Point’s Bernhagen wins Feature at Dick Trickle Classic
The Central Wisconsin Racing Association (CWRA) Stars to Legends Tour as presented by Smiley’s Old Time Diner was back in action at Tomah-Sparta Speedway in Tomah for a very special event, as the Dick Trickle Classic was held in front of a large crowd under sunny skies Sunday, Sept. 16.
The Tour event was held in honor of Dick Trickle, who raced and won at the Tomah track early in his racing career.
At the end of the day it was top Tour Rookie contender, Jesse Bernhagen of Stevens Point, and relative newcomer Joey Pontbriand of Iron River, Mich., taking the showcased 35-lap Feature wins.
The first Feature race started with a look-alike 1963 Ford, just as Trickle drove at this very track in the 1960s, pacing the field.
Soon, however it was the CWRA Super Late Model racers, as they hadn’t done at this race-track in over 20 years, getting down to business racing.
Putch Bentley of Iron River, Mich., started from the pole position and took the early lead over the 21-car field. Todd Oliver of Bangor, and Tod Stenson of Wisconsin Dells immediately began pressuring Bentley, but he was able to hold off their challenges for the next 10 laps.
However, Darek Gress of Neillsville, a two-time Tour winner in 2018, was on the move from his 10th starting spot, taking the lead from Bentley after the third caution slowdown of the race.
Gress would only remain there for a few laps, however, as Bernhagen, all the way from 11th starting spot, took the lead with a nifty inside pass coming out of turn two.
Bernhagen could not extend his lead though, as youngster Hunter Stenson of Wisconsin Dells closed up to Bernhagen’s bumper. A slight bobble in turn one cost Stenson, however, and Bernhagen raced under the checkered flag first, by a car length.
Stenson placed an impressive second and was followed by Gress, Darren Jackson of Nekoosa, Mark Mackesy of Wausau and current point leader Jeff Weinfurter of Wisconsin Rapids in sixth.
With a 12-car inversion for the second 35-lap Dick Trickle Classic main, it was Pontbriand lining up in the pole position.
Before racing began, however, a Chevy Camaro race car driven by Dick Trickle in the late 1980s and early 1990s paced the field, much to the delight of the crowd.
Once the green flag waved for the main though, it was Pontbriand launching his racer into an early lead over the 22-car field, a new high in Tour competition.
Before the field could get sorted out, Pontbriand had built a 10-car length advantage. Weinfurter broke free from the pack and moved into second position on the ninth lap. Bernhagen was still showing excellent speed as he was already up to the fourth spot from 12th by the 13th lap.
After a spin by Dave Neitzke of Eureka slowed the field, Pontbriand paced the field on the restart. Weinfurter couldn’t gain any ground and now had Bernhagen on his bumper looking for a way around. Bernhagen finally passed Weinfurter and drew to a couple car lengths of Pontbriand.
At that point his drive stalled out, as he just couldn’t muster the power to grab the lead. Pontbriand would maintain his two-car length cushion to the checkered flag, with Bernhagen settling for second, followed by Weinfurter, Stenson, Jackson, and Darek Gress.
The next CWRA Stars to Legends Tour action will be the season finale, Friday, Sept. 28, at Marshfield Motor Speedway in Marshfield, where Tour point leader Jeff Weinfurter will try to wrap up the 2018 championship.
35 lap Feature one 1.Jesse Bernhagen, Stevens Point, WI., 2. Hunter Stenson, Wis. Dells, WI., 3. Darek Gress, Neillsville, WI., 4. Darren Jackson, Nekoosa, WI., 5. Mark Mackesy, Wausau, WI., 6. Jeff Weinfurter, Wis. Rapids, WI., 7. Frank Nitzke, Berlin, WI., 8. Putch Bentley, Iron River, MI., 9. Derrick Van Dreel, Wis. Rapids, WI., 10. Rachel Kallas, Winneconne, WI., 11. Glenn Bush, Jr. Kendall, WI., 12. Joey Pontbriand, Iron River, MI., WI., 13. Kirby Kurth, Wis. Rapids, WI., 14. Dave Neitzke, Eureka, WI., 15. Rob Christen, Holmen, WI., 16. Tod Stenson, Wis. Dells, WI., 17. Monte Gress, Neillsville, WI., 18.Brian Henry, Omro, WI., 19. Todd Oliver, Bangor, WI., 20. Jesse Pokszyk, Friendship, WI., 21. Dillon Mackesy, Athens, WI., 22. Mike Sievers, Wis. Rapids, WI., DNS.
35 lap Feature two 1.Pontbriand, 2. Bernhagen, 3. Weinfurter, 4. H. Stenson, 5. Jackson, 6. D. Gress, 7. Christen, 8. Mackesy, 9. Kallas, 10. Bentley, 11. Henry, 12. Van Dreel, 13. Nitzke, 14. Pokszyk, 15. T. Stenson, 16. M. Gress, 17. Kurth, 18. Neitzke, 19. D. Mackesy, 20. Bush, Jr., 21. Sievers, 22. Oliver.
CWRA Stars to Legends point standings as of 9/16/18
- Jeff Weinfurter 652
- Darren Jackson 604
- Darek Gress 592
- Mark Mackesy 591
- Rachel Kallas 484
- Frank Nitzke 482
- Jesse Bernhagen 478
- Derrick Van Dreel 471
- Monte Gress 442
- Brian Henry* 441
- Dave Neitzke 351
- Mike Sievers 346
- Greg Matthews * 262
- Jesse Pokszyk 252
- Dakota Blakesslee 221
- Joey Pontbriand 170
- Tod Stenson 158
- Kirby Kurth 154
- Putch Bentley 120
- Jack Greenwood 100
- Eric Wilhite 94
- Dan Lindsley 88
- Hunter Stenson 88
- Jim Sauter Jr. 82
- Derek Doerr 70
- Brock Heinrich 62
- Chad Devine 62
- Rob Christen 61
- Braison Bennett 56
- Mark Schultz* 55
- Glenn Bush Jr. 49
- Brett Breitenfeldt 46
- Dillon Mackesy 40
- Todd Oliver 39
* Denotes “Rookie of the year” Candidates