OREGON, Wis. — It was another very competitive and exciting racing season featuring the best drivers in the Midwest in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series at Madison International Speedway. The NASCAR Late Models, Sportsman, and Bandits headlined the 2018 slate.
Zack Riddle (NASCAR Late Models), Robert Hansberry Jr. (Dave’s White Rock Sportsman), and Nick Schmidt (Pellitteri Waste Systems Bandits) picked up 2018 track championships.
Hometown favorite Zack Riddle of Oregon, Wisconsin, won his second track championship in the Late Models after taking home the crown in 2015. Riddle won three features, two heats, and three dashes and set fast time on four nights, including turning the fastest lap of the season with an 18.545 second time on Wisconsin’s Fastest Half-Mile.
Consistency paid off for Riddle, as he finished in the top five in twelve of fourteen races and only finished outside the top ten once. Riddle finished with 1318 points with multi-time champion Jeremy Miller finishing in second with 1169 points. Riddle’s race to the championship started slowly then quickly picked up steam.
“This team always comes on towards the end of the season. We were able to stay in the hunt early and finish the year strong,” said Riddle.
Riddle now has fifteen feature wins in his career at Madison which puts him tied for fourth on the all-time list for the Late Models. Riddle’s grandfather, Johnny Ziegler, is a four-time Super Late Model champion at Madison plus his uncle, Jared Ziegler, is also a past champion in the Late Models.
It was three in a row for Dave’s White Rock Sportsman champion Robert Hansberry Jr. of Beloit, Wisconsin. This season, Hansberry Jr. won six features, three heats, and seven dashes on his way to the championship. He was fast qualifier on seven nights and turned the fastest lap of the season with a 19.834 on the half-mile. He finished the season with 1279 points fueled by eleven top five finishes and only one race finishing outside the top ten. At the beginning of the season, Hansberry Jr. really was not sure what his racing plans would look like in 2018.
DEEPER LOOK: Madison’s Divisions
“We keep telling ourselves we’ll stay home and not run for a championship, but I love this place so much that we had to be here,” said Hansberry Jr.
He now has five track championships (2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018) and is the all-time leader in Sportsman feature wins at Madison with twenty-four checkered flags.
Nick Schmidt of Watertown, Wisconsin, won his first track championship in the Pellitteri Waste Systems Bandits. Schmidt won seven features, three dashes, and one heat in addition to setting fast time on seven nights including a new track record on the quarter-mile “Ring of Fire” of 14.695 seconds. He finished in the top five twelve out of thirteen races and totaled 1373 points.
“I want to thank Gregg and Angie for giving us a place to race on Friday nights. I race four different tracks so it’s been a busy summer,” he said.
Schmidt now owns twelve career feature wins in the Bandits division at Madison which places him third on the all-time list.
Track owners Gregg and Angie McKarns would like to thank everyone who supported their family owned track in 2018 and are looking forward to the start of the 2019 season in May.