The 2019 Norway Speedway Season Gets Underway
Updated: Jun 3, 2019
Fans were treated to great weather and even better racing at the Norway Speedway Friday night for the track’s 2019 opener. Following the rain out of the official opener last Friday, the blue skies and sunshine were a welcome site to fans and drivers alike. Qualifying and heat races flew by and before long, it was time for feature racing.
Auto Value Super Stock Feature
The first feature at the Norway Speedway for 2019 was the Auto Value Super Stock A Main. On the front row for the start were Kelly LaCount and Anthony Schiefelbein and it wasn’t the first time the two drivers were side by side in the night. In the division’s heat race earlier in the evening, LaCount and Schiefelbein raced door to door through turns three and four on the final lap, making contact as the came on to the main straight. LaCount’s car jumped sideways, allowing Schiefelbein to edge ahead at the line and get the heat race win.
The feature race would begin very much the same way the heat race ended for Schiefelbein, with him out front. Schiefelbein would lead the opening ten laps or so of the race, but all the while three cars were breathing down his neck. For the better part of the race’s midsection the four cars of Anthony Schiefelbein, Andy Gerwig, Joey Pontibrand, and defending track champion Tim Schultz battled for the top spot. As the race reached the halfway point, Gerwig would move into the lead and looked to set sail to the finish. Then the caution came out.
Almost simultaneously, two of the night’s front runners had issues. First, Anthony Schiefelbein would pull his car into the infield, flames billowing from beneath his machine. Track crews extinguished the fire and Schiefelbein would rejoin the field. While all of this was happening, Tim Schultz spun in turn four. Norway Officials, however, determined that the cause for the caution flag was Schiefelbein, and thus Schultz would rejoin the field in his previous position.
On the restart, Gerwig would jump back out to the lead but it wouldn’t be long before Tim Schultz would make the move to the inside with 10 to go. Schultz would move to the top spot and survive two late race restarts to take the win. Andy Gerwig would hold on for second place while Kevin Peterson would round out the top three.
Bink’s Coca-Cola Late Model Feature
The wildest race of the night was the 35 lap Bink’s Coca-Cola Late Model Feature. Bruce White would lead the first lap but soon it would be Scott Stanchina making the pass on the outside for the lead. White would fall to second before making an incredible save off of turn four. Although he saved the car, he would then lose second position to Troy Nelson.
Jason Wells would bring out the first caution of the feature on the front straightaway on the races eleventh lap. Coming out of four, Wells car shot right and headed straight for the drop off to the horse track. Thankfully, Wells brought the car to a stop with no farther damage. His night, however, was over.
Nine laps after the restart, Troy Nelson would make his way to the lead after several laps of fighting on the outside line. As Nelson began to set sail, another yellow flag would wave, slowing the field once again. This time it was Mark Schroeder who’s car came to a stop on the front straightaway to bring out the caution. As the 2000 Norway track champion exited turn two, he encountered mechanical issues and would coast around the track before stopping in front of the Norway Nation. Although his return to Norway Speedway didn’t end how he would have wanted, Schroeder did win the second heat.
Shortly after the restart, a grinding crash in turn four would bring the red flag out. Kris Kelly, who has been running in the top five for the majority of the race, spun and came to rest in the middle of the track. Almost as quick as his car stopped it slammed in the left front by Tyler Wusterbarth. The crowd sat in silence for what felt like an eternity before Norway Announcer Joe Verdegan announced that both drivers were ok.
As the field came out of turn four to see the green flag for the restart, leader Troy Nelson went spinning toward the infield after contact from second place Robby Iverson. The restart was waved off and Norway Officials sent Iverson to the rear of the field and allowed Nelson to maintain his position as the leader. On the following restart, Nelson would hold off the challengers behind him to win the feature in his return to racing. Tom Lindquist put in a methodical drive, moving his way up through the field and avoiding all of the chaos to finish second. Scott Stanchina ran up front all night, leading early in the feature, and finished in third. Robby Iverson, who just moments before was looking at a possible top three, had his night go from bad to worse as he spun across the finish line in eight place.
Wisconsin Sport Trucks Feature
The snowmobile engine powered Wisconsin Sport Trucks Feature looked to be a runaway win for Brent Barglind. Early in the 20 lap race, Barglind took the lead and wouldn’t look back. Until, that is, a caution for a spinning Keith Habeck in turn three erased Barglind’s massive lead with four laps to go.
In the shootout to the finish, a new challenger appeared for Brent Barglind. His name? Brad Barglind. The Barglind brothers would battle it out over the final four laps, with Brad initially getting the jump on the restart. The brothers would stay side by side until Brent was able to clear Brad as they took the white flag.
Brent Barglind would cross the line in first with brother Brad close behind. Drew Habeck would finish in third place, missing out on second by just a few feet.
141 Auto Stock Cars Feature
One of the more interesting divisions at the Norway Speedway is the 141 Auto Stock Cars division. Unlike most classes where the idea is to go as fast as you can, the 141 Auto Stock Cars are limited by a lap time of 18 seconds. If a driver clocks a time below the 18 second threshold, they will be penalized and forced to drop to the rear of the field.
By the end of the night, the 18 second rule would claim numerous victims, but no two drivers were more affected than Joe Ostermann and Preston Weddel. Ostermann, the defending track champion, and Weddel battled their way to first and second by the halfway point of the race. Then, on the same lap, both drivers clocked laps under 18 seconds and were subsequently penalized. As Weddel and Ostermann pulled to the outside and let their fellow competitors blow by, Jade Novara inherited the lead. Michelle Janczewski and Bobby Lewis followed behind into second and third place respectively.
Novara held on to the lead to take her first ever feature win in the 141 Auto Stock Car division. Second place went to Michelle Janczewski who put everything she had into a last lap charge at Novara but fell just short. Bobby Lewis would finish his night in third. Joe Ostermann and Preston Weddle would be relegated to seventh and fifth following their penalties.
4 Cylinder Feature
After a delayed start due to fluid on the track which constituted a lengthy clean up, the 4 Clinder division closed out the night of racing at Norway Speedway. Once the race did start, it was Elliot Reid that would be the most entertaining driver to watch. While Sierra Oman would take the early lead and be challenged by Jeremy Yelle, Reid would charge his way from the back of the pack to third place, making several daring three wide moves to get there.
Once Reid caught the top two of Oman and Yelle, it wouldn’t take long for him to maneuver his way to the top spot. Yelle would settle in to second while Oman began to drop through the field as Reid disappeared into the night. Yet again, as had been the trend throughout the night, a late race caution with four laps to go would shake things up.
Two separate incidents occurred four laps from the finish to bring out the caution flag. The first was for Alex Bellmore, who spun in turn three. Meanwhile, Sierra Oman’s engine seemed to expire out of turn two. She would coast to the stopped Bellmore car in turn three where her once promising night would come to an end.
On the restart, Elliot Reid would get a great jump on the field and cruise to the victory four laps later. Jeremy Yelle would come home in second while Todd Maki would follow in third.
Norway Speedway returns to action next Friday night for Valley Med Flight Night. Qualifying gets underway at 5:30 p.m with racing to follow at 7 p.m. (All times Central)
By Todd Rose