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(Norway, MI) – When the green flag flies for Norway Speedway’s  35th annual Stateline Challenge presented by Island Resort & Casino & Aurora Liquors July 6 a handful of late model drivers will look to repeat as a Stateline Challenge winner.


Last season NASCAR truck champion Johnny Sauter raced to fast time, but burned up his tires in the feature event. Sauter will return once again to throw down with Michigan and Wisconsin’s best at Norway.


Defending race champion Dalton Zehr of Menominee, Michigan, although he doesn’t race at Norway’s third-mile paved oval weekly, has a very high winning percentage at the track. He’s captured a pair of Stateline titles, also winning in ’15. “To win one again would take a little bit of patience and a really fast race car,” Zehr said.


Vulcan, Michigan’s Kris Kelly won the Stateline in 2016. To date he’s the only second generation driver to win the prestigious event as his Dad Mike Kelly captured the Stateline in 1984. “To win the Stateline you really have to conserve your tires in the first half of the race to have a prayer left in the last 15 to 20 laps,” Kelly said. “We’ve had to completely rebuild our rear end in that car and I also had to get knee surgery since our last race at Norway. We’re hoping to be back at 110 percent and hopefully can get our second Stateline win at Norway.”


Escanaba, Michigan’s Robby Iverson has yet to win a Stateline Challenge. However his Dad Jamie Iverson has won five Stateline titles – more than any other driver. “It comes down to good preparation when trying to win this race,” Iverson explained. “You’ve got to have a good handling car that lasts the whole race and you’ve got to stay out of trouble. A little bit of luck never hurts either.”


On the Wisconsin side of things three time track champion Dillion Kralovetz of Bonduel is the only active Wisconsin driver who’s already won a Stateline. Kralovetz’s victory came in ’13. “The car has to stay consistent throughout the race and not tighten up on you,” Kralovetz pointed out. “You also can’t burn up your tires and must have some luck, especially with lane choices and getting through traffic.”


Other locals looking to defend their home turf from the Michigan side include Bark River drivers Tom Lindquist and Jordan Ives, Marquette’s Mike D’Angelo Jr. and Scott Bolster, Vulcan drivers Dan Lindsley and Dean Varda, Norway’s Cameron Clifford and Joey Pontbriand, Menominee’s Scott Hoffman, Kingsford’s Scott and Brian Stanchina, Jason Wells, Mark Miller (subbing for the injured John Ostermann) and Ricky Holmstrom.


On the Wisconsin side of the border other “Cheeseheads” who plan to compete include Wisconsin International Raceway champion Andy Monday of Appleton, Spread Eagle’s Bruce White, Eldorado’s Tyler Radavich, De Pere’s Neal Sannes, Green Bay’s Alyssa Larson and Jordan Chambers and Omro’s Brady Baldry. A field of nearly 30 Coca Cola late models is expected.


Base Companies LLC of Green Bay is throwing a $300 cash bonus to the super late model driver who earns fast time while Richard’s of Dunbar is sponsoring a $200 cash award to the super late model weekly racing team that travels the furthest to compete in the Stateline Challenge. Many other local businesses and individuals have stepped up to boost the winner’s pay to $1,700.


Many former winners of this prestigious event will be honored during a ceremony at intermission. During that evening the track will honor a former Norway Speedway champion – Kent Pearson – who passed away two years ago.


The pit gates open at 3 p.m. Qualifying begins at 5:45 p.m. and racing gets underway at 7 p.m.  Auto Value super stocks, 141 Auto sportsman, 4 cylinders and sport trucks will also be in action that evening. A raindate of Saturday, July 7 is in place if needed.


Please check our website norwayspeedway.com and also our page on Facebook for further information or email ostermannjohn@hotmail.com.


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