Tim Simon Captures Career First Grand National Feature Win
By Jeffrey Sachse
Friday, May 13, 2011 - Oshkosh, WI. - The Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway presented its second weekly race program of the 2011 racing season, besting some challenging weather conditions. With some hard work by track officials the past couple days the Scout Night racing program was presented to a dedicated group of fans and drivers. 94 cars checked into the pit area for the event.
In the Automotive Supply Company Modifieds, it would be Brian Drexler making his way to victory lane. Last week Drexler would lose the lead to Mitch McGrath and settle for runner-up honors, but this week the tables were turned as it was Drexler who would make a mid-race pass on Chris Engels and then hung the bottom line of the third-mile clay oval to score his first victory of the young 2011 season.
The Miller Lite Grand Nationals were lower in number than usual but the field put on an exciting main event as Tim Simon kept T.J. Smith and Tim Warner in tire tracks grabbing his first career feature win with a flawless drive.
In its first season the Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modified division saw its largest turnout with sixteen cars checking into the pits. The race was spiced by numerous cautions and a red flag for a rollover by last week's feature winner Zeke Bisofberger. When the dust settled with was Kevin Bethke surviving for his first career feature win in the time shortened contest.
In the Total Power Sales Street Stocks it was veteran racer Jerry Winkler making a late race charge to place himself in victory lane for his first feature win of 2011, and the evening concluded with Jason Fairbanks making a pass of his cousin Rick Fairbanks just before the white flag to gab the win.
Twenty one cars presented for the start of the Automotive Supply Company Modified feature contest with Chris Engels, Eddie Muenster and Mike Klenz all challenging for the top spot at the drop of the green flag. Engels hugging the low groove would assume the lead, while Drexler also working the bottom line quickly surged forward squirting into the second spot at the expense of Klenz on the third trip around the third-mile clay oval.
Action was halted on lap seven with a twin spin by Nick Holture and John Schultz. When the green flag flew again Engels was back to setting the pace as Drexler closed in on his rear bumper to challenge for the lead. Klenz continued in the third positions while the field fought for real estate behind the lead trio. A second quick caution would appear on lap 12.
This setup the most intense restart of the evening, as the green flag flew cars spread out three and four wide in effort to advance to the front. Drexler managed to nose under Engels heading to turn one and would steal the lead. To the outside Brian Mullen had attempted to rim ride to the front running a high line. After almost pulling even with the leaders, he would fall back into the third position doing battle with Klenz for the spot.
The final caution of the night appeared on lap 17 when Mike Wedelstadt and Lance Arneson came together while doing battle for the fifth position, causing both to be sent to the tail of the field. Drexler found himself in command of the event for the three lap shoot-out getting some breathing room as Engels and Mullen ran side-by-side for the second spot. When the checkered flag fell Drexler found himself with a one car length advantage over Engels. Mullen would settle for third over a fast closing Travis Spaulding who earned fourth. Klenz completed the top five runners. Drexler now holds a 16 point advantage in the standings over veteran racer Jerry Muenster who finished seventh this evening. Muenster has competed in five decades of racing and the senior driver has had some impressive performances so far this season at the Oshkosh Speedzone.
The Miller Lite Grand National event fourteen cars took the initial green flag. Tim Simon would find himself out front early with T.J. Smith, Brian Henry and Tim Warner giving chase. Henry would attempt use the high line to advance but found little traction on the high side, instead losing several positions.
By lap six of the 20 lap contest Simon found Smith on his read bumper as the lead pair pulled away to a dozen car length lead. That lead was erased on the next lap as Dan Koch came to a halt in turn two.
With action resuming Simon again held fast to the low line and the lead, while Warner shot past Smith on the restart using the upper grove for second. Smith would rally working the low groove to retake the second spot at the halfway point using the low line to get under Warner down the backstretch.
In the remaining laps Simon stayed in the low groove cutting flawless laps and though Smith closed enroute to the checkered flag he was unable to find a miscue in Simon's run having to settle for second. Warner would hold onto third over a fast closing Tom Schneider. Terry Van Roy would complete the top five.
Warner now leads the standings by two points over Smith heading into the third night of racing next week.
The Total Power Sales Street Stock main event would prove to be almost error free with Jon Schultz out front early Adam Broehm and last week's feature winner Jeff Jungwirth in pursuit. At the halfway point Jerry Winkler moved in to challenge from his fourth spot running down the lead trio.
On the next lap Winkler worked around Jungwirth for the third spot while Broehm put the pressure on Schultz for the lead. On lap thirteen Schultz would wiggle coming off turn two allowing both Broehm and Winkler to squirt past. Broehm would pace one lap before Winker used the high line to take over the top spot. Once out front Winkler was able to maintain the pace of the contest taking the victory his first of the season in feature action. Broehm who won last week's Dirt Devil main event would settle for second in this week's Street Stock feature. Jungwirth, last week's Street Stock feature winner held onto third. Schultz finished fourth followed by Dan Knaus.
Winkler now sits atop the point standings by a single point over Jungwirth. Dan Knaus sits third, five markers back from the point lead.
The Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modified feature contest saw the largest turnout of the year, but the main event was unsettled from the start. Kevin Bethke would pull ahead of Ron Besaw at the initial start and being out front proved to be the best spot for the contest and many incidents occurred in the pack behind. A total of five cautions would fly and a single red flag when last week's feature winner Zeke Bisofberger did a slow spin coming off turn two collecting Kelsie Hayse. The resulting contact caused Bisofberger to roll onto his roof. Bishofberger would emerge from his car unhurt but was forced to retire for the evening.
Bethke would endure several more caution flags before time would expire on the contest and he would be declared the winner after twelve laps were completed in the event. Josh Long had quietly worked into the second position over J.J. Andersen. Hayse would rebound from an early tangle to claim fourth with Eric Mahlik completing the top five.
Bethke now finds himself atop the standings by two points over Bisofberger.
The Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils had only one slowdown for a three car tangle on lap one. The result would be a red flag to unhook the cars and check on MJ Brenner who was initially thought to have sustained and injury but was fortunately unhurt in the incident. When the green flag flew the remaining 19 laps would click by without further incident.
Jeremy Forbes would lead briefly before Rick Fairbanks took top spot on lap three. Jason Fairbanks would reach second on lap six and set out to chase down his cousin Rick. With each passing laps Rick's lead would shrink and Jason would reach Rick's rear bumper by lap sixteen. On the next lap Jason would find room on the bottom of the track and take over the top spot. At the finish Jason would have a one car length advantage for the win. Rick would settle for second with Dan Juszczyk, Forbes and Erik Kollmann completing the top five.
Jason Fairbanks now holds the point lead by a single point over Rick Fairbanks. Juszczyk is third in the standings just two points from the top spot.
The next event on the 2011 schedule is on Friday Night May 20th as B-104 presents Kid's Ride Along Night. The program will feature rides in the race cars for children.
Racing will take place in all five weekly divisions with Automotive Supply Company Modifieds, Miller Lite Grand Nationals, Total Power Sales Street Stocks, Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modifieds and Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils all taking to the track.
Gates open at 5:00pm, with racing action beginning at 6:30pm. Adult admission is just $10, with students tickets available to those between the ages 11 and 15 at just $5. Children 10 and under are admitted free with an adult.
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.
This article was posted to the website on May 14th, 2011