By: Eric Huenefeld
October 2, 2013 (West Salem, WI) – There has never been more drama going into a Big 8 Series Championship race as there will be this Saturday October 5 at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.
Along with the yearly quest by drivers to etch their names in the history books as winners at the famed Oktoberfest Race Weekend, this year will feature many ‘races within the race.’
THE RACE TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
For the first time in the nine-year history of the Big 8 Series, the championship combatants come into La Crosse separated by just one point. Edgerton Wisconsin’s Casey Johnson leads the Series standings by a tally of 697-696 over Cambridge Wisconsin’s Dale Nottestad. Johnson, a two-time Jefferson Speedway champion, has won twice in Big 8 Series competition this year (Milwaukee and State Park), while picking up two fast time awards (State Park and Jefferson) and collecting six top five finishes. Nottestad, the 2013 Jefferson Speedway champion, is a three time winner on the year. Nottestad was the winner at Madison in August and collected both features and the Overall Title at Jefferson Speedway in September. Both drivers have six top five finishes on the season and seven top ten finishes. Johnson has one Big 8 win at LaCrosse, taking the checkers last July.
YOUNG GUNS DUEL FOR FOURTH PLACE
2012 Big 8 Series Rookie of the Year Jesse Bernhagen and 2012 Rockford Speedway Rookie of the Year Austin Nason are locked in a tight battle for fourth place in Big 8 Series points. Bernhagen, the 20 year old who currently schools and resides in Stevens Point Wisconsin, holds a 549-541 advantage over the 17 year old Nason coming into the weekend. Bernhagen has finished in the top five twice this year in Big 8 competition (State Park and Elko) with a career best third place finish at State Park in July. Nason has had a breakout season in 2013, with four top five finishes including a runner up finish at Milwaukee in July. Both drivers head to LaCrosse looking for their first Big 8 Series win. Nason’s first Series top five came last October at Oktoberfest.
‘JOHNNY’S QUEST’ FOR THE JMcK
19 year old John DeAngelis Jr has had a great stretch run during the 2013 Big 8 Series season. A runner up finish to Dale Nottestad at Madison in August propelled DeAngelis to success in the season’s late stages. DeAngelis finished third at Elko two weeks ago and just last weekend pocketed his first top five ever at Rockford Speedway. DeAngelis’s recent success has shot him to sixth in Big 8 Series points, fifteen points ahead of former Rockford Speedway track champion Tim Sargent. The sixth position in Big 8 Series points is very important because a top six finish in Big 8 points ensures a driver the right to race in the JMcK 63 on Sunday of Oktoberfest. DeAngelis has been part of all three previous JMcK races, and is hungry to run the race again. LaCrosse has been a very good track for DeAngelis in years past, can the youngster hold off the veteran Sargent for sixth place in points? Can DeAngelis pocket his first ever Big 8 Series win and ensure his spot in the Sunday Show!
case event? We’ll find out Saturday.
Early Bird Practice begins Saturday morning at 9 AM at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, with Quartermaster Time Trials for the Big 8 Late Model Series beginning at 1:05 PM and the Green Flag flying at 5 PM. The Big 8 portion of the program will include a full complement of Qualifying Heats, Dashes, Last Chance Race and the 68 lap Championship Feature, which will be the final event of the night.
For more information on the Big 8 Late Model Series, please visit www.big8series.com
For more information, please visit www.oktoberfestraceweekend.com or contact the speedway office at 608-786-1525. LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway is located at the intersection of Cty Rd M and Hwy 16 in West Salem, Wisconsin, and is a proud NASCAR Hometrack in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Five Star Race Car Bodies Adds Contingency Awards to Oktoberfest!
Thank you to Troy Shear at Five Star Race Car Bodies for adding in bonus awards to this weekend’s Oktoberfest Feature Winners. The following race winners will receive a product certificate of the listed value at Fest:
AST/Mini: $50 Towards Nose or Tail
Area Sportsman: $50 Towards Nose or Tail
LAX LM: $50