August 17, 2001; Plover, WI - Gary Back scored a popular victory as he topped the evenings action in the Super Late Model division. Back roared to victory six car lengths over Frank Nitzke in the 40 lap Back Memorial race named in honor of the late Barry Back. The event, now in it's 10th year, awarded the traveling trophy to it's winner and the crowd responded with thunderous applause when Gary laid claim to that prize. Contested under ideal weather conditions, a full house, including those on hand for the Fabco Equipment VIP party, witnessed a spectacular racing program, which in addition to the normal weekly division included the popular school bus races.
The mammoth machines took to the track for a pair of events, which included two rollovers. One by Shawn Lewis and the other by track tech inspector Bob "Snoozer" Wisniewski, both drivers emerged unhurt from their toppled rides and received standing ovations from the crowd. Lewis even managed to refire his bus and take a few more laps in his contest.
In other weekly action Mike Doughty was able to ward off a final lap challenge from defending champion Keith Bohmsach to claim the Super Stock feature event and Johnny Bell topped the evening's 4 cylinder main event.
Prior during opening ceremonies, Late Model fast qualifier Burton Brown elected to take the Hot n' Now Ultimate Challenge which is up $1,800. In spite of a close battle with two-time track champion Mark Eswein, Brown elected to go for the cash and start in the rear of the field in the feature event. Jason Kirlsing also accepted the challenge in the Super Stock class. The Mobile Link contribution is up to $900 should a driver set fast time, come from the rear of the feature, and win the event. Kirsling would later finish eighth in the feature meaning the amount will grow further for next weeks event.
A stellar field of 16 Late Model cars swept under the green flag for the start of the Back Memorial race, with front row starters Benjamin Brinkman and Frank Nitzke running wheel to wheel for the lead. Brinkman nosed ahead down the backstretch, but Nitzke using the outside line gained the momentum off turn four to lead the first lap by a foot. Nitzke was able to power ahead of Brinkman cleanly before the end of lap two.
Doug Drost moved into the third position and began to reel in Brinkman. Drost who runs the outside line on the high banked third mile with a great deal of skill pulled alongside Brinkman to battle for second. As the pair came off turn four, Drost slipped a bit and found himself spinning off the frontstretch tagging the wall below the flagstand. Eugene Gregorich Jr. was also collected in the incident and made contact with Drost as both cars came to a halt. Neither Drost nor Gregorich were injured but their machines were too damaged to continue. The race was stopped briefly to cleanup the racing surface.
On the restart Nitzke again took the lead, with Brinkman, Jeff Weinfurter, Jeremy Lepak and Bryan Roach in the top five. Lepak was first to make a charge when the green returned. Lepak slipped under Weinfurter for third on lap seven, with Kirby Kurth in tow, dropping Weinfurter further back in the field. Lepak's car was working well and he switched to the outside line to drive past Brinkman for second on lap 14. Kurth, continued to follow Lepak and took the third spot from Brinkman on lap 15.
Nitzke continued to set a blistering pace out front while Gary Back began to make his presence felt at the back of the top five. Back began his march forward on lap 19 claming fourth and a few laps later he marched by Kurth on the outside to take third. Back's charge to the front continued as he closed the gap on Lepak and swept past him for the runner-up spot on the backstretch on lap 25.
Nitzke still had a dozen car length on Back, but Back was wheeling the fastest car on the track. It took just five laps for Back to erase the gap and as the pair came off turn four on lap 32, Back nosed into the lead. At nearly the same time Kurth maneuvered past Lepak for the third position. For the remaining laps Back pulled away from the field to take a convincing win six car lengths ahead of Nitzke. Kurth would finish third followed by Lepak, Brinkman and Jeff Weinfurter. Defending track champion Mark Eswein charged through the field to finish seventh after starting in the last row, earning his way into the main event by winning the semi-feature race earlier in the evening.
In the championship points battle, Eswein and Brown will continue their duel into the final two point programs with Brown holding a slim eight point advantage.
The Super Stock division ran their 25 lap feature event, with only a single caution flag. Mike Doughty sat on the pole next to Mike Cusick a regular driver from Madison International Speedway as his division had off this evening at his home track. Doughty put his knowledge of Golden Sands to good use, getting a great start and roaring to the initial lead while Cusick fell back on the outside line. Josh Helfand, another regular at Madison annexed the second position at Cusicks expense as they raced through turns one and two on the second round.
Randy Storlie was next to pass Cusick claiming the third spot, as Cusick's car began to smoke. Seconds later Cusick looped his machine on the front stretch ending up in the sand trap off turn one ending his evening on lap five. The race would restart with Doughty at the front, while Helfand, Storlie, Keith Bohmsach and Alan Sankey in top five spots. Storlie was first to make his move using the outside line off turn four to speed past Helfand for second on lap six. Helfand was not about to surrender the position and roared back under Storlie to retake the position on lap eight.
Storlie pushed up the track slightly and now found himself having to defend the third position, while Doughty sailed away with the lead. Storlie would lose the third spot to Bohmsach on lap 13. Bohmsach then gave chase to the lead duo of Doughty and Helfand. Bohmsach was now the man on the move as he swept to the outside of Helfand to claim second on lap 17. Doughty still had a comfortable 12 car length advantage on Bohmsach but with each passing lap Bohmsach narrowed the gap.
With just a pair of laps to go, Helfand, who was running a strong third wobbled off turn four and spun harmlessly to the infield. This elevated Storlie back to the third spot. Bohmsach meanwhile had closed up on Doughty's rear bumper as the pair raced by the white flag. Heading into the final turns Bohmsach swept to the outside of Doughty as the pair engaged in a drag race to the finish. Doughty had the muscle to reach the stripe first by a half car length. Bohmsach would settle for second, Storlie would take third ahead of Cary Lyons, and Jim Cormack, the winner of the feature event the past two weeks rounding out the top five runners.
The 4 Cylinders were on hand to show fans their three and four wide racing. Brandon Abbott paced the opening five laps of the feature race before Bob Gereau motored to the front with current point leader Johnny Bell in hot pursuit. The action got a brief break on lap seven when Eric Nelson spun in turn four creating the only slowdown of the event. When the green flag returned it was Gereau, Bell and Doug Adams who earlier won the dash and his heat in the top three.
Coming back to the green flag Bell charged to the outside of Gereau and nosed ahead to take the top spot. The lead trio of Bell, Gereau and Adams would remain nose to tail for the final five laps finishing in that order. With only a single remaining appearance by the 4 cylinders taking place two weeks from now. Bell has an insurmountable lead in the standings and will take the championship in the entry level division.
Next week Friday evening, is Channel 9 WAOW Fan Appreciation night and the Brian Lambie Memorial race. In addition fans will have a chance to participate in Turtle Lake Casino's Wheel of Fortune to earn prizes. A full show racing program will include Super Late Models and Super Stocks, with the Pure Stocks making their final appearance of the 2001 season. The final weekly point race will be Friday evening, August 31st.
Golden Sands Speedway is located between Wisconsin Rapids, and Plover, Wisconsin on Highway 54. Time Trials get underway at 6:30 p.m., with the first race taking the green flag at 7:45 p.m. For more information check out www.goldensandsspeedway.com or call (715) 423-4660.