July 12, 2002; Plover, WI - Wausau, Wisconsin native Jeremy Lepak added another victory the win column at Golden Sands Speedway as he captured his third Late Model main event of the 2002 season at the high-banked third mile paved oval. So far this season, eight different drivers have won main events in the division, with Lepak being the only multiple winner. With eight nights remaining this season Mark Eswein, who his seeking his third career championship at the raceway holds the division point lead by 35 markers over Lepak.
It was a new face in victory lane in the Super Stock, as Dave Neitzke garnered his first career feature win after fending off several challenges from a determined Jim Cormack. Neitzke, has finished as high as second on May 24th, but the third year driver was finally able to score that elusive first victory this week. Rounding out the night's feature winners was Dennis Goetsch who set fast time and later won the feature race in the 4 cylinder class.
Prior to the start of racing action this evening, the track celebrated kid's night with plenty of activities for the children on hand. These included race car rides, a coin scramble, electric car races and other exciting events for the youngsters. Tyler Keuntjes was the Jr. Fan Club member of the night.
Adults also received prizes including Kevin Adams who won the WAL-MART gift certificate while Lance Fritz who won the River City Motors Wisconsin Rapids Chamber of Commerce Gift Certificate.
Fast qualifiers for the evening included Shawn Stelzer, who has now set quick time on 10 consecutive nights in the Stocks. Stelzer, who was eligible for a $650 to come from the back of the pack courtesy of Point Shell/Turbo Wash, elected not to take the challenge as he seeks the division title. Eswein, who was quick qualifier in the Late Models, also turned down the challenge with was worth $1,300 from Hot N' Now.
When it came feature time for the Late Models it was Monte Gress going to the front, while outside front row starter Troy Nelson struggled with what appeared to be an ill-handling car. Nelson fell back on the inside and bobbled a bit, making contact with Jason Weinkauf just after the completion of lap one. As a result the yellow flag flew. Nelson and Weinkauf started in the back when the race restarted.
Gress would lead everyone back to the green with Lepak, Frank Nitzke, Jeff Weinfurter and Eswein following. Gress would slide up the track in turn two on the second lap allowing Lepak to get underneath for the top spot, as Gress settled back into second.
At nearly the same time Nitzke has a similar situation occur, moving to the top of the turn and allowing Weinfurter to go to third and Eswein to grab fourth at Nitzke's expense.
After a couple unsettled opening laps things settled down quickly with Lepak beginning to stretch his lead over Gress out front. The main battle near the front was one for the third position, as Eswein nosed under Weinfurter on lap eight, and the pair clicked off several laps side by side, before Weinfurter reassumed the position.
Just past the halfway point Burton Brown, the defending track champion cracked the top five after a daring three wide pass. Moments later Rene Scheinoha took a wild slide through the infield, but as she was out of harm's way the race continued under green.
While the top four remained constant to the checkered fifth place fell into the hands of Allen Check as Brown developed mechanical problems and began falling back. With nothing to slow his pace Lepak charged to the win some six car lengths ahead of Gress who capped off a strong run with a second place finish. Weinfurter repelled a final challenge from Eswein in the closing laps to take third, with Eswein and Check making up the top five. M.G. Gajewski making his first start of the season finished in sixth.
The Super Stocks would see polesitter Neitzke pace the entire distance of the 25 lap main event, but the race itself was not without drama as his lead was never secured by more than a car length advantage the entire race.
Neitzke and fellow front row starter Brian Stroik squared off during the opening laps with Neitzke about a foot ahead each time at the line during the opening three circuits. Stroik fell back a bit on lap four allowing Gary Wosick, piloting a car normally driven by Galen Manternatch to come up to second.
Wosick closed on Neitzke and the pair were nose to tail by lap five. Further back Jim Cormack was making some swift moved to advance positions. Using the outside line he rallied into the top five by lap six, and had climbed to third at Stroik's expense on lap eight.
Cormack continued his charge using the outside line and he was able to nose ahead of Wosick for the runner-up spot on lap 12. The lead trio would run in tight formation for the second half of a non stop contest, with Neitzke and Wosick preferring the low line and Cormack favoring the outside groove. On a couple occasions Cormack would get a run on the leader Neitzke only to fall back again. A bobble by Cormack with five laps to go briefly put Wosick back in second, but Cormack gathered things back up and mounted one final charge.
Cormack got back past Wosick with two laps to go and gain closed up on Neitzke's rear bumper as the white flag fell. Neitzke however ran a solid line and took the win by less than a car length ahead of Cormack. Wosick was third, Jason Kirsling completed a last lap pass on Stroik for fourth, while Stroik settled for the final top five position.
A smaller than usual field of 4 cylinders were on hand this evening, but the opening lap action in the feature remained as intense as ever with three and four wide racing dominating the opening circuits. Eric Kluever paced the opening lap, before Jason Bell took the top spot on lap two. Goetsch, who started dead last was into the second spot before the end of the lap and by lap three. Goetsch quickly ran down Bell, and using the outside groove motored into the lead on lap five.
Meanwhile Keith Wirtz has charged from the fifth row into the third position and closed quickly on Bell . Wirtz would move into second slipping by Bell with nine laps to go, but his charge would go no further as Goetsch ran a relentless pace. At the finish it was Goetsch coming away with the win, followed by Wirtz and Bell. Keith Kemnetz and Doug Adams finished fourth and fifth in the official standings after a post race DQ.
Next week is the 3rd Annual Mid-State Truck Night at the races. In addition to a full program of racing in the Super Late Models and Super Stocks, the 4 Cylinders will be returning again next week as the guest class. The evening will conclude with the extremely popular Bus Races. 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