It’s Nottestad In Big 8 LM Tussle

Dale Nottestad (51) battles Michael Bilderback at Madison Int'l Speedway. (Stan Kalwasinski photo)
Dale Nottestad (51) battles Michael Bilderback at Madison Int'l Speedway. (Stan Kalwasinski photo)

OREGON, Wis. — Dale Nottestad came home the winner of the Big 8 Late Model Series Salute America Night 48-lap main event at Madison Int’l Speedway Friday night.

The race was part of a doubleheader which also included the USAC Silver Crown Series.

The 41-year-old Nottestad, who races out of Cambridge, Wis., wheeled his Glass Works Chevrolet SS to the victory after setting fast time during time trials earlier in the evening. The event marked the second race of the season for the Big 8 late model tour.

Nottestad took the checkered flag with a 1.223-second advantage over second place finisher Michael Bilderback. Riley Stenjem finished third followed by Brody Willett, Johnny Baumeister Jr. and Bobby Wilberg, who came back from an early race tangle with Austin Nason.

A field of 21 cars took the green flag at the start of the race with front row pole starter Nick Egan, who won the Big 8 season opener at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on May 31, grabbing the lead.  15 laps were in the books when the first yellow flag appeared.

With cars lining up double-file behind the leader for the restart, Jon Reynolds Jr. tried to wrestle away the lead from Egan only to get jammed up and eventually forced out of the race.

Twenty circuits were complete when Wilberg and Nason got together with Wilberg, a multi-time champion at Madison, spinning down the main stretch. Both drivers were sent to the back of the field for the restart.  When green flag racing returned, only one lap was completed with Egan bringing out another caution flag when something apparently broke in the back half of his car, sending him spinning off of turn four.

With a number of Madison championships part of his racing resume, Nottestad and Bilderback had been battling behind leader Egan with Nottestad now inheriting the lead for another restart.  Bilderback closely chased Nottestad most of the way until finally dropping back as the race drew to a close at the half-mile paved oval.

“I wasn’t sure where he was going to go,” said Nottestad about Egan’s misfortune. “He must have broken a track bar or something. Fortunately, he got out of the way and it worked out. My car was pretty good. It was a little bit free. I had to stay easy on it and drive it off.”

The finish:

Dale Nottestad, Michal Bilderback, Riley Stenjem, Brody Willett, Johnny Baumeister Jr., Bobby Wilberg, Jacob Nottestad, Justin Neisus, Austin Nason, Shane Morrissey, R.J. Braun, Ryan Kamish, Tom Gille, Chad Walen, Jerry Muller, Jeff Watters, Luke Westenberg, Nick Egan, Jon Reynolds Jr., Brent Edmunds, Michael Grueneberg