By Jeffrey Sachse
Friday, July 29, 2011 - Oshkosh, WI. - The final racing program of July took place at the Oshkosh Speedzone on Friday Night July 29th, as Knaus Cheese and Weyauwega Star Dairy presented the Leroy Dehn Memorial race. Over 100 cars turned out to participate in the program.
For the past three race programs Tim Lemirande has made victory lane his home having collected three heat wins and now two straight feature victories in the Automotive Supply Company Modifieds. In tonight's contest Lemirande had to deal with a late race restart and a hard charging Travis Spaulding to collect the win. Spaulding, seeking his first feature win of the 2011 season, applied heavy pressure to Lemirande in the closing laps but Lemirande remained flawless in his drive around the third-mile clay oval to collect the win.
In the Grand National Sportsman division, Tim Warner appeared to be headed to his first Miller Lite Grand National feature victory when Kenny Richards had mechanical issues and came to a halt with just two laps to go in the event. Under caution Warner's car began to leak fluid on the racing surface and when he headed to the pit area to effect repairs Tim Reichenberger inherited the lead. Reichenberger would hang on the final two laps and collect his second victory of the 2011 season, it was also his fifth straight top five feature finish.
Jerry Winkler found his way to the winner's circle in the Total Power Sales Street Stocks. The victory, his third of the year, placed him into a tie with Jon Schultz and Mike Nehmer for the most victories in the class this season.
Rod Solum was the evenings only first time winner this season making his way to the winner's circle. To do so he had to fend off division point leader Zeke Bishofberger to collect the checkered in the Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modifieds.
In the closest finish of the year, Cory Wegner made his way to victory lane in the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devil main event after coming out on top of a last lap duel with Dan Juszczyk. When the checkered flag fell the margin of victory reported by the electronic scoring .004 seconds. On track that margin translated into about three inches as Wegner won by literally by a bumper cover.
20 cars would accept the green flag in the Automotive Supply Company modified feature event. Fresh off his heat race win Tony Wedelstadt would set the early pace with Mike Mueller holding down the second position. Action behind the lead pair would bring fans to their feet as three and four wide racing was the norm for the next several circuits.
After starting mid-pack Tim Lemirande made several quick moves to surge forward, surpassing Mueller for second with a handful of laps in the books. Once in the runner-up slot Lemirande then set sail for Wedelstadt. Travis Spaulding was also slicing through the pack reaching the fourth spot behind Mueller on lap five.
Nate Schepp would spin in turn one on lap 6 bringing out the first caution of the contest. With the green flag back in the air, Wedelstadt was able to keep Lemirande behind him and maintain the pace of the contest. Spaulding joint the battle having reached the third position by the halfway point of the event.
Wedelstadt was able to fend off multiple passing attempt by Lemirande who had pulled alongside him on several occasions. Coming off turn two on lap 15, Lemirande worked to the inside of Wedelstadt and nosed ahead leading at the stripe with four laps to go. A spin on the next lap by David Hoerning slowed the field one last time and placed the pack on Lemirande's rear bumper for the dash to the checkered.
Lemirande got a great restart to separate himself from the pack. Wedelstat, however, falling back in the pack and allowing several cars to pass him. This elevated Spaulding to the second position.
Spaulding would close on Lemirande's rear bumper but was able to get no closer, and Lemirande took the checkered flag by less than a car length. Spaudling's second place finish was his third runner-up performance of the year. Mike Klenz made a late race charge to earn third. Consolation race winner Chris Engels had worked through the pack to take fourth and Jamie Schmidt who also transferred from the consolation event moved from the 19th spot to round out the top five. Brian Drexler, who finished 11th this evening, holds a 13 point lead over Lemirande in the point standings.
The Miller Lite Grand National feature race would only have a single caution to slow its pace. The event also marked the debut of Jeff Kendall, a Super Late Model champion from the Dells Raceway Park with multiple titles to his name. His start tonight would mark his dirt track racing debut. When the checkered flag would fall Kendall earned a sixth place finish after a solid showing.
When the green flag flew in the 20 lap feature contest Tom Schneider, who was celebrating his 19th birthday, would show the way with last week's second place feature finisher, Troy Weich, giving chase. Weich wasted little time in finding his way to the front slipping past Schneider on the second lap. Tim Reichenberger, who had started in the third row, was next to work past Schneider making the pass for second on lap three.
Tim Warner, who started deep in the field, cracked the top five on lap 7. Weich was able to maintain the lead of the event . For Weich, however, his time at the front came to an abrupt end on the next lap when he began to slow and pulled into the pit area turning the lead over to Reichenberger. At the same time Warner was able to slip past both Tom Schneider and Steve Schneider which move up into the second spot.
At the halfway point Warner had reached Reichenberger's rear bumper as the lead duo had pulled away from the rest of the pack. Kenny Richards, meanwhile, had been slicing through the field and had reached the third position.
Out front Reichenberger had his hand full with Warner who managed to find room on the low side of the track and come away with the lead on lap 14.
The race appeared to be headed for a green to checkered finish, however, mechanical issues encountered by third running Richards would cause him to come to a halt just off turn two on lap 16. As the cars realigned for the restart, fluid began to leak from Warner's leading machine and he had to leave the track to fix the problem. This would place Reichenberger back into the lead spot.
The green flag returned for the dash to the checkered and Reichenberger would prove to have the speed to claim the win. Tom Schneider would celebrate his birthday with a second place finish. John Schultz III, who had started the contest in the 17th position, had worked his way into third at the drop of the checkered. Steve Schneider and Larry Richards comprised the top five finishers. T.J. Smith, who finished 7th this evening, holds an eight point lead over Larry Richards in the title chase.
The 20 lap Total Power Sales Street Stock feature was interrupted by several cautions which kept the field tightly bunched throughout the event. Jeff Wicinsky would briefly set the pace through the first caution on lap two.
Underway again Frank Knaus would find room under Wicinsky and after a brief battle secured the top spot. Jerry Winkler, meanwhile, had used the outside line to move through the field to reach third. He then wasted little time in powering past Wicinsky and moments later Winker found himself in a position to battle for the lead.
Winkler switched to the low groove and was able to work alongside Knaus but Knaus was still in command when the yellow flag appeared on lap 5 when Wicinsky and Jon Schultz tangled while doing battle for the third spot.
With the green flag returning Knaus was back to the leading the way but Winkler applied the pressure. On lap 9 Winker used the high line to sweep past for the lead, a position he would hold for the duration of the contest scoring a convincing victory. Knaus would survive a last lap passing attempt by Mark Schultz to claim the runner-up spot. Schultz would settle for third. Point leader Jeff Jungwirth and Trevor Schmidt comprised the top five. Jungwirth holds a 15 point lead in the standings over Winkler with four points nights left for the Street Stocks.
The Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modifieds again had a solid showing for this evening's show. After a couple tries at getting action underway, Aaron Muhle would take the lead at the drop of the green flag only to be passed by Rod Solem before the conclusion of lap one. Deeper in the field Zeke Bishofberger got a great start slicing through the pack and moving into position to challenge Muhle for second. After a brief battle Bishofberger found himself in second with only Solem between himself and the lead.
A caution on lap four for a spin by Jon Mignon would slow the pace and when the race resumed Solem and Bishofberger would square off the for the lead. Don Johnson and Mike Lemiesz would tangle moments later drawing the next caution.
Solem again found himself fending off Bishofberger while Rob Charapata worked into the third position. Solem proved to have the pace to hold the lead and he began to open a small margin off Bishofberger.
Muhle, who had a good evening going running in the top five, had his luck come to an end when he had a mechanical failure and spun in turn one with ten laps in the books. Running the high line Solem was again able to keep Bishofberger from grabbing the lead as the pair continued to fight for supremacy. Their pace allowed both Solem and Bishofberger to pull away from the field. On the final lap Bishofberger closed and made an attempt to work under Solem for the top spot but the move came up short and Solem pulled away for the win by a car length. Bishofberger would settle for second with Tracy Wassenberg, Charapata and Kelsy Hayes completing the top five.
Bishofberger now holds a 32 point lead over Kevin Bethke for the division title.
The Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils feature would conclude the evening's show with M.J. Brenner setting the initial pace. A yellow flag on lap three bunched the field and on the restart Cory Wegner surged into the top spot.
A couple quick cautions slowed the pace on lap five before the furious battles resumed and, as usually is the case, the Dirt Devils fan out four and five wide on restarts. Wegner was back to showing the way with Jeremy Forbes in second. Dan Juszczyk who had pitted earlier for a flat tire had made his way back from the tail of the field to third by the halfway point of the event.
Wegner remained in control through the next several cautions flags with his chief rival for the lead being Juszczyk. With three laps to go the battle for third got physical as Wes Lungwitz and Tim Simon locked horns resulting the Lungwitz spinning on the backstretch. Both would resume the race from the tail of the field.
The sprint to the finish would prove to be hotly contested as Wegner ran a low line with Juszczyk choosing a higher groove. The pair ran wheel to wheel on the final lap and were dead even coming off turn four. In a photo finish, electronic scoring proved that Wegner had reached the finish line first by the slimmest margin of the 2011 season. Juszczyk was awarded second followed by Steve Seehawer, Mitch Seidel, and Josh Roehl. Jason Fairbank, who finished seventh this evening, holds a 15 point lead over Juszczyk in the season standings.
There is no racing this next Friday evening, August 5th due to the Winnebago County Fair. The track will be used for multiple events during the fair including tractor pulls, concerts and demolition derbies.
Winnebago County Fair Demolition Derby presented by Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway will be held on Tuesday Night, August 2nd.
Racing action will resume with a double-header race weekend. The season long point chase will resume on Graphic Point Night at the races on Friday Night, August 12th. All five weekly divisions are in action including Automotive Supply Company Modifieds, Miller Lite Grand Nationals, Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modifieds, Total Power Sales Street Stocks and Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils.
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.
Then on Saturday evening, the Gladiator Racing Series will be presenting an Enduro event with multiple classes taking place. The event is set to get underway at 6:00pm.
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 July 30th, 2011