Vandekamp Earns Nationals Night 1 Victory!
New Richmond, WI (7-14-12)
By: Greg Parent
A warm, muggy summer evening made for a great opening night crowd at the Cedar Lake Speedway to kick off the three-day 25th Annual USA Nationals on Thursday August 2. With 57 late models signed in to do battle in the Corn Belt Clash Series portion of the program, a strong field of 25 NASCAR Midwest Modifieds were on hand as the support division. Although it was a non-points race for the Midwest Mods, a decent number of weekly competitors and some occasional visitors were on hand gunning for the $400-to-win feature payout. In the end, a couple of track regulars duked it out up front for the top spot in what turned out to be a very good feature race. Jason Vandekamp topped Josh Bazey to earn the victory.
Following heat race action in both divisions, 24 NASCAR Midwest Modifieds lined up for their 20 lap feature event. Josh Bazey and Jason Haugerud led the field to Jeff Stacken's green flag, but the yellow blinked on early when Eric Herbison and Patrick Kelley spun in turn one. A complete restart was necessary. Bazey took the early lead over Mark Froehlich and Jeremy Houle. Three laps into the race, the second and final caution flew for a spin in turn four. Bazey continued to lead Houle, Vandekamp and Froehlich when the green replaced the yellow. It would be 17 straight green flag laps of racing to the checkers.
With the top four cars staying close together on the track, Vandekamp moved up to second on lap 10 and soon began a good battle for the lead with Bazey. Vandekamp got by Bazey on lap 11, but Bazey blasted back past on lap 12. It took Vandekamp three more laps to retake the lead for good, as Bazey stayed in close pursuit. At the finish, Vandekamp earned his 11th career Midwest Modified feature win at CLS and second of the season. Bazey held strong for second ahead of Froehlich, 12th starter Vince Corbin and Haugerud. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Bill Stettner, Kyle Matuska, A. J. Roschen, Jeremy Nelson, and David Swearingen. For Nelson, it was an impressive run from the back of the pack after changing a tire on the lap three caution and just making it back on the track in time quite a ways behind the field. Heat races were won by Bazey, Bill Stettner and Roschen.
The next two nights, the NASCAR Late Models will race complete programs as the support division when the World of Outlaws late models take center stage for the 25th Anniversary USA Nationals culminating in the big $50,000-to-win 100 lap feature on Saturday night. The NASCAR Late Models will race for $2,500-to-win each night.
Jason Vandekamp 16, Josh Bazey 55, Mark Froehlich 44FX, Vince Corbin 59, Jason Haugerud 22, Bill Stettner 7S, Kyle Matuska 43, A J Roschen 7, Jeremy Nelson 06, David Swearingen 5, Scott Bruce 71, Al Stettner 38S, Don Craig 47, Ryan Johnson 96, Shawn Wihren 39W, Eric Herbison 53, Dean Grube 00, Mike Kyllonen 77K, Jacob Gondik 29G, DNF: Charlie Wihren 7W, Jeremy Houle 54, Ryan Bowers 199, Ryan Olson 21, Patrick Kelley 63, DNS: Zach Stewart 48S.