Racing veterans, young standouts highlight early season action at Norway Speedway
Norway Speedway kicked off the season with two great nights of racing. The openers were well attended despite graduations and the erratic weather. The temperatures were in the low 40s the first week and the high 80s the second week.
The season opener could be referred to as Homecoming 2021. It was great to see Dicky Coleman back at the Speedway. The son of Hall of Famer Gene and Donna Coleman of Menominee left the sport in the mid-’90s when he was at the top of his game, finishing runner-up in the Coca-Cola Late Model championship. He left the sport to focus on family and running the family business, Coleman Racing Products.
Defending Coca-Cola Late Model champion Dan Lindsley was attending his daughter’s graduation and elected to have another mid- 90s standout drive his car. Kevin Beyer of Menominee, who has won a few big races out there but hadn’t been in a car in many years, did a solid job filling in for Dan.
Another great racing family made its return to Norway Speedway. Former Coca-Cola Late Model champion Mike Reichenberger represented his new Camping World sponsorship in the state of Michigan and did a great job finishing 6th in the feature.
Mike has been one of Wisconsin’s top drivers for 30 years and never goes to the Speedway without his family. His son, Brandon, who was his crew chief that night, is a top competitor at Wisconsin International Raceway.
Tom Gee also made a surprise visit after almost 10 years. Right out of the trailer Tom opened some eyes becoming the fast qualifier for the first time in his career. Tom stepped away from driving a race car and decided to give back to the sport for a few years by taking on a management position with the Fox River Racing Club, which races at Wisconsin International Raceway on Thursday nights.
Other top stories at the Speedway this summer include a new racing team in the Coca-Cola Late Model Division that could be one to be reckoned with –Wisconsin racing standout Chad Butz and his family combined with the racing family of Mike DeAngelo Jr.
Butz is the youngest driver at Norway to win a late model feature event. He was also Rookie of the Year that year. In recent years DeAngelo Jr. from Marquette has also taken his racing to the next level. These two will alternate driving the car throughout the summer and definitely have championship possibilities.
Justin Mondeik from Gleason, Wis., who had a great week of racing at Speedweeks in New Smyrna, Florida, this past winter, is also undefeated in feature events at Norway Speedway and Golden Sands Speedway in Plover, Wis. The 24-year-old is Wisconsin’s newest NASCAR hopeful.
Our local core group of racing talent is back for 2021 and so far the breakout star f is Kingsford’s Scott Stanchina. At the season opener Scott was putting heavy pressure on Mondeik but just couldn’t complete the pass for the win.
Kingsford’s Cory Cootware and Manitowoc’s Greg Haese are also committed to a full season. Cootware, who has won the Triple Crown championship which involves Norway, Kinross and Sands Speedway, has also come out strong and is currently 6th in the points. Haese, who is a talented dirt track driver as well as asphalt, has also made the Norway Speedway track championship his goal for the summer and he is in 2nd for championship points.
Other notes of interest include legendary Bruce White getting a new crate motor and winning the fast dash last week. Robbie Iverson has a new car and is in the process of getting acclimated to it and has turned in some outstanding laps. Jason Wells who’s really come on strong in the last few years, is currently sitting 4th in the points.
In the Auto Value Superstock Division, defending Speedway champion Ryan Wender has his plate full as he’s trying to get his 14-year-old son Tony involved in the sport and running in the same division. Ryan also has another challenge in the fact that Norway’s Joey Pontbriand is currently pulling double duty by racing in both the Auto Value Superstock Division and the Coca-Cola Late Model Division. This hasn’t been done in many years. And with car counts the way they are across the Midwest we are welcoming the attempt. Joey is currently sitting on top of the point standings with Ryan Wender while running regularly and successfully at Wisconsin Dells Raceway.
Anthony Schiefelbein from Pembine, Wis., has won a Triple Crown championship and several feature events and is currently sitting 4th in the points. Norway’s Adam Faull has purchased one of the top cars from northeastern Wisconsin and as soon as he gets that figured out could add a Super Stock championship to his list of accomplishments that include a Fab 4 Cylinder championship.
Tonight’s full show includes Wisconsin Sport Trucks. For more information go to norwayspeedway.com.