Two races, two first-time winners. A year removed from a 2009 campaign that was Ross Kenseth’s coming out party, the BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet has a new storyline emerging this season: parity. Johnny Baumeister Jr. did his part to add support to that growing theme on Friday evening, going wire-to-wire to march into the winner’s circle for the first time in his Big 8 Series career, staving off late race challenges from Ryan Goldade and Steve Rubeck to take the checkers in the ‘Gordie Boucher Fireworks 48’ at Madison International Speedway. Two months after Casey Johnson found his way into the winner’s circle at the Spring Classic at Rockford Speedway, Baumeister Jr. paced himself around ‘Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-Mile’ and saved his tires for the end, wisely anticipating the late race dash that would ensue.
Baumeister Jr. led the 26 car field to green in the BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet ‘Gordie Boucher Fireworks 48’ tonight at Madison International Speedway. Baumeister Jr. wasted no time building a four car length cushion over fast qualifier and second place Ryan Goldade.
Behind the leaders, Steve Rubeck rocketed up to third, gaining five spots from his starting position in just six laps. Two-time series champion Jeremy Miller’s love tap to the rear bumper of Kyle Shear allowed the MIS veteran to sneak into fourth place as Shear quickly dropped seven spots after the move.
With 19 laps in the books, Baumeister Jr. continued to pace the field, having extended his lead to ten car lengths over second place Goldade as the leader began to maneuver around lapped traffic at the tail end of the field. As the halfway mark came and went, the top five cars began to slowly bunch together with the aid of lapped traffic, setting up a furious dash to the finish.
The late race showdown gained momentum when the first caution of the event flew for a Dan Lensing spin in turn two. On the ensuing double-file restart, Baumeister broke loose to the lead as Steve Rubeck made his move past Goldade on the inside for second bringing Miller with him into third.
Rubeck wasn’t done however, immediately turning his sights towards the trophy as he gunned for the lead. Miller refused to allow Rubeck to escape his clutches, peeking on the bottom for the bridesmaid’s position as Baumeister Jr. assessed the action in his rearview mirror and tried to pad his margin out front.
With five circuits to go, fifth place Kris Kelly got loose on the frontstretch and made a great save to keep his machine straight, only dropping one spot as the leaders battled hot tires. As the white flag waved, Miller made his move for second, pushing past Rubeck for the position as Bobby Wilberg forcefully took third, dropping Rubeck to fourth.
The night belonged to Johnny Baumeister Jr. though as the MIS veteran went wire-to-wire to collect the trophy and his first career Big 8 Series win.
“The car was really good through the corners tonight,” an ecstatic Baumeister Jr. stated in the winner’s circle. “It was a lot of fun to drive and I was happy with how the tires held up in the latter stages of the race. My crew did a great job giving me a nice car and I just tried to keep the nose clean out front. We were hooked up for a good portion of that race and it was fun to drive. The lapped traffic and that late caution worried me but the car was strong tonight.”
After post-race inspection, Ryan Goldade and Steve Rubeck were both disqualified for their transmissions. Jeremy Miller ended up with a stellar second place effort as Bobby Wilberg notched a nice third place finish on his home track. Kris Kelly managed a fine fourth place effort despite his late race bobble while Zack Riddle rounded out the top five in fifth.
The BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet returns to action in two weeks as the series makes its heavily anticipated first ever trek to the highly renowned Slinger Speedway for the ‘King of the High Banks 88’ on Sunday, July 18th.
For more information on the BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet, including a full 2010 schedule, visit the series website at www.big8series.com or call the Rockford Speedway Box Office at (815)633-1500.
BRP Big 8 Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet Results (7.2.2010)
Madison International Speedway 2010 Race: 2 of 6
'Gordie Boucher Fireworks 48': 1. John Baumeister Jr. (Lake Geneva, WI), 2. Jeremy Miller (Rockton, IL), 3. Bobby Wilberg (Beloit, WI), 4. Kris Kelly (Norway, MI), 5. Zack Riddle (Brooklyn, WI), 6. Michael Bachaus (Milton, WI), 7. Chad Wood (Madison, WI), 8. Chad Stevens (Orfordville, WI), 9. Scott Broughton (Stoughton, WI), 10. Tyler Kelley (Oregon, WI), 11. Brady Liddle (Oregon, WI), 12. Shaun Scheel (Lake Mills, WI), 13. James Swan (Lake Geneva, WI), 14. Kevin Knuese (Waukesha, WI), 15. Dan Lensing (Roscoe, IL), 16. Wayne Freimund (Elkhorn, WI), 17. Kyle Shear (Roscoe, IL), 18. Bill Baumeister (Janesville, WI), 19. Nathan Oppliger (Oregon, WI), 20. Shane Morrissey (Cuba City, WI), 21. Jeremy Lepak (Ringle, WI), 22. Ed Szelagowski Jr (Westfield, WI), 23. Vern Fagerberg Jr. (Bloomingdale, IL), 24. Tanner Whitten (Carlock, IL), 25. Steve Rubeck (Monroe Center, IL), 26. Ryan Goldade (Edgerton, WI),