La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Johnson Stellar in Star Spangled Big-8 Win
by Dave Noelke
WEST SALEM, Wis. -- Casey Johnson didn't mind how hot it was at LaCrosse Speedway's Star Spangled Spectacular. His car was already on fire. Well, not really, but it was just lightning fast. Johnson won his first Big-8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet race of the 2012 season, and the second of his career on Tuesday night.
The race began with Darren Wolke on the Pole and LaCrosse's J. Herbst on the outside. The fireworks began early as Herbst got loose in the first corner of the first lap of the race, and he ended up losing several spots. That caused a shuffle among the lead cars early in the race, where Casey Johnson made his way to the lead passing Darren Wolke eight laps into the contest.
The fireworks continued on the track as the unusually mis-handling car of Herbst was slipping through the pack and got together with Kyle Shear on the frontstretch on Lap 13. All cars were able to continue as none impacted the wall.
The race restarted but trouble was brewing for the Big-8 regulars of Johnson and second place Jeremy Miller. That trouble was the name Carlson. Steve Carlson appeared to have the fastest car mid-race after slipping past Rockford Speedway Champion Ryan Carlson (no relation), and put on several challenges trying to take the second spot from Miller. On multiple occasions Miller’s mount drifted high in the sweeping turns opening the door for Carlson who pulled to Miller’s door no less than five times. Meanwhile Johnson was cruising though lapped traffic clicking off the laps as fast as he could. When the checkers flew, it was Johnson ahead of Miller and Carlson, followed by Ryan Carlson and Zack Riddle.
"It was just unreal…we were just cruisin'," commented the jubiliant Johnson in Victory Lane after the race. "My Dad built this car, and it's a great one. I knew right away we had a great car early on, so I just had to calm myself down and run a steady race. After that yellow, we just kept going," concluded Johnson, of Stoughton, Wis. The win came over two years after his first Big-8 Series win at Rockford Speedway.
"For me, second place at LaCrosse is like a win," commented runner up Jeremy Miller. "We have had some tough runs here in the past, and we know that a top five finish will pay off in the end" (towards the Championship standings) concluded Miller.
The Championship round of the Big 8 Summer Nationals takes place Thursday night July 12 at Wausau’s State Park Speedway. The visit marks the first visit to the quarter mile oval owned by the Wimmer Family, a 58 lap feature event will highlight the evening. For additional information on this event visit www.stateparkspeedway.com or call 715-212-9006. The Big 8 Late Models will crown their eighth Champion when they return to LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday night October 6 during Oktoberfest Race Weekend. A complete Big 8 schedule, points and historical statistics can be found online at www.big8series.com.
LA CROSSE FAIRGROUNDS SPEEDWAY
Big-8 Late Model Series
Star Spangled Spectacular 48 (23 Cars) — 1. Casey Johnson, Stoughton, WI, 2. Jeremy Miller, Rockton, IL, 3. Steve Carlson, West Salem, WI, 4. Ryan Carlson, Loves Park, IL, 5. Zack Riddle, Cottage Grove, WI, 6. Todd Korish, Holmen, WI, 7. Jon Reynolds Jr., Rockford, IL, 8. Corey Jankowski, Tomah, WI, 9.Darren Wolke, Belle Plaine, MN, 10. Jesse Bernhagen, Markesan, WI, 11. Mike Ehde, Prairie Du Chien, WI, 12. Austin Nason, Roscoe, IL, 13. Kyle Shear, Roscoe, IL, 14. Matthew Henderson, Coon Valley, WI, 15 John DeAngelis Jr., Hubertus, WI, 16. Jacob Finney, Sycamore, IL, 17. Jimmy Ganski, Rosholt, WI, 18. J. Herbst, West Salem, WI, 19. Rob Myers, Hartford, WI, 20. Eric Connell, Fort Atkinson, WI, 21. Shawn Pfaff, Sparta, WI, 22. Tom McClintock, Onalaska, WI, 23. Tim Lange, Dousman, WI
Heat 1 — 1. Matthew Henderson, 2. John DeAngelis Jr., 3. Shawn Pfaff, 4. Jake Finney, 5. Eric Connell
Heat 2 — 1. Darren Wolke, 2.Jesse Bernhagen, 3. Zack Riddle, 4. Mike Ehde, 5. Steve Carlson
Fast Dash — 1. J. Herbst, 2. Casey Johnson, 3. Austin Nason, 4. Kyle Shear, 5. Jon Reynolds Jr.
Qualifying - 1. Jeremy Miller, 20.555 sec., 95.500 mph, 2. Casey Johnson, 3. Steve Carlson, 4. Ryan Carlson, 5. Zack Riddle, 6. Jon Reynolds, Jr., 7. Todd Korish, 8. Corey Jankowski, 9. Mike Ehde, 10. J. Herbst, 11. Jesse Bernhagen, 12. Kyle Shear, 13. Darren Wolke, 14. Austin Nason, 15. John DeAngelis, Jr., 16. Shawn Pfaff, 17. Matthew Henderson, 18. Jacob Finney, 19. Eric Connell, 20. Jimmy Ganski, 21. Rob Myers, 22. Tim Lange, 23. Tom McClintock