Oshkosh Speed Zone Raceway
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
'Two out of Three Ainít Bad' for Muenster
by Jeffrey Sachse
OSHKOSH, Wis. -- There was no shortage of headlines on Tuesday evening at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway and it all began with the first appearance of racing during the Winnebago County Fair after a couple year absence. Attendees with a fair general admission ticket were admitted free to the eveningís racing events which made for a good crowd at the third-mile clay oval.
In on track action, Eddie Muenster is making up for a slow start to the season. Tonight he won his second Automotive Supply Company Modified feature race of the year at the track by fending off a last lap challenge by Mitch McGrath. Muenster has now made his trip to victory lane in two of the last three race programs.
The Leonís Frozen Custard IMCA Northern Sport Modified main event would see the five race win streak by Troy Jerovetz broken. In the event Jon Schultz would earn his first career feature win at Oshkosh Speedzone in the class. Schultz had previously seen the winnerís circle at the track in his Street Stock last season.
Brian Gilles would celebrate the 100th feature win of his successful career when he accepted the checkered in a surprise finish in the Miller Lite Grand National division. Having won features in Grand Nationals and Street Stocks at several area tracks, his win at Oshkosh Speedzone was his first in several years and it finally pushed him to the 100 career win total he had been pursuing all season.
The Total Power Sales Street Stock division proved to be a wild event as the drivers seemed to have difficulty running on the tacky racing surface. Richard Garb would adjust to the track better than his fellow competitors and would come away with his first career feature win in eight years of competition.
The night rounded out with a wild Lynnís Service Center Dirt Devil main event as Mike Montie was awarded the win when the machine of Travis Arenz did not meet post-race tech. During the race, two of the evening four rollovers occurred.
111 cars had checked in for the evening lead by the 33 on hand Modifieds. 21 drivers participated in the Street Stock and Sport Modified divisions. 20 Grand Nationals were on hand and 18 Dirt Devils rounded out the evenings competitors.
Feature race action would see a tacky and fast racing surface with high speeds at a premium.
Former track champion Jeremy Christians set the opening pace in the Automotive Supply Company main event, charging ahead of the pack while Eddie Muenster slipped into the second spot. Christians time at the front of the pack would come to an abrupt halt when he slowed coming off turn four on lap three, coming to a halt on the front stretch.
The resulting caution would bunch the field on Muensterís rear bumper who was not the leader of the contest. Racing action briefly returned before the caution appeared for Tom Schaal who had clipped a tire and came to a rest too close to the racing surface.
When action resumed Muenster was right back to setting the pace at while Shaun Frelich maneuvered around Travis Spaulding for the runner-up spot. The fifth round would see some amazing racing by Mitch McGrath who had cracked the top five prior to the caution. In one lap he would charge from fifth to the runner-up spot in is effort to reach the front of the pack.
Muenster was still out front when the next caution appeared for Johnny Whitman whose machine stopped in turn two on lap seven.
Muenster would have his rivals on his rear bumper for the restart as McGrath and Priewe sought to steal the lead. Tim Lemirande also joined the fray reaching the fourth spot. Lemirande made his way into the third spot just before the halfway point of the contest as Prieweís expense.
Blistering around the third-mile clay oval Muenster began to build a small cushion, while Lemirande continued his charge sweeping past McGrath on the outside with five laps to go in the contest to reach second. Lemirande managed to close within a couple car lengths of Muenster but the last lap excitement would be provided by third running McGrath. As the white flag flew McGrath dove deep into turn one powering past Lemirande to retake second. He then closed in on Muenster in the final two turns but he would end up a car length short with Muenster taking the checkered flag.
McGrath settled for second with Lemirande taking third. Priewe who was last weekís feature winner came home in fourth ahead of defending 141 Speedway champion Sean Jerovetz who made his first appearance of 2012 pay off with a top five finish. Defending division champ Brian Drexler came home in the sixth spot. Drexler now has a 32 point lead on Lemirande with two points nights left. To secure the championship Drexler needs to qualify for the last two feature races and be running in the top 15.
Tonightís Leonís Frozen Custard Sport Modified main event would see 21 starters take the green flag. Robbie Thiel set the opening pace of the contest while John Schultz and J.J. Anderson worked past rookie Tristin Peebles to grab the second and third spots.
Thiel would hold the top spot until lap four when Schultz would use the outside line to take the top position. Anderson would make the same move on the next lap to take the second spot.
Schultz and Anderson would break away from the pack for their own private battle by the halfway point. Further back Troy Jerovetz, who had won five straight features was searching for speed to make his way forward running in the fourth spot.
Out front Anderson began to pressure Schultz for the lead, but Schultz would cling tenaciously to the top spot. Schultz was out front when the checkered flag flew taking the win by two car lengths. Andersonís rare appearance at the track would net a second place finish. Jerovetz would finish the contest in third ahead of Todd Wiese and Ryan Besaw.
With his third place finish Jerovetz took over the point lead in the division. Jerovetz had been closing the point gap on Tracy Wassenberg who had lead the standings throughout the summer and benefitted from Wassenbergís absence this evening. Jerovetz now has a 33 point advantage on Wassenberg and is 36 markers ahead of Besaw. If Jerovetz can manage to put together three more top ten finishes he can win the title no matter what his rivals do.
In Miller Lite Grand National action 20 drivers accepted the green flag for the main event. Tom Schneider set the opening pace through some quick cautions. Tim Thompson who only recently began to appear at the track, was showing his skill using the high line around the raceway working past several cars and the powering past Schneider for the lead on lap four. Brian Gilles meanwhile had come out ahead on a battle with Troy Weich for the third spot.
A spin by John Schultz III on lap nine would bunch the field as the caution flag flew. Thompson was quick to get back to the lead on the restart while Gilles ran wheel to wheel with Schneider for the second spot. Gilles using the outer groove would eventually pull ahead. The challenge for Gilles was now to catch Thompson.
Gilles was able to get within a car length be it appeared Thompson was heading for the victory. As the white flag flew, the engine in Thompsonís machine expired and Gilles charged by with the lead, pacing the final lap and taking a surprising win. Weich suddenly found himself in the second turning in one of his strongest runs of the season. Brian Henry, Tim Warner and T.J. Smith comprised the top five.
Henry now holds an 11 point advantage on Steve Schneider with three point nights remaining. Defending division champ Smith sits 14 markers back. The top seven drivers in the standings are still within striking distance of the title.
The Total Power Sales Street Stocks would trade plenty of paint during their feature race in another contest with a last lap twist of fate.
The race was lead briefly by Rick Long before Jon Ashcraft surged into the lead. Richard Garb would follow into the second spot and Ashcraft soon had his hands full as Garb put on the pressure for the lead. The wheel to wheel battle between Ashcraft and Garb would allow the field to stack up on the leaders as the race approached the halfway point.
The race would be interrupted when Ben Kuhn slammed into one of the larger infield tires resulting in a red flag on lap ten.
The machines of Frank Knaus and Jeff Wicinsky joined the battle with Ashcraft and Garb when the race resumed as a heated battle for the top spot ensued. Wicinsky using the outside line would gain the advantage taking over the lead position. Garb would move back into second with five laps to go but would have to overcome a large lead Wicinsky had built. Lap after lap Garb would close on the leader with but appeared that Wicinsky had the speed to win the contest.
However on the final lap Wicinsky slowed allowing Garb to catch him on the backstretch. Garb would lead the final two turns to steal the win. Jerry Kope would race past Wicinskyís slowing machine to take second with Wicinsky reaching the finish line in third. Last weekís feature winner Justin Lindner came from the tail of the field to finish fourth with Dan Knaus rounding out the top five.
With his victory Garb has now closed within a single point of division leader Jerry Winkler. Defending champion Jeff Jungwirth sits third 18 markers back. Frank Knaus is fourth 28 points behind. The title will be decided among those drivers with three point nights remaining.
The Lynnís Service Center Dirt Devil division would have a pair of rollovers. One by Eddie Lemay III early in the contest and a second which was the result of Joe Minks and Matt Brehmer making contact as Brehmer slowed with a flat tire. Minks would clip Brehmerís machine and roll down the front stretch late in the contest. Minks would emerge from his battered machine unhurt.
The winner of the contest would be decided in post race tech as it had appeared Travis Arenz had won the event. However his car did not tech after the race handing the win to Mike Montie who was second at the checkered. Wes Lungwitz was awarded second ahead of Chris Maas in third. Jay Vanderloop making his first run of the year reached the fourth spot ahead of Ben Meyerhofer who completed the top five.
Defending class champion Jason Fairbank maintains the point lead sitting 20 points up on Maas with three point nights remaining.
The next race event to be held at Oshkosh Speedzone is Friday Night August 17th. A kidís ride along will be presented prior to the program giving young fans a chance to ride along with their favorite drives in a lap around the track in addition all five weekly divisions will be on hand. Action will take place in the Automotive Supply Company Modifieds, Leonís Frozen Custard Sport Modifieds, Miller Lite Grand Nationals, Total Power Sales Street Socks and Lynnís Service Center Dirt Devils. Nearly 120 cars are expected to be on hand for the show.
The final Tuesday Night special of the year will take place when Hansel Trucking will present the WDLMA Late Models in their lone appearance of the season. The fastest fendered cars in the state will be appearing on Tuesday Night August 21st. Joining the WDLMA Late Models will be the debut of the Badger Modified Tour at the Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway. The finest Modified drivers from the upper Midwest will challenge top local favorites for bragging rights as winner of the inaugural Badger Modified feature winner at The Zone.
Rounding out the program will be the Leon's Frozen Custard IMCA Northern Sport Modified division.
For fans wanting to take in two evenings of racing comprising the fastest cars in the state a special "Need For Speed Week" ticket will offer fans a chance to do just that. The ticket will be good for the Tuesday Night Hansel Trucking WDLMA Late Model/Badger Modified Special on August 21st and final appearance of 2012 for the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints on Friday Night August 24th.
The IRA Sprints are regarded as the fastest open wheels cars in the Midwest, while the WDLMA Late Models are the quickest full bodied cars in the state of Wisconsin. The IRA Outlaw Sprints will be joined by three weekly fendered classes as Miller Lite Grand Nationals, Total Power Sales Street Stocks and Lynnís Service Center Dirt Devils are also a part of 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.
Fans and drivers are encouraged to visit the track website at www.oshkoshspeedzone.net for additional information on upcoming racing events. Fans can also friend the raceway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thespeedzone and you can receive all the latest updates from the track on twitter as www.twitter.com/thespeedzone.
AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLY COMPANY MODIFIEDS:
Feature (Top 15): 1.) Eddie Muenster; 2.) Mitch McGrath; 3.) Tim Lemirande; 4.) Craig Priewe; 5.) Sean Jerovetz; 6.) Brian Drexler; 7.) Eddie Lemay; 8.) Shaun Frelich; 9.) Jerry Muenster; 10.) David Hoerning; 11.) Mitch Webber; 12.) Joe McGrath; 13.) Russ Reinwald; 14.) Johnny Whitman; 15.) Travis Spaulding
First Consolation: 1.) Larry Karcz Jr.; 2.) Reinwald; 3.) Roger Van Roy; 4.) Kevin Feck; 5.) Benjamin Brinkman
Second Consolation: 1.) Whitman; 2.) Hoerning; 3.) John Schultz; 4.) Rick Robbins; 5.) Jerry Steffanus
First Heat: 1.) Spaulding; 2.) Priewe; 3.) Jerovetz
Second Heat: 1.) Scott Mullen; 2.) Lemirande; 3.) Frelich
Third Heat: 1.) J. McGrath; 2.) M. McGrath; 3.) Lemay
Fourth Heat: 1.) Muenster; 2.) Jeremy Christians; 3.) Kyle Kudick
LEON'S FROZN CUSTARD IMCA NORTHERN SPORT MODIFIEDS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Jon Schultz; 2.) J.J. Anderson; 3.) Troy Jerovetz; 4.) Todd Wiese; 5.) Ryan Besaw; 6.) Nick Fuhrman; 7.) Kelsy Hayes; 8.) Derek Schnetzer; 9.) Kevin Bethke; 10.) Scott Boyea
First Heat: 1.) Anderson; 2.) Schnetzer; 3.) Boyea
Second Heat: 1.) Robbie Thiel; 2.) Wiese; 3.) Randy Kreuger
Third Heat: 1.) Jordan Tuyls; 2.) Schultz; 3.) Tristin Peebles
MILLER LITE GRAND NATIONALS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Brian Gilles; 2.) Troy Weich; 3.) Brian Henry; 4.) Tim Warner; 5.) T.J. Smith; 6.) Tom Schneider; 7.) Steve Schneider; 8.) Terry Van Roy; 9.) Tim Doehling; 10.) Tim Reichenberger
First Heat: 1.) Doehling; 2.) S. Schneider; 3.) Larry Richards
Second Heat: 1.) Van Roy; 2.) Tim Thompson; 3.) Henry
Third Heat: 1.) Smith; 2.) Gilles; 3.) Warner
TOTAL POWER SALES STREET STOCKS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Richard Garb; 2.) Jerry Kope; 3.) Jeff Wicinsky; 4.) Justin Lindner; 5.) Dan Knaus; 6.) Mark Schultz; 7.) Jim Pollnow; 8.) Jerry Winkler; 9.) Jon Ashcraft; 10.) Frank Groeschel
First Heat: 1.) Kope; 2.) J. Winkler; 3.) Patty Winkler
Second Heat: 1.) Ashcraft; 2.) Garb; 3.) Karly Stadler
Third Heat: 1.) Frank Knaus; 2.) Rich Long; 3.) Jeff Jungwirth
LYNN'S SERVICE CENTER DIRT DEVILS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Mike Montie; 2.) Wes Lungwitz; 3.) Chris Maas; 4.) Jay Vanderloop; 5.) Ben Meyerhofer; 6.) Timothy Kundinger; 7.) Erik Kollmann; 8.) Jim Seidel; 9.) Adam Wolff; 10.) Chad Ewald
First Heat: 1.) Lungwitz; 2.) Rick Fairbank; 3.) Hillary Kreutz
Second Heat: 1.) Montie; 2.) Jason Fairbank; 3.) Patrick Klawitter