By Dan Margetta
Slinger, Wis., July 18—Jon Reynolds Jr. captured the win in the inaugural Old Wisconsin 88 as the Big 8 Late Model Series debuted at the Slinger Super Speedway Sunday night, turning back a mid-race challenge from James Swan before holding off Jeremy Miller and Rob Braun for the victory.
“This is the best racetrack in the world,” Reynolds told the crowd from victory lane, “I just love coming here and when they did this race with the Big 8 Series, I was just jumping up and down.”
Steven Schultz and James Swan brought the field to the green flag with Schultz streaking ahead to the lead as the inside line proved to be advantageous in the early going. Jeff Holtz, Reynolds, and Rob Braun all used the inner groove to move up behind Schultz and into the top four as Swan fell to fifth before he could settle into the inside lane. The caution flag flew early on lap 14 as the result of a tangle between Rob Myers, John DeAngelis, and John Baumeister Jr. in turn four which ended DeAngelis’ promising night in a shower of sparks. Schultz lined up on the inside for the restart and held onto his lead as Reynolds and Swan worked the low line to make their way around Holtz and into second and third place respectively. Reynolds then began to stalk Schultz for the top spot, wheeling around the outside to take command of the race on lap 22, just before the caution flag appeared on lap 23 as Jake Vanoskey’s car looped around in turn two. Reynolds led Schultz and Swan for the restart with Rob Braun, Bobby Willberg, and Chris Blawat close behind and as the green appeared, Reynolds charged ahead of the field while Swan dipped to the inside of Schultz to claim second place.
With Reynolds and Swan planted firmly in the top two spots, the fight for third heated up with Schultz under heavy pressure from Willberg, Braun, Blawat, Jeremy Miller, and Jeff Holtz all racing in close quarters. Further back, Kyle Shear’s car drifted wide in turn four on lap 30 and after scraping the frontstretch wall, clipped the right rear of the car of Wayne Freimund, sending both cars hard into the wall nose-first to bring out the caution flag again. This time, as racing resumed, Reynolds was able to keep the lead while Schultz briefly worked his way around Swan for second as the field slowed just three laps later when Rob Myers backed his car into the turn one wall, sending sparks flying with the yellow flag unfurled. With the race back underway, Schultz was able to keep pace on the outside with Reynolds and as the leaders battled side by side in turn two, Swan took a peek to the inside of both of them before deciding it was better to avoid the three-wide situation and tucking back into line in third place entering turn three. The heads-up move paid off for Swan a lap later as he took sole possession of second place when Schultz’s car washed wide in turn two while Blawat and Miller battled with Tanner Whitten over fourth. Swan planted the nose of his car squarely on Reynold’s rear bumper and his hard charges into the corners loosened Reynold’s car up, opening the door for an inside challenge. Swan filled the opening, pulling even with Reynolds and the two put on a driving clinic, racing door to door for several laps before Reynolds was able to momentarily prevail on the outside as the caution appeared on lap 43 for a spin by Mike Graczkowski in turn one. Reynolds chose the inside for the restart and he edged ahead as Swan’s car did not work as well in the upper groove and he lost two spots to Schultz and Jeremy Miller before battling alongside Whitten over fourth.
Whitten held the inside and tried to clear Swan for the position off turn two but ran out of room and the contact between them sent Whitten’s car sliding across the track before stopping just alongside the wall in turn three, drawing the caution on lap 48 and relegating both drivers to the rear of the field. Reynolds and Schultz led the field as racing resumed with Schultz hung on the outside, Miller and Rob Braun took over second and third while Schultz fought with Holtz and Willberg over fourth place. Miller tried his best to track down Reynolds for the lead as the front runners began to catch lapped traffic and was able to close slightly just prior to the final caution flag waving on lap 64 for a spin by Bill Shavlik in turn three. Reynolds again maintained his lead on the restart as Miller quickly took to the inside behind him and just ahead of Rob Braun. Behind the top three, Holtz and Willberg staged a side by side battle over fourth and minor contact between the two scattered the field behind them as the intense battle continued under the green flag. Reynolds could not be caught in the closing laps and he drove to the victory over Miller while Braun took the checkered flag in third place. Bobby Willberg finished fourth and Kris Kelly was fifth. Holtz crossed the finish line in sixth place ahead of Chris Blawat and Jeremy Lepak while John Baumeister Jr. and James Swan completed the top ten.
Jeremy Lepak won the 20-lap Big 8 Series Last Chance Race over Mike Graczkowski and Nick Barstad. John Baumeister Jr. and Michael Bachaus were fourth and fifth respectively. Kyle Shear won the first Big 8 Series Qualifying heat over Jimmy Ganski, Nick Barstad, Mike Graczkowski, and Dan Wood while Rob Myers won the second Qualifying heat over Ryan DeStefano, Jeremy Lepak, Jason Hicks, and Michael Bachaus. James Swan won the Big 8 Series Even Dash and Steven Schultz won the Big 8 Series Odd Dash while Jon Reynolds Jr. set fast time at 12.481 seconds.
James Swan continued his season-long dominance in the Midwest Sportsman Series by driving to his fifth win of the season in the 30-lap main event.
Jack Stern led the beginning laps and he along with Jesse Knutson began to distance themselves from the field which raced in a tight bunch with Mike Lang, Swan, and Austin Luedtke all racing for position ahead of Tom Elsinger and Gregg Pawelski. The close racing produced the caution flag as an incident involving Elsinger and Pawelski slowed the field under yellow with Stern leading over Knutson, Swan, Lang, and Luedtke. Swan quickly moved into second place on the restart as Stern held onto the lead. Behind the top two, Luedtke advanced into third while Dan Church moved into the top five. Stern continued to set the pace as Swan began to close in just before the caution appeared again on lap 22 when Knutson spun exiting turn four and collected the frontstretch wall. This time as racing resumed, Swan was able to work his way around Stern to take the lead and he began to pull away as the laps wound down. Swan drove to the victory while Stern earned his best finish of the season with a second place result. Dan Church edged Mike Lang for third place with Austin Luedtke right behind them in fifth place. Earlier, Jimmie Evans was the winner of the Midwest Sportsman fast dash and James Swan was the fastest qualifier at 12.791 seconds.
Al Stippich dominated the 18-lap Thunderstock feature, taking the convincing win over Ken Schraufnagel and Eric Lingford. Ryan Farrell and Jake Larson rounded out the top five. Schraufnagel also was the winner of the Thunderstock fast dash and Stippich topped qualifying after touring the speedway in 13.723 seconds. Erle Hoth edged Ken Jones at the finish line to win the American Super Cup Series feature while David Cerer, Mick Ellis, and Dakota Potts finished third through fifth place respectively. Dakota Potts and Erle Hoth each won American Super Cup Series heat races and Hoth set fast time at 15.502 seconds.
Alex Prunty was the winner of the Slinger Bee feature over Nick Wagner, Braison Bennett, and Erik Long. Russ Lorbiecki finished fifth. Shane Westphal won the Slinger Bee semi-feature ahead of Joe Shelby, Erica Knutson, Josh Fehrman, and Brandon Gumm. Erik Long was the fastest qualifier at 15.708 seconds. Charlie Blackmore won the Spectator Eliminator event in his Mitsubishi. Willy Van Camp won the Figure 8 race to close the evening.
This article was posted to the website on July 19th, 2010