This Friday night June 24 marks one of the traditional stops along the Big 8 Late Model Series schedule as the 'Best Weekly Warriors in the Country" make the trip to Madison International Speedway (MIS) for the annual 'Salute to America.'
The Madison show has long been one of the premier stops on the Big 8 Series schedule throughout the tour's 12 year history. Each season, "Wisconsin's Fastest Half Mile" becomes a gathering place for the Big 8's best and this Friday night will be no different, with 34 combined track and series championships represented among the 32 expected entrants.
Leading the way is current Big 8 Late Model Series point leader and defending Series champion Michael Bilderback, who has been the man to beat so far in 2016. Bilderback has began his season 2-for-2, with wins at Rockford and Hawkeye Downs. Along with his Big 8 successes, Bilderback is also the current point leader at Rockford Speedway, where he has one feature win and has lowered the Rockford Speedway track record on three separate occasions. The South Beloit, IL native has never won a Big 8 race at Madison, with his closest call coming in 2008 as he finished second to Ryan Carlson in a photo finish.
Former Big 8 Late Model Series champions Jeremy Miller and Casey Johnson have also thrown their hat into the ring for this Friday night's "Salute to America." Both Miller and Johnson are among the all-time leading winners in Big 8 Series history, with Miller also a four-time Big 8 Series titlist and Johnson a two-time winner of the Series championship. Both drivers have tasted their share of success at Madison through the years, combining for five MIS track championships.
There are other past Madison champions who will compete this Friday night at "Salute to America," including a pair of three-time MIS Late Model champions in Dale Nottestad and Bobby Wilberg plus reigning Madison International Speedway champion Zach Riddle. All three have tasted Big 8 victory lane in their careers, with Nottestad among the leaders in all-time Big 8 wins. Wilberg's only previous Big 8 win came at Rockford in 2015, but despite just one Big 8 victory on his ledger, Wilberg is one of the most consistent drivers in Series history. Riddle is a former Oktoberfest winner while also bagging the JMcK Invitational in the same season.
Other top tier Big 8 drivers planning on racing this Friday night at Madison include Wayne Freimund, a two-time winner this season at Rockford Speedway and a former Slinger Speedway champion, two-time LaCrosse Speedway champion J Herbst, two-time Dells Raceway champion Rich Schumann Jr, former Rockford Speedway and Big 8 Series champion 'Driver X' Jon Reynolds Jr, reigning Rockford Speedway champion Jake Gille and former Dells Raceway champion Mike Ehde.
High-quality young talent will be on display Friday night at Madison too, with three skilled teenagers leading the charge. Minnesota's Michael Ostdiek, a member of this season's Kulwicki Driver Development Program, currently sits second in Big 8 points, poised for his first win, while Wisconsin youngster Grant Greisbach has impressed early this season with two top-tens to start the year at Rockford and Hawkeye Downs. Iowa's Brody Willett has also rose to the challenge early in 2016 and comes into Madison eighth in Big 8 Late Model Series point standings.
Along with a full program highlighted by a 48 lap Big 8 Late Model Series feature race, the Great Northern Sportsman Series and Midwest Dash Series will join the card and at the end of the night, fans will be treated to the largest fireworks display at any racetrack in the Midwest!
-Big 8 Series Press Release
Salute to America
Expected Entries (32)
OO- Brody Willett Alburnett, IA
O3- Cody Kippenhan Ypsilanti, MI
2- Michael Bilderback South Beloit, IL
3- Tyler Hromadka Brookfield, WI
5- Casey Johnson Edgerton, WI
5- Jeremy Miller Rockton, IL
X- Jon Reynolds Jr Rockford, IL
11- Brady Liddle Oregon, WI
14- Zach Riddle Cottage Grove, WI
15- Todd Oliver Bangor, WI
17- Grant Greisbach Waukesha, WI
18- Mike Ehde Prairie du Chien, WI
19- John Baumeister Jr Beloit, WI
18- Michael Ostdiek Lakeville, MN
20- Zach Less Manchester, IA
21- Shane Morrissey Cuba City, WI
21- Ty Reedy Holmen, WI
28- Bobby Wilberg Beloit, WI
36- Kyle Shear Roscoe, IL
40- Michael Beamish Eagan, MN
40- Tom Gille Winnebago, IL
49- Tory Adams Madison, WI
50- Jake Gille Winnebago, IL
51- Dale Nottestad Cambridge, WI
53- Jared Duda St Michael, MN
54- Rich Schumann Jr Portage, WI
66- Adam Pesheck Oconomowoc, WI
78- Matt Lundberg Rockton, IL
82- J Herbst West Salem, WI
87- Brent Edmunds Monticello, WI
95- Wayne Freimund Elkhorn, WI
99- Jake Zellmer New Berlin, WI