Taylor Triumphs in Badger Opener

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By Zack Krueger
Kankakee, IL (May 6th, 2023) – The Advanced Fastening Supply Badger Midget Auto Racing Association opened its 88th season Friday, May 5 at Kankakee County Speedway. Indiana-based driver Adam Taylor took the victory, continuing his winning ways and adding a sixth Badger victory to his resume.

The AFS Badger Midget Series returned to Kankakee County Speedway for the first time in 33 years to start their 25-race season. The event was co-sanctioned with the newly relaunched Midget Auto Racing Association.

The two combined series set up a star-studded lineup of cars to do battle on the quarter-mile, 18-degree, semi-banked clay oval. Five states in total were represented. Wisconsin stars such as Todd Kluever, Harrison Kleven, Mike Stroik, Matt Rechek, and Kyle Stark were in attendance while MARA season opener victor Patrick Bruns led a stacked Illinois lineup. Indiana’s Taylor, Kurt Mayhew, and Wes Pinkerton were some of the Hoosiers represented in the field. The two odd-drivers-out were Iowa’s Miles Doherty and California’s Ronnie Gardner.

The FiveOne Motorsports Fast Time Award went to the #2 of Stark whose 14.893 was only one of two times in the 14-second bracket and set a new track record. Stark was followed by Patrick Bruns, Stroik, Taylor, and Lamont Critchett.

The Madison Extinguisher Service Non-Qualifier Heat opened the night and it would be the #40JR of Dave Collins Jr and the #31 of Shay Sassano on the front row. Danger Dave launched to the lead early led but found the first set of corners tricky as he spun around in turn two collecting the #45 of Trey Weishoff. Sassano led the field back to green as Doherty started to charge from deep in the pack, passing Sassano on lap 3 and not looking back to pick up the non-qualifier heat. Sassano finished second and the 2022 Beaver Dam Raceway Legends champion and Badger rookie Parker Jones finished in the third spot.

Auto Meter Heat 1 front row was filled by Kleven and Brian Peterson. Kleven would get away well but stumbled a bit in turns one and two which was all fourth place starting Pinkerton needed to slip by and into the lead. Three wide fights and battles were all over the track that made Heat 1 a barn burner but it was the 9P of Pinkerton who took the win. Kevin Douglas and David Budres rounded out the podium.

Simpson Race Products Heat 2 saw Cody Weisensel and Gardner on the front row. Gardner got the jump but it was pulled back as the #44 of Critchett spun in turn one. The field once again went green and this time Weisensel got the jump and the lead. Battles behind the leader with Kluever and Bruns made for some exciting action as they tried to real in Wiesensel. Kluever wouldn’t be able to close the gap enough which meant Weisensel took home the win in heat 2 with Kluever and Gardner following him.

Mcfarland, WI was strongly represented on the front row of Behlings Race Products Heat 3 with the #59 of Kyle Koch and the #6 of Jeremy Douglas. A good jump from Koch but an even better one from MARA regular Andy Baugh meant Baugh led at the end of lap one. Taylor and Stark found the top side of the race track but couldn’t make much of it as the field battles allowed Baugh to run away and win heat 3 with Greg Ross and Koch second and third while Stark sent a last-ditch effort for the final transfer spot. The drama came after the heat when second-place finisher Ross was disqualified for not reporting to the scales after the finish.

Next came the High Performance Lubricants B-Main where seven drivers would have the opportunity to punch their ticket into the A-Main. Mark McMahill sat on the pole with Jace Sparks alongside him. McMahill would jump to the early lead with Sparks right behind. Sparks took several shots at McMahill but it was Ross who tracked down the leaders and snatched the lead away from McMahill. Ross wouldn’t look back and took home the win with Sparks and McMahill rounding out the top three. Chris Dickey, Rechek, Colburn, and Crittchett would all transfer to the A-main.

The final stage was set with Baugh and Pinkerton on the front row of the first AFS Badger Midget Series and the third MARA feature of the 2023 season. After the four-wide salute to the fans, the field was set and the green was thrown. The front two would stay wheel to wheel for the entire first lap. The 6B of Baugh found the pace and worked away from the field as Taylor, Kluever, and Stark went three wide for the fourth spot. Ross came to a stop in turn two on lap five which ended his night, but the story was turns three and four. While slowing down for the yellow, third-place running Stark flipped and brought out the red flag. Stark exited the car under his own power and was taken to the ambulance. On the restart, the top three would all get good starts but Taylor made the most of it, getting past Pinkerton for second and chasing down the leader. Bruns would make his way past Pinkerton and into the top three. Taylor would find the back of Baugh at the halfway point of the race while they hit lap traffic. Taylor tried his luck on lap twenty-one but quickly found out Baugh was not to be slept on as the pair made contact putting Taylor back a few car lengths. Baugh had the checkered flag virtually in hand but a late caution with three laps to go for a stopped Budres brought him right back down to Earth. In even more of a gut punch to Baugh, he would slow and stop down the back straightaway for a safety concern. The caution would claim two more victims as Colburn became Colburn’s Brakeburn forcing him to end his night and Jace Sparks as well slowing in turn one. Baugh restarted in the lead with Taylor and Bruns behind him. The green would fly and Taylor would go top shelf in turns one and two to take the lead from Baugh. Bruns worked past Baugh as Baugh fell down the order. Taylor would not look back and led the final three laps as he took home the victory. Bruns and Pinkerton would rounded out the top three and Critchett was the hard charger, up thirteen spots from his initial starting position.

The AFS Badger Midgets will make the trip North to the Plymouth Dirt Track in Plymouth, WI, and Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, WI for their next two races of the season on May 20th and 21st. On May 19th the MARA Midgets will be back at Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, IL.


37 Entries

Lap Leaders: Andy Baugh 1-22, Adam Taylor 23-25
AFS A Feature 25 Laps Advanced Fastening Supply

1. 5X-Adam Taylor[5]; 2. 9P-Wes Pinkerton[2]; 3. 57-Ronnie Gardner[12]; 4. 55-Todd Kluever[3]; 5. 9S-Mike Stroik[6]; 6. 10C-Mark McMahill[18]; 7. 38-Matt Rechek[20]; 8. 44-Lamont Critchett[22]; 9. 5K-Kevin Douglas[10]; 10. 20-Cody Weisensel[14]; 11. 6B-Andy Baugh[1]; 12. 6-Jeremy Douglas[11]; 13. 29-Harrison Kleven[15]; 14. 59-Kyle Koch[13]; 15. 12-Chris Dickey[19]; 16. 40-Jace Sparks[17]; 17. 31B-David Budres[4]; 18. 10A-Tommy Colburn[21]; 19. 15C-RJ Corson[9]; 20. 2-Kyle Stark[8]; 21. 51R-Greg Ross[16]; 22. (DQ) 12D-Patrick Bruns[7]
High-Performance Lubricants B 12 Laps | High-Performance Lubricants

1. 51R-Greg Ross[10]; 2. 40-Jace Sparks[2]; 3. 10C-Mark McMahill[1]; 4. 12-Chris Dickey[3]; 5. 38-Matt Rechek[6]; 6. 10A-Tommy Colburn[8]; 7. 44-Lamont Critchett[11]; 8. 19E-Daltyn England[5]

Auto Meter Auto Meter Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 9P-Wes Pinkerton[4]; 2. 5K-Kevin Douglas[3]; 3. 31B-David Budres[6]; 4. 9S-Mike Stroik[8]; 5. 29-Harrison Kleven[1]; 6. 12-Chris Dickey[7]; 7. 38-Matt Rechek[5]; 8. 7-Brian Peterson[2]; 9. 00-John Heitzman[9]

Simpson Race Products Simpson Race Products Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 20-Cody Weisensel[1]; 2. 55-Todd Kluever[4]; 3. 57-Ronnie Gardner[2]; 4. 12D-Patrick Bruns[8]; 5. 15C-RJ Corson[3]; 6. 40-Jace Sparks[6]; 7. 19E-Daltyn England[5]; 8. 10A-Tommy Colburn[9]; 9. 44-Lamont Critchett[7]

Behling Behlings Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 6B-Andy Baugh[3]; 2. 59-Kyle Koch[1]; 3. 6-Jeremy Douglas[2]; 4. 2-Kyle Stark[8]; 5. 5X-Adam Taylor[7]; 6. 10C-Mark McMahill[5]; 7. 21K-Kurt Mayhew[4]; 8. 56-Charles Rufi[9]; 9. (DQ) 51R-Greg Ross[6]

51 Motorsports Fast Time Qualifying 1 (25 Laps): 1. 2-Kyle Stark, 00:14.893[17]; 2. 12D-Patrick Bruns, 00:14.977[27]; 3. 9S-Mike Stroik, 00:15.266[8]; 4. 5X-Adam Taylor, 00:15.275[31]; 5. 44-Lamont Critchett, 00:15.278[22]; 6. 12-Chris Dickey, 00:15.336[9]; 7. 51R-Greg Ross, 00:15.383[23]; 8. 40-Jace Sparks, 00:15.391[26]; 9. 31B-David Budres, 00:15.396[7]; 10. 10C-Mark McMahill, 00:15.416[13]; 11. 19E-Daltyn England, 00:15.433[6]; 12. 38-Matt Rechek, 00:15.517[15]; 13. 21K-Kurt Mayhew, 00:15.563[19]; 14. 55-Todd Kluever, 00:15.588[25]; 15. 9P-Wes Pinkerton, 00:15.589[16]; 16. 6B-Andy Baugh, 00:15.690[29]; 17. 15C-RJ Corson, 00:15.748[5]; 18. 5K-Kevin Douglas, 00:15.764[14]; 19. 6-Jeremy Douglas, 00:15.796[10]; 20. 57-Ronnie Gardner, 00:15.800[20]; 21. 7-Brian Peterson, 00:15.858[2]; 22. 59-Kyle Koch, 00:16.017[21]; 23. 20-Cody Weisensel, 00:16.077[28]; 24. 29-Harrison Kleven, 00:16.103[4]; 25. 56-Charles Rufi, 00:16.272[12]; 26. 10A-Tommy Colburn, 00:16.355[30]; 27. 00-John Heitzman, 00:16.360[3]; 28. 40JR-Dave Collins Jr, 00:16.486[32]; 29. 1W-Robby Wirth, 00:16.608[18]; 30. 53M-Miles Doherty, 00:16.666[33]; 31. 41-Parker Jones, 00:17.053; 32. 17-Nick Kilian, 00:20.909[36]; 33. 4W-Devin Winterstein, 00:21.682[35]; 34. 68-Eric Blumer, 00:22.000[34]; 35. 31-Shay Sassano, 00:22.000[11]; 36. 45-Trey Weishoff, 00:22.000[24]; 37. (DNF) 11N-Nick Baran, 00:15.640[1]

Madison Extinguisher Service Non-Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 53M-Miles Doherty[5]; 2. 31-Shay Sassano[2]; 3. 41-Parker Jones[6]; 4. 17-Nick Kilian[7]; 5. 4W-Devin Winterstein[8]; 6. 40JR-Dave Collins Jr[1]; 7. 45-Trey Weishoff[3]; 8. 1W-Robby Wirth[4]; 9. 68-Eric Blumer[9]