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Season champions crowned at Cedar Lake Speedway

The Cedar Lake Speedway crowned their 2009 track point champions on Season Championship and Fan Appreciation Night Saturday, Aug. 29.

Earning point titles in the four weekly NASCAR sanctioned divisions were Rick Egersdorf in the NASCAR Late Models, Darrell Nelson in the NASCAR Modifieds, Greg Nippoldt in the NASCAR Pro Stocks, and Jason Vandekamp in the NASCAR Midwest Modifieds.

For Egersdorf, it was his 13th track point championship dating back to 1976.

Nelson, Nippoldt and Vandekamp earned their first-ever CLS track point titles.

Only one track point champion was able to win the feature race in their division however. Jason Vandekamp put an exclamation mark on his night by winning the 20 lap NASCAR Midwest Modified main event, as he passed race leader Eric Herbison with five laps to go.

The point battle in the NASCAR Pro Stock division came down to their feature race between Greg Nippoldt and Tim Borgeson. Borgeson got by Nippoldt for the lead and eventual victory with three laps to go in their 20 lap feature. It was a fitting finish with Borgeson winning the battle on this night but Nippoldt emerging as the victor in the season-long point battle. Although he waited until the final night of the regular season, Craig "Wildchild" Brightbill showed a strong field of NASCAR Modifieds the quick way around the 3/8 mile high-banked oval for 20 laps to gain his first win of the season. Steve Laursen capped off the evening with a dominating performance in the 30 lap NASCAR Late Model main event to record his second win of the season. Track officials moved the program along quickly for the 111 cars on hand completing the 16 event season championship finale at a very respectable 9:58 PM on a night that the weather felt more like late October rather than late August.

The first feature race to roll trackside was the NASCAR Pro Stock 20 lap main event. With Greg Nippoldt and Tim Borgeson battling for the track point title, Nippoldt drew the pole position with Justin Stahl to his outside. The race was under caution before a lap could be completed when Mike Loomis stopped with a flat tire. Loomis was able to change the tire and return to the race. On the second attempt to start the race, debris in turn three brought out another yellow. The third time was the charm, and Nippoldt raced ahead of Stahl for the lead. As the race rolled by under green, sixth starter Ben Hillman and seventh starter Tim Borgeson were on the move forward. Hillman moved to third on lap two while Borgeson advanced to fourth a lap later ahead of Rich Bishop. Stahl and Hillman swapped the second spot on laps six and seven with Hillman racing into the second spot again on lap eight while Bishop got up to third on the same lap. Bishop, Stahl and Borgeson had a good battle going on for the third spot over the next several laps. The third caution blinked on with fourteen laps completed when Chad Johnson and Dale Gangl tangled in turn four. Gangl dropped out of the race and Johnson was relegated to the rear of the field for the restart. A lap later Tyler Boumeester, Lyle Archambeau and Brian Lick got together in turn four with Boumeester sent tail-end. With five laps to go, it was Nippoldt, Hillman, Borgeson, Bishop and Stahl in the top five. When the green replaced the yellow, Borgeson put the pressure on Hillman for second and moved by on lap seventeen. Borgeson reeled in the leader immediately and raced side-by-side with Nippoldt for the top spot. Borgeson edged past to lead lap eighteen and went on to record his sixth win of the season. Nippoldt held on for second to earn the track point title with Justin Stahl, Rich Bishop and Ben Hillman completing the top five. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Justin Dodge, Dan Carlson, Jim Gullikson, Lyle Archambeau and J B Stortz. Heat race wins went to Bishop and Hillman for the 23 car field.

A few years ago, Jason Vandekamp saw his hopes of earning a track point title in the street stock division dashed on the final night. This year in the NASCAR Midwest Modified division there would be no such misfortune for the North Branch, MN driver. With the 2009 track point title safely tucked away, Vandekamp could concentrate on winning the season champion feature race. Vandekamp would have a tough task ahead of him, as he redrew the number 12 pill to start outside row six in the 20 lap NASCAR Midwest Modified main event. Paced by front row starters Eric Herbison and last week's winner A J Roschen, the race was immediately under caution when Mike Raboin spun in turn one on the opening lap. On the second attempt, Robbie Franklin got crossed up a bit and bunched up several cars behind him in turn two. Although all cars continued, the yellow light blinked on and Franklin restarted at the tail of the field. Just like in the pro stocks, on the third attempt the race went green. Herbison hustled to the early lead over Roschen with Tony Schill in third. The race was under caution for the third time when Kyle Steffen got turned sideways and collected his brother Todd. Todd Steffen rode the hook to the pits while Kyle continued on. With the race under green again, Jason Vandekamp continued his steady march forward. Vandekamp moved up to fourth on lap seven and raced ahead of Schill for third a lap later. A series of cautions with nine laps in slowed the pace on three different occasions. While battling for fifth, Jeremy Houle and Andy Jones made contact with Jones looping around in turn four. Houle was charged with the caution. On the restart, Jones got sideways in turn one and was finished off by Steve Strandlund. Jones joined Houle at the tail of the field. Before another lap could be completed, Strandlund and Tony Schill made contact in turn four with Schill spinning and collecting the cars of Adam Archer, E J Heitala, and Josh Bazey. Archer and Bazey were able to continue.

As the NASCAR Midwest Modified feature approached the halfway mark, Vandekamp moved by Roschen on lap ten for second. Roschen and Cody Wolkowski were battling for third the next lap when the two made contact in turn four and collected Josh Bazey. Roschen was relegated to the rear of the field for the restart. At this point, the remaining drivers were warned over the Raceceiver radio that it was their last chance to go the full distance. The race then went the remaining ten laps nonstop. Herbison continued to hold off Vandekamp until lap fifteen when Vandekamp made the winning pass. Herbison finished second ahead of Wolkowski, sixteenth starter Alex Gerlach, and Jeremy Houle who raced back to fifth from the tail during the final eleven laps. Completing the top ten finishers were B Main winner Josh Bazey, 21st starter Mike Gibson, Bryan Siercks, Adam Archer, and Robbie Franklin. Heat races for the 34 cars on hand were won by Siercks, Roschen and Herbison. Welcome, North Carolina driver and NASCAR pit crewman for Casey Mears, Scott Nasset, rolled his Midwest mod on the backstretch in the second heat race. Nasset was not injured, but his car was done for the night.

NASCAR Modified driver Craig Brightbill has carried the nickname "Wildchild" for much of his racing career. The exciting driving style of Brightbill has made him popular with the fans. In 2009, Brightbill had not found victory lane yet at CLS. A pole starting spot in the 20 lap feature race gave him a golden opportunity. At the drop of flagman Jeff Stacken's green, Brightbill blasted into the lead over fellow front row starter Scott Splittstoesser followed by Mike Kelley Jr, Kevin Viebrock and track point champion Darrell Nelson. Kelley got by Viebrock for third on lap four with Nelson moving up to fourth a lap later. Nelson continued his drive forward when he moved by Kelly for third on lap seven and edged past Splittstoesser for second the next lap. The lone caution of the race slowed the pace with eight laps in the books when Shawn Phillips, who was making his NASCAR Modified debut in Dave Lear's car, spun in turn three. When the green blinked back on, the battle for the fourth spot heated up with brothers Mike and Shaun Kelley mixing it up with Jason Miller for several laps. On lap fourteen, Miller finally was able to secure the fourth spot while the Kelley brothers continued to race for fifth. Nelson was able to close in on Brightbill on several occasions, but the "Wildchild" was strong up front and showed the way to his first win of the season. Nelson, Splittstoesser, Miller and Shaun Kelley rounded out the top five. Completing the top ten finishers were Mike Kelley Jr, fifteenth starter Rick Kobs, Andy Jones, Kevin Viebrock, and Brent Larson. Heat race wins for the 29 cars on hand went to Brightbill, Shaun Kelley and Miller. A total of 26 cars started the feature race.

As the final race of the regular season rumbled trackside, 25 NASCAR Late Models lined up for thirty ground-pounding laps of racing action. Rick Egersdorf had already locked up the track point title, so the focus would be on who would win the final event before the popular late model division returns for action at the Legendary 100 a few weeks later. Steve Laursen and Chad Mahder were on the front row. During the pace laps, John Kaanta stalled in turn one with some type of transmission problem and was pushed to the pits. The remaining 24 cars roared to life with Steve Laursen swiftly moving to the top spot followed by fourth starter Mike Bear, Darrell Nelson, Mahder, and Jake Redetzke. The first caution flew when Dave Friendt dropped a driveshaft in turn one and coasted to a stop with eight laps in. With the race under green again, Laursen was long gone up front. Redetzke moved past Nelson for third on lap 12. By this time, a very good battle had developed for the firth spot between Chad Mahder, Pat Doar and Adam Hensel. Doar was able to gain the position on lap fifteen, but the battle amongst those three cars continued. As Mahder moved back by Doar on lap 20, contact on the following lap between Doar and Hensel resulted in Doar spinning to the turn three infield while Hensel stopped on the frontstretch in need of wrecker assistance. Hensel was charged with the caution and Doar was placed back in the sixth spot. When the race restarted, many fans took note that Mike Nutzmann had moved from nineteenth to eighth. Nutzmann's charge forward was not done yet by any means. Laursen once again built up a comfortable lead over Bear, Redetzke, Nelson and Chad Mahder. The final caution flew with 27 laps in when Pat Doar slowed with a flat tire and dropped out of the race. In a dominating performance, Steve Laursen went on to record his second win of the season at CLS. Mike Bear turned in his best effort of the season with a solid second place finish. Jake Redetzke was third in front of fellow Eau Claire driver Chad Mahder. Mike Nutzmann completed his outstanding drive forward with a fine fifth place finish, as he gained fourteen positions from his original starting spot. Completing the top ten finishers were Darrell Nelson, Cory Mahder, track point champion Rick Egersdorf, Rick Hanestad, and Chuck DeSmith. Heat race wins went to Laursen, Hanestad and Doar.

Although the regular season has now ended at the Cedar Lake Speedway, the month of September and early October brings several big special events to the popular Wisconsin speedplant. Following an off weekend for Labor Day, racing action returns on Saturday September 12 for the 9th Annual Jerry Richert Memorial featuring the IRA Outlaw 410 sprint cars in competition against Knoxville and other area cars. Also on the program will be the winged 360 sprint cars of the UMSS series along with the vintage cars. It is truly an open wheel racing fans dream night with two classes of sprint cars in competition at the Cedar Lake Speedway. Following the Richert Memorial, the Legendary 100 kicks off for four straight nights of competition beginning on Wednesday September 16. Over the course of the four nights, a total of nine different classes of cars will be in competition including the NASCAR Late Model, Modified, Pro Stock and Midwest Modified divisions in addition to the street stocks, pure stocks, hornets, winged mods, and UMSS 360 winged sprint cars. A huge field of cars is expected for Legendary 100. Racing then continues at the 2nd Annual Badger State Nationals on October 2-3 with a practice night slated for October 1. The month of September and early part of October are sure to provide a tremendous amount of racing with enough variety suited for all race fans. For more information and details on the exact format, race schedule, ticket prices and purses, please visit our website at or call 1-866-4CLS-FUN. It's season-ending special time at CLS, so be sure and attend several of the popular events on the remaining schedule before the off-season is upon us.

NASCAR Late Models (25 Cars)

Heat 1- Steve Laursen, Adam Hensel, Rick Egersdorf, Jake Redetzke, Brent Larson, John Kaanta, Mike Nutzmann, Jeff Keeney, Jake Hartung

Heat 2- Rick Hanestad, Chad Mahder, Darrell Nelson, Eric Breeschoten, Davin Larson, Jim Carlson, Toby Patchen, TJ Adams

Heat 3- Pat Doar, Cory Mahder, Mike Bear, Chuckie DeSmith, Bryan Wennen, Ronnie Rihn, Dave Friendt, Dennis Larson

A Main- Laursen, Bear, Redetzke, Chad Mahder, Nutzmann, Nelson, Mahder, Egersdorf, Hanestad, DeSmith, Breeschoten, Larson, Hartung, Rihn, Carlson, Patchen, Keeney, Wennen, D Larson, Doar, Hensel, Dennis Larson, Adams, Friendt, Kaanta

NASCAR Modifieds (29 Cars)

Heat 1- Craig Brightbill, Scott Splittstoesser, Brent Larson, Terry Hanson, Justin Schill, Scott Pomeroy, Patrick Murphy, John Harer, Ron Schreiner, Mike Wood

Heat 2- Shaun Kelley, Kevin Viebrock, Jeremy Gross, Andy Jones, Dave Siercks, Lonnie Louschke, Mark Froehlich, Don Brightbill, Keith Lepinski, Al Stettner

Heat 3- Jason Miller, Darrell Nelson, Mike Kelley, Jason Schill, Rick Kobs, Jason Gross, Shawn Phillips, Brandon Kallenbach, Chris Magistad

A Main- Brightbill, Nelson, Splittstoesser, Miller, Kelley, M Kelley, Kobs, Jones, Viebrock, Larson, Hanson, Gross, Jason Gross, Shill, Kallenbach, Siercks, Louschke, Lepinski, Magistad, Phillips, Jason Schill, Stettner, Pomeroy, Wood, Froehlich, D Brightbill

NASCAR Pro Stocks (23 Cars)

Heat 1- Rich Bishop, Tim Borgeson, Cody Campeau, Greg Nippoldt, Chad Johnson, JB Stortz, Shawn Kammerud, Dan Carlson, Jason Schill, Dan Preston, Dale Gangl, Chad Dawson

Heat 2- Ben Hillman, Tyler Boumeester, Lyle Archambeau, Justin Dodge, Justin Stahl, Jim Gullikson, Cory Davis, Brian Lick, Johnny Hunker, Mike Loomis, Dave Emerfoil

A Main- Borgeson, Nippoldt, Stahl, Bishop, Hillman, Dodge, Carlson, Gullikson, Archambeau, Stortz, Campeau, Lick, Kammerud, Johnson, Hunker, Preston, Dawson, Boumeester, Schill, Gangl, Loomis, Davis.

NASCAR Midwest Modifieds (34 Cars)

Heat 1- Bryan Siercks, Jason Vandekamp, Steve Strandlund, Tony Schill, Jeremy Houle, Alex Gerlach, Josh Bazey, Mike Kyllonen, Eric Oestreich, Jason Meyer, Kenny Jordan Jr, Jason Bottolfson

Heat 2- AJ Roschen, Adam Archer, Cody Wolkowski, EJ Heitala, Steve Strandlund Jr, Cory Bauman, Don Craig, Jake Miller, Jeremy Penman, Shawn Phillips, Scott Nasset

Heat 3- Eric Herbison, Kyle Steffen, Andy Jones, Robbie Franklin, Todd Steffen, Mike Raboin, Rick Friendt, Lance Holk, Shane Howell, Mike Gibson, Dan Larson

B Main- Bazey, Oestreich, Gibson, Miller, Howell, Holk, Meyer, Craig, Penman, Jordan Jr, Bottolfson, Kyllonen

A Main- Vandekamp, Herbison, Wolkowski, Gerlach, Houle, Bazey, Gibson, Siercks, Archer, Franklin, Miller, Oestreich, Steffen, Bauman, Roschen, Jones, Schill, Heitala, Strandlund, Strandlund Jr, T Steffen, Holk, Raboin