Dells Raceway Park
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Lichtfeld Grabs Fifth Feature of 2012
by Bob Blaschke
WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. -- While Mother Nature finally gave fans at the Dells Raceway Park a break from the sweltering weather that has come to define the summer of 2012, the on-track action at DRP remained red-hot. From the opening Late Model Dash to the closing laps of the night's final feature, race fans in attendance were treated to a night of great racing action.
With points leader Dan Lensing looking to add win number six to his 2012 DRP Late Model season resume, the Rocket man managed to stay clear of some early race mishaps and moved up the field from his fifth-row starting spot. With the race winding down, Lensing would challenge Mike Lichtfeld for the lead and actually move out front with just nine laps to go.
Others were not as fortunate as the 40-lap feature got off to a rough start on lap three when Larry Schotten hit the backstretch wall hard out of turn one. In the melee that followed, Morgan Schissel and Dale Schultz also got caught up. Schotten's ride was heavily damaged and left the track thanks to a Blystone tow. As bad as Schotten's No. 31 looked, Schultz's late model looked to have suffered season-ending damage. While Schissel attempted to remain in the field, the night was over for Schotten and Schultz. Kyle Shear parked his ride as well, trimming the 20-car starting field to 17.
The restart lap would trim the field even further, as pole-sitter and race leader, Jerry Blystone was bumped out of the lead in turn two. Then as the field entered turn one, things got ugly. Most of the drivers avoided any real damage, but Tim Fuller and Schissel saw their nights end. The incident probably claimed another victim as well, when the restart saw Brent Edmunds car suffer a mechanical break. His attempt to leave the track in a shower of sparks, failed and the yellow flag flew once again.
Having moved up to the point, Lichtfeld looked to give himself a little bit of room between his No. 44 and the battle for second heating up between defending DRP 2011 track champion, Rich Schumann and current MIS points leader Dale Nottestad.
The bumping and banging was not over yet. Just a few laps later with Schumann and Nottestad fighting for position into turn one, the pair spun out together to bring back out the yellow. With the two sent to the rear of the field, Lichtfeld brought the field back to green with Shane Poehnelt, Jesse Bernhagen, John DeAngelis, and Lensing rounding out the top five.
With Lichtfeld pacing Poehnelt and Bernhagen, Lensing picked off DeAngelis for the fourth spot. Ten laps later Lensing was working on Bernhagen for the third spot. With 15 laps to go, Dan Church lost his ignition on the front stretch, coming to rest in victory lane and bringing out the yellow.
With the backstretch cone out, Lensing choose the outside lane and put himself in position to challenge Lichtfeld for the win. Just one lap after the restart, it was now Lichtfeld and Lensing running one-two. Over the next four laps, Lichtfeld managed to hold off Lensing as Poehnelt, Bernhagen, and DeAngelis followed with 10 laps to go.
On lap nine Lensing just plain blew past Lichtfeld to take the top spot. "O' boy - I better get going," Lichtfeld said he thought to himself. "I was trying to protect the bottom and give him the outside and just did not want to slip up off the bottom and give him the easy way."
Lensing would hold the lead for the next four laps as Lichtfeld pursued him.
Not intent to follow Lensing to the checkers, Lichtfeld took back the lead with just four laps to go. "He [Lensing] was going to have to earn it, if he was going to get the win," said Lichtfeld after the race.
The final three laps were controlled by Litchfield as the Dells' veteran moved on to his fifth feature win of the season. Lensing came home second, with Poehnelt claiming third. Bernhagen finished fourth followed by Nottestad who worked his way back for the top-five DRP finish.
Earlier in the night, Nottestad claimed the Fast Dash win while Chad Devine and Bob Campbell collected Heat wins, while Dan Church was the winner of the 20-lap B-Feature. Dan Lensing was the night's quickest qualifier.
Spoonmore takes Dells Duel II
With the Mid-American Stock Car Series (MASCS) returning to the Dells Raceway Park for the second half of the 2012 Dells Duel, the MASCS points standings saw the traveling series' top three cars separated by just 19 points. Entering Saturday's stop at Wisconsin Dells, Larry Nowak sat all alone at the top with 758 points. Rookie Ryan Farrell sat 17 points back in second with Jeremy Spoonmore's 739 points good enough for third.
After Saturday night's 40-lap event, the season championship race just got tighter for Spoonmore, who leaped over Farrell and into second place - 16 points behind Nowak. If not for Spoonmore's pit crew - he would have missed the start of the night's MASCS feature and remained in the pits unable to fire the engine on his No. 22.
Instead Spoonmore's crew found the cause of his electrical issues and Spoonmore joined the 24-car feature field just in the nick of time. Lining up in the third row, Spoonmore followed the front row of Jack Stern (Pole) and Bill Prietzel to the green flag.
The yellow would wave five laps in as Jeff Holtz and Bill Prietzel looked like Olympic Gold Medal synchronized swimmers with their perfectly timed side-by-side spin move in turn two. While only Holtz and Prietzel were sent to the rear, Kyle Shear's No. 36 suffered damage to the right-side nose of his car.
Following the restart Stern still held down the top spot, chased by Spoonmore, Chris Storey, Jake Finney, and Shear. Five laps later Stern led Spoonmore, Finney, Shear, and Lyle Nowak. With the leaders catching the field just 15 laps into the feature, the top five positions quickly changed.
By the race's midpoint, Spoonmore was out front with Finney, Storey, Shear, and Nowak in tow. On the heels of the top five, was quick qualifier, Brad Keith. Nothing would change with the top six positions over the next 10 laps, but will nine laps to go, Shear would bring out the caution and surrender any chance at a top-five finish.
As the field entered the final six laps, Spoonmore and Finney began to pull away into a two-car battle. Spoonmore was stronger out of turn one and down the backstretch, but Finney continued to reel him in out of turn two.
With three laps remaining, it was Spoonmore still leading Finney, as Nowak battled Stern and Keith for the third spot. When the checkers flew, Spoonmore won - followed by Finney, Nowak, Keith, and Stern.
Travis Rodewald, Tom McClintock, Ryan Gutknecht, Storey, and Frank Slabenak rounded out the top ten.
Asked about his win, Spoonmore replied, "It feels great, especially after the day we had. The car was not good and we worked on it and worked on it and worked on it. Finally by feature time we had it right."
Talking about nearly missing the start of the feature, Spoonmore added, "The credit has to go to the guys on the crew. We went down and were sitting on lineup and I went to start it and it would not start. We found a shorted wire, got it unplugged and tied off and it fired up. I definitely have to thank the guys for that. My brothers Charlie and Joe Spoonmore, Garland Spoonmore (my spotter and dad), and my crew chief and owner - Randy Aubart.
Heat wins went to Carl Benn, Tom McClintock, and Travis Rodewald, while Brad Keith turned the fastest qualifying lap.
Peschek out duels Cook for win
It was an all-female front row when the green flag flew to start the 20-lap Sportsman Feature on Saturday night as Wisconsin Dells' Sandy Cook and Rebecca Grabarski of Grand Marsh shared the front row.
It was not Grabarski's night as she quickly slid backwards through the field. Cook on the other hand was intent to stay out front and four laps in, held a two-car-length lead, but was quickly seeing a mirror full of Adam Peschek's No. 66.
Peschek made short work of pulling alongside Cook. However he soon learned that getting past her was not going to be as easy. After finally nosing past Cook and into the lead, Peschek then found that he could not shake her.
Cook stayed with Peschek as the two would battle nearly nose-to-nose over the final 10 laps. Cook was strong on the inside and out of turn one, but each time as the duo exited turn two, Peschek had the momentum and beat Cook back to the line.
With three laps to go, it looked like Peschek finally was going to pull away from Cook on the backstretch, but as they came back around to the start-finish line; they were once again side-by-side.
As the checkers flew, the 17-year-old Peschek crossed the line first, with Cook, Mark Ailes, Clifton Sauey, and Randy Breunig in tow.
Afterwards, Peschek said, "It was an awesome race. I had so much fun racing with Sandy [Cook]."
Having built his Sportsman just to travel with, the Slinger regular picked up his first DRP feature win in seven tries. "The people have been so nice here. I couldn't ask for a better experience, said Peschek on racing this season at DRP.
Heat wins went to Ron Grabarski and Mitch Lyden. Randy Breunig was the night's fast qualifier.
Preston grabs Heat and Feature wins
With 20 cars lining up for the 18-lap Bandit Feature, Pardeeville's Arch Preston would start on the Pole. Leading from green to checkers, Preston held on for the win after a strong challenge over the closing laps from Spencer Wilhelm, who finished second.
Wilhelm had earlier battled with both Gary Stark and Haley Kapp as he fought his way through the field from his sixth-row starting spot.
The night's fast qualifier, Ed Klug would finish fifth behind Stark and Kapp.
Dylan Delany won the B-Feature in an event that saw Dave Lembke get air - not once, not twice, but three times in his move across the backstretch infield grass and into last place. Two laps later Lembke came together with Don Fassett on the front stretch, ending Fassett's night.
The rough driving earned Lembke an exit into the pits and a week off. His wave goodbye, led to a second week off.
Bandits Heat wins went to Josh Bisbee, Arch Preston, and Andrew Portzen.
In Other Action...
Watertown's Nate Larson powered his Mustang to the win in the spectator drags to close out the night.
Up Next at DRP...
This Saturday, August 11 is Pepsi Night and Penny Drop night for the kids. All four weekly DRP divisions are in action.
Normal ticket pricing applies this Saturday: $12 for adults (16 and up), $10 for seniors (62 and up), $8 for youth age 10-15 and kids 9 and under receive free admission. Qualifying is scheduled for 5:15 with racing beginning at 7 p.m.
Dells Raceway Park is located at N1070 Smith Road, five minutes north of downtown Wisconsin Dells, Wis., off highway 12-16. For more information including the latest news, the 2012 schedule and more visit www.dellsracewaypark.com.
Full Results -http://www.dellsracewaypark.com/stars/article/081212/dells-raceway-park-results-081112