Oshkosh, WI, May 4, 2012: Just 24 hours prior to the first green flag of the 2012 season. Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway and the surrounding area received over 5 inches of rain putting opening night in doubt. But thanks to a skilled track prep crew the season got underway as scheduled with racing starting promptly at 7:00pm.
123 cars checked into the pit area lead by 39 Automotive Supply Company Modifieds. The Leon's Frozen Custard IMCA Northern Sport Modifieds had 25 participants as did the Miller Lite Grand Nationals. 17 drivers checked into the pit area in the Total Power Sales Street Stocks and the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils.
Victory lane would be dominated by part-time and visiting drivers. Mike Mullen who captured the Automotive Supply Company Modified main event indicated his trip to Oshkosh Speedzone was one of only a few planned stops this season. In the Miller Lite Grand Nationals it was substitute driver Kenny Richards filling in for Troy Weich taking the win in one of only a few planned races this year as he concentrates on his business. Kurt Moeller the victor in the Leon's Frozen Custard IMCA Northern Sport Modified indicated he would be spending his time traveling to different tracks this season but expects to make several appearances at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway.
Brandon Reidner a regular at Beaver Dam raceway also indicated he would only be making limited appearances this season but he made the most of this evening taking top honors in the Total Power Sales Street Stocks. Lastly Rick Fairbank the winner in the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils indicated he would be spending time with family this summer racing only on occasion.
What this means is, by the end of next week it is very likely we will have five new feature winners as well as new point leaders.
The Oshkosh Speedzone, fast becoming known as "Wisconsin's Modified Action Track" with tough competition and high car counts in the headlining division would not disappoint fans as a star studded filled with area track champions would see action this evening.
When the main event rolled onto the track fans would see but a single slowdown in the contest which occurred before the first lap was complete. Once the green flag flew again the event went from green to checkered. Polesitter Mike Wedelstadt was immediately challenged by defending track champion Brian Drexler who opted for the outside line to challenge for the lead on the opening lap. Meanwhile Mike Mullen would make it a three way battle for the top spot electing to hug the inside line around the raceway.
On the third lap Mike Mullen switched to a higher groove and got a good run off turn four to sweep past Wedelstadt for the top spot. Mitch McGrath was also moving forward as he quickly worked past Drexler and then drove past Wedelstadt for second on lap six.
Mike Mullen however was turning blistering laps opening up his lead on McGrath to a full straight away by the halfway mark of the contest. Wedelstadt meanwhile had plenty of company challenging for the third position as former track champions Drexler, Jeremy Christians and Seymour Speedway title holder Brian Mullen were vying for the spot.
Mike Mullen continued to click off flawless laps and McGrath was the only driver able to keep pace a dozen car lengths behind. Over the final laps Christians was able to work into the third slot but neither he nor McGrath were able to close the gap on Mullen who scored the victory by a dozen car lengths. McGrath would settle for second followed by Christians, Mullen and Drexler who comprised the top five runners.
The Miller Lite Grand Nationals started a bit unsettled with two cautions in the first four laps. Kenny Richards who was appearing this evening as a substitute driver for Troy Weich would hold the lead through both caution periods. The first yellow came out for Larry Richards who came to a stop with a broken driveshaft in turn four on the second lap. A second caution appeared on lap four when Tom Schneider spun.
Underway again Richards found himself under pressure from Brian Henry and John Schultz III while Jim Rhode and Tim Doehling gave chase in the top five.
Rhode would work the low groove and after brief contact with Henry he would surge into the second position. Kenny Richards meanwhile would keep himself just ahead of the fray.
Further back in the pack last season's point runner-up Tim Warner was making progress reaching the top five by lap six. Warner would surpass Doehling on the next lap to reach fourth.
By the halfway point Richards was reaching lapped traffic with only a slim cushion on Rhode who continued to hound Richards for the lead.
A final caution would appear on lap 13, bunching the field for a final time. With 16 cars remaining on the racing surface Richards again set the pace with Rhode in second as Warner worked to the inside of Henry to take over the third slot.
With two laps to go Rhode attempted to use the outside line to try and pass Richards, but he was unable to advance. This opened the door for Warner to sneak past into the second spot as the white flag flew. As the group encountered a lapped car on the final lap Richards expertly worked by the back marker to grab the win. Warner and Rhode would find themselves in a drag race for second coming off the final turn with Warner earning the spot by inches. Rhode would settle for third with Henry and defending division champion T.J. Smith completing the top five.
The Leon's Frozen Custard IMCA Northern Sport Modifieds had a shaky start polesitter Todd Weise suffering a flat tire and dropping from the lead at the first turn. Moments later Jon Schultz almost spun while running in the top three. The caution did finally appear when Tracy Wassenberg rolled to a stop on the backstretch.
As racing resumed Cody Hudson would find himself in the lead with Joey Taycher and Kurt Moeller giving chase. Hudson opted to use the high line while Taycher worked the bottom, they pair ran wheel to wheel for the next several laps swapping the lead back and forth. While Moeller fought to hold onto third fending off the challenges of Ryan Besaw.
Besaw working the lower groove would make his way past both Moeller and Taycher to advance to second. Besaw continued his charge and soon found himself wheel to wheel with Hudson for the lead.
Taycher who was still running in the top five suddenly dropped from the contest with a broken suspension component turning third back over to Moeller.
Meanwhile deep in the field Wassenberg was putting on a passing exhibition having sliced his was back from 20th up into the top six by lap 13 when the caution appeared for a stalled car in turn two.
On the restart the cars of Jordan Tuyls and Derek Schnetzer got together brining out the next caution. With the event now nearing it's time limit the green flag would wave again.
Hudson again set the pace with Moeller, Besaw and Wassenberg doing battle for the runner-up slot. Heading into turn three on lap 14, Hudson lost control if his ride spinning to the bottom of the track. This turned the lead over to Moeller who had just slipped past Besaw for the top spot.
The caution would then appear ending the event due to the time limit and Moeller found himself headed to victory lane. Besaw was awarded second followed by Wassenberg, Jon Schultz and Ron Besaw.
Kyle and Brandon Reidner would make it a family feud for the top spot as they would square off for the lead at the start of the Total Power Sales Street Stock contest. Dan Knaus would run in the third slot behind the lead pair.
Yellow would appear for debris on the track on lap four forcing the first slowdown of the contest. When racing resumed Dan Knaus would slip under Kyle Reidner to take second when Kyle would suffer a flat tire and head to the pits.
Brandon Reidner would have the speed to stay two car lengths ahead of Dan Knaus as the race reached the halfway point. Frank Knaus would find himself holding down the third spot. The lead trio of cars were all running the same speed, each separated by less than a car length.
With no mistakes being made among the leaders and no cautions to bunch the field Brandon Reidner would go on to score his first career feature win at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway be a couple car lengths over Dan Knaus. Frank Knaus would settle for third ahead of Jeff Wicinsky and Richard Garb.
The Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devil feature contest would complete the evenings program. Cory Wegner and Rick Fairbank would toss the lead back and forth during the opening laps with Jason Fairbank holding down the third slot.
Wegner would reach the lead working the high line around Rick Fairbank on lap four with Kasey Gross working into the third position.
Rick Fairbank would rally to reclaim the top spot at Wegner's expense on lap ten. Over the final laps Rick Fairbank was able to keep Wegner at bay and collect the victory. Wegner would settle for second followed by Matt Brehmer, Gross and Wes Lugwitz.
Racing action continues next week on Friday Night, May 11th as B-104 and Total Power Sales present Scout Night at the races. In addition to a full racing program featuring well over 100 cars in the five divisions, all scouts in uniform will be admitted free to the races.
Racing action will begin at the new 7:00pm start time. The Automotive Supply Company Modifieds, Leon's Frozen Custard IMCA Northern Sport Modifieds, Miller Lite Grand Nationals, Total Power Sales Street Stocks and Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils will continue their season long point battle.
Adult admission tickets are just $10, students ages 11 through 15 are admitted for just $5 and children 10 and under are free to attend the races.
Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway is a 1/3 mile semi-banked clay oval located at the Sunnyview Expo Center which resides near the intersection of Highways 76 and County Trunk Y in Oshkosh. Weekly racing Friday Night racing continues until September. Fans and drivers are encouraged to visit the track website at www.oshkoshspeedzone.net for additional information on upcoming racing events.
AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLY COMPANY MODIFIEDS:
Feature (Top 15): 1.) Mike Mullen; 2.) Mitch McGrath; 3.) Jeremy Christians; 4.) Brian Mullen; 5.) Brian Drexler; 6.) Mike Wedelstadt; 7.) Eddie Muenster; 8.) Mike Mueller; 9.) Mike Klenz; 10.) Ryan Besaw; 11.) Jamie Schmidt; 12.) Joel Crowbridge; 13.) Kyle Fredrick; 14.) Eddie Lemay Jr.; 15.) Travis Spaulding
First Consolation: 1.) Fredrick; 2.) Lemay Jr. 3.) Schmidt; 4.) Crowbridge; 5.) Matt Rechek
Second Consolation: 1.) Jeremie Hedrick; 2.) Besaw; 3.) Tony Wedelstadt; 4.) Spaulding; 5.) Scott Mullen
First Heat: 1.) Muenster; 2.) Tim Lemirande; 3.) Christians
Second Heat: 1.) M. Wedelstadt; 2.) Drexler; 3.) Johnny Whitmann
Third Heat: 1.) B. Mullen; 2.) McGrath; 3.) Justin Ritchie
Fourth Heat: 1.) M. Mullen; 2.) Mueller; 3.) David Hoerning
MILLER LITE GRAND NATIONALS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Kenny Richards; 2.) Tim Warner; 3.) Jim Rhode; 4.) Brian Henry;
5.) T.J. Smith; 6.) Tim Doehling; 7.) John Schultz III; 8.) Brian Gilles; 9.) Terry Van Roy; 10.) Tim Simon
First Heat: 1.) Will Schumacher; 2.) Schultz III; 3.) Nick Schumacher
Second Heat: 1.) Smith; 2.) Tom Schneider; 3.) Rhode
Third Heat: 1.) Warner; 2.) Doehling; 3.) Richards
LEON'S FROZN CUSTARD IMCA NORTHERN SPORT MODIFIEDS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Kurt Moeller; 2.) Ryan Besaw; 3.) Tracy Wassenberg; 4.) Jon Schultz; 5.) Ron Besaw; 6.) Nick Fuhrmann; 7.) Colten Vanheirden; 8.) Kevin Bethke; 9.) Dion Wahl; 10.) Troy Jerovetz
Consolation: 1.) Dion Wahl; 2.) Todd Ewald; 3.) Cole Fenske; 4.) Jordan Tuyls; 5.) Derek Schnetzer; 6.) Marcus Cox
First Heat: 1.) Todd Weise; 2.) Moeller; 3.) Cody Hudson
Second Heat: 1.) Fuhrmann; 2.) Bethke; 3.) Joey Taycher
Third Heat: 1.) Jerovetz; 2.) Wassenberg; 3.) Ry. Besaw
TOAL POWER SALES STREET STOCKS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Brandon Reidner; 2.) Dan Knaus; 3.) Frank Knaus; 4.) Jeff Wicinsky 5.) Richard Garb; 6.) Jeff Jungwirth; 7.) Mike Nehmer; 8.) Jerry Winkler; 9.) Jon Ashcraft; 10.) Patty Winkler
First Heat: 1.) Kyle Reidner; 2.) B. Reidner; 3.) Mark Schultz
Second Heat: 1.) Nehmer; 2.) Jungwirth; 3.) Wicinsky
LYNN'S SERVICE CENTER DIRT DEVILS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Rick Fairbank 2.) Cory Wegner; 3.) Matt Brehmer; 4.) Kasey Gross; 5.) Wes Lugwitz 6.) Mike Montie; 7.) Jason Fairbank; 8.) Erik Kollmann
First Heat: 1.) Montie; 2.) Kollmann; 3.) Ben Meyerhoffer
Second Heat: 1.) R. Fairbank; 2.) Wegner; 3.) Brehmer
This article was posted to the website on May 5th, 2012