Writer’s Note: Unfortunately, I fell sick during the course of the events at Norway Speedway Friday night and made the decision to make the hour long trip home before my issues escalated. Thankfully, I made it home safe. However, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the drivers, crews, and fans of the 141 Auto Sales Stock Cars and MC Bangers as I missed both of those races, and thus am unable to give the same level of coverage to them this week. It is my goal to cover every division at every track with the same level of respect and attention the competitors deserve, and doing this is something I take great pride in. Once again, I am sorry for the situation this week, but here is to good health and good racing in the future. - Todd
Another sunny Friday evening welcomed fans and competitors to the Norway Speedway last night for the track’s second weekend of racing in the 2019 season. Aside from the spectators and drivers, there was a very special guest for the night’s event, the night’s sponsor Valley Med Flight along with its crew and helicopter. Landing just outside the grandstand entrance, fans were able to talk to the crew and get a firsthand look at the Valley Med Flight Helicopter.
The night’s theme of close racing was set early in the heat races. Across many of the track’s divisions, drivers battled hard for ever position in their respective heats. The Wisconsin Sport Trucks first heat featured a duel for the top spot between Casey Vanderloop and Destiny Bullard that ended with Vanderloop edging Bullard at the line after a one lap shootout following a scary ride off the drop off to the horse track by Kelly Burcar. Burcar climbed from the Sport Truck unhurt and raced in the feature later in the night. Other divisions heat races also showcased drama. In the 141 Auto Sales Stock Cars, both heats saw leading drivers eclipse the 18 second mark, dropping them to the tail of the field. By intermission, the night’s theme was set and the feature races would not disappoint.
Wisconsin Sport Trucks Feature
The first feature race of the night was the Wisconsin Sport Trucks feature. As the track’s showcase division of the night, drivers made their way to the front straightway for driver introductions before the command to start engines was given. The field roared to life and soon the green flag would fly.
As the green flag flew it was 86 year old, Pete Zarnoth, that would take the early lead from his front row starting position. After leading the first two laps, Zarnoth would lose the top spot to Drew Habeck, who would lead for the next several laps. With 14 laps to go, Casey Vanderloop, a heat race winner earlier in the night, spun in turn four. Vanderloop’s spin would bring out the caution, bunching the field up for a restart. When racing resumed, Cody Vanderloop powered his way around Drew Habeck and wouldn’t look back the rest of the night. Meanwhile, Habeck, Tanner Fickel, Andrew Secrist, and Brad Barglind would battle each other in a tight pack as the laps ticked down. With two laps to go, Habeck used a lapped car as a pick as he battled Barglind, moving him to second place. This move, though, also opened the door for Secrest and Fickel to pass Barglind.
When the checkered flag dropped, it was Cody Vanderloop winning his second feature win in as many nights. Vanderloop scored his first win on Thursday night at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna. Drew Habeck followed in a distant second with Andrew Secrist in third. Tanner Fickel and Brad Barglind rounded out the top five.
Auto Value Super Stock Feature
The early laps of the night’s Auto Value Super Stock Feature were wild, to say the least. The initial start of the race was waved off, as the flagman was not happy with the lineup. Once the field gathered itself and realigned for the start, the green flag would fly and Kelly LaCount would lead the first lap. Almost as quickly as the race started, the yellow flag would fly again for And Gerwig, who spun off the front bumper of Ryan Wender in turn four. Wender would be ordered to the tail end of the field while Gerwig would get his spot back.
Kelly LaCount would hold off Andy Gerwig for several laps following the ensuing restart. Gerwig would make his way around LaCount for the lead six laps into the race. Two laps later, the big one would strike in turn four. Kelly LaCount was the first car to spin and from there, it was on. Six cars in total would be involved, including: LaCount, Ryan Wender, Tim Schultz Jr., Kevin Peterson, Anthony Schiefelbein, and Parker Cain. Several drivers were able to rejoin the field following the accident. Not among them, notably, was Tim Schultz Jr., current points leader and defending track champion. His night would end in the pits.
Racing resumed with Andy Gerwig in the lead, but the car to watch was Ryan Wender. Wender, who just laps before found himself sideways and slamming into Kelly LaCount’s car, muscled his way through the field up to second position. As the laps ticked away, Wender began to put the pressure on Gerwig. Just when it looked like time had run out for Wender, a late race caution would give him another chance at the win.
It was only fitting that the drivers that butted heads early in the going would be the two dueling it out for the win. On the restart with four to go, Gerwig would jump back out to the lead but Wender wouldn’t let him off that easy. Over the final four laps, Wender would pressure Gerwig form second, using his bumper several times to no avail. The white flag would fly and Wender would use the bumper one final time. Andy Gerwig, though, held on to the car, and the lead and would go on to win the feature race. Ryan Wender finished his up and down night in second while Kevin Peterson would also recover from the big one to finish in third.
Bink’s Coca-Cola Late Model Feature
Next to take to the track were the Bink’s Coca-Cola Late Model’s. Absent at the track Friday night was last week’s winner and points leader, Troy Nelson. With Nelson’s absence, the battle for the top spot in the points standing was blown wide open.
From the front row to the top spot early was Dean Varda. Varda held the lead for the first two laps before Bruce White would use the outside lane to take the position for himself. After 10 laps, losing the lead was the least of Varda’s worries. Midway down the backstretch, Varda would going spinning to trough the infield off the front of Jason Wells’ car. Amazingly, no one else would be involved and Varda would continue the race, albeit from the rear of the field. Wells would also fall to the back of the pack. The incident would be the only caution in the race.
The field would get back to speed with 25 laps remaining. By the race’s halfway point, Dillon Kralovetz found his way to the lead. The defending champion wasn’t alone at the front end of the field, however. Behind him in second position was Dan Lindsley who had set quick time in qualifying earlier in the night. For the better part of the races late stages, Kralovetz and Lindsley would run nose to tail through lapped traffic, Lindsley shadowing Kralovetz every step of the way.
When the checkered flag flew, it was Dillon Kralovetz who would claim the night’s feature race. Dan Lindsley crossed the line in second. For the second race in a row Scott Stanchina finished in third, continuing his strong start to the 2019 racing season.
Below are the top three finishers for the 141 Auto Sales Stock cars and MC Banger.
141 Auto Sales Feature
1. Gary Thom
2. Joe Ostermann
3. Preston Wedel
1. Zach Gazda
2. Dean Bellmore
3. Ron Linder
By Todd Rose