The Badger State 125 brought 24 of the top Super Late Model drivers from the upper Midwest to Dells Raceway Park for the fourth race of the Alive for Five Series. The race saw two familiar faces fight down to the wire, with current Midwest Tour points leader Casey Johnson outdueling 2018 ARCA Midwest Tour champion Dalton Zehr over the final laps to pick up his second win of the season at the Central Wisconsin oval.
Zehr was the class of the field early, setting fast time in qualifying and quickly moving his way to the lead with Johnson, Ryan Farrell, and others in tow. Johnson wrestled the lead away from Zehr on a lap 92 restart, though the Florida-turned-Michigan driver did not let him have it easy. Zehr kept Johnson in check over the final race run and challenged him on the final lap, but Johnson ultimately held him off at the line.
“I knew the No.119 (Zehr) had a real stout car all day, so I knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Johnson told Speed51.com. “I figured whichever one of us could get out front on those restarts would probably be the car to beat. He kept the pressure up on me the whole time. He did a good job, just waiting for me to mess up and I slipped up a little bit on the last lap and he got inside of me but we were still able tohold him off.”
The win allowed Johnson to pad his Alive for Five Series points lead with just one race left in the series. It is one of four season championships he is chasing after, along with the ARCA Midwest Tour, TUNDRA Super Late Model Series and Fox River Racing Club weekly points at Wisconsin International Raceway.
With the ARCA Midwest Tour rolling into the Dells for the Escape to Wisconsin 100 next weekend and racing season in the Badger State coming to an end, Saturday night’s win gives him a boost of confidence going into next week’s Midwest Tour race.
“It gives us a ton of confidence,” he said. “We’re bringing a different car but they’revery similar, so hopefully we can put the same package in and get the same result.”
While Johnson was celebrating in victory lane, Zehr was left baffled as to what happened to his car during the final 50-lap run to the checkered flag.
“We had the lead at the break and I honestly thought we had the field covered,” Zehr said. “The car was a rocket ship. Somewhere from lap 75 to 100, the car wentfrom on top, king of the world to needing to be on the grass. I had to be on the bottom. I gave the bottom up to Casey, the outside had won on every restart leading up to that point. All the sudden he pulled up and got past me.”
“I still think I was a little bit faster than he was once I moved down there, but it wasn’t enough,” he continued. “He was better in three and four, I was better in one and two, and I couldn’t clear the pass without basically running into him pretty good. I raced as hard as I could without boarding him up.”
Defending Wisconsin Challenge Series champion Ryan Farrell culminated a strong run with a third-place finish, while two-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion Dan Fredrickson and five-time Snowball Derby winner Rich Bickle rounded out the top five.
The final race of the Alive for Five Series will be held October 19th when the top drivers from Wisconsin and surrounding areas make their way to the 1/3rd mile for the Falloween 150, the final scheduled Super Late Model race of 2019 in the State of Wisconsin.
Alive for Five Series – Badger State 125 Unofficial Results:
5.Rich Bickle Jr
16.John DeAngelis Jr
24.Jonathon Elien (DNS)
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com