(Top Honors to Smith, Mars, Lawrence, Houle, Gullikson & Johnson)
New Richmond, WI (9-15-12)
By: Greg Parent
As the stretch of great late summer weather continued, the final night of the 2012 Legendary 100 concluded at the Cedar Lake Speedway on Saturday September 15 before a big crowd. With all six racing divisions on hand for the finale, a large field of 231 cars participated in twelve B Mains and six Championship Features for a combined total of 359 laps of racing action. When the final checkered flag of the season waved, six deserving champions had been crowned. Brady Smith topped the Late Models for the second straight year, Jimmy Mars led all the way in the Modifieds, Scott Lawrence led the final few feet for a thrilling Pro Stock victory, Jeremy Houle repeated in the Midwest Modifieds, Jim Gullikson picked up the win in an entertaining Street Stock main event, and Jeremy Johnson rode home first in the Hornets.
The Hornet division, which had participated in two previous Legendary 100 events but was on the weekly CLS schedule for the first time this season, ran their championship feature race first. Eric Schultz was looking to complete the sweep, as he took top honors on the opening night. Schultz grabbed the early lead from his pole starting spot over Jeremy Johnson. Brent Voeltz was scheduled to start outside front row, but a previous commitment kept him from competing. Schultz maintained the lead through a few cautions and appeared like he would be in control. With two laps to go, Schultz suddenly had a handful with a flat tire on his car, allowing Johnson, William Voeltz and Chris Dyke to slip by before the checkers. For Johnson, it was his first Legendary 100 win. Schultz, the 2012 track champion, held on for fourth ahead of Buddy Hanestad. Completing the top ten finishers were Tracy Peterson, Bob Carver Jr, Oliver Swanson, Dan Rick and Tim Thoennes.
The Street Stocks were making their first Legendary 100 appearance since 2009. Ron Hanestad and Cory Hanson brought the 23 car starting field to the green for their 25 lap championship feature. Three cautions slowed the pace in the first ten laps, as Hanson led the first five laps before Hanestad took over the top spot. When the final yellow waved with sixteen laps completed, it was Hanestad leading Jim Gullikson, Eric Olson, Chris Peterson and Hanson. During the final nine lap run to the finish, some very good racing took place up front.
Olson got by Gullikson for second on the restart, but Gullikson's car continued to get stronger as each lap clicked off. Gullikson regained second from Olson on lap 22. One lap later Gullikson drove around Hanestad for the lead and went on to record the victory. In his winner interview, Jim Gullikson thanked Jay Kesan for a great sportsmanship move following the first caution. Gullikson was initially called for causing Kesan to spin, but Kesan reported to track officials that he had looped it all by himself. This put Gullikson back up in the lead pack instead of tail-end. Ron Hanestad finished second ahead of Eric Olson. Cory Hanson and Chris Peterson rounded out the top five. Ryan Kostreba, Jay Kesan from the back after lap one, Rod Debernardeaux, Marcus Simonson and Josh Amans completed the top ten. For Gullikson, the win broke a tie between him and his brother Dan for second on the all-time CLS (modern era) street stock win list behind Curt Myers.
As the 24 car starting grid for the Midwest Modified 25 lap championship feature rolled trackside, many fans were wondering if anybody could beat Jeremy Houle. Houle and Jason Vandekamp occupied the front row, and it was Houle powering to the early lead. The caution light was on early after lap one and again with four laps in the books. The second caution was for third place runner and 2012 track champion Ryan Olson. Olson was on the hook after something let go in the rear end of his car. A crash ensued on the restart, but there would only be one more yellow after that. Houle continued to lead over Vandekamp, Eric Herbison, Michael Truscott and 12th starter Mitch Weiss.
Houle raced ahead of the field during eight green flag laps, but Vandekamp began closing in on the leader. As Vandekamp appeared to have a faster car, slight contact was made with the leader entering turn one on lap 13 which caused Houle to spin. Vandekamp would restart 18th. Houle reassumed the lead followed by Herbison and 13th starter Ryan Bowers on the restart. The race then ran 13 laps nonstop to the finish. Bowers got by Herbison on lap 15. Although Bowers and Herbison stayed fairly close to Houle, neither of them had anything for the leader. Houle went on to record his second straight Legendary 100 victory and third straight for Houle Racing, as his father Steve won the title in 2010. Bowers came home with a strong second place effort ahead of Herbison, Truscott, and charging all the way back up to fifth, Jason Vandekamp. Jeremy Kerzman, Jon Frolik, 20th starter A. J. Roschen, Allen Gessel Jr and Mitch Weiss completed the top ten. Gessel had to restart 23rd following the lap one caution, having gone to the work area to change a tire.
In what would turn out to be the most thrilling feature of the night, a strong 24 car field lined up for the 30 lap Pro Stock championship race. Track champion Cory Davis and Ben Hillman brought the field to flagman Jeff Stacken's green. Hillman blasted to the early lead with Davis close behind. The only caution of the race blinked on with three laps scored when Scott Duvall stopped at the exit of turn two. Duvall went to the work area with a flat tire and returned to tag the tail on the restart. The race then went 27 laps nonstop to the finish, and what a finish it would turn out to be!
Ben Hillman picked up where he left off before the caution and maintained his front-running position over Davis and Joey Jensen. Jensen was driving Kelly Anderson's pro stock. Fifth starter Scott Lawrence moved past Jensen for third on lap five. Lawrence and Davis then proceeded to have a great battle for the runner-up position over the next 20 laps. Lawrence tried several times to get by Davis but was not able to accomplish the task until lap 25. With Hillman working lapped traffic, Lawrence and Davis closed in. It soon became apparent that this race was headed for an exciting finish. Lawrence pulled up behind Hillman at the white flag with Davis in tow. An incredible charge through turns 3 and 4 on the final circuit brought the crowd to their feet, as Lawrence pulled alongside Hillman exiting turn four with the checkers in sight. Scott Lawrence defeated Ben Hillman by a couple of feet at the finish to grab a thrilling victory. Lawrence later stated in Victory Lane it ranked as his top career win. Hillman had led the entire race only to come up a few feet short at the finish. Davis was close behind in third while Jensen and 2009 Legendary 100 champion Tim Borgeson completed the top five. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Rich Bishop, Mike Loomis, Jason Schill, defending Legendary 100 champion Dan Gullikson, and Dave Flynn. Only one car failed to finish the feature race.
The Modified division was up next for their 40 lap championship feature. Jimmy Mars and Rodney Sanders sat on the front row of the 24 car starting field. Mars immediately took control of this race when the green flag dropped over Sanders, Darrell Nelson, Josh Angst and Steve Wetzstein. The race was under just two cautions and laps 14 & 15. Nelson got around Sanders on the final restart for second, as the race ran 25 laps nonstop to the finish. Mars was never seriously challenged for the lead, as he led all 40 laps to record his first-ever Modified Legendary 100 title and his second career Modified feature win at CLS (Mars also won the Friday night qualifying feature). Defending Legendary 100 champion Darrell Nelson rode him in second ahead of Rodney Sanders from Texas. Sanders was making his first-ever Legendary 100 start. Joey Jensen raced forward from his 13th starting spot to finish fourth with Jody Bellefeuille completing the top five. 2012 track champion Brent Larson was sixth ahead of 21st starter Kelly Estey. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Mike Anderson, Ashley Anderson and Josh Angst.
At last, the final event of the evening was on tap. The rumble of 24 super Late Models filled the cool night air, as they lined up for their 50 lap championship feature race. Defending Legendary 100 champion Brady Smith and A. J. Diemel sat on the front row with John Kaanta and Jimmy Mars in row two. Smith powered into the early lead, but the race was under caution three times in the first seven laps. Mars had quickly moved by Diemel for the second place position just two laps into the race. It did not take long for Mars to begin working on Smith; however, the track was quickly taking rubber and soon began to lock-down around a quarter of the way into the race. As the cars lined up single file, it would take a mistake by the leader or a hold-up by lapped traffic to change the outcome. Two such mistakes would take place.
On lap 23, Smith slid out of the groove in turn two which allowed Mars to grab the top spot. At the halfway mark, it was Mars, Smith, Diemel and John Kaanta in a bit of a break-away up front. With Mars leading, that usually spells doom for the rest of the field at CLS. However, Mars slipped up in nearly the same spot as Smith had ten laps earlier, and Brady Smith regained the lead on lap 33. Smith was able to hold off Mars over the next 17 laps, including one final caution with nine laps to go, to record back-to-back Legendary 100 wins. Mars finished second ahead of Diemel, Kaanta, and Nick Anvelink. Riding home in sixth through tenth was Chad Mahder, Steve Laursen, Jake Redetzke, 2012 track champion Brent Larson, and Darrell Nelson.
As a successful three-day Legendary 100 concluded, a total of 272 race cars turned laps at the popular western Wisconsin dirt oval. Race fans were treated to a total of 902 laps of green flag racing action with a total of 65 heats, B Mains and Features run during the three nights. The only event remaining on the Cedar Lake Speedway schedule will take place next Saturday when the 8th Annual Enduro paying $10,000 to win is contested starting at 5:30PM.
Brady Smith 2T, Jimmy Mars 28, A J Diemel 58, John Kaanta 85, Nick Anvelink 15A, Chad Mahder 71c, Steve Laursen 19, Jake Redetzke 27, Brent Larson B1, Darrell Nelson 44, Kyle Peterlin 23, Rick Hanestad 71, Rick Schroeder 7M, Don Shaw 42S, Randy Gullixson 51B, Mike Nutzmann 2, Doug Blashe 1B, Adam Hensel 33x, Greg Nippoldt 55N, Kerry Hanson 4, Zach Wohler 71D, Trent Follmer 00, Matt Aukland 12A, Ron Berna 66x.
Jimmy Mars 28, Darrell Nelson 44, Rodney Sanders 20, Joey Jensen V2, Jody Bellefeuille 11, Brent Larson IOU1, Kelly Estey 37, Mike Anderson 57A, Ashley Anderson 81, Josh Angst 99A, Cory Mahder 55, Brandon Jensen 21B, Rick Kobs 63, Curt Myers 91M, Jason Miller 12M, Eric Pember 89, Clayton Wagamon 14W, Danny Bayer 36, David Baxter 35B, Scott Duvall 29, Craig Thatcher 91, Steve Wetzstein 90, Tony Bahr 110, Skeeter Estey 37x.
Scott Lawrence 77, Ben Hillman 22JR, Cory Davis 20, Joey Jensen 8, Tim Borgeson 31, Rich Bishop 10, Mike Loomis 17, Jason Schill 67S, Dan Gullikson 00x, Dave Flynn 29F, Eric Olson 1E, Jeff Tardy 67, Dale Gangl 34, Ben Hainke 25, Trevor Wilson 87, Mike Frolik 21F, Donnie Lofdahl 1L, Cody Lee 50, Gunnar Watkins 2, Chris Wark 24W, Lance Schilling 43, Scott Duvall X, Joel Collins 21x, Derek Vesel 16.
Jeremy Houle 54, Ryan Bowers 199, Eric Herbison 53, Michael Truscott 22x, Jason Vandekamp 16, Jeremy Kerzman 14x, Jon Frolik 37F, A. J. Roschen 7, Allen Gessel Jr 32x, Mitch Weiss 23, Terry Hanson 22T, Jason Schill 11x, Bill Stettner 7S, Kurt Deters 29D, Randy Laage EZ1, Mike Brenny 67, Don Swearingen 110, Jason Haugerud 22, Jake Smith 21S, David Swearingen 5, Tim Siercks 71S, Ryan Olson 21, Josh Smith 21J, Rob Weber 05R.
Jim Gullikson 12, Ron Hanestad 71H, Eric Olson 1E, Cory Hanson 79, Chris Peterson 21x, Ryan Kostreba 17, Jay Kesan 12k, Rod Debernardeaux X3, Marcus Simonson 01S, Josh Amans 00, Kyle Howland 05, Behn Mensen 59M, David Mastell 26M, Ron Van Dusen 4, Jordan Kurtti 26, Jimmy Diamond 43, Carolyn Nosser 29N, Brad Schmidt 20B, Kevin Schmidt 85, Kurt Becken 70x, Chad Weyer 7W, Andrea Keeney 61, Russ Peterson 44P.
Jeremy Johnson 917, William Voeltz 41v, Chris Dyke 38, Eric Schultz 7S, Buddy Hanestad 71, Tracy Peterson 39, Bob Carver Jr 3, Oliver Swanson 10A, Dan Rick 63, Tim Thoennes 8, Darrell Wold 11, Jess Seim 007, Robert Ellsworth 52x.