NELSON AND JOHNSTON CAPTURE FEATURES, WORLD of OUTLAWSLATE MODEL MAIN TO BRANDON SHEPPARD
By Jerry O’Brien
(7-13-21) Superior, WI
(7-13-21) Superior, WI
On a rare Tuesday night event, the Morton Buildings World of Outlaws Late
Model series brought their show to Gondik Law Speedway. Joining the “Fastest
Late Models on the Planet” for the midweek visit were the WISSOTA Modifieds
A total of 54 cars in the three divisions came to play on the big four tenths mile
high banked oval. A good core group of WoO Late Models were joined by an
outstanding turnout of local WISSOTA Late Model racers. Amongst the WoO
racers were some like Jimmy Mars and Ricky Weiss who came from the ranks of
WISSOTA Late Models.
Qualifying for the Late Models were done two cars at a time and former
WISSOTA racer Brent Larson now WoO regular turned the quick time with a lap
of 15.84 seconds and Tyler Bruening was right behind with a lap of 15.902
seconds. No other driver managed to turn a lap under 16 seconds.
With 17 entries in the WISSOTA Modifieds, a pair of heat races determined the
lineup for the 20 lap feature. In the first heat Shane Sabraski finished ahead of
Mike Anderson and in the second Rick Rivord won over Jeffrey Wood.
There was a single heat race in the WISSOTA Hornets won by Tyler Schramm.
After timing laps in the WoO Late Models, three heat races were run to
determine who would be eligible for the redraw for positions in the first three rows
of the 40 lap main event. It was Brandon Sheppard (“Rocket Shepp”) and John
Kaanta in the first heat. Chris Madden and Tyler Bruening in the second and
Dennis Erb and Steve Laursen. A ten lap Last Chance Showdown would advance
six drivers to fill out the last three rows of the feature. Chad Mahder was the
winner and Tim McMann, Darrell Nelson, Sam Mars in his first ever WoO LM
try, Mike Bellefeuille and Boom Briggs won places in the main event.
When the redraw for the front three rows was completed, local favorite Veteran
Steve Laursen found himself on the pole. Dennis Erb,,Jr drew the outside of the
front row, Tyler Bruening drew inside the second row and John Kaanta and Chris
Madden filled out the third row.
After some track grooming during the short intermission, the first main event to
take to the track was 20 laps for the WISSOTA Modifieds. Mike Anderson was on
the pole flanked by Jeffery Wood as the green flag flew and seventeen powerful
engines propelled the field into the first turn. As is sometimes the case, trouble
lurks around the corner as drivers jockey for position. This time Wood spun and
collected the 05 of Jake Hartung. It was determined that Daniel Bargender
instigated the incident and was sent to the rear of the field while WOOD AND
Hartung were out of the event. The restart went nowhere either as Kyle Helling
and Danny Vang had a problem in turns one and two. The third time was the
charm as Darrell Nelson bolted from his third starting spot again and came out on
top followed by Anderson, Sabraski, Skeeter Estey, Brandon Copp and Jason
Gross. That order stayed static for a couple of laps, then Sabraski moved past
Anderson into second and set out after Nelson. Unfortunately, no matter how hard
he tried, Sabraski couldn’t make any headway in tracking down the fleeing
Nelson. While the same players stayed in the top ten or eleven they could only
scrap with each other as Nelson drove off into the night to take the checkered flag
3.75 seconds ahead of Sabraski. Estey clung to third fending off Copp and
Anderson as well as Jody Bellefeuille who was able to move himself from his 14th
starting spot to finish fourth. Anderson held on to round out the top five.
With the Modified feature safely ensconced in the record book, it was time for
the event that the packed house had been waiting for: World of Outlaw Late
Model racers against each other while trying to keep some strong local drivers at
bay for 40 laps. As mentioned, the popular Pole Sitter was local area driver Steve
Laursen who’s Father Russ and Brother Brent had turned hundreds if not
thousands of laps on the track over the years. On the outside of the front row was
Dennis Erb Jr, the “One Man Band”, a wilie veteran himself. At the green Erb
slung the #28Jr off the top of turn four and drove away from the pursuing Brandon
“Rocket Shepp” Sheppard the series point leader. Chris Madden started in the
sixth spot but didn’t stay there as he moved past Laursen into third. Laursen stuck
around in fourth holding off Tyler Bruening until he lost the position just a lap
before the first caution flag. The restart came with 23 circuits to go and Erb still
holding sway at the head of the pack, but now, the pack was much closer meaning
Sheppard was closer as was Madden and Bruening. Also moving in closer was
James Giossi who had found his way to fifth. Erb began to encounter traffic as he
and Sheppard began to weave their way through. With about a quarter of the way
left to go, Sheppard found a path past Erb to the lead. A couple of laps later with
11 laps to go Jimmy Mars subbing for the ill Cade Dillard in the #97 and Frank
Heckenhast, Jr tangled on the back stretch just off the bottom exit of turn two. The
restart came with eleven laps remaining and Madden made use of the restart to get
a run on Erb and move into second. Just as the event was about to reach one lap to
the white flag, Harry Hanson’s car slowed on the track bringing out the third
and final caution period. As per WoO Late Model rules, a caution inside the final
two laps lines up the field single file for the green/white/checkered finish.
Sheppard had no trouble keeping the lead to the checkered flag. Madden, Erb, Jr,
Bruening and Giossi maintained the order in the top five. Ryan Gustin, Jimmy
Mars, Kevin Eder, Ricky Weiss and Steve Laursen rounded out the top ten.
The final race of the evening was the 15 lap main event for the WISSOTA
Hornets. Mac Johnston drew the pole position and kept it to the checkered flag as
he kept Casey Fitzpatrick and Tyler Schramm in his rear view mirror the entire
distance to record his second feature win of the season at Gondik Law Speedway.
Gondik Law Speedway is not scheduled to race on Friday July 16th but will be
back on Tuesday July 20th for the Head of the Lakes Fair races featuring Late
Models, Modifieds, Super Stocks, Pure Stocks and Hornets. Then we move to
Friday July 23rd for more Head of the Lakes Fair races featuring the Northern
Renegade Sprints as well as Midwest Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Hornets.