The Madison (WI) International Speedway served as gracious hosts of the third event of the 2006 season for the ASALMS Challenge Division, the Miller Lite 200. The premiere drivers in the country have taken on the fast ½ mile high-banked paved oval at the Oregon, Wisconsin speed plant located South of the Wisconsin state capital of Madison.
first corner to take the early lead while Jack Smith, who started outside the second row and behind Menard, followed through and jumped into the second spot.
On lap two, the first of only four cautions flew when Frank Kreyer and Terry Schoppenhorst collided causing drivers behind them to check up, resulting in a massive seven car pile-up in turns three and four. The end result saw Troy Hintzsche, Dan Lensing, and Schoppenhorst’s nights all end.
On the restart, Menard pulled out to a sizable advantage while the rest of the field settled in formation. Fast Qualifier Wood was picked off cars at a rapid pace and by lap 50, he was up to fifth from his 10th starting spot.
Kelly Bires duals with Charlie Menard at Madison (Bob Milner Photo)
Bires, who started in the sixth spot had moved up to the third spot behind Smith when on lap 73, Smith lost a motor going down the backstretch resulting in the second caution of the evening. This moved Bires up to second and right on the back bumper of race long leader, Menard.
Bires chased Menard across the stripe as the lap 100 break was reached. At the 10-minute break, it was Menard, followed by Bires, Landon Cassill, Wood, Jake Ryan, Jonathan Eilen, Travis Dassow, Nottestad, Andrew Morrissey, and Ken Wills, the Top 10.
On the ensuing restart, Menard tried in vain to pull away from the Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie of the Year Points Leader, but Bires stayed glued to Menard’s back bumper while sizing up the Eau Claire, Wisconsin veteran. Finally on lap 125 Bires was able to maneuver around Menard and took over the lead.
Five laps later the last caution and most serious accident of the night occurred when pole sitter, Nottestad and Morrissey slammed into each other heading into turn three and both ended up in the turns three and four wall hard.
Bires is joined by his crew chief Howie Lettow in victory lane. Bires was a newcomer there. Lettow sure wasn't!
And When all was said and done, Pat Bourdow Memorial Rookie of the Year Points Leader, Kelly Bires added his name to an impressive list of accomplished driver in the United States in winning his first career ASALMS Challenge Division feature in the Miller Lite 200.
The Mauston, Wisconsin freshman withstood a ferocious challenge from Chad Wood, to take home the feature win and in doing so, Bires also took over the overall points lead away from Wood by just four markers.
Former Madison Super Late Models Track Champion, Dale Nottestad and Charlie Menard brought a star studded 28-car field. Menard beat out Nottestad to the
The contact resulted in Morrissey’s machine climbing the outside retaining wall and landing on his roof! Both drivers were ok, but done for the evening.
On the restart, Wood got around the second place car of Menard and set his sights on Bires. Both drivers were gunning for their first career ASALMS feature win. Bires would try desperately to lose Wood in lapped traffic, but Wood would never let the freshman points leader stray to far in front of him.
With less than 10 laps to go, Wood pulled up to the back bumper cover of Bires and the two Wisconsin pilots duked it out for the feature win. Wood would look high and look low, trying to figure out a way around the WalTom Racing Chevrolet
But in the end, Bires was determined not to let his chance at his first career win slip away as the Mauston, Wisconsin freshman would hold off the constant and determined efforts of Wood, to win his first career ASALMS Feature win.
The final rundown showed Bires behind Hoffman with the young Smith, Wood and Danta rounding out the top five.
Wood settled for second and to a standing ovation from the hometown crowd while 16-year-old Landon Cassill finished a season high third. Menard would settled for fourth while 2004 ASALMS Challenge Division Champion, Bobby Stremme, in his first appearance of 2006, would complete the Top Five.
Brent Downey won the Hard-Charger of the Race Award with his 22nd to sixth place run while Travis Dassow, Jake Ryan, Bobby Wilberg, and Jonathan Eilen would round out the Top 10.
Earlier in the evening, hometown favorite, Chad Wood, from Madison, Wisconsin shattered the ASALMS Challenge Division track record in qualifying with a blistering 18.009 second lap.
The track record for the ASALMS was an 18.116 set back on May 8, 2004 when current NASCAR Nextel Cup star and former Winston Cup Champion, Matt Kenseth. In all, eight drivers broke the record previously held by the Cambridge, Wisconsin star.
The Memorial Day Holiday racing weekend continues on Memorial Day Monday May 29th at the Grundy County (IL) Speedway for the ASALMS Northern Division. The 8th annual George Appleton Memorial 125 Presented by Rod Baker Ford and 100.7 RXQ.
Racing action will get underway with Qualifying at 1:30pm and Racing starting at 3:30pm. The Mid-American Stock Car Series will join in the holiday racing extravaganza.
Miller 200 Unofficial Results
Madison International Speedway
1. 6 89 Kelly Bires-R 200 Running
2. 10 2 Chad Wood 200 Running
3. 3 7 Landon Cassill 200 Running
4. 2 13 Charlie Menard 200 Running
5. 11 25 Bobby Stremme 200 Running
6. 22 23 Brent Downey 200 Running
7. 9 92 Travis Dassow 200 Running
8. 8 19 Jake Ryan-R 200 Running
9. 7 20 Bobby Wilberg 199 Running
10. 5 77 Jonathan Eilen-R 199 Running
11. 19 5 Ken Wills-R 199 Running
12. 21 16 Nick Schmuacher-R 199 Running
13. 23 8 Eddie Hoffman 199 Running
14. 28 35 Kris Stump 199 Running
15. 12 08 Jeff VanOudenhoven 198 Running
16. 15 32 Ryan Carlson 195 Running
17. 14 11 Peter Cozzolino 194 Running
18. 27 30 Mark Hartline 193 Running
19. 26 3 Bill Tomlinson 148 Running
20. 1 39 Dale Nottestad 128 Accident
21. 16 139 Andrew Morrissey 128 Accident
22. 13 99 Frank Kreyer 104 Handling
23. 4 28 Jack Smith 74 Engine
24. 24 81 Jesse Smith 71 Electrical
25. 15 44 Terry Schoppenhorst 3 Accident
26. 18 18 Dan Lensing 3 Accident
27. 20 87 Jesse Saunders-R 2 Accident
28. 17 34 Troy Hintzsche-R 2 Accident
Landon Cassill (#7) and Chad Wood (#2) dice it up.
Once the yellow flew for rain at lap 55, the cars were brought to the pit area. Safety vehicles attempted to dry the track, and actually were making progress, when the skies opened up once again.
“We moved the race up in the schedule a little bit,” said ASALM president Ron Varney. “We have to work with the track and we did move it up some, in an attempt to get as much of the feature in as we could, because we knew the weather was on the way. Unfortunately we didn’t get all of them in tonight.”