NASON OUTRUNS WILBERG, CAPTURES MIS CHECKERS!

By: John Wells

Austin Nason took the lead from Bobby Wilberg on lap 26 and led the rest of the way to pick up the victory in the Big 8 Late Model 48 lap main event.

Lyle Nowak and Michael Ostdiek brought the field of twenty-three Big 8 Late Models to the green flag, and it was Ostdiek taking the early lead followed by Nowak, John Beale, Wayne Freimund, and Cole Anderson. On lap 5 Bobby Wilberg stormed by Anderson to take the fifth spot. Two laps later Beale was off the pace which allowed Wilberg and Freimund to move up to third and fourth.

Ostdiek was building a sizeable lead and it appeared the only thing that would slow him down was a caution flag and that’s exactly what happened on lap 11 for a spin in turn two.

A spin on the restart brought out the race’s second caution flag.

When the race went green again, Ostdiek maintained his lead with Wilberg in close pursuit followed by Austin Nason, Nowak, and Michael Bilderback.

On lap 15 Wilberg was able to take the lead coming out of turn four and built up a three car length lead over Nason who was able to motor by Ostdiek. Bilderback continued to run in fourth position with Jon Reynolds Jr. breaking into the the top five on lap 17. On lap 18 a spin coming out of turn two brought out another caution flag.

Wilberg continued to lead after the green flag followed by Nason, Ostdiek, Reynolds Jr., and Bilderback. On lap 21 Bilderback wrestled the fourth position away from Reynolds Jr.

At the half-way mark Wilberg had a three car length lead over Nason as the two began to check away from the field. On lap 26 Nason found the room he needed to get inside Wilberg to take the lead before the caution flag came out one lap later for a spin just ahead of the leaders in turn three.

Nason and Wilberg jumped out front on the restart with Ostdiek, Reynolds Jr., and Bilderback battling it out for third through fifth. On lap 31 Reynolds Jr. earned the third spot followed by Bilderback and Ostdiek. With two laps to go Bilderback was able to get by Reynolds Jr. for third, but out front it was Nason holding off Wilberg to pick up the checkered flag.

“I didn’t think I was going to have enough to get by him. I followed his line because he knows how to get around here. I found my opportunity to get by him and took it,” said Nason in a post race interview with Eric Huenefeld.

Bobby Wilberg set fast time with a lap of 18.798. Hunter Drefahl and Michael Clapper won the ten lap qualifying heats. Lyle Nowak won the odd dash with the even dash going to Michael Ostdiek.

Big 8 Late Model Series
‘Salute to America’
Race Results

1. Austin Nason Roscoe, IL
2. Bobby Wilberg Beloit, WI
3. Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL
4. Jon Reynolds Jr Rockford, IL
5. Michael Ostdiek Lakeville, MN
6. Cole Anderson Northfield, MN
7. Brent Edmunds Monticello, WI
8. Michael Bachaus Whitewater, WI
9. Wayne Freimund Elkhorn, WI
10. Johnny Beale Verona, WI
11. Lyle Nowak Wausau, WI
12. Michael Clapper Dane, WI
13. Dave Edwards Salem, WI
14. Caleb Adrian Walcott, IA
15. Shawn Gunsolus Stoughton, WI
16. Eric Connell Ft Atkinson, WI
17. Cody Kippenhan Ypsilanti, MI
18. Mike Lloyd Davis, IL
19. Tory Adams Madison, WI
20. Rich Schuman Jr Portage, WI
21. Tyler Hromodka Brookfield, WI
22. Mike Taylor Stoughton, WI
23. Hunter Drefahl Evansville, WI

Preliminary Winners: Clapper, Drefahl, Nowak, Ostdiek
Fast Time: Wilberg (18.798)

‘WISCONSIN’S FASTEST HALF MILE’ UP NEXT FOR THE BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES!

What: ‘Salute To America’

Where: Madison International Speedway (1122 Sunrise Road, Oregon, WI 53575)

When: Friday night June 26

Schedule and Information:
3:30 PM- Pit Gates Open
5 PM- Practice
6:25 PM- Qualifying
7:30 PM- Racing begins

Divisions Competing:
Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet
(complete show highlighted by an 48 lap feature)
PLUS: Great Northern Sportsman Series and DASH Series and a large post-race Fireworks Show!

Admission Prices:
Adults (18+) $17
Military (w/ID) $14
Seniors (ages 62+) $14
Students (ages 12-17) $10
Children (ages 6-11) $5
Kids 5 & under: FREE

Current Big 8 Late Model Series Point Standings (Top 15 thru two races)
1. #28 Bobby Wilberg 218 (1 win)
2. #2 Michael Bilderback 197
3. #X Jon Reynolds Jr 192
4. #95 Wayne Freimund 151
5. #82 J Herbst 149
#14 Austin Nason 149
7. #97 Cole Anderson ® 147
8. #18 Michael Ostdiek 134
9. #29 Caleb Adrian 123 (1 win)
10. #5 Dave Edwards 122
11. #27 Collin Olson 119
12. #50 Jake Gille 116
#54 Rich Schumann Jr 116
14. #66 Adam Peschek 110
15. #45 Michael Bachaus 104

PREVIEWING THE ‘SALUTE TO AMERICA’: The last time the ‘Best Weekly Warriors in the Country’ took to the track, the Series made it’s first ever appearance in Iowa while teenager Caleb Adrian made his first ever appearance in Big 8 Late Model Series victory lane. The recent high-school graduate from Walcott Iowa motored past race-long leader J Herbst after the final restart of the caution filled event en route to the popular hometown victory. Herbst held onto second place, his best Big 8 finish, while holding off the advances of Michael Bilderback over the final laps. All three drivers plan to run Friday night at Madison International Speedway, and each could be considered a favorite between their past successes at the track or experience on half-mile speedways. Current Big 8 Late Model Series point leader Bobby Wilberg is a many time champion at MIS and has celebrated his share of victories at ‘Wisconsin’s Fastest Half Mile’ and a win Friday night would help solidify Wilberg as the man to beat on the 2015 Big 8 tour. ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr sits third in current Big 8 Series point standings and is the defending winner of the 48 lap ‘Salute to America.’ Last year’s Madison win sparked a summertime hot streak for Reynolds, which included three straight Big 8 Series wins and a $2100 victory at Rockford Speedway’s ‘Star Spangled 76.’ Can Reynolds rekindle that magic? In a season with two first-time winners, will another new name grace Big 8 victory lane?

EXPECTED ENTRIES
(as of 6/25/15)

03- Cody Kippenhan Ypsilanti, MI
2- Michael Bilerback South Beloit, IL
3- Shawn Gunsolus Stoughton, WI
3- Tyler Hromodka Brookfield, WI
5- Dave Edwards Salem, WI
5B- John Beale Verona, WI
X- Jon Reynolds Jr Rockford, IL
14- Austin Nason Roscoe, IL
15- Michael Clapper Dane, WI
17- Eric Connell Ft Atkinson, WI
18- Michael Ostdiek Lakeville, MN
21- Mike Lloyd Davis, IL
27- Collin Olson Maplewood, MN
28- Bobby Wilberg Beloit, WI
29- Caleb Adrian Walcott, IA
33- Dana Czach West Chicago, IL
36- Lyle Nowak Wausau, WI
41- Mike Taylor Stoughton, WI
45- Michael Bachaus Whitewater, WI
54- Rich Schumann Jr Portage, WI
66- Adam Peschek Oconomowoc, WI
82- J Herbst West Salem, WI
87- Brent Edmunds Monticello, WI
95- Wayne Freimund Elkhorn, WI
97- Cole Anderson Northfield, MN

REMAINING BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES EVENTS:
Fri June 26- Salute to America (Madison International Speedway, Oregon WI)
Fri July 24- Larry Detjens Memorial Race (State Park Speedway, Wausau WI)
Tues Aug 4- Gandrud Chevrolet Dixieland Delight (Wisconsin Int’l Raceway, Kaukauna WI)
Sat Sept 26- 7th Annual ‘Thunderstruck 93’ (Elko Speedway, Elko New Market, MN)
Sat Oct 3- 50th Anniversary National Short Track Championships (Rockford Speedway, Loves Park, IL)
Sat Oct 10- 46th Oktoberfest Race Weekend (La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, West Salem, WI)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit www.big8series.com

ADRIAN OUTLASTS AND OUTRUNS HAWKEYE FOES

(From track & series reports)

A day in advance of his high school graduation party, Walcott Iowa’s Caleb Adrian earned himself the most exciting present of all: his first Big 8 Late Model Series win.

After chasing Wisconsin’s J Herbst for much of the race, Adrian slipped into the lead after a lap 30 restart and sprinted away from the field en route to victory in the 48 lap Liz Girl ‘Clash at the Downs’ at Hawkeye Downs Friday night. The win, along with being the teenager’s first ever in Big 8 competition, was his second of the 2015 season. Adrian crossed the finish line nearly three seconds ahead of his closest competition.

Behind Adrian, Herbst had his hands full with Illinois racer Michael Bilderback. Shortly after Adrian powered ahead of the pack, Herbst and Bilderback engaged in a thrilling close-quarters battle for the runner up position. Bilderback applied plenty of pressure on Herbst in the race’s final paces, but despite the efforts of Bilderback, Herbst held on to the second position. The runner up was a career-best Big 8 finish for Herbst and his third career Big 8 Series top five.

Bilderback, who started the race in eighth place, quickly jumped into the top five and made his presence known, Through much of the race, it was Bilderback and Adrian wrestling with each other for second behind Herbst, who jumped to the early race lead ahead of outside pole sitter Jon Reynolds Jr. Bilderback and Adrian traded second place multiple times, before Adrian moved past both Bilderback and Herbst on the final restart.

Walford Iowa’s Brian Gibson ran a steady race, starting inside the top five and finishing in the top five, with a fourth place finish to his credit. Reynolds, after falling back as far as sixth early in the race, soldiered on to a fifth place finish.

RESULTS
‘Liz Girl Clash at the Downs’
Hawkeye Downs (Cedar Rapids IA)
Friday June 5 2015

1. Caleb Adrian; Walcott, IA
2. J Herbst; West Salem, WI
3. Michael Bilderback; South Beloit, IL
4. Brian Gibson; Walford, IA
5. Jon Reynolds Jr; Rockford, IL
6. Brad Osborn; Janesville, IA
7. Bobby Wilberg; Beloit, WI
8. Lyle Nowak; Wausau, WI
9. Cole Anderson; Northfield, MN
10. Eric Connell; Ft Atkinson, WI
11. Michael Ostdiek; Lakeville, MN
12. Austin Nason; Roscoe, IL
13. Wayne Freimund; Elkhorn, WI
14. Rich Schumann Jr; Portage, WI
15. Michael Clapper; Dane, WI
16. Chad Siems; Shellsburg, IA
17. Adam Peschek; Oconomowoc, WI
18. Joey Gase; Cedar Rapids, IA
19. Dave Edwards; Salem, WI
20. Griffin McGrath; Cedar Rapids, IA
21. Adam Bendzick; Elko, MN
22. Scott Siems; Cedar Rapids, IA
23. Brian Allen; Hiawatha, IA
24. Collin Olson; Maplewood, MN

Prelim winners: Bendzick, Peschek, Herbst, Reynolds, Edwards
Fast Qualifier: McGrath
Entries: 30 Big 8 Series Late Models

THE ‘BEST WEEKLY WARRIORS IN THE COUNTRY’ FLY INTO IOWA FRIDAY NIGHT!

What: Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs’

Where: Hawkeye Downs (4400 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA)

When: Friday night June 5

 

Schedule and Information: 

3 PM- Pit Gates Open

4:30 PM- Big 8 Late Model Series Practice

6 PM- Big 8 Late Model Series Qualifying

7:30 PM- Racing begins

 

Divisions Competing: 

Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet

(complete show highlighted by an 48 lap feature)

PLUS: Sportsman, Hobby Stocks, Legends and Hornets

 

Admission Prices: 

Adults: $12

Seniors (ages 62+) $7

Students (ages 13-17) $5

Kids 12 & under: FREE

 

Current Big 8 Late Model Series Point Standings (Top 10 thru one race)

1. #28 Bobby Wilberg 128 (1 win)

2. #50 Jake Gille 116

3. #X Jon Reynolds Jr 102

4. #45 Michael Bachaus 99

5. #2 Michael Bilderback 85

6. #33 Dana Czach 84

#95 Wayne Freimund 84

8. #14 Austin Nason 78

9. #54 Josh Nelms 76

10. #27 Collin Olson 75

 

Current Hawkeye Downs Weekly Late Model Point Standings (Top 6 thru three races)

1. #74 Tim Plummer 61 (1 win)

2. #64 Griffin McGrath 58 (1 win)

3. #29 Caleb Adrian 56 (1 win)

#72 Brad Osborn 56

5. #17 Brian Gibson 53

6. #43 Scott Siems 44

#52 Brian Allen 44

 

PREVIEWING THE ‘CLASH AT THE DOWNS’: The 2015 Big 8 Late Model Series season got off to a wet and wild start at Rockford Speedway back on April 12, as veteran racer Bobby Wilberg collected his first ever series win in ten years of trying. Wilberg outlasted an hour-long rain delay and assumed the race lead with 20 laps remaining in the 88 lap event following contact with Casey Johnson which knocked the two-time Big 8 Series champion out of the top spot and eventually out of the race. Wilberg is looking to make it two-in-a-row to start the new season as the ‘Best Weekly Warriors in the Country’ make their first ever trip to the Hawkeye State for a Friday night date at the 90-year old Hawkeye Downs facility. Big 8 standouts like ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr, Austin Nason, J Herbst, Rich Schumann Jr & Michael Bilderback will take on a tough group of Iowa racers, led by NASCAR Xfinity Series racer and former Hawkeye Downs champion Joey Gase. Other home state racers joining Gase Friday night include reigning Hawkeye Downs champion Tim Plummer, former track champion Brad Osborn, Cedar Rapids native Griffin McGrath and teenager Caleb Adrian.

 

EXPECTED ENTRIES 

(as of 6/3/15)

2- Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL

5- Dave Edwards Salem, WI

X- Jon Reynolds Jr Rockford, IL

14- Austin Nason Roscoe, IL

17- Eric Connell Ft Atkinson, WI

17- Brian Gibson Walford, IA

18- Michael Ostdiek Lakeville, MN

21- Adam Bendzick Elko, MN

21- Mike Lloyd Davis, IL

27- Collin Olson Maplewood, MN

28- Bobby Wilberg Beloit, WI

29- Caleb Adrian Walcott, IA

33- Dana Czach Wauconda, IL

35- Joey Gase Cedar Rapids, IA

36- Lyle Nowak Wausau, WI

43- Scott Siems Cedar Rapids, IA

45- Michael Bachaus Whitewater, WI

49- Tory Adams Madison, WI

52- Brian Allen Hiawatha, IA

54- Rich Schumann Jr Portage, WI

64- Griffin McGrath Cedar Rapids, IA

66- Adam Peschek Oconomowoc, WI

72- Brad Osborn Janesville, IA

74- Tim Plummer Norway, IA

76- Chad Siems Shellsburg, IA

82- J Herbst West Salem, WI

95- Wayne Freimund Elkhorn, WI

97- Cole Anderson Northfield, MN

99- Jack Litsheim La Crosse, WI

99- Logan Mitchell Palmyra, MO

 

REMAINING BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES EVENTS:

Fri June 5- Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs’ (Hawkeye Downs, Cedar Rapids, IA)

Fri June 26- Salute to America (Madison International Speedway, Oregon WI)

Fri July 24- Larry Detjens Memorial Race (State Park Speedway, Wausau WI)

Tues Aug 4- Gandrud Chevrolet Dixieland Delight (Wisconsin Int’l Raceway, Kaukauna WI)

Sat Sept 26- 7th Annual ‘Thunderstruck 93’ (Elko Speedway, Elko New Market, MN)

Sat Oct 3- 50th Anniversary National Short Track Championships (Rockford Speedway)

Sat Oct 10- 46th Oktoberfest Race Weekend (La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, West Salem, WI)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit www.big8series.com

CHALLENGERS FROM FIVE STATES AND NASCAR’S JOEY GASE LEAD THE BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES INTO THE HAWKEYE STATE!

By: Eric Huenefeld

For the first time ever, the ‘Best Weekly Warriors in the Country’ take to the half mile at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids Iowa this Friday night June 5 for the inaugural Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs.’ The event is the second of 2015 for the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, following the season opening ‘Spring Classic’ at Rockford Speedway April 12.

An impressive list of nearly 30 entries will take to the track this Friday evening at the 90 year old facility located in the heart of Eastern Iowa. Leading the way is hometown favorite and current NASCAR Xfinity Series racer Joey Gase. The 22 year-old Gase looks to make his first Big 8 Series start on Friday at the track where he became the youngest ever track champion in 2009, claiming the Late Model crown at the age of 16.

Besides Gase, the state of Iowa is also represented by the reigning Hawkeye Downs Late Model champion Tim Plummer. The Norway Iowa native is one of the winningest drivers at the historic half mile over the last several years, winning his share of features not only in the Late Model class, but also with the now-defunct Modified class. Other top-notch local favorites include Griffin McGrath, winner of the most recent Late Model feature at Hawkeye Downs on May 22 and a familiar name in the Midwest Super Late Model ranks. Walcott Iowa teen Caleb Adrian is coming off of his first ever Late Model feature win three weeks ago at Hawkeye Downs and is ready to take on the Big 8’s best, as is former Hawkeye Downs track champion Brad Osborn aboard his familiar orange number 72 car.

A strong contingent of Big 8 racers from across the Midwest are also aiming for victory this Friday evening at Hawkeye Downs, led by Beloit Wisconsin’s Bobby Wilberg. The 2015 Spring Classic champion rolls into Cedar Rapids fresh off his first ever win in Big 8 Series competition at Rockford in April while also entering Friday night’s event in Iowa as the Series point leader. 2014 Rockford Speedway track champion ‘Driver X’ Jon Reynolds Jr also plans to make the trip to Iowa on Friday, along with two-time LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway champion J Herbst, 2011 Slinger Speedway champion ‘Insane’ Wayne Freimund and former Dells Raceway Park champion Rich Schumann Jr.

Some of the top young talent in asphalt Late Model racing will also be on display in Iowa Friday, led by last year’s Big 8 Series runner up Austin Nason. The Roscoe Illinois resident won three features on last year’s Big 8 tour and is also currently in the top five of the ARCA Midwest Tour point standings. South Beloit Illinois’ Michael Bilderback sails into Cedar Rapids as hot as any driver in the field. Bilderback currently sits second in Rockford Speedway points and has picked off two straight feature wins and two straight fast times at his hometrack. Other youthful challengers entered for Friday’s show at Hawkeye Downs include 2014 Big 8 Late Model Series Rookie of the Year Collin Olson along with 2015 rookie candidates Cole Anderson and Adam Bendzick, 2014 Rockford Speedway Rookie of the Year Dana Czach, Minnesota teenager Michael Ostdiek, Missouri youngster Logan Mitchell and Wisconsin’s Adam Peschek, who has won feature races on both asphalt and dirt already this spring.

Qualifying begins this Friday evening at 6 PM at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids Iowa, with the green flag waving at 7:30 PM. The Big 8 Late Model Series will run a full program, including the 48 lap Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs.’ Along with the Big 8 Late Model Series, a full evening of racing with the Mountain Dew Sportsman, Barron Motor Supply Hobby Stocks, Dublin City Pub Legends and Miller Time Hornets is on tap. Adult admission for Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs’ this Friday evening is just $12 per person.

For additional information regarding the Inaugural Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs’ and Hawkeye Downs Speedway and Expo Center, please visit www.hawkeyedowns.org or call 319-365-8656.

For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, please visit www.big8series.com.

Hawkeye Downs
Big 8 Late Model Series
Liz Girl’s ‘Clash at the Downs’
Expected Entry List

2- Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL
5- Dave Edwards Salem, WI
X- Jon Reynolds Jr Rockford, IL
14- Austin Nason Roscoe, IL
17- Eric Connell Ft Atkinson, WI
17- Brian Gibson Walford, IA
18- Michael Ostdiek Lakeville, MN
21- Adam Bendzick Elko, MN
21- Mike Lloyd Davis, IL
27- Collin Olson Maplewood, MN
28- Bobby Wilberg Beloit, WI
29- Caleb Adrian Walcott, IA
33- Dana Czach Wauconda, IL
35- Joey Gase Cedar Rapids, IA
43- Scott Siems Cedar Rapids, IA
45- Michael Bachaus Whitewater, WI
49- Tory Adams Madison, WI
52- Brian Allen Hiawatha, IA
54- Rich Schumann Jr Portage, WI
64- Griffin McGrath Cedar Rapids, IA
66- Adam Peschek Oconomowoc, WI
72- Brad Osborn Janesville, IA
74- Tim Plummer Norway, IA
76- Chad Siems Shellsburg, IA
82- J Herbst West Salem, WI
95- Wayne Freimund Elkhorn, WI
97- Cole Anderson Northfield, MN
99- Jack Litsheim La Crosse, WI
99- Logan Mitchell Palmyra, MO

HAWKEYE DOWNS ENTRY FORM NOW ONLINE!

The Official Entry Blank for the Big 8 Late Model Series’ first ever trip to the ‘Hawkeye State’ is now available online.

Friday night June 5, the ‘Best Weekly Warriors in the Country’ take to the half mile at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids Iowa for the first-ever Liz Girl Logistics ‘Clash at the Downs.’ The evening is set to be highlighted by a 48 lap feature event for the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chverolet and also features a full program of racing with Sportsman, Hobby Stocks, Legends and Hornets.

Qualifying begins Friday June 5 at 6:30 PM, with the green flag waving at 7:30 PM. For additional information regarding the first-ever Liz Girl Logistics ‘Clash at the Downs’ and Hawkeye Downs Speedway and Expo Center, please visit www.hawkeyedowns.org or call 319-365-8656. For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, please visit www.big8series.com.

Click Here for the Entry Form

WET AND WILD SPRING CLASSIC GOES TO WILBERG

After eleven years of waiting, a one hour rain delay was nothing for Bobby Wilberg.

One of the most notable and consistent drivers in the history of the Big 8 Late Model Series presented Gandrud Chevrolet, Wilberg had never visited victory lane in a Big 8 Series event. That changed Sunday afternoon during the 38th Annual Spring Classic, when Wilberg bested 25 other competitors in the 88 lap season-opening race at Rockford Speedway.

Wilberg, who raced inside the top five all day long, slipped past two-time Big 8 Series champion Casey Johnson with 15 laps to go, following contact entering turn one which sent Johnson towards the turn one wall, ending Johnson’s quest for victory and his race.

Johnson, winner of the most recent Big 8 Series event at Rockford last September, started the race from the front row alongside polesitter Rich Schumann Jr. When the green flag dropped, Johnson tip-toed into lead ahead of Schumann and 2014 Rockford Speedway champion Jon Reynolds Jr. As the top three tried to pull away, mayhem ensued behind them as Austin Nason and Michael Bachaus came together in turn three. The contact sent Bachaus sideways, collecting Kyle Shear and forcing evasive action out of the eighteen drivers behind them. When the smoke cleared, eleven cars became collected in the melee, including several cars who started the event in the middle of the pack. Despite the large sum of cars involved, most drivers were able to drive away from the scene, with about half of those involved rejoining the field following work in the pit area.

When the race resumed, Johnson was able to clear the field and ride alone at the front. The battle for second heated up, with Wilberg and Jake Gille eventually driving past both Reynolds and Schumann. Shortly after the restart, Schumann’s car began to slow, and the former Dells Raceway Park champion drove his car to the pit area and ended his day. Following Schumann’s departure, the longest green-flag run of the day began with a 31 lap jaunt which saw the top three of Johnson, Wilberg and Gille separating themselves from the field. Over the course of the race’s next 60 laps, Wilberg and Gille would trade second position numerous times. Both racers also were able to take their best shot at Johnson, with the Edgerton Wisconsin native able to hold off each and every challenge.

As the race wore on, raindrops began to trickle from the sky. The race was finally yellow flagged for weather with 20 laps to go and after several minutes of circling the track trying to stay ahead of the weather, the field was sent to pit road. Over the course of the next hour, light rain tapered on and off but after a sizable wait, the field of Late Models was summoned back to the track to complete the final 20 laps.

When the race resumed, Johnson lead Gille and Wilberg to green. Wilberg got the best of Gille on the bottom groove and set his sights on Johnson. The two racers then became bumper to bumper, with Wilberg delivering a bump to Johnson entering turn one on the 73rd lap. Johnson’s car wobbled and ended up smacking the outside wall with the right rear. The impact disabled the rear end of Johnson’s machine, ending the former race leader’s day one lap later.

After the caution flew, Johnson’s machine stopped in turn two. Johnson emerged from the vehicle visibly displeased with the situation and the abrupt end to his day. When the action picked back up, it was Wilberg ahead of Gille, with Reynolds restarting on the bottom of the track in third. Reynolds and Gille raced hard for second over the final laps, leading to Wilberg’s escape to the checkered flag. Jake Gille ended the race in second place, his best ever Big 8 Series finish. Reynolds’ steady effort was rewarded with a third place finish. Michael Bachaus fought back from his second lap misfortune to finish the race in fourth place, while Elkhorn Wisconsin’s Wayne Freimund rounded out the top five.

Wilberg was also the afternoon’s Fast Qualifier, turning a lap of 13.808 in Quartermaster Time Trials. 2014 Big 8 Series Rookie of the Year Collin Olson was the Powersource Power Mover of the Race, advancing fifteen positions from 24th to 9th over the course of 88 laps.

The next race for the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet is scheduled for Friday night June 5 at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids Iowa, the first ever trip for the Series to the Hawkeye State.

FINAL RESULTS
Big 8 Late Model Series Spring Classic
Rockford (IL) Speedway

1. Bobby Wilberg Beloit WI
2. Jacob Gille Machesney Park
3. Jon Reynolds Jr Rockford
4. Michael Bachaus Columbia City, IN
5. Wayne Freimund Elkhorn WI
6. Michael Bilderback South Beloit
7. Dana Czach Wauconda
8. Josh Nelms Lockport
9. Collin Olson Maplewood MN
10. Duke Long West Bend WI
11. Dave Edwards Salem WI
12. Casey Johnson Edgerton WI
13. Austin Nason Roscoe
14. John Beinlich Prairie View
15. Cole Anderson (R) Northfield MN
16. Tony Brutti Dyer IN
17. Michael Ostdiek Lakeville, MN
18. Tory Adams Madison WI
19. Alex Papini Machesney Park
20. Adam Peschek Oconomowoc WI
21. Rich Schumann Jr Portage WI
22. Kyle Shear Roscoe
23. Mike Lloyd Davis
24. J. Herbst West Salem WI
25. Adam Bendzick (R), Elko MN
26. Michael Clapper Dane WI

‘LATE MODEL SHOWTIME’ RETURNS THIS SUNDAY AT SPRING CLASSIC!

What: 38th Annual Spring Classic

Where: Rockford Speedway (located at 9572 Forest Hills Rd Loves Park, IL)

When: Sunday April 12

Schedule and Information:
7 AM- Pits Open, Breakfast in Pit Concession
8 AM- Chapel Service in South VIP Tower
8:45 AM- Big 8 Series Driver’s Meeting in Pit Stands
9:30 AM- Rotating Practice (until 11:25 AM)
11 AM- Front Gate Opens
11:30 AM- Qualifying (All divisions-2 laps)
12:45 PM- Opening Ceremonies
1 PM- WE’RE RACING

Divisions Competing:
Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet
(complete show highlighted by an 88 lap feature)
Quest Industrial Mid-American Stock Car Series
(complete show highlighted by a 50 lap feature)
American Ethanol Super Truck Series
(Twin 25 lap features)

Admission Prices:
Adults: $20
Students (ages 12-17) & Seniors: $10
Children (ages 6-11): $5
Kids 5 & under: FREE

Final 2014 Big 8 Series Point Standings (Top 10)
1. #5 Casey Johnson 937 (4 wins)
2. #14 Austin Nason 928 (3 wins)
3. #X Jon Reynolds Jr 714 (3 wins)
4. #51 Dale Nottestad 671
5. #7 John DeAngelis Jr 644
6. #82 J Herbst 590
7. #5 Dave Edwards 561
8. #28 Jesse Bernhagen 537
9. #52 Steve Dobbratz 421
10. #23 Casey Strese 420

Past Big 8 ‘Spring Classic’ Winners:
2013- Alex Papini Machesney Park, IL
2012- Jon Reynolds Jr. Rockford, IL
2011- Dale Nottestad Cambridge, WI
2010- Casey Johnson Edgerton, WI
2008- Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL
2007- Mike Ehde Prairie du Chien, WI
2006- Mike Beyer Machesney Park, IL
2005- Mike Beyer Machesney Park, IL
–(2009 and 2014 feature events were Rained Out)–

THIS YEAR: One of the most interesting Spring Classic fields in recent memory will battle for first place this Sunday afternoon at Rockford Speedway. Leading the way are the two drivers who battled for the championship last year, Casey Johnson and Austin Nason. Johnson won the last Big 8 race at Rockford in thrilling fashion, besting Nason and Dale Nottestad in a ‘green-white-checkered’ scramble that ended three-wide at the finish line. Nason has already won a race in 2015, at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in New Smyrna Florida during February’s ‘Speedweeks.’ Despite racing ten minutes from home Sunday, Nason and crew will put on nearly 700 miles this weekend, as the teenager races a Super Late Model Saturday afternoon in Toledo, OH.

Other drivers to watch this weekend include South Beloit’s Michael Bilderback, who will race a Dodge Charger fielded by Wisconsin racer Adam Peschek. Bilderback is no stranger to success at Rockford, becoming the youngest winner of Spring Classic in 2008 while also winning the 2012 ‘All Star 100.’ Lockport’s Josh Nelms looks to make his first Big 8 Series start on Sunday. Nelms was crowned the 2006 Late Model Rookie of the Year at Rockford and also claimed victory in the 200 lap National Short Track Championship in 2009. Two-time NASCAR Illinois State Champion and 2013 Rockford Speedway Track Champion Alex Papini is not only is looking to win a second consecutive Big 8 Spring Classic on Sunday, but also plans to attempt his first ever Mid-American Series start the same day.

2015 BIG 8 LATE MODEL SERIES EVENTS:
Sun April 12- 38th Annual Spring Classic (Rockford Speedway, Loves Park IL)
Fri June 5- Hibu ‘Hawkeye Stakes’ (Hawkeye Downs Raceway, Cedar Rapids, IA)
Fri June 26- Salute to America (Madison International Speedway, Oregon WI)
Fri July 24- Larry Detjens Memorial Race (State Park Speedway, Wausau WI)
Tues Aug 4- Gandrud Chevrolet Dixieland Delight (Wisconsin Int’l Raceway, Kaukauna WI)
Sat Sept 26- 7th Annual ‘Thunderstruck 93’ (Elko Speedway, Elko New Market, MN)
Sat Oct 3- 50th Anniversary National Short Track Championships (Rockford Speedway)
Sat Oct 10- 46th Oktoberfest Race Weekend (La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, West Salem, WI)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please visit www.big8series.com

MINNESOTA DUO RUNNING FOR BIG 8 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

By: Eric Huenefeld

The state of Minnesota has become a hotbed for Big 8 Late Model Series racing in recent years.

It started in 2012 with the introduction of ‘Big 8 style’ Late Models at Elko Speedway and was followed in September of that same year with a non-points Big 8 race at the ‘Thunderstruck’ Race Weekend, featuring local racers and some of the Big 8’s best.

The competitive style of short track excitement that the Big 8 Late Model Series is known for has been one that’s caught on in the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes.’ The number of Minnesota racers trying their hand at running across the Midwest with the ‘Best Weekly Warriors in the Country’ has also increased. Last year, Maplewood native Collin Olson was crowned Big 8 Series Rookie of the Year, while in 2013 Lakeville’s Chris Marek won two of the series’ final three shows.

This season, a pair of Minnesota racers has thrown their hat in the ring to compete for the Big 8 Late Model Series Rookie of the Year. First is Elko native Adam Bendzick, a driver who is no stranger to the high banks of Rockford (IL) Speedway, the first stop of the season for the Big 8 Late Model Series this Sunday April 12. Bendzick won the Mid American Stock Car Series ‘Spring Classic’ at Rockford Speedway two years ago and has also saw success at his home track in his hometown, finishing second in Mid American Sportsman points at Elko Speedway in 2008 while also being voted ‘Driver of the Year’ in the division.

Northfield Minnesota’s Cole Anderson also intends to chase the Big 8 Rookie of the Year in 2015. Anderson, currently a Junior in High School, had a stellar showing at his home track last year, finishing fourth in points with three feature wins and three fast times at Elko. Anderson and crew also made the voyage to Florida last December, participating in the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola Florida. This weekend’s season opening race at Rockford Speedway will be Anderson’s first ever trip to the historic northern Illinois facility.

Bendzick, Anderson and the rest of the Big 8’s best will open their season this Sunday afternoon April 12 as part of the 38th Annual Spring Classic at Rockford Speedway. The main event of the afternoon will be an 88 lap feature for the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet. Joining the Big 8 on the Sunday afternoon card is the Quest Industrial Mid-American Stock Car Series and the American Ethanol Super Truck Series. Grandstands open at 11 AM, with Qualifying at 11:30 AM and the first race at 1 PM. Adult admission is $20, Students (age 12-17) & Seniors are $10, Children (ages 6-11) are $5 while Kids 5 and under are FREE.

For more information on Rockford Speedway and the 38th Annual Spring Classic, please visit www.rockfordspeedway.com or call 815-633-1500.

For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, please visit www.big8series.com.

PAPINI PULLING DOUBLE DUTY AT SUNDAY’S SPRING CLASSIC

By: Russell J Wheeler

Two-time NASCAR Illinois State Champion and 2013 Rockford Speedway Track Champion Alex Papini simply won’t settle for one crack at victory during the 38th Annual Spring Classic Sunday April 12 at Rockford Speedway.

The Machesney Park native plans to campaign two cars in two divisions at this weekend’s event, the first major short track race of the year in the region.

Papini, the 2013 Big 8 Spring Classic winner, is again entered to run the Big 8 portion of the show with his familiar blue, black and silver number 39 car. Papini has collected 22 feature wins over the last two season in Late Model, among tops in the Midwest. Seventeen of those wins have come in the NASCAR Late Model division at Rockford.

Along with the familiar surroundings of his Big 8 Late Model, Papini plans to strap into a Mid-American Stock Car this Sunday for the first time ever. Papini’s Mid-American Series mount is owned by Rich and Karla Morschauser from Wisconsin, former championship car owners at Madison (WI) International Speedway.

The 38th Annual Spring Classic is set for this Sunday afternoon, April 12 at Rockford Speedway. Gates open at 11 AM, with Qualifying at 11:30 AM and the first race at 1 PM. Adult admission is $20, Students (ages 12-17) and Seniors $10, Children (ages 6-11) are $5, while Kids 5 & under are admitted free.

The Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet headlines the season-opening card with an 88 lap feature race. Joining the Big 8 Late Models on Sunday afternoon is the Quest Industrial Mid American Stock Car Series, which opens their season for the 23rd consecutive year at Rockford with a 50 lap main event and the American Ethanol Super Trucks, making their first ever trip to Rockford, contesting Twin 25 lap features.

For more information on Rockford Speedway and the 38th Annual Spring Classic, please call 815-633-1500 or visit www.rockfordspeedway.com. For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series, please visit www.big8series.com.