When big money is on the line, big action and, sometimes, big controversy are sure to follow. Such was the case Friday night at the Norway Speedway in the first round of Auto Value sponsored racing action.
The first half of the night was relatively tame as most races ran incident free altogether. One incident of note was a trip to the turn three infield for Kevin Peterson following some sort of mechanical failure. Unfortunately, for Peterson, his night would end there. The night, it seemed, was off to a smooth start but it would soon fall off the rails.
Auto Value Super Stocks
In the first big money race of the night, the Auto Value Super Stock drivers would fight for a 750-dollar purse, and fight they did. The racing action for the first 34 laps was intense with battles throughout the field and only a few caution flag periods. However, the race’s final lap would create a buzz at the track that wouldn’t go away for the remainder of the night.
As the white flag flew, Ryan Wender led Andy Gerwig and Brett Bray into the final tour of the Norway Speedway. The three-pack made their way through turns one and two single file before roaring down the backstretch. At the entrance of turn three, Gerwig closed in on Wender’s rear bumper. As they preceded through the corner, Gerwig hit Wender in the rear, spinning him around. Gerwig maneuvered around the spinning Wender and would cross the line first with Brett Bray following behind. Crossing the line first would soon mean little for Gerwig, though, as track officials removed him from the top spot for causing the last lap incident with Wender. Wender, however, would not get his spot back and Brett Bray would be declared the winner.
The last lap clash isn’t the only time Gerwig and Wender have come together this year, or the night for that matter. Two weeks ago, the two drivers came together early in the feature resulting in Wender being sent to the rear of the field. Later in that same race the two would duel for the win with Gerwig outlasting Wender despite Wender pressuring for several laps and even using his bumper.
This week the two first made contact in the first corner of the first lap of the fast dash. Although both drivers continued with no further complications, perhaps the seeds for the events that would transpire in the feature were planted here. It could be argued they’ve been planted each and every week.
As stated above, the buzz created by the incident wouldn’t go away quickly. Following Robby Iverson’s Late Model feature celebration, Ryan Wender would return to the track in protest of the Auto Value Super Stock feature finish. Wender would park his car in victory lane before doing burnouts in the first turn.
Bink’s Coca-Cola Late Models
Robby Iverson would win the Bink’s Coca-Cola Late Model feature race to take home 1000-dollars from Auto Value. The path to victory wasn’t a simple one for Iverson, though. The 50 lap feature race would feature many twists and turns before reaching its conclusion.
The first yellow flag flew early in the going as brothers Scott and Brian Stanchina made contact on the front straightaway sending Scott spinning into the infield. Both cars were undamaged and continued on. It wouldn’t be the last time the Stanchina brothers would meet on track either.
As the laps whittled away, Scott Stanchina would make his way to the lead with Dillon Kralovetz in second and Brian Stanchina in third. While the top three battled amongst themselves, Robby Iverson worked his way through the field. After starting in the tenth position, Iverson had worked his way into the top five just after the halfway mark.
A late race yellow would stack the field up with just a handful of laps remaining. Prior to the yellow, Scott Stanchina was doing all he could to hold off brother Brian and Dillon Kralovetz and he would have to keep fighting on the restart. The green flag flew again with Scott leading the field. Soon, though, Brian would get alongside Scott at the exit of turn two. Then, contact. Brian went sliding into the outside wall while Scott spun into the infield. Neither of the Stanchina brothers would win, though Scott would rejoin the field for a moment.
The remaining cars pulled to a stop on the backstretch the following lap as the red flag was displayed. Suddenly, Brian Stanchina was sprinting down the length of the backstretch with his eyes locked on brother Scott. A very animated Brian got right into the driver’s side window before track crews intervened.
The driver to capitalize on the misfortune of the Stanchinas? Robby Iverson. In what could be described as a very Iverson-esque drive, the third generation driver methodically worked his way through the field and was the one standing tall at the end of the night. Mark Schroeder followed Iverson in second and Dillon Kralovetz finished in third.
Wisconsin Sport Trucks
In the Wisconsin Sport Truck feature it was all Destiny Bullard. After winning her heat race earlier in the night, Bullard was off to a strong start to the evening.
Kelly Burcar led the early laps of the feature while other drivers tried to chase her down. Eventually the lead would evaporate for Burcar and the lead would change hands to the eventual winner, Destiny Bullard.
The entirety of the Wisconsin Sport Truck feature was run green flag, a welcome sight after two caution filled races. Destiny Bullard was victorious while Andrew Secrist and JJ Vanderloop would finish in second and third, respectively.
141 Auto Sales Stock Cars
Week in and week out, the 141 Auto Sales Stock Car division is sure to put on an entertaining race. With the field restricted to running laps above 18 seconds, drivers push the limit and sometimes find it by going under 18 seconds. When that happens, the driver must relinquish there position and fall to the rear of the field. Of course, drivers try to get as close to 18 seconds as possible, resulting,many times, in a pack race reminiscent of a NASCAR race at Daytona or Talladega.
The 20 lap 141 Auto Sales Stock car feature Friday night was no exception to this. Much of the race looked like a pace lap sped up, with drivers stacked right on top of one another pushing the 18 second limit lap after lap. Somehow, none of the front runners would breakout. This led to a great battle to the finish.
When all was said and done, Michelle Janczewski would claim the victory turning a final lap time of 18.172, just a blink of an eye above the breakout mark. Bob Scheifelbein crossed the line in second while Bobby Lewis wound up in third. This race would also run caution free.
MC Four Bangers
The final race of the evening belonged to the MC Four Banger feature. For the third race in a row, once the green flag flew there would be no caution flags. There was, however, a very tense oment on the opening lap when Elliot Reid was forced to take evasive action to avoid a major accident by using the pit lane entry as an escape route. Reid would rejoin the field without losing a lap, but his chances at a win were gone.
Zach Gazda put on a dominant performance in the feature, lapping everyone except the second and third place cars on his way to victory. In a distant second was Ron Linder while giving him chase in third was Jody Gillespie.
Norway Speedway is back in action next Friday night at a 6:45 p.m. CST start time. The question on everyone’s mind for now is: What will the fallout from this week’s controversy be?
By Todd Rose