August 2, 2002; Plover, WI - Fans and race teams turned out in large numbers as over 110 cars jammed the pit area on CARQUEST Night at the races. Jason Weinkauf was riding in third place in the Super Late Model main event at Golden Sands Speedway, content with that effort after a solid run.
On lap 39 of the 40 lap con test Burton Brown and Frank Nitzke who had been battling side by side for the lead for much of the last half of the contest would decide the winner on the final lap. But when the tire smoke cleared in the backstretch it was Weinkauf who was waved to victory lane earning his first feature win at the third-mile high banked paved oval since June of the 2000 season.
In the Super Stock division fans were treated to a tooth and nail battle for the lead between Jason Kirsling and Randy Storlie that saw the pair exchange paint before Kirsling was able to get around Storlie for the lead. He then held off the challenges of quick timer Shawn Stelzer for his second feature flag of the 2002 season. Newcomer Kyle Davis captured top honors in the 4 Cylinder division and a full field of 2-Man Cruiser racing completed the evening.
As action began fan prizes were given away with Christine Kuhn taking the WAL-MART gift certificate for the evening, and Bret Atkinson became the Junior Fan Club Member of the evening. Before racing began the fast qualifiers were also given the option to run for some bonus money for the evening.
Shawn Stelzer, who recorded his 112th fast qualifying effort of the season in the Super Stocks elected not to take the Point Shell/Turbo Wash challenge which was worth $750 if he could win the event from the back of the pack. However, Gary Back, making his first appearance in weekly racing this season turned fast qualifying honors in the Super Late Models and did opt to take the challenge worth $1,500 from Hot N' Now. Back however was stymied by tight traffic and could climb no higher than eighth in the feature race.
17 cars rolled to the green flag for the 40 lap Late Model headliner with polesitter Brandon Selle and Frank Nitzke racing hard for the initial lead. Nitzke was able to clear Selle for the top spot on the opening lap using the high groove on the banked oval. Jason Weinkauf, also running the high line followed Nitzke and he moved alongside Selle to contest the runner-up position. The first of just two caution flags flew on lap four when Greg Back was noted to be dropping fluid on the track.
Underway the green waved with Nitzke, Weinkauf, Selle, Joe Krzykowski and defending champion Burton Brown in the top five positions. Nitzke got a good start to resume command of the race, while Brown darted under Krzykowski on lap six to advance to fourth. Krzykowski would fall out of the top five on lap 12, when Doug Drost moved into the fifth position. Brown continued his charge moving up to the third spot with an outside pass on Selle on the next lap.
On lap 18,l the pace slowed for the final time when Greg Back spun in turn two. The field realigned with Nitzke, Weinkauf, Brown, Selle and Drost holding the top five positions. The action would heat back up with the race got back underway. Brown got a good restart and rolled alongside Weinkauf annexing the second spot. Nitzke meanwhile had built a small lead but Brown was quick to narrow the gap.
As the race rolled won to a dozen laps Nitzke and Brown began to square off for the lead. Nizke who preferred the high groove stayed on the high side of the track, while Brown was getting a good run off the bottom of the turns especially in one and two. The pair drew event a couple times before Brown briefly fell back in line before restarting his challenge for the top spot with five laps to go.
Nitzke's momentum kept him ahead at the line by the smallest of margins each lap. The lead pair reach the white flag dead even with Weinkauf two car lengths back with Drost in tow. Going down the backstretch on the final laps Nitzke and Brown banged wheels. Nitzke began to slide up the tracks and would up losing control of his car spinning into turn three. He was avoided by the rest of the field as the caution and the checkered came out. As a result of the caution, the cars involved in the cause of the caution, which were Nitzke and Brown, were scored at the tail of the field in the 14th and 15th positions respectively.
Weinkauf was credited with winning the race. Going back to the white flag lap for the official finish put Drost in second, Jeremy Lepak third, Mark Eswein fourth and Jeff Weinfurter rounding out the top five.
Mike Brooks and Randy Storlie squared off for the initial lead in the Super Stock feature contest, with Brooks grabbing the front spot through the opening laps of the event. Storlie remounted a challenge for the top spot on lap seven diving to the bottom of the track in turn one to take the lead. As the same moment Jason Kirsling, who had started in the sixth spot, had moved around Dave Neitzke for the third position. Kirlsing wasted little time reeling in Brooks and he secured the second spot on lap ten.
Storlie would soon have his hands full up front as Kirsling closed up to his rear bumper by the halfway point of the 25 lap contest. Kirsling kept looking to the outside and managed to get alongside Storlie with ten laps left in the race. The pace was slowed only briefly with eight laps to go when Nicholas Quinnell spun in turn two with eight laps to go.
The field restacked with Kirsling lead, while Storlie and fast qualifier Shawn Stelzer would pair up in the next row. When the green flag returned Kirlsing pull away while Stelzer got the better of Storlie to grabbed second. Kirsling was never able to get much breathing room on his way to the checkered was Stelzer haunted him to the finish. Kirsling took the win by two car lengths. Stelzer took second. Tim Hintz, who won the previous two features rallied to third in the final laps. Storlie and Brooks completed the top five finishers.
Fans were treated to the closest racing of the year in the 4 cylinder class as Eric Nelson and Kyle Davis put on a show while tussling for the top spot through much of the contest. Nelson had Davis tossed the top spot back and forth on several occasions before Davis finally got the upper hand prior to the lone caution of the event when Mark Anhalt spun. Davis was able to pull away to a comfortable lead over the field until Jason Bell, who was gunning for his third win of the evening after topping the dash and his heat, moved into second with just a few laps remaining. Bell however was unable to mount a serious challenge and Davis came home the winner. Bell, Keith Wirtz, Dale Louze and Keith Kemnetz made up the top five finishers.
The evening was also spiced with the first roll over in the Super Stock division in well over a year when Donald Tieman Jr., belted the water barrels which protect the wall on the frontstretch during the semi-feature. Tieman then rolled onto his roof coming to a rest near the flagstand. Though the accident looked violent, Tieman was unhurt in the incident, but his car was.
Next weekend Golden Sands Speedway will host two nights of action with their weekly race program program on Friday Night August 9th, and the Wisconsin Challenge Series race on Sunday Afternoon August 11th.
The Friday evening show presented by Kwik Trip and Tobacco Outlet will feature Super Late Models, Super Stocks and 4 Cylinders. It's expected several Super Late Model teams will take advantage of the weekly program to get a feel for the track for Sunday's big show. Spectator races will conclude the race program. Time Trials for the weekly race events are set for 6:30 p.m., with the first race getting underway at 7:45 p.m.
On Sunday Afternoon, the Wisconsin Challenge Series Legends of Yesterday 75 event will highlight the weekend with a 75 lap Super Late Model feature contest featuring a field of 22 of the state's finest weekly short track racers. Twin 30 lap qualifying races will be held to set the balance of the starting grid as the fastest 16 qualifiers automatically start the main event. Pit Gates will open at 1:00 p.m., with Time Trials at 3:00 p.m., and racing starting at 5:00 p.m.
The Super Late Models will be joined by the snowmobile engine powered Wisconsin Sport Trucks. These miniature trucks have proven they can race three and four wide on the high-banked track and were exceptionally popular with the fans when the joined the WCS race last August. The third leg of the Wisconsin State 2-Man Cruiser Championship will wind up the weekend. All totaled some 100 cars will see the track on Sunday Afternoon.
In addition to the racing events on the track, a swap meet and memorabilia show is scheduled to take place in the grandstand area beginning at 3:00 p.m., so fans can buy, sell and trade items which the wish to bring to the track. The fan friendly admission price is just $10 for adults for this special event.
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
Wisconsin Challenge Series information can be found by calling (920) 731-6804 or by logging onto the series website at www.wisconsinchallenge.com