson’s lead was never more than a car length over Reynolds Jr.

For 40 laps Reynolds Jr. stalked Johnson, taking a peek to the inside a few times, but never making his move. On lap 41, Reynolds Jr. got to the inside of Johnson and the two raced side by side for the lead. Reynolds made the inside groove work and was able to take the lead just one lap later.

Johnson fought back and got into the rear bumper of Reynolds Jr., almost sending him around on the backstretch, but Reynolds Jr. was able to hang on and keep the top spot.

“He did hit me hard enough that I thought I was gonna spin out, but we didn’t,” said Reynolds, “He was freer than me, freer than me on entry. He was getting off the corner good, but I could just stay tight enough where I thought if I could get ahead of him he was never gonna be able to get back by me.”

As Reynolds Jr. held the lead, now it was Johnson who was never more than a car length behind. Johnson stalked Reynolds Jr. around the ¼ mile race track, but was never able to make a move. Two late race cautions gave Johnson a chance on the re-start, but each time Reynolds maintained the lead and was able to separate just enough from Johnson to stay in front.

Reynolds led the final 17 laps to take the checkered flag and win the Big 8 Series feature at State Park Speedway.

“I knew we were keeping the same gap on eachother the whole time,” said Johnson, “I knew it was going to be hard, but I knew there was maybe a shot. On those restarts I just needed one shot at his bumper cover is what I thought, it’s what I was going for.”

“I pretty much knew, I’d followed him for long enough and it was just track position,” said Reynolds Jr., “I knew if we could get ahead of him we could run the right line to stay ahead of him and we did.”

John DeAngelis Jr finished third, Dale Nottestad fourth and J Herbst fifth. Fast qualifier Jesse Bernhagen had a flat tire on lap seven, fixed it, restarted at the back and worked his way through the field to finish sixth.

Big 8 Series point leader Austin Nason had a rough night. Forced to the rear of the field early in the race he worked his way up to fifth with ten laps to go. He was involved in a caution with nine laps to go and was forced to retire for the evening, coming home in 16th place.

Next up for the Big 8 Series is a trip to Jefferson Speedway September 12th and 13th.

BIG 8 CHALLENGERS LOOK TO MAKE THEIR MARK AT STATE PARK!

By: Eric Huenefeld

The Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet returns to State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisconsin for the third straight year this Friday night July 25th as part of the Larry Detjens Memorial Weekend. The “Best Weekly Warriors in the Country” will test the tricky one third mile near Rib Mountain, vying for the win in a 58 lap feature event.

The event in Wausau marks the sixth stop on the 2014 schedule for the Big 8 Late Model Series, meaning the second half of the season begins Friday night. When the Big 8 Late Model Series last took to the track July 13 at Slinger Super Speedway, teenager Austin Nason pocketed his first ever Series win, capturing the trophy and the title of ‘King of the High Banks.’ With the effort, Nason also assumed the Big 8 point lead for the first time in his career, holding a seventeen point advantage over Dale Nottestad with the series heading north this weekend.

Nottestad has been his usual consistent self in 2014, finishing in the top five at each series race this season. Nottestad finished runner up in last year’s 58 lapper in Wausau to eventual Series champion Casey Johnson. Speaking of Johnson, the Edgerton Wisconsin driver sits third in current Big 8 standings and was runner up to Nason at Slinger back on July 13. Johnson has tasted much success at State Park Speedway in the past, taking fast time honors in both prior events at the track while finishing on the podium in both races, including last year’s win.

‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr is looking to continue his winning ways on the Big 8 tour this season. Reynolds is the only repeat winner on the Big 8 tour in 2014, taking top honors at Madison International Speedway in June and at Dells Raceway Park in July. The 2005 Big 8 Series champion needs just one more win to tie four-time series champion Jeremy Miller atop the all-time Big 8 Series wins list.

Other top Big 8 Series racers making the trip to State Park Speedway Friday night include Jesse Bernhagen (2012 Big 8 Rookie of the Year), 20 year-old John DeAngelis Jr (sixth in Series points), Tim Sargent (2010 Rockford Speedway champion), Casey Strese (2013 Big 8 Rookie of the Year), J Herbst (two-time LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway champion), Mike Ehde (Former Dells Raceway Park champion) and Wayne Freimund (Former Slinger Speedway champion). Joining the Big 8 regulars at Wausau Friday night will be several regulars of the Budweiser/Fabiano Brothers Limited Late Model division which competes weekly at State Park Speedway.

Activities Friday night get underway with Pit Gates opening at 3 PM and practice set to begin at 4 PM. Qualifying, including Quartermaster Time Trials for the Big 8 Late Model Series, will start at 6 PM, with racing to follow at 7 PM. The Mini Stocks, Mini Mods and Bandoleros are also featured Friday night as part of the opening night of the Larry Detjens Memorial. Adult general admission is $15, with Kids ages 6-12 admitted for $5, while kids 5 and under are free.

For more information on the Larry Detjens Memorial Weekend and State Park Speedway, please visit www.stateparkspeeedway.com or call 715/212-9006.

For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series, check out www.big8series.com.

Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet
Expected Entries
Larry Detjens Memorial Weekend
State Park Speedway
Friday July 25, 2014

2- Tim Sargent
2- Eric Willhite
5- Dave Edwards
5- Casey Johnson
7- John DeAngelis Jr
X- Jon Reynolds Jr
14- Austin Nason
15- Michael Clapper
18- Mike Ehde
23- Casey Strese
27- Collin Olson
28- Jesse Bernhagen
37- Mike Meyerhofer
39- Todd Handrick
46- Tom Jasinski
47- Jeff Spatz
50- Jake Gille
51- Dale Nottestad
55- Craig Phillips
74- David Cabelka
75- Mike Beyer
79- Jeff Nowak
82- J Herbst
87- Brent Edmunds
95.3- Wayne Freimund

Big 8 Technical Bulletin 07-23-2014

Just wanted to bring everyone up to speed on a couple amendments to the Big 8 Late Model Rule Book:

1. (SHOCKS) All shock absorbers will have min of 2″ inches of travel (compression and rebound) in mounted position at all times.

2, (HEADERS) NO STINGERS , INSERTS .CONES, SCAVENGE DEVICES OR ANY OTHER DEVICES ALLOWED IN HEADER COLLECTOR AT ANY TIME.

EFFECTIVE 07-23-2014

Questions about these amendments should be directed to Kevin Rogers @ (262)749-6607.

Thank you very much…we hope to see you in Wausau on Friday night!

-Eric

NASON MOWS THROUGH BIG 8 FOES TO BECOME ‘KING OF THE HIGH BANKS!’

Story By: Dan Margetta

Slinger, Wis., July 13—Austin Nason drove to his first career Big 8 Late Model Series victory after a hard fought battle with Casey Johnson and Jon Reynolds Jr. in the King of the High Banks 68 Sunday night at the Slinger Super Speedway.

“This is amazing!” an obviously excited Nason exclaimed from victory lane, “Especially to win here and with Jonny (Reynolds) and Casey (Johnson), we might have ran a little rough but it all comes down to who is going to win.”

Casey Johnson and Kevin Knuese led the field to the green flag and Johnson worked the low groove to charge out to the early lead as Knuese tried to ward off Jesse Bernhagen, John DeAngelis Jr., and Gregg Pawelski in second. Beyond the top five, Dale Nottestad, Jon Reynolds Jr. and Steve Dobbratz began to move their way forward. The caution flag waved early when Ricky Heinan clipped the front stretch wall on lap five and spun backwards into the turn one barrier. Johnson led on the restart over Bernhagen and Pawelski with DeAngelis and Austin Nason in tow while Nottestad, Dan Church, and Reynolds battled three wide for position behind them. With Johnson and Bernhagen out front, Nason and DeAngelis began to pressure Pawelski for third as they began to encounter lapped traffic. Pawelski was able to use a lapped machine to maintain the position while Nason muscled his way between the lapped car and DeAngelis to grab the fourth spot. Lapped traffic came into the mix a few circuits later when J. Herbst’s car looped around in turn two on lap 30 following slight contact with the third place running Pawelski. The incident sent Pawelski to the rear of the field and eventually off the track leaving Johnson leading over Bernhagen, Nason, DeAngelis, Nottestad, and Reynolds.

Johnson eased out to the lead once again as racing resumed while Nason took to the outside to take second away from Bernhagen while Reynolds shot forward to battle with DeAngelis over fourth. Reynolds took the position just before the caution flag waved again on lap 31 for Tyler Schley’s spun car on the frontstretch. With Johnson leading, Bernhagen chose the outside lane for the restart and it proved detrimental as both Nason and Reynolds were able to race by on the inside and into second and third respectively. Within a few circuits, Nason was able to edge to the inside of Johnson for the lead and the two raced side by side for the lead as Reynolds closed in from third. Nason and Johnson swapped the top spot for five laps before they drifted high off turn four, allowing Reynolds to sneak into second from the inside, door to door with Nason as Johnson dove to the bottom to make a three wide attempt to pass both of them off turn two. Johnson was forced to back off as the trio entered turn three, leaving Reynolds and Nason side by side out front and after several hard fought laps, Nason was able to turn back Reynolds to keep the lead.

With the lead momentarily sorted out, Bernhagen went to work on Johnson for third just before the caution appeared on lap 54 for Mike Meyerhofer’s stalled car. Nason maintained the lead over Reynolds on the restart but the field was quickly placed back under the yellow flag when hard racing in the middle of the pack sent Alex Prunty’s car around in between turns three and four which stacked the field as cars scattered behind them. Once the incident was cleaned up and racing resumed, Reynolds appeared poised to challenge Nason for the lead but two laps into the run he suddenly slowed and exited the speedway with mechanical issues. That left Nason to fend off Johnson in the closing laps and he did just that en route to his first career Big 8 Late Model Series victory.

Johnson finished a strong second followed by Jesse Bernhagen, Dale Nottestad, and Jerry Eckhardt in third through fifth respectively. John DeAngelis finished sixth ahead of Jeff Holtz in seventh and Dave Edwards in eighth. Tyler Schley rebounded from his earlier spin to finish ninth and Grant Griesbach took the checkered flag in tenth after earlier becoming the youngest driver to start a Big 8 Series event at 12 years old.

Jerry Eckhardt and Wayne Freimund each won Big 8 Series qualifying heats and Casey Johnson and Kevin Knuese were the winners of the Big 8 Fast Dashes. J. Herbst was the winner of the Big 8 Last Chance race and Jon Reynolds Jr. set fast time with a lap of 12.375 seconds, establishing a new Big 8 Series track record in the process.