By: Paul Reichert
July 1, 2022

The 4th of July holiday weekend features a lot of parties, get togethers and some impressive fireworks displays to light up the night sky. One of the biggest crowds ever seen at Tomah-Sparta Speedway came out to witness one of the biggest traveling series ever to race here. Thanks to track promoter Greg Oliver having worked as their flagman for several years, the Big 8 Late Model Series made their debut appearance at ‘Daytomah’ for the inaugural running of the Firecracker 58. Only a handful of the drivers competing had experience racing at Tomah and it showed in the end. Jesse Bernhagen found a way under Will Rece with 13 laps to go to win the 58 lap main event and his second straight Late Model feature at Tomah.

The Big 8 Late Model Series Firecracker 58 feature had a hard time getting off the ground. The first start had to aborted after Franc Baldowski’s spin in turn three. Try number two was a no-go when Jason Stark bounced hard off of the back straight wall with a flat right front tire and suspension damage that ended his night before it ever got started. The third time was the charm as rookie Kody King took the top spot from Willie Nelson, but yellow number three came out on lap two when Jesse Bernhagen and Randy Sargent had a bit of a dust-up in turn one. Yellow returned again on lap three for Thayrin Rezin and McKayla Adams getting together on the front straight. Brent Edmunds charged by King on the restart to assume command of the race. King lost second spot to Will Rece on lap four and fell out of the top three the next lap thanks to Nelson. Adams and Jim Olson went into the spin cycle in turn two on lap nine bring out the fifth yellow flag. Fast qualifier Dale Nottestad got around Nelson on the outside on the restart to crack the top three. After yellow flags on lap 13 and 18 for solo spins by Baldowski and rookie Brian Allen, Stephen Schell felt racy on the outside and fought with Nottestad over third. That battle did not last very long as Nottestad powered his way by Scheel to keep a tight hold on the number three position. After another caution period for Olson’s spin out in turn one on lap 21, Rece dove to the inside of Edmunds on lap 25 and powered his way into the top spot. A lap later both Nottestad and Jesse Bernhagen used that same low line to drive by Edmunds and dismiss his from the top three.

Winning the first round of the Late Model Triple Crown Series a month ago, Bernhagen got a run out of turn two on lap 30 to shoot by Nottestad to claim the runner-up spot. After one final caution on lap 32 for Adams’ spin in turn four, the fight for the lead and the win was on between Rece and Bernhagen. Rece, a Big 8 regular and first time visitor to ‘Daytomah’, was doing everything he could to hold onto the with the most experienced driver at Tomah applying a ton of pressure. Bernhagen got close to Rece a few times, attempted to make a move but then had to back out and reset for another challenge. Rece was not budging from holding the inside line until Bernhagen did a ‘bump and run’ move in turn two with 13 laps remaining. That move sent Rece up a groove and allowed Bernhagen to power under the Stoughton driver for the race lead. Now Bernhagen had to worry about Rece returning the favor with his own ‘bump and run’ move to get the lead. Bernhagen maintained about a three car length distance ahead of Rece over the final ten laps to drive away with his long overdue first career Big 8 Late Model Series win. Bernhagen made history by becoming the 50th different feature winner in Big 8 series history. It was also the second straight Late Model win at Tomah for Bernhagen.

In the American Super Cup Series feature, Brandon Wynd got on the gas quicker than Michael Rose to take charge early in the going. As Wynd began to open up a lead on the field, Sean Eurick was looking to catch up to Wynd and make a race of it. Last year’s American Super Cup Series winner surged ahead of Brandon Vines to move into third on lap three, then powered his way under Rose to settle into the runner-up spot by lap six. Eurick was doing his best to go for two straight feature wins but Wynd was running faster than the wind. Rose and Vines got locked into their own battle over the number three position since the mid-way point of the race. That battle would eventually be won by Rose. Wynd would not be challenged by Eurick the rest of the way as the 12 year old’s feature win put the cherry on the top of the sundae as he completed a clean sweep of the division.

Andrew Gardner wasted little time to get to the front of the Command Post Saloon Hornet feature. Gardner had his hands full with a big swarm of fast competitors behind him, but he caught a break with a lap six yellow flag for Davey Pennel spinning out Paul Finch. Point leader Josh Schaller lined up alongside of Gardner for the restart and quickly powered by Gardner to become the new race leader. The racing would be interrupted by another caution on lap seven for Kendon Thurk’s solo spin on the back straight. Mason Morphey lined up next to Schaller for the restart and he would only need two laps to get around Schaller on the outside to take over the lead. Holding onto second place with be no easy task for Schaller as he had to contend with Bryan Wallace over the final four laps. Schaller kept Wallace behind him to hold onto second, while Morphey was long gone and scored his third feature win in the last four races.

The TACU Credit Union 6 Shooter feature had a little sibling rivalry to start as brothers Chris and Greg Brown lined up on the front row. Chris surged ahead of Greg to show the way at first, but Greg took his time and powered around Chris to take over the race lead on lap three. As Greg Brown tried to open his lead on the field, a host of contenders tried to take the lead away from him. Point leader Chuck Muller, Mike Gratz, Steven Muller and Seth Gnewikow did their best to go after Brown for the lead but Brown was able to resist all of their advances. A pair of Moores would have something to say about that late in the going. Matt and Andrew were slicing and dicing their way through traffic before they shot past Muller to crack the top three with six laps to go. Both Moores teamed up to close the gap on Brown as Andrew powered underneath Brown for the race lead with three laps to go. Two turns later Matt kicked Brown back to third. Matt tried to look for a way by Andrew over the final laps but Andrew was a little quicker than Matt this night as he hit the finish line first.

Action continues next Friday, July 8 as the Six Shooters get their big night in the spotlight at ‘Daytomah’. The 3rd Annual Six Shooter Mania event takes place with a 30 lap feature and a little more money on the line thanks to division sponsor TACU Credit Union. The Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Hornets and Soccer Moms will also be a part of another supersized Friday night of racing. Gates open at 5:00, qualifying begins at 6:15 and the ‘on the edge of your seat’ racing starts at 7:30.

Call the track office at 608-461-1920, visit our web site at or check out the track’s Facebook page for more information about Tomah-Sparta Speedway and the 2022 schedule of events.

Big 8 Late Model Series
Firecracker 58 Feature (58 laps): 1. Jesse Bernhagen, 2. Will Rece, 3. Dale Nottestad, 4. Jerry Mueller, 5. Brent Edmunds, 6. Jon Reynolds, Jr., 7. Stephen Scheel, 8. Brady Liddle, 9. Thayrin Rezin, 10. Willie Nelson, 11. Randy Sargent, 12. Kody King, 13. Jim Olson, 14. Owin Giles, 15. McKayla Adams, 16. Hanna Raley, 17. Brian Allen, 18. Franc Baldowski, 19. Jason Stark
Heat #1 (10 laps): 1. Owin Giles, 2. Will Rece, 3. Jason Stark, 4. Dale Nottestad, 5. Willie Nelson, 6. Hanna Raley, 7. Brian Allen
Heat #2 (10 laps): 1. Jerry Mueller, 2. Jim Olson, 3. Stephen Scheel, 4. Jesse Bernhagen, 5. Jon Reynolds, Jr., 6. Brady Liddle
Heat #3 (10 laps): 1. Kody King, 2. Randy Sargent, 3. McKayla Adams, 4. Brent Edmunds, 5. Franc Baldowski, 6. Thayrin Rezin
Qualifying: 1. Dale Nottestad 15.586, 2. Jesse Bernhagen 15.591, 3. Thayrin Rezin 15.706, 4. Will Rece 15.749, 5. Stephen Scheel 15.799, 6. Franc Baldowski 15.837, 7. Jason Stark 15.843, 8. Jon Reynolds, Jr. 15.898, 9. Randy Sargent 15.936, 10. Owin Giles 19.972, 11. Jim Olson 15.983, 12. Brent Edmunds 16.003, 13. Willie Nelson 16.044, 14. Brady Liddle 16.143, 15. Kody King 16.291, 16. Hanna Raley 16.315, 17. Jerry Mueller 16.319, 18. McKayla Adams 16.640, 19. Brian Allen 52.760

American Super Cup Series
Feature (15 laps): 1. Brandon Wynd, 2. Sean Eurick, 3. Michael Rose, 4. Brandon Vines, 5. Kevin Langenecker, 6. Mick Ellis, 7. Ron Baaske, 8. Caden Baaske, 9. Rylee Baaske, 10. David Cerer
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Brandon Wynd, 2. Michael Rose, 3. Sean Eurick, 4. JoJo Fadke, 5. Brandon Vines, 6. David Cerer, 7. Mick Ellis
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Kevin Langenecker, 2. Ron Baaske, 3. Rylee Baaske, 4. Caden Baaske, 5. T.C. Smith, 6. John Otradovec
Qualifying:. 1. Brandon Wynd 18.928, 2. Sean Eurick 19.294, 3. Michael Rose 19.674, 4. Brandon Vines 19.756, 5. JoJo Fadke 20.037, 6. David Cerer 20.168, 7. Mick Ellis 20.198, 8. John Otradovec 20.364, 9. Kevin Langenecker 20.529, 10. Rylee Baaske 20.694, 11. Ron Baaske 21.132, 12. T.C. Smith 21.377, 13. Caden Baaske NO TIME

Command Post Saloon Hornets
Feature (15 laps): 1. Mason Morphey, 2. Josh Schaller, 3. Bryan Wallace, 4. Davey Pennel, 5. Adam Hayden, 6. Paul Finch, 7. Tristan Finnegan, 8. Tristan Drazkowski, 9. Jamie Pearson, 10. Andrew Gardner, 11. Ryan Oetzel, 12. Justin Marshall, 13. Kendon Thurk, 14. James Hendricks, Sr., 15. Justin Iverson, 16. Travis Atkinson, 17. Devon Swenson, 18. #62
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Kendon Thurk, 2. James Hendricks, Sr., 3. Justin Marshall, 4. #62, 5. Devon Swenson
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Josh Schaller, 2. Bryan Wallace, 3. Andrew Gardner, 4. Mason Morphey, 5. Tristan Drazkowski, 6. Ryan Oetzel, 7. Justin Iverson
Heat #3 (8 laps): 1. Paul Finch, 2. Jamie Pearson, 3. Davey Pennel, 4. Adam Hayden, 5. Tristan Finnegan, 6. Travis Atkinson
Qualifying: 1. Paul Finch 18.314, 2. Mason Morphey 18.600, 3. Davey Pennel 18.858, 4. Josh Schaller 18.912, 5. Jamie Pearson 18.950, 6. Bryan Wallace 19.166, 7. Adam Hayden 19.291, 8. Tristan Drazkowski 19.456, 9. Travis Atkinson 19.591, 10. Andrew Gardner 19.699, 11. Tristan Finnegan 19.739, 12. Ryan Oetzel 19.832, 13. Justin Marshall 19.950, 14. James Hendricks, Sr. 19.950, 15. Amelia Marshall 20.101, 16. Kendon Thurk 20.197, 17, Devon Swenson 21.575, 18. #62, 22.524, 19. Justin Iverson NO TIME

TACU Credit Union Six Shooters
Feature (15 laps): 1. Andrew Moore, 2. Matt Moore, 3. Chuck Muller, 4. Greg Brown, 5. Steven Mueller, 6. Dustin McCracken, 7. Mike Gratz, 8. Seth Gnewikow, 9. Tim Murphy, Sr., 10. Chris Brown, 11. Andy Muller, 12. Jon Beanken, 13. Landin Frye, 14. Tim Murphy, Jr., 15. Landon Lockington, 16. Clayton Haessig, 17. Austyn Blank, 18. Trenton Frye, 19. James Muller, 20. Ashley Tauscher, 21. Matthew Gudgeon, 22. Zachary Morgan
Heat #1 (8 laps): 1. Landon Lockington, 2. Austyn Blank, 3. James Muller, 4. Tim Murphy, Jr., 5. Ashley Tauscher, 6. Matthew Gudgeon
Heat #2 (8 laps): 1. Chris Brown, 2. Mike Gratz, 3. Seth Gnewikow, 4. Steven Mueller, 5. Andy Muller, 6. Clayton Haessig, 7. Zachary Morgan, 8. John Beanken
Heat #3 (8 laps): 1. Matt Moore, 2. Tim Murphy, Sr., 3. Andrew Moore, 4. Chuck Muller, 5. Dustin McCracken, 6. Greg Brown, 7. Trenton Frye, 8. Landin Frye
Qualifying: 1. Matt Moore 19.179, 2. Seth Gnewikow 19.259, 3. Andrew Moore 19.283, 4. Steven Mueller 19.383, 5. Dustin McCracken 19.393, 6. Mike Gratz 19.644, 7. Chuck Muller 19.690, 8. Andy Muller 19.732, 9. Greg Brown 19.955, 10. Chris Brown 20.020, 11. Tim Murphy, Sr. 20.066, 12. Zachary Morgan 20.081, 13. Landin Frye 20.218, 14. John Beanken 20.272, 15. Trenton Frye 20.360, 16. Clayton Haessig 20.370, 17. Landon Lockington 20.407, 18. James Muller 20.544, 19. Tim Murphy, Jr. 20.643, 20. Austyn Blank 20.667, 21. Ashley Tauscher 20.803, 22. Matthew Gudgeon 21.743