June 28, 2002; Plover, WI - After finishing in the runner-up spot in the feature contests the past two weeks Mark Eswein of Wisconsin Rapids, went one better in the Super Late Model feature this evening on the 7th Annual Union Night at Golden Sands Speedway. Making an early pass on Jeff Weinfurter for the lead, Eswein then held on for his first win of the 2002 season at Golden Sands Speedway. The victory ended a dry spell of sorts for Eswein, who had not appeared in victory lane at Golden Sands since, just over a year ago when he won the Mid-Season championship during the 2001 season. The victory win was behind the wheel of a new car which appeared in competition for the first time at Golden Sands this evening.
In the Super Stock division, it was Tim Hintz of Marshfield scoring his first feature win of the season behind the wheel of his newly skinned Super Stock, in a hard fought contest. Keith Wirtz rounded out the evenings racing activities when he came home with top honors in the four cylinder division after leading only the final 200 feet of the contest. The show concluded with a half-hour fireworks display which kept people on their feet until the grand finale.
In addition to the fine racing action and exciting fireworks display, fans also received numerous prizes including, Tessa Bousley who won the WAL-MART gift certificate, Luke Froeba who won the River City Motors Wisconsin Rapids Chamber of Commerce Gift Certificate. Kevin Berg was the Junior Fan Club of the night.
In preliminary racing action Brandon Selle scored his second career fast qualifying effort in the Late Model division topping a field of 30 cars. He elected not to take the Hot N' Now Challenge which was up to $900 had he won the race after electing to start in the back. Shawn Stelzer set fast time for the eighth consecutive week in the Super Stocks, besting a season high 39 drivers, and did take the challenge which was worth $450, but Stelzer was unable to collect finishing fifth in the feature race.
When the field setup for the Super Late Model main event it was Jeff Weinfurter starting outside Keith Beyer in the main event. The pair ran wheel to wheel for the opening laps before Beyer got sideways allowing Weinfurter to jump into the top spot. Eswein meanwhile had started in the fifth position made some quick moves to run third by the end of the first lap. When Beyer slipped he was able to move alongside and challenge for second taking the position before the end of lap two.
Eswein continued his charge using the outside line to run down Weinfurter. The pair battled briefly before Eswein shot into the lead before the start of lap three, but Weinfurter stayed glued to his rear bumper in second. While the action was intense up front several other drivers were working forward. Allen Check who had started seventh rumbled to third by lap four and the lead trio began to pull away from the field behind.
Further back in the pack Jeremy Lepak was moving forward moving past Burton Brown and then Beyer to grab the fourth spot by lap 11. He then got some help closing the gap on the top three when Mark Mackesy looped his machine in turn two on lap 18 of the 30 lap contest.
With the green back out Eswein resumed setting the pace, while Weinfurter looked for a way to the lead. Perhaps the most intense battle during the remaining distance was fought for third between Check and Lepak. Lepak would gain the inside line taking third on lap 20, but just two laps later he slipped up the track while trying to wrestle second from Weinfurter, allowing Check to retake the third position.
Undaunted Lepak then mounted another charge getting underneath Check with five laps to go. The pair ran wheel to wheel for the position, but the duel was interrupted when Beyer spun on the frontstretch with just two laps left.
When the race began for the sprint to the finish Eswein got a good jump on Weinfurter and went to the finish two car lengths ahead of Weinfurter. Check managed to fend off Lepak's challenges to take third. Lepak was fourth a couple feet back, while defending track champion claimed the final top five spot.
In Super Stock action, Merle Weinfurter started alongside Jeremy Szymkowiak who was behind the wheel of a borrowed machine as the feature field thundered toward the green flag. Weinfurter was able to take the initial lead while Szymkowiak fell back on the outside. Keith Bohmsach would take second when Szymkowiak slid up the track and Randy Storlie followed into third. Hintz who had started seventh had climbed into fourth by the completion of lap three and the top four cars raced in close quarters for the top spot.
Storlie appeared to be on the move running the outside line and climbing as high as second with a pass on Bohmsach. However his evening would sour shortly thereafter as his car began to develop handling troubles. Steve Borksi brought out the first caution of the event when he spun and stall off the inside of turn two on lap eight.
Just prior to the caution Hintz has powered into second behind Weinfurter and he would be on his tail for the restart. Hintz stayed close to Weinfurter while Bohmsach followed in third. With 13 laps to go Storlie and Hamel made light contact which resulted in Storlie sliding off the track in turn one ending his evening.
When the green reappeared it was Hintz who would be on the charge. Opting to use the outside line he wheeled next to Weinfurter with nine laps to go. Weinfurter and Hintz would square off and a wheel to wheel battle, with Hintz managing to nose ahead on the straights and Weinfurter edging ahead in the turns.
The final caution appeared with five laps to go when Jim Cormack who made his return to action after missing several weeks to build a new car, and Stelzer got locked together on the front stretch. Both were able to rejoin the race when action resumed.
Hintz was on the point for the dash to the finish as would be able to slowly pull away from the field to take the checkered by five car lengths. Weinfurter and Bohmsach would square up for the second position, with Bohmsach gaining the advantage in the waning laps to take the spot. Weinfurter would settle for a solid third, with Andrew Simonis and the most recent feature winner Jason Kirsling taking fifth.
The 4 Cylinder feature race would be completed with a pair of cautions. Keith Kemnetz and Eric Kluever had their own personal battle for the top spot of the event during the opening laps, with Kemnetz pacing the first two rounds before Kluever nosed ahead on lap three.
The lead duo was quickly overhauled by a faced paced trio of Jason Bell, Dennis Goetsch and Keith Wirtz. The frantic pace got a reprieve on lap seven when Brandon Abbott spun on the backstretch. After some wild three wide racing Goetsch, the evenings fast qualifier advanced into the runner-up spot behind Bell, and Wirtz moved into third. The lead trio were just beginning to go at it for the top spot when the final caution came out when some cars made contact while trying to avoid Kemnetz who spun into the infield in turn four.
The final laps would prove to be a thrilling battle between Bell, Goetch and Wirtz, each seeking to take home the checkered. Bell Bell was the first of the group to lead the way as both Goetsch and Wirtz worked both the upper and lower groove to attempt to take the top spot. The three went three wide on the backstretch on a couple occasions, but each time Bell came away with the advantage. On the final lap, in the final turns Wirtz made on last desperation move to try and grab the top spot. The move worked and he came home with the win by mere inches over Bell. Goetsch would settle for third ahead of Doug Adams and Steve Hauser.
Next week is the 2nd Annual Charter Communication Night at Golden Sands Speedway. The show will feature Super Late Models, Super Stocks and 2-Man Cruisers. As a special attraction the Green Mamba Jet Burner will be on hand to melt a car to the ground during intermission! Time trials are set for 6:30 p.m., with the first green flag of the evening scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
Golden Sands Speedway known as Central Wisconsin's Power Playground is located between Wisconsin Rapids and Plover, Wisconsin on Highway 54. For additional information please call (715) 423-4660 or consult the track website at www.goldensandsspeedway.com