By Jeffrey Sachse
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - Oshkosh, WI. - It was an evening to honor the past and celebrate the present as three new inductees were added to the tracks Walk of Fame. Leroy Dehn, Jerry Reichenberger and Erv Schmude joined the list of those honored for their racing accomplishments at the former Leo's Speedway, predecessor of the current Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway.
The program, presented by The Galleria of Entertainment paper, also featured throwback pricing with $5 general admission to the event. The show marked the only Tuesday Night special on the 2011 schedule and was the weekly race night of the old Leo's Speedway.
A large crowd turned out to witness the induction ceremony and all five weekly divisions were on hand for a full program of events.
Tim Lemirande called it redemption during a victory lane interview. After giving up the lead in the closing laps of the feature in the Automotive Supply Company Modified main event last Friday evening, when he encountered mechanical problems, he made up that misfortune by capturing the win during of Fame Night at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway this evening holding the lead through several late race restarts.
Terry Van Roy was another driver who was "snakebit" by issues which kept him from the winner's circle at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway. However during the Walk of Fame program he put his ride in victory lane after the Miller Lite Grand National feature outrunning Troy Weich.
Mike Nehmer made a last lap pass of Richard Garb to collect his third feature win of the 2011 season in the Total Power Sales Street Stock division. Nehmer had charged through the field from dead last after having spun on lap 5 of the 20 lap contest.
In the Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modifieds, Brad Lautenbach held off the competition through several late race restarts to earn his first career feature victory at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway.
Ralph Liegeois Jr. made his first appearance of 2011 at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway payoff with a feature win in the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devil division.
23 cars would start the Automotive Supply Company Modified main event, with cars going four wide at the drop of the green flag through the 70 foot wide turns. Steve Kloehn before Tim Lemirande sliced through the pack and into the lead on lap 2.
Visiting driver Matt Rechek would slip into the second spot as action continued three wide for the third position.
A spin by Charlie Ewald on lap five bunched the field and as had been the case earlier, three and four wide racing resumed at the drop of the green flag with Lemirande showing the way. Chris Engels would get a great restart coming up to the third spot and then slipping past Rechek for second moments later.
The battles behind him allowed Lemirande to move out to a small advantage while second place swapped back and forth. At the halfway point it was Lemirande, Joe McGrath, Brian Drexler, Engels and Mitch McGrath in the top five spots.
A spin by Pat Toetz on lap 12 again restacked the deck with Lemirande again having to defend his lead off another restart.
As the race began again Lemirande had his hands full with Joe McGrath who was able to move alongside Lemirande on several occasions. The race was slowed for a final time on lap 14, when Engels spun while doing battle with Mitch McGrath. Officials noted contact between the two cars, which by ruling would result in both drivers having to restart at the tail of the field. Engels filtered to the back of the pack, however Mitch McGrath protested the call. In an escalation of the incident McGrath was given the black flag dropping him from the contest.
Once things settled back down, action again focused on the racing and with the green flag flying Lemirande again took control with six laps left to go in the contest. While Joe McGrath and Drexler again did battle for the second spot.
With a pair of laps left in the contest Joe McGrath slipped and opened the door for Drexler to move into second. Drexler then closed on Lemirande's rear bumper as the white flag flew waiting for a mistake by the leader. Lemirande drove a flawless final lap however never opening an opportunity for Drexler to make a pass. Lemirande would reach the line a car length ahead of Drexler for the win. Joe McGrath, Scott Mullen and Eddie Muenster completed the top five finishers.
The Miller Lite Grand Nationals would see Don Schumacher pace the opening rounds of the contest before Troy Weich came up to challenge for the lead spot. Weich using the high line would shoot into the lead with an outside pass on lap 4.
Weich began to extend his lead on the field while Van Roy began worked traffic reaching the second spot by lap 7. Tim Warner has been of the point battle in the division with T.J. Smith for the point lead came to a halt on the backstretch on lap 9 forcing the only caution of the event.
On the restart Weich and Van Roy began a side by side duel for the lead. Van Roy would hug the inner groove while Weich chose a higher line. The pair racing hard and clean tossed the lead back and forth with Weich leading the majority of laps at the line before Van Roy slowly gained the advantage moving ahead on lap 14.
As laps clicked off Van Roy gained a small advantage on Weich, while Larry Richards reached the third position with three laps to go but was unable to close in on the lead pair. At the checkered Van Roy had a three car length advantage on Weich. Richards would take third followed by Tim Reichenberger and Tom Schneider.
Richard Garb and Jeff Wicinsky traded the top spot at the start of the Total Power Sales feature contest, with Garb securing the position on lap 2. Jon Schultz would be the third driver to pace the contest as he motored by Garb on lap 4 for the top spot.
Mike Nehmer who had made some progress through the field spun on lap 5 bringing out the caution and dropping him to the read of the field. Nehmer however would prove the speed of his machine marching past cars at the drop of the green flag.
Out front Schultz was showing the way hoping to become the first driver at Oshkosh Speedzone this season to earn four feature wins. Another caution on lap 7 for a multi-car tangle again bunched the field.
When the race resumed Jon Shultz showed the way with Mark Schultz and Trevor Schmidt giving chase. Another caution would fly on lap 9. Jon Schultz again showed the way this time challenged by Schmidt. Further back Nehmer had charged back through the field up to third position, but on lap 12 he went wide in turn two dropping several spots as he attempted to pass Schmidt for the runner-up position.
On lap 17, the lead pair of Jon Schultz and Schmidt locked horns, grinding down the front stretch. Schmidt would get a flat tire and head to the pits, while Jon Schultz was given a black flag. This put Garb back into the lead position with just a handful of laps remaining.
Grab's lead began to shrink with each passing lap as Nehmer was again on the move. On the final lap Nehmer swept to the outside line and pulled ahead of Garb entering the final two turns. Nehmer would win the drag race to the checkered flag to score the victory, his third of the 2011 season in feature action. Garb would settle for second. Jeff Jungwirth had methodically worked his way forward throughout the contested and was rewarded with a third place finish thereby extending his point lead. Mark Schultz and Frank Knaus completed the top five finishers.
Mike Lemiesz, Adam Pugh and Mike Dauphinais battled three wide for the lead at the drop of the green flag in the Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modified main event, with Pugh coming out on top by the end of the first circuit and Dauphinais dropping in line in the runner-up slot. Pugh would extend his lead with each passing lap as the race neared the halfway point.
The lead duo would pull away leaving the battle for third to be waged between a pack of drivers. Brad Lautenbach would emerge from the pack with the third position and quickly set out to close on the lead pair. He was assisted in that endeavor by a caution on lap 11 which bunched the field.
As the race resumed Lautenbach got a great restart moving alongside Pugh to challenge for the lead, after a brief battle Lautenbach took command of the race only to see the yellow flat again on lap 13.
Several more cautions occurred in succession as the race neared the time limit. A red flag for a flip by last week's feature winner Rob Charapata on lap 15 would result in the contest setting up for a green, white checkered finish.
As he had done on each previous restart Lautenbach would pull away from his rivals reaching the checkered flag by two car lengths over Pugh. Eric Mahlik who had patiently worked his way through the field earned a third place finish, while Kevin Bethke and current point leader Zeke Bishofberger comprised the top five.
The Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils hit the track for the final event of the night as lightning flashed in the sky with a storm approaching. As they had done so many times this season, the Dirt Devil division drivers ran hard and clean avoiding caution flags which would slow the contest and perhaps result in a rained out event.
Tim Simon would lead briefly before Ben Meyerhofer reached the lead position. Cory Wegner who won last weeks feature began to pressure for the lead by lap 3. Wegner would reach the lead on lap 7 bringing the division point leader Jason Fairbank with him into the second.
By the halfway point Wegner was still showing the way with Ralph Liegeois Jr. reaching the second position. With each passing lap Liegeois Jr. closed the gap on Wegner and the two were soon locked in battle for the lead. Both drivers expertly raced around the third-mile clay oval.
Wegner would surrender the lead with six laps to go as Liegeois Jr. worked by. On the way to the finish Liegeois Jr. opened up a eight car length advantage for the win. Wegner would settle for second followed by Fairbank, Erik Kollmann and Josh Roehl.
There is no racing this next Friday evening, July 22nd as the Sunnyview Fairgrounds facilities are used for Deerfest. Racing will resume on Friday Night July 29th, with all five divisions back in action. Over 100 cars are expected in the five divisions.
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 July 20th, 2011