Bernhagen and Pontbriand split Dick Trickle Classic wins at Tomah Sparta Speedway

TOMAH, WI – The CWRA Stars to Legends Tour as presented by Smiley’s Old Time Diner was back in action here at Tomah Sparta Speedway for a very special event as the Dick Trickle Classic was held in front of a large crowd under sunny skies. The Tour event was held in honor of Dick Trickle who raced and won at the Tomah track early in his racing career. At the end of the day it was top Tour Rookie contender, Jesse Bernhagen of Stevens Point, WI., and relative newcomer, Joey Pontbriand of Iron River, MI., taking the showcased 35 lap Feature wins.

            The first Feature race started with a look alike, 1963 Ford, just as Trickle drove at this very track in the 1960s, pacing the field. Soon, however it was the CWRA Super Late Model racers, as they hadn’t done at this race-track in over 20 years getting down to business racing. Putch Bentley, Iron River, MI. started from the pole position and took the early lead over the 21 car field. Todd Oliver, Bangor, WI., and Tod Stenson, Wis. Dells, WI., immediately began pressuring Bentley, but he was able to hold off their challenges for the next 10 laps. Darek Gress, Neillsville WI.,, a two time Tour winner in 2018 was on the move however from his 10th starting spot, taking the lead from Bentley after the 3rd caution slowdown of the race. Gress would only remain there for a few laps however, as Bernhagen, all the way from 11th starting spot took the lead with a nifty inside pass coming out of turn two. Bernhagen could not extend his lead though, as youngster, Hunter Stenson, Wis., Dells, WI., closed up to Bernhagen’s bumper. A slight bobble in turn one cost Stenson however and Bernhagen raced under the checkered flag 1st, by a car length. Stenson placed an impressive 2nd and was followed by Gress, Darren Jackson, Nekoosa, WI., Mark Mackesy, Wausau, WI., and current point leader, Jeff Weinfurter, Wis. Rapids, WI., 6th.

            With a 12 car inversion for the 2nd 35 lap Dick Trickle Classic main, it was Joey Pontbriand, Iron River, MI., lining up in the pole position. Before racing began however, a Chevy Camaro race car driven by Dick Trickle in the late 1980s and early ’90s paced the field much to the delight of the crowd.. Once the green flag waved for the main though it was Pontbriand launching his racer into an early lead over the 22 car field, a new high in Tour competition.. Before the field could get sorted out, Pontbriand had built a 10 car length advantage. Weinfurter broke free from the pack and moved into 2nd position on the 9th lap. Bernhagen was still showing excellent speed as he was already up to 4th spot from 12th by the 13th lap. After a spin by Dave Neitzke, Eureka, WI., slowed the field, Pontbriand paced the field on the restart. Weinfurter couldn’t gain any ground and now had Bernhagen on his bumper looking for a way around. Bernhagen finally passed Weinfurter and drew to a couple car lengths of Pontbriand., At that point his drive stalled out, as he just couldn’t muster the power to grab the lead. Pontbriand would maintain his two car length cushion to the checkered flag with Bernhagen settling for 2nd followed by Weinfurter, Hunter Stenson, Darren Jackson, and Darek Gress the top six.             Next CWRA Stars to Legends Tour action will be the season finale, Friday, September 28th, at Marshfield Motor Speedway, Marshfield, WI. where Tour point leader, Jeff Weinfurter will try to wrap up the 2018 championship.