By Jeffrey Sachse
Friday, June 3, 2011 - Oshkosh, WI. - Fans were greeted with perhaps the most comfortable weather of the 2011 season at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway resulting in one of the larger crowds of the young season.
Budweiser and Oshkosh Lanes presented the first program to be run during the month of June with 108 cars in attendance and a total of six feature races were run in the five classes. The extra feature race took place in the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devil division which ran two feature events, one being held due to a rained out main event last week.
The Automotive Supply Company Modified division had the evenings highest car count with 30 entries checking into the pit area. 20 drivers would take the green flag in the main event and when the race was complete Mike Klenz had captured his first feature win of the 2011 season holding off the challenges of Tim Lemirande by two car lengths for the win. In the Miller Lite Grand Nationals, Larry Richards was warming up to his new ride which was build for the 2011 season as it made its maiden voyage to victory lane, he managed to hold off Tim Reichenberger who shadowed him throughout the contest by a car length.
In the Total Power Sales Street Stocks it seemed one had to have the last name of Schultz to run up front, as Jon Schultz was able to fend off Mark Schultz for his second win of the season. Chad Guyette would prove victorious in the Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modified division main event with the biggest winning margin of the night at ten car lengths.
The night's first and last features were run by the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils, with Dan Juszczyk capturing the makeup race. Juszczyk was also in contention to win the final feature of the night but lost power on a restart. Jason Fairbank would capture the race becoming the first repeat winner of the year in the entry level class.
It was twenty cars for twenty laps in the Automotive Supply Company Modified main event. Pole sitter Noah Schepp brought the field around to the green flag but it was outside front row starter Brad McGuire taking the opening lead with Mike Klenz in tow. The field battled three wide mid pack as everyone sought their preferred groove.
Tim Lemirande who started mid field quickly showed his speed working into third by lap four. Out front McGuire began to have his hands full with Klenz as the pair ran side by side. McGuire continued to work the high line while Klenz preferred the lower groove. Klenz managed to make the low line stick taking over the top spot from McGuire on lap six.
On lap seven Travis Spaulding who was tied with the point lead in the division expired a motor and headed to the pit area but the incident did not bring out a caution.
Just before the halfway point Lemirande worked past McGuire into the second position and started to work on cutting into the lead Klenz had built up.
The only caution of the race appeared on lap thirteen bunching the field. Klenz was back to the lead when racing resumed with Lemirande following in his tire tracks. McGuire found his third position contested by Mike Mashl who had moved up several positions prior to the caution.
Driving a flawless line around the third-mile clay oval, Klenz was able to keep Lemirande at bay winning the race by two car lengths. Lemirande would take home second place money. Mashl made a last lap pass on McGuire for third. McGuire and Jamie Schmidt comprised the top five.
Brian Drexler who had been tied with Travis Spaulding for the point lead heading into the program assumed top spot in the standings with an eighth place finish. Lemirande's performance tonight elevated him to the second point slot three markers behind Drexler.
The Miller Lite Grand National feature narrowly averted disaster at the start of the contest as pole sitter Don Schumacher lost power as the green flag fell. The entire field of 24 cars managed to miss Schumacher as he came to a halt on the front stretch. It would be the only slowdown of the event which then ran green to checkered.
With Schumacher in the pits Tim Reichenberger would lead the way as the new pole sitter. Reichenberger sporting a new body and paint scheme on his car leading the way at the drop of the green flag. However it was Larry Richards who captured the attention of the crowd using the high line to sweep into second and immediately challenging Reichenberger for the top position. On lap three Larry Richards worked into the lead position with Reichenberger following. Shawn Haydon the Street Stock champion from last season would be next to pressure Reichenberger.
At the halfway point Larry Richards was still showing the way followed one car length back by Reichenberger. Haydon held fast to third fending off Kenny Richards and Tom Schneider.
As Larry Richards encountered lapped cars in the closing laps Reichenberger closed the gap, nosing to the inside with only a handful of laps remaining. Larry Richards was up to the challenge surging back ahead by a car length before the checkered flag fell. Reichenberger would settle for second ahead of a fast closing Kenny Richards. Tim Warner took the fourth position on the final lap from Haydon who nursed home a fifth place finish with an ill sounding engine. T.J. Smith who finished sixth in the event maintains the point lead by three over Warner.
The Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modifieds started 16 cars in their main event. After a pair of quick cautions at the start of the race, the event would settle in with Adam Pugh driving a freshly lettered car featuring a new paint scheme showing off his new colors out front. Pugh showed the lead until lap four when Chad Guyette used the high line to sweep past Pugh for the top spot.
As Guyette began to stretch his lead, Pugh found himself challenged by Rod Solem and Ron Besaw for the second position. Besaw would drop from the contest while running third ending a strong run.
Guyette would prove too strong for the field winning by a comfortable margin over Matt Valiquette, and Pugh. Zeke Bishofberger who finished fourth padded his point lead in the division now leading by nine points over Kevin Bethke. Solem who ran strong throughout the contest would settle for fifth.
Richard Garb set the pace early on in the Total Power Sales Street Stock feature before Mark Schultz in his vintage Chevelle worked into the top slot on lap two as Garb began to fade quickly. Gordy Lewis held down the second slot until Jon Schultz worked into the second. The battle for the lead was a battle between the Schultz's for the duration of the contest, with Mark showing the way until Jon powered past for the top spot on lap six.
The only caution would fly on lap thirteen of the twenty lap contest to remove a piece of metal which had fallen onto the racing surface in turn three.
Underway again the Schultz's went back at their duel for the top spot with Jon Schultz defending a narrow lead over Mark Schultz. The pair would remain in that order to the checkered with Jon Schultz taking the win by a car length over Mark Schultz. Brandon Riedner making his first showing of 2011 had come from deep in the pack to finish a strong third. Frank Knaus would find himself in fourth at the finish just ahead of last week's feature winner Mike Nehmer who rounded out the top five.
Jeff Jungwirth who finished sixth assumed the point lead as former point leader Jerry Winkler encountered mechanical problems early in the contest resulting in a trip to the pits, losing several laps in the process before he was able to return. Jungwirth now holds the point lead by five markers over Jon Schultz. Winkler lies in third two additional points back.
With a pair of feature run the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils saw a total of 40 laps of feature race action! The makeup contest was run early in the evening on a wet tacky track. John Charles would pace the opening circuit of the contest with M.J. Brenner challenging for the top spot. Jason Fairbank and Dan Juszczyk joined quickly joined the battle making it a four car tussle for the top spot. Brenner would take over the top spot from Charles on lap four.
With Brenner out front it would be Juszczyk making the surge forward working up to the second slot by the halfway point of the contest. Brenner appeared to have a comfortable lead but that was erased by a caution at the halfway point of the contest. When the green flag appeared Juszczyk would shoot into the lead which he would hold the duration of the contest. Fairbank would work into the runner-up slot late in the race but was unable to challenge Juszczyk for the win. Fairbank would take second followed by Brenner, Charles and Josh Roehl in the top five.
The second feature of the evening for the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils, was held as the final event of the night and the track has changed completely with a much harder racing surface to compete on.
Chris Mass would lead the way in the nightcap which saw plenty of four wide racing deep in the field. M.J. Brenner found himself in second with Juszczyk fresh off his feature win earlier in the evening running third with four laps in the books.
After a quick caution for the stalled car of Cory Wegner mixed up the top spots on the restart as Maas quickly got swallowed up by the pack behind him with Brunner going to the front.
Juszczyk and Jason Fairbank gave chase keeping the pressure on Brunner for the top spot.
Fairbank wasted little time in working to the lead a position he would hold for the duration of the contest. Juszczyk was the biggest threat to Fairbank's but his car was slow coming up to speed after the final yellow flag late in the race. This would leave Jason Fairbank a comfortable win. Josh Roehl would make a late race charge into the second spot. Steve Lemay, MJ Brunner and Erik Kollmann completed the top five positions.
Due to his performances this evening Jason Fairbank has built up a ten point advantage over Juszczyk.
The next event on the 2011 schedule is Saturday Night June 4th, with the B&S Spring Tractor Pulls.
The next full racing program will take place on Friday Night, June 10th when Total Power Sales will present Driver Sponsor Appreciation Night. All five weekly divisions will be in action and over 100 cars are expected to take to the track 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 on hand for the evening.
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.
An open practice session will take place on Tuesday Night June 14th. Pit admission will be $10 for the practice session and any type of car meeting minimum safety requirements is welcome to take to the track. Grandstand admission is free. 35 cars participated in the last open practice session.
The first big special of 2011 will take place when the IRA Outlaw Sprint Cars come to town on Friday Night June 17th. The Miller Lite Grand Nationals, Total Power Sales Street Stocks and Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils will also be on the program
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 June 4th, 2011