SCHELITZCHE CAPTURES BADGER STATE HORNET NATIONALS
By Jerry O’Brien
6-24-22 Superior, WI
On Friday June 24th Gondik Law Speedway in Superior, WI used the day to
honor it’s other divisions that are the backbone of the track’s weekly programs by
doing something special for them, hence the “Badger State Hornet Nationals, a
$1,000 to win WISSOTA Modified special as well as a visit from the Northern
Vintage Stockcar Racers club. These men and women have dedicated a good
portion of their lives building, restoring and racing many types of Vintage
Stockcars and racing them at selected tracks in the area at no cost to each
WISSOTA Late Models and Super Stocks were given the night off from their
regularly scheduled Friday night races and the Area Northern Renegades Non
Winged Sprint Cars added to the count. The better paying WISSOTA Hornet
Badger Nationals drew a total of 29 entries, about three times the size of a regular
weekly event count. The count in the WISSOTA Modifieds was very strong with
22 on hand including a number of travelers such as Dave Cain, Dan Ebert and
Alex Van Natta.
Without adding in the Vintage Stockcars, the total count of WISSOTA cars in
the four divisions numbered 82 cars. Plus the Renegade Sprints there was a nice
five sanction car count totaling 93cars. There was a decent number of the Vintage
cars in attendance including nine Full Bodied Cars and five Super Modifieds for a
total of 15 cars.
Given the way the season has progressed this year, a mention of the weather is
in order. Conditions over the previous weekend and the ensuing week had been
more like a normal Summer time week…until Friday. Temperatures in Superior
had been in the 80‘s and 90’s, but we noticed a temperature of 91 degrees by about
3:30-5:00. 30 minutes later another check showed that a wind switch had dropped
the temperatures quickly to 63 degrees. Despite this change an nice crowd of fans
switched out of their summer regalia to more weather appropriate garb and came
to the races, anyway.
Racers dived into their Qualifying for the night’s feature events and we were
ready to go with the first feature, the Midwest Modifieds to hit the speedway at
Jason VandeKamp used his outside front row spot to surge into the lead with
newcomer Madrinich, Ryan Savoy, Cole Boston and Andrew Inman following.
VandeKamp stayed out front while there was some position changes in the early
going. Savoy, who is a native to Superior and Cole Boston moved forward to
contend for the lead with Madrinich still in the mix. The first caution flag
appeared when Anthony Gallian spun at the bottom of turn four. At the green
VandeKamp continued to show the way as Savoy continued on in second as fifth
starting Inman continued in third ahead of James Vendela and Boston in the top
five. The front order stayed pretty much the same as the laps flowed by. David
Simpson, Zach Benson, Cody Carlson and others worked their way forward until.
With five circuits remaining, the smooth racing was gone as the second caution
flag flew when Tanner Gehl spun at he bottom of turn four. On the restart
VandeKamp maintained the lead but behind him Savoy and rest crowed down the
front stretch finding that there was not enough room for them causing them to pile
up starting with Carlson being forced into the front stretch wall bringing out the
caution. Then there was three laps to go on the restart, again with the squeezing
into the front stretch wall which damaged the cars of Tanner Gehl, Evan
Checkalski and Austin Blom. Zach Benson was also involved. This time when it
came time for the restart, there was a single lap left. The white/checkered flag
finished the race with ten cars to finish. VandeKamp was declared the winner over
Boston, Skeeter Estey and Vendela. As is the custom, the winner, once he passed,
moved up onto the stage. Everyone soon noticed that no one was making that trip.
After a few minutes delay it was announced that both VandeKamp and Boston’s
cars had been found outside the rules and Savoy became the winner from his third
place finish. Apparently they fell to the deck height rule. The final finishers then
became Savoy, Skeeter Estey, James Vendela, Wyatt Boyum and Davis Simpson.
Next came the Renegade Sprint Cars in a quick 15 laps that saw the 101 of Paul
Schultz lead from start to finish. Ken Hron, Zach Olson, Lucas Logue and Erik
Bjorkland finished in the top five.
With those two events in the record books. It was time for the Hornet Badger
Nationals, also for 15 laps. It was nearly a full field of over 25 cars that took Ray
Stuart’s green flag a truly awesome sight seldom seen at this track or many others.
The 15 lap event got off on the wrong foot as there was an immediate red flag for
a tangle that deposited Ken Hapy’s #13 on it’s side in turn four. There was no laps
in as the green flag flew for the restart. The fielllld then commenced to battle with
one another, a lead pak with seven or eight cars in a pack battling for the lead
while a dozen drivers ten car lengths back also battled in a swarm. As the race
wore on the lead pack began to separate and sixth starting Justin Schelitzche took
over and grabbed the point and held on to the win outdistancing AJ House, DeJay
Jarecki and Mac Johnston in the top five for the win.
Then the twenty lap Modified $1,000 to win WISSOTA Modified feature rolled
onto the track. At the green flag Kelly Estey beat Dave Cain to the first turn and
grabbed the lead, but having Cain that close at the beginning is dangerous and he
soon proved that fact as he took the lead and began a slow but steady movement
away from the second place runner. It soon settled in behind the two front runners.
Jody Bellefeuille had moved his car up to third even though he was being
pressured by Shane Sabraski. At the beginning of the event, Dan Ebert started
third but had fallen back. He began to slice the #60 through the field and was in
fourth just behind Bellefeuille when the caution flag flew for Mike Klippenstein
who spun at the bottom of turn two. The restart came with a dozen to go with Cain
still on top. Bellefeuille slid past Estey to second while Ebert and Sabraski trailed.
Bellefeuille settled into chasing Cain for more laps until he got the spot he wanted
and slipped by to the lead. Behind the two leaders Sabraski, Ebert, Brandon Copp,
Estey, Rick Rivord and Al Uotinen began to make their moves. Bellefeuille
doggedly pursued Cain until he got past to the lead bringing Ebert along with. It
became a two driver race but Bellefeuille prevailed to pocket the $1,000. Ebert,
Cain, Copp and Sabraski finished in the top five.
The event finished up with a dozen laps for the Pure Stocks. Tyler Kachinske
grabbed the point from the front row as Aaron Bernick followed and soon got past
Kachinske to the lead. The first of three caution flags flew when Anthony
Woodhull stalled in turn four. With two laps in, Bernick stayed in the lead ahead
of Cory Jorgensen until the second caution flag flew when a tire flew off the 101
of Mike Grover in turn one. At the restart Jorgensen took the lead over Bernick
while Trevor Treviranus and Tim Carlson followed. Also in the mix was Dylan
Shelton who was running very well. With five laps to go Jorgensen was in control
over Bernick, Treviranus and Shelton when the third caution flag appeared as
Carlson spun in turn four. The restart came with two laps to go and Jorgensen still
in control. Jorgensen continued to hold the lead for his fourth win at GLS. Shelton
held off Bernick and Jessie Limberios finished fourth.