Erickson Claims Serenity Concepts Season Opener
CAMBRIDGE, WI (Saturday, May 4, 2019) On a beautiful Saturday evening in Southern Wisconsin, the roar of race engines filled the air as Jefferson Speedway kicked off the 2019 season. The season opener presented by Serenity Concepts marked the beginning of another year of intense racing action. When the dust settled, Jason Erickson parked his new machine in victory lane following a very entertaining 50 lap Late Model main event. The win ended a drought for the Yelk Motorsports team which has lasted since 2016. But a return to the form that led to 4 track championships appeared to aid the Fort Atkinson pilot as he sliced his way toward the front of the field on the way to the victory.
Dylan Schuyler and Riley Stenjem paced the field to 18 drivers to the drop of the green flag with Stenjem rocketing out into the lead on the opening lap. Jesse Bernhagen followed into the second position with Shaun Scheel in his tracks for third. Scheel dove under Bernhagen on lap three, stealing the second spot away two laps later as the leaders began to break away from the pack slightly. Jacob Nottestad drove up to fourth on lap 13 with Erickson in tow. A caution on lap 20 for a spinning Seth Reamer closed up the top five on the restart. As racing resumed, Nottestad made his move for third, getting past Bernhagen and bringing Erickson along. While Stenjem continued to show the way ahead of Scheel, the battle to watch was for third between Nottestad and Erickson. On lap 37, Erickson slipped under Nottestad on the exit of turn two. After a brief side by side fight, Erickson eased past Nottestad for third. On lap 44, Scheel experienced a problem, forcing him to slow and eventually stop in turn one to force a caution. The yellow closed up the leaders with seven laps remaining. On the restart, Nottestad powered by Erickson to claim the second spot. As Nottestad began to pressure Stenjem, contact between the duo resulting in Stenjem spinning off turn two to force the third and final caution of the race. Both drivers were forced to restart in the rear, handing the lead to Erickson with Casey Johnson in second and Michael Grueneberg third. But Erickson stayed strong on the point in the final circuits while Johnson tried to hold off the advances of Grueneberg. At the checkers, it was Erickson for the big win followed by Johnson, Grueneberg, Schuyler and Bernhagen.
Fort Atkinson’s Tyler Deporter made a late race pass to net the lead of the 30 lap Sportsman feature event on his way to victory lane with the win. Chris Jones grabbed the early lead on lap one from the front row with Tytus Helgestad back to second. Deporter moved up to third and began to pressure Helgestad for second. Deporter made the pass on lap nine and immediately set his sights on Jones at the front. Deporter reeled in the leader each lap, catching Jones as the entered heavy lapped traffic on lap 17. The pair of drivers tiptoed through the traffic, finally clearing it all with less than ten laps to go. On lap 25, Deporter slipped under Jones as they raced door to door for control of the top spot. Deporter cleared into turn one on the final lap and despite slight contact, maintained the lead through the checkered flag to score the win. Jones settled for second followed by Bryce Miller, Mark Deporter and Bobby Selsing Jr.
Multi-time International track champion, Mark English of Edgerton, picked up another feature win after claiming the 20 lap affair. Jason Uttech took the initial lead on lap one until an early caution slowed the pace. Weston Strese grabbed the lead on the restart with English firing up to second on lap five. A lap later, English drove under Strese through turns one and two. English took over possession of the top spot on lap seven and began to pull away. Scott Hoeft charged up to second on lap 13, but mechanical issues forced him to retire from the event with five laps remaining. Neil Higgins attempted to close in on English in the final laps, but English remained in control to pick up the win. Higgins was second with James Junget, Keith Bell and Strese rounding out the top five.
Whitewater’s Lucas Buckingham led every lap of the 25 lap Hobby Stock feature event to score the win. Buckingham held the slight advantage on the opening lap as he raced alongside Dan Snyder. Buckingham took control of the lead on lap three with Snyder back to second. Snyder took another shot at the top spot, drawing even with Buckingham on lap eight. A caution just past halfway of the event slowed the pace, setting up a restart with Buckingham out front followed by Snyder, Bud Riedner and Scott Riedner. As racing resumed, Bud Riedner took to the high groove, eventually working past Snyder for second. But Buckingham remained in control on the point to see the checkers first and pick up the win. Bud Riedner finished second followed by Brandon Angileri, Jim Tate Jr and Kolton Guralski.
Dillon Schwanbeck of Poynette picked up his first feature win at Wisconsin’s Action Track after claiming the 25 lap Legends feature event. Noah Eisenhower lead lap one from the pole with Ryan Braseth up to second. After an early caution on lap three. Eisenhower returned to the point, this time with James Lynch moving into second. On lap six, Schwanbeck charged past Lynch for second, setting his sights on Eisenhower. A lap later, Schwanbeck was alongside the early leader, clearing for the top spot exiting turn two. Schwanbeck began to stretch his advantage with Aaron Moyer was making his way toward the front. Moyer moved into second on lap ten as he looked to close on Schwanbeck. But a caution on lap 17 erased Schwanbeck’s advantage, placing both drivers on the front row for the restart. As the green waved once again, Schwanbeck fired back into control. Austin Jahr tried to follow into second, but Moyer held him off to retake the position. At the checkers, it was Schwanbeck for the win with Moyer coming home second. Jahr finished third followed by Ethan Ross and Alex Braseth.
The 20 lap Bandolero feature event ended with defending champion, Jevin Guralski of Wausau sitting in victory lane. Anna Price and Cohen Henze led the field to green as Henze took the early lead on lap one. Tucker Bodendorfer moved up to challenge Henze on lap two. Michael Guderski joined the battle as they raced three wide off turn four. Lap three saw the first of two cautions, setting Guderski and Henze on the front row for the restart. Guderski moved out front as racing resumed with Bodendorfer up to second. On lap six, Guralski moved up to third and began to look to the outside of Bodendorfer. On lap eight, Guralksi took over the second spot and began to close in on Guderski. Just as Guralski began to challenge the leader, the second yellow waved with five laps to go. Guderski and Guralski led the field back to green. Guralski fired into the lead with Guderski back to second. Guralski cruised to the checkers from there to pick up the win with Guderski coming home second. Robbie Rucks was third followed by Bodendorfer and Karter Stark.
Next Saturday, May 11, is a full program of racing presented by Papa Murphy’s Pizza. Time trials begin at 5pm with racing at 7pm. Jefferson Speedway is located halfway between Jefferson and Cambridge on Hwy 18. Please visit jeffersonspeedway.com for more information.