Waelti Over Taylor in Angell Park, Dahlke Memorial Thriller

Brandon Waelti Anna Wendt Photo

By Bill Blumer Jr.

Just imagine a little kid in the stands playing with their race cars during the races at Angell Park Speedway. They announce the race quietly, but aloud to themselves, as they maneuver the cars on the bench. Their concentration is as intense as that of the drivers on the real track. The child always makes the race exciting. There’s usually a dramatic finish and one of their heros always wins. So it was, as last year’s Dahlke Memorial winner, Brandon Waelti and defending Advanced Fastening Supply Badger Midget Auto Racing Association Champion, Adam Taylor battled to the line in the second annual Dahlke Memorial.


Three divisions were on had for opening night at Angell Park Speedway. Along with Badger, were the Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprint Cars and the Midwest Legends Dirt Series presented by Legends Direct. In all, there were 90 cars in the pits, with Badger accounting for 30. It was “Chamber of Commerce” weather to start the day and a large crowd was on hand.

The program for Badger was altered a bit. Things were substantially on time, but based on the car count (and unexpected impending rain later) it was decided to forgo the Madison Extinguisher Service Last Chance Qualifier and the VMS Rod Ends Heat 4 to help the program along.

In qualifying, there were four groups and each produced a driver in the top four in time trials. Adam Taylor led the way with a 15.096, about .1 faster than Kyle Stark, to take FIVEone Motorsports Fast Time.

Erin Yeargin and the army of assembled push trucks reworked the track for the lone time prior to the heats. While they no doubt would have liked to do a bit of maintenance later in the program, there just wasn’t time. Nonetheless, the track held two to three grooves all night.

in Auto Meter Heat 1, Charles Rufi knocked off the rust and took to the lead as he ran his first race of 2024. That only lasted a lap, as another first-time starter in 2024, Jake Dohner, in a second car from the Waelti stable, went to the point. As the race progressed, Todd Kluever came into the picture and took the race easily, gaining seven spots.

The second heat, sponsored by Simpson Race Products, saw Cody Weisensel out front early, running a high groove, while Kyle Stark was nearly cutting his own line a car-width higher. That was a bridge too far though and Stark lost ground while Weisensel took off. A great battle was had for the transfer spot with Matt Rechek getting by Harrison Kleven on the white flag lap, right at the Bank of Sun Prairie/Angell Park Speedway sign, for 5th.

Behling Racing Equipment Heat 3 went green with Eric Blumer in the lead briefly, only to be overtaken by Daniel Robinson before they completed a lap. Robinson’s RAB car got upset when he hit a rut in turn-4, allowing Derek Doerr, a regular in the pavement pounding, Midwest Truck Series, to take the lead and win, by a landslide.

Veteran Aaron Fiscus jumped to the lead in the High Performance Lubricants B-Main as Taylor, who had mechanical issues in his heat, went high from his 7th starting spot. Taylor continued to work the high line en route to the semi win, with Fiscus finishing second. Jordan Nelson who’d been battling gremlins was 3rd, while Jake Goeglein on his maiden voyage for 2024, took advantage of a late spin by Trey Weishoff to claim the last starting spot in the Dahlke Memorial.


It was a tricky track, but not an impossible one by any means for the feature race. Dust flew, but there were three grooves. There were ruts and cars got jolted around, sometimes violently, yet the skill and discretion of Badger’s drivers shined through.

When the A-Main sponsored by Lyco Manufacturing Inc. started, Taylor had his work cut out for him. Winning the Semi, only got him to 16th starting spot out of the 24 car field. Hometown drivers, Waelti and Kluever pushed off 3rd and 5th respectively. For Taylor, especially when he comes to Sun Prairie, may as well wear a black cowboy hat into town. “They’re the local heroes. We’re coming out of Indiana. I’m the bad guy, the rival.” And the stage was set.

Coming to the green for the 25 lap event, Brian Peterson, 3rd in points at the time, took off from the pole, running the bottom. Doerr, starting 4th, flew to the top and took to the lead. Cars were two and three wide, from the opening laps, throughout the field.

Seven laps in they were three-wide in a battle for third with Taylor already in the mix, between Stark and Weisensel. Doerr and Waelti were pacing the field ahead of the trio.

Shortly thereafter, the red came out as Brian Peterson was caught between one of the pesky ruts and another car coming out of turn-four. With little room for error on either side of him, Peterson caught one, the other, or both, and went for a tumble. The worst of it came when he tagged the top edge of the concrete wall with the cage of his car. He popped out of the midget to the relief of the fans, but the 45 degree bend in his cage told the story.

On the restart it was Waelti, Stark and Taylor. Waelti got an advantage on the other two as Stark and Taylor battled. On the tenth circuit, Taylor took the lead for the first time over Waelti.

With 13 to go, Taylor had Waelti by four lengths everywhere but turn-two. Taylor was consistently high while Wealti would go high in three and four, but low in one and two. Here, Waetli was even with Taylor, but then Taylor rocketed down the backstretch. This went on for several entertaining laps, with the majority of the crowd cheering loudly at every gain by the hometown driver. With ten to go, Wealti took the lead at the line and the cheers grew louder.

Just when it looked like Waelti might have the race in the bag, a yellow came out with three laps to go.

Wealti, Taylor, Kluever, Stark and Weisensel brought the field down for the final laps. As they took the green, Waelti had the advantage and then Kluever snuck under Taylor in the second corner for the runner-up spot. Those two drag raced down the backstretch until Kluever got under Taylor in three, then next to Wealti in four. Kluever had the lead for several feet. As the two friends exited the corner, they banged wheels at least twice. Taylor capitalized and snuck under them both and had two lengths on Waelti as they started lap-24.

Taylor had the advantage on the high line, Waelti, leading Kluever, went low in the first corner. Taylor nipped Waelti with one to go at the line. Taylor then tried to take Waelti’s line away in turn-one, as they circumvented the last lap. But, Taylor missed his mark and washed up to the middle of the track, allowing Waelti to get even in two and take a slight lead coming out of the turn. Taylor wasn’t giving up and he powered around the high groove in the last two corners. This time, it was Waelti trying to take the line as he went high. Waelti left just enough room between himself and the wall, that Taylor snuck in. They banged wheels at the point they were getting there cars straight. They were both squirrely, but Waelti got straightened first and bolted to the checkers about a length ahead of Taylor.

The cheers were only matched by last year’s event which Waelti also won.
In Bank of Sun Prairie Victory Lane, Waelti noted how special the race was to him, as he and BJ Dahlke, one of the namesakes of the memorial race, were close friends. He thanked his crew and turned to his car to thank his sponsors listed on it.

“This race is very special to me and to win it again is amazing. Had a heck of a battle with Adam Taylor and Todd Kluever. Coming to the last lap we didn’t know which way it was going to go,” noted Waelti.

After the Waelti crew, Taylor was the next to greet the winner. With a big grin on his face, Taylor shook hands and congratulated Waelti. Taylor had this to say regarding those last couple of laps, “We missed the set up a bit. I was a little tight. I knew Bandon would be there the whole time. I wasn’t expecting Kluever. They got together and I shot to the bottom, but I overshot the turn.”

Kluever, who credits BJ Dahlke with encouraging him to campaign a midget noted, “I’m happy that Brandon was able to win. That race obviously means a lot to both of us. The last restart I kind of knew my only chance was to go where they weren’t. I thought I had something figured out a bit that they didn’t expect in three and four and that was my best chance. Almost made it work. Brandon and I made some contact. Anybody but him and maybe the story would be different but I wasn’t gonna take the chance to wreck him or both of us. It was a great day and a great event.”

A great day and a great event indeed. With over $12,000 raised in extra purse money and every feature driver in Badger getting at least $200 extra, the Dahlke Memorial was a perfect way to honor BJ and his young daughter Addison for which the race is held. One had to wonder if maybe “Addy” was doing a little bench racing this night.


Addison Dahlke Last Place Bonus: Jake Goeglein

Bob Tattersal Hard Charger: Adam Taylor

Spankins Motorsports Rookie of the Race: Luke Wackerlin

Schoenfeld Headers: Kyle Stark

Hammers Auto Service Shop Inc/Midwest Engine Service Inc. Hard Luck Award:


The Badger Midget Series is off Memorial Day weekend, but will be back in action Sunday, June 2 at Angell Park Speedway for the Fanactive Three in One Show, with the Badger Midgets, WingLESS Sprint Cars and MSA Sprint Cars.

Advanced Fastening Supply A – Feature (25 Laps): 1. 3W-Brandon Waelti[3]; 2. 5X-Adam Taylor[16]; 3. 55-Todd Kluever[5]; 4. 2-Kyle Stark[6]; 5. 20-Cody Weisensel[7]; 6. 57A-Daniel Robinson[8]; 7. 38-Matt Rechek[9]; 8. 3-Jake Dohner[14]; 9. 67U-Mike Unger[20]; 10. 40JR-Dave Collins Jr[21]; 11. 29-Harrison Kleven[19]; 12. 56-Charles Rufi[13]; 13. 15C-RJ Corson[2]; 14. 7F-Aaron Fiscus[17]; 15. 17-Nick Kilian[15]; 16. (DNF) 98-Jordan Nelson[18]; 17. (DNF) 68-Eric Blumer[11]; 18. (DNF) 24M-Aaron Muhle[12]; 19. (DNF) 44-Lamont Critchett[10]; 20. (DNF) 20D-Derek Doerr[4]; 21. (DNF) 7-Brian Peterson[1]; 22. (DNF) 8-Jake Goeglein[22]

High Performance Lubricants B – Feature (12 Laps): 1. 5X-Adam Taylor[9]; 2. 7F-Aaron Fiscus[1]; 3. 98-Jordan Nelson[3]; 4. 29-Harrison Kleven[2]; 5. 67U-Mike Unger[4]; 6. 40JR-Dave Collins Jr[6]; 7. 8-Jake Goeglein[12]; 8. 45-Trey Weishoff[5]; 9. 59-Kyle Koch[8]; 10. 73W-Luke Wackerlin[7]; 11. (DNS) 31-Nathan Crane; 12. (DNS) 6B-Mitchell Davis; 13. (DNS) 5K-Kevin Douglas; 14. (DNS) 41-Parker Jones; 15. (DNS) 57-Jake Neuman

Auto Meter Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 55-Todd Kluever[8]; 2. 3-Jake Dohner[1]; 3. 15C-RJ Corson[7]; 4. 56-Charles Rufi[2]; 5. 44-Lamont Critchett[5]; 6. 7F-Aaron Fiscus[3]; 7. 67U-Mike Unger[9]; 8. 73W-Luke Wackerlin[6]; 9. (DNS) 6B-Mitchell Davis; 10. (DNS) 57-Jake Neuman

Madison Extinguisher Service Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 20-Cody Weisensel[6]; 2. 24M-Aaron Muhle[4]; 3. 3W-Brandon Waelti[7]; 4. 2-Kyle Stark[8]; 5. 38-Matt Rechek[5]; 6. 29-Harrison Kleven[2]; 7. 45-Trey Weishoff[3]; 8. 59-Kyle Koch[1]; 9. (DNS) 5K-Kevin Douglas; 10. (DNS) 41-Parker Jones

Behlings Race Products Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 20D-Derek Doerr[7]; 2. 57A-Daniel Robinson[5]; 3. 7-Brian Peterson[6]; 4. 68-Eric Blumer[4]; 5. 17-Nick Kilian[9]; 6. 98-Jordan Nelson[2]; 7. 40JR-Dave Collins Jr[10]; 8. (DNF) 5X-Adam Taylor[8]; 9. (DNF) 8-Jake Goeglein[1]; 10. (DNS) 31-Nathan Crane