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by: Chris Stepan

The WISSOTA Promoter’s Association decided to try something new in 1999. They decided to start up a traveling series for it’s premier division, the Late Models. A 12 race schedule was set with the minimum winner’s share of each event paying $2,000 and the series point champion pocketing an extra $5,000 for his efforts.

Pat Doar padded his pocket as he claimed the title of the 1999 Late Model Challenge Series Champion. On his way to the title, Doar outgunned 105 of WISSOTA’s best Late Model drivers in 9 events at 7 different facilities. Doar picked up 2 wins as well as a second and a third place finish en route to winning the championship.Duane Mahder earned runner-up honors and Joel Cryderman finished third in the overall point standings.

The first event was set at the Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, WI for it’s annual WISSOTA 50. Rookie driver, Mike Goodremote broke into the Late Model racing world with a bang as he picked up the very impressive victory over the field of 44+ Lates. Mike took the lead at the drop of the green and dominated the event to pick up his first career Late Model win.

Race # 2 on the schedule was to be the only time that the Lates would race at the Rice Lake Speedway in Rice Lake, WI in 1999 and Joel Cryderman outran Steve Laursen to pick up his first Challenge Series win of ‘99. Cryderman, Mitch Johnson and Laursen put on a great show up front as Cryderman was able to literally drive with his entire left side on the infield and sneak by Johnson into the lead and hold off a hard charging Laursen for the win.

The Shawano Speedway in Shawano, WI hosted the third event of the series with 43 Lates in attendance for the highest paying WISSOTA Late Model race ever at the facility. Rick Egersdorf charged from his tenth starting spot to edge by leader Tony Bahr for the lead with only two laps remaining and hold on to pick up the win. Egersdorf, Bahr, Lance Matthees, Mike Chamernick and Duane Mahder made up the top five.

The next event on the schedule was to be held at the Deer Creek Speedway,but mother nature thought otherwise and after lingering rains throughout the afternoon, the show was washed out.

The Viking Speedway in Alexandria, MN brought in the WISSOTA boys for the next series race and Dave Zimmerman showed the way to the checkered flag after leading 28 of the scheduled 30 lap event. Zimmerman was shot out of a cannon as he dominated the show outrunning Steve Laursen, Rick Egersdorf, Duwayne Clarke and Don Shaw for the win.

The Shawano Speedway hosted it’s second Challenge Series event, dubbed the Showdown at Sundown, but after the heats were completed the rains hit, washing out the rest of the program. The “rocket” Ron Berna and Pat Doar were poised to take the green from the front row when the show was canceled due to the weather.

The all new Chippewa River Speedway in Jim Falls, WI saw Pat Doar break into the win column in the Challenge Series. After starting in the second row and running behind leader, Todd Blaeser for the first seven circuits, Doar made the pass for the lead and went on to win the event unchallenged. Following Doar to the stripe were Tony Bahr, Blaeser, Lance Matthees and Mike Goodremote.

The Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo, MN saw Pat Doar become the first and only multiple winner on the tour. Doar started in row two and after fading slightly at the start of the race, he shot to the cushion and bolted to the front for his second Challenge Series win of the season. Jeff Wildung chased Doar to the checkers. With the win, Doar vaulted into the point lead in the series.

The ABC Raceway in Ashland, WI was all set to host the next series race as a part of the annual Chuck Anderson Memorial Race, but with a pit full of cars, the monsoon hit and the show was canceled.

The Tri-Oval Raceway in Fountain City, WI was next on the list of stops for the tour, but a low car count, as well as crowd and with rain in the area, the show was canceled as well.

The Viking Speedway hosted it’s second series event of the season which saw Jeff Wildung fly from the fourth row and over take early leader Jerry Legatt to win the event. Chasing Wildung to the stripe were Dave Zimmerman, Pat Doar, Legatt and Scott Atkinson.

The final event of the series was at the Monster Hall Raceway in Unity, WI. Kerry Hansen shot into the lead from his front row starting spot and outran Pat Doar for the win. Doar was able to slip by Eric Pember into second, but was unable to mount a serious challenge on Hansen for the win.

By virtue of his second place finish, Doar locked up the points championship and the $5,000 paycheck that went with it.

In a “chat with the champ” this past week, Doar expressed his feelings on being crowned as the inaugural Challenge Series Champion. After being asked why he decided to follow the series in the first place he said “The payoff was good if you ran well and this was something that the drivers have wanted for years”. He also said that the series was “a better chance to make some good money during the week”. Doar also expressed that his main reasons for following the series were that “the money was good, the competition was very tough and it was a great opportunity for getting my sponsors, Champs Sports Bar & Grill, Johnson Motor Sales, Mystik Motor Oil, MasterSbilt Race Cars, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, David Alwin’s Northside Service Inc. and Tri-Star Engine Supply some good exposure, especially at several tracks that I had not attended before”.

After the second race on the tour, Doar was sitting 12th in the point standings, following a problem-filled race at Rice Lake. Doar said that “I never thought I would be able to win the points after being so far down, but some unfortunate wrecks and problems for other top contenders moved me up and I got lucky and won a couple shows”. I also asked him if after winning his second consecutive Challenge Series race and taking over the point lead at the Fiesta City Speedway, if his focus on the series changed at all. He told me that “yes, my focus changed because when you are in the lead in a series like that you need to try to protect your lead. In the last two races, I was jut trying to make sure that I didn’t break and had good runs and not give up any points”.

Doar expressed that his favorite track and race on the tour was “Fiesta City because my car worked flawlessly and that it is not everyday that you hit the setup just right”.

When I asked him if he had any suggestions for the ‘00 series, he said that he doesn’t think too many things need to be changes except for “a schedule needs to be set from the beginning and there needs to be NO rain outs”! My final question to the series champ was if he would be back to defend his title in the year 2000 and without hesitation he answered “yes”.

The inaugural Challenge Series brought WISSOTA’s best together to compete for big money all across WISSOTA country and should only see bigger and better things as the next season approaches.


1- 11 Pat Doar 375

2- 55 Duane Mahder 339

3- 51 Joel Cryderman 325

4- 90 Lance Matthees 320

5- 42 Don Shaw 316

6- 19 Steve Laursen 307

7- QQ Tony Bahr 258

8- 3E Steve Egersdorf 233

9- OO Mitch Johnson 215

10- 12 Mike Goodremote 197