Ross Kenseth had another rocket ship tonight, setting a new track record in qualifying for the BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet and climbing to the top after starting the “Dixieland 38” seventh, grabbing the lead on lap 14 over Wisconsin International Raceway regular Kris Kelly and edging out a hard-charging Jesse Oudenhoven to pick up the trophy. With the victory, Kenseth took back the points lead from two-time defending series champion Jeremy Miller and solidified himself as a contender for the 2009 series championship.
The BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet “Dixieland 38” at the fast half-mile Wisconsin International Raceway got off to a wild start when Jonny Hentges and Keith Romenesko both got turned around on lap one, sending Hentges hard into the turn three wall.
The action wasn’t over as the field was thinned out when a major pileup in turn four left Big 8 Series points leader and two-time defending series champion Jeremy Miller in the pits working on repairs while several other cars were collected in the incident including Andy Kluck, Nathan Opplinger, Kyle Shear, Skylar Holzhausen, Brady Liddle, Tim Springstroh and Keith Romenesko.
Jesse Oudenhoven finally grabbed the early lead when the next restart came and held on to the top spot until lap five when Kris Kelly dove into the inside lane and went side-by-side with Oudenhoven for six laps before Kelly jumped into the lead and brought Ross Kenseth with him into second.
Kenseth, who set a Big 8 Series track record during qualifying, dug deep on the inside line on lap 14, completing a pass on Kelly for the top position that was reminiscent of Kenseth’s move on Kelly two months earlier to win “The Driveline” at Norway Speedway in Michigan. Oudenhoven moved back into second shortly after Kenseth drove into the lead as Big 8 Series rookie James Swan grabbed third.
It was smooth sailing up front for the up-and-coming 16-year-old until the caution flew with 14 laps remaining for a stalled Skylar Holzhausen in turn three. Kenseth built up a solid cushion on the restart as Oudenhoven tried to work the high line to cut into his lead.
It wasn’t enough however as Ross Kenseth held on for his second BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet victory of 2009 and the fourth of his career, claiming the “Dixieland 38” by five car-lengths over Oudenhoven and jumping back into the Big 8 Series points lead in the process.
“The car was so fast that I really just had to hit my marks and drive,” an enthused Kenseth said in victory lane. “It’s hard to screw it up when you have a car that drives that well and that fast over each run. This track is fast and you can handle pretty well in the corners, and I’ve always liked coming here. I really have to thank my crew for all their efforts in helping make this car the rocket ship that it was.”
James Swan, Jesse Saunders and Kris Kelly rounded out the top five.
The next event for the BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet is the completion of the previously postponed “Rockweiler 38” on Friday, August 14th at “Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-Mile”, Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsin. The feature lineup has already been set as Kyle Shear will be on point leading a field of 26 cars to the green flag.
For more information on the BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, please visit the series website at www.big8series.com.