August 9, 2002; Plover, WI - While the Golden Sands Speedway "Eve of Devastation" is still over a month away, fans watching the evening's action on the high-banked third mile got a preview of some of the mayhem as no less than a half dozen cars scattered the water barrels which protect the front stretch wall to reduce the impact of errant cars when the leave the racing surface.
None of the six drivers hitting the barrels were injured, and better still many, including the Late Models of Eugene Gregorich Jr. and Ted Reichenberger, were able to make repairs to their cars and participate in the program later in the evening. When things settled down for the feature events, Jeremy Lepak would bolt from his pole starting berth to capture his fourth Super Late Model feature win of the 2002 season.
Tim Hintz, grabbed his third Super Stock main event win in the past four weeks, and effort which would give him the point lead in the division standings as the weeks wind down. Dennis Goetsch rounded out the nights winners taking top honors in the four cylinder class.
Action began early on the 4th Annual Kwik Trip / Tobacco Outlet Night, as representatives from Kwik Trip swapped paint in the Budweiser IROC Saturn's setting the tone for the evening. In addition to some wild racing, fans attending were given tons of door prizes and a couple lucky winners including Brandon Selle was picked at the Junior Fan of the Night, while Krystle Amble won the WAL-MART Gift certificate.
In Preliminary action, Shawn Stelzer borrowed the backup car of fellow racer Tim Plowman, and earned his 13th fast qualifying effort of the season. Stelzer only missed fast time on one occasion this year. However, driving an unfamiliar car he opted not to take the Point Shell / Turbo Wash Challenge which was worth $800 if he could have won from the back of the pack.
In the Late Model division, Jason Weinkauf, fresh of a feature win last week, set quick time and did take the $1,600 to win, Hot N' Now Challenge. Weinkauf however was unable to collect, but did finish a solid seventh in the main event.
An interesting note on the evening was a visit from a long distance traveler who decided to come racing in Wisconsin. Mark Chrudimsky from Texas made the trek to Golden Sands Speedway and would turn in a solid performance in the Super Late Models taking a win in his heat race. Chrudimsky plans to stick around to compete in the Wisconsin Challenge Series race on Sunday evening.
With some wild preliminary events out of the way, things settled down for the feature contests. In the Super Stock feature race saw the race roll out with 16 cars taking the green flag for the 25 lap event. Chris Brooks using the outside line powered past polesitter Cary Lyons for the initial lead. Jim Cormack, running the outside groove topped a battle with Merle Weinfurter for the third spot and continued his march forward moving alongside Lyons to contest the second position.
On lap eight Lyons lost grip coming off turn four and spun into the infield ending his run near the front of the pack. This left Brooks in the lead. Cormack would hold down second followed by Tim Hintz who had come from the eighth spot running third. Debris on the track slowed the pace again on lap ten, brining the field back up to Brooks' rear bumper. When the green waved again Brooks went back to the lead, while Hintz and Cormack squared off for second. Hintz would get the better of that battle and surged forward to challenge Brooks for the top spot.
On lap 12, Hintz used the high line and moved next to Brooks to challenge for the top spot. The pair knocked off several laps side by side before Hintz edged ahead to take the lead with ten laps to go. The pace was slowed again with eight laps to go for more debris in turn two. With the green flag waving Hintz pulled away from the battle for second which waged between Brooks and Cormack. A final caution appeared with just four laps to go when Galen Manternatch, who was running in the top five spun in turn two.
Hintz was able to hold the top spot to the checkered fending off Cormack for the victory. Cormack would cross the line in second six car lengths back. Weinfurter used an inside move on the white flag lap to nip Brooks for third. Brooks and Andy Simonis rounded out the top five runners.
The Super Late Model feature settled in with 17 cars taking the green. Lepak who sat on the pole outgunned Burton Brown at the drop of the green taking the lead, which he would hold the entire distance of the contest. Brown gave chase in second while Greg Weinfurter and Greg Back diced for second. Back would get the position on lap four. Weinfurter continued to backpedal, as Troy Nelson, who had started eighth rolled up to take the fourth position on lap nine.
Out front Lepak was already building a solid lead as Brown was coming under pressure from Back for the second position. At the halfway point Lepak had a dozen car lengths on Brown who continued to hold off Back. Nelson closed up to join the duel for second, and current point leader Mark Eswein cracked the top five on lap 21.
With eight laps to go Back, using the outer groove, was able to surpass Brown for the runner-up spot. Nelson dropped Brown another notch with four laps remaining to grab third and set his sights on Back. On the very next lap Chris Bires spun in turn four brining out the caution and erasing Lepak's comfortable lead.
The racing to the checkered would be hotly contested for second as paint was traded between Back, Nelson and Brown. This allowed Lepak to sprint away for the win. On the final lap Nelson was able to get under Back for the second position as Back pushed up the raceway. Brown also dove to Back's inside through the final turns.
At the wire Lepak had six car lengths on Nelson, who was followed to the line by Brown who topped a wild scramble for third. Eswein nosed out Back for fourth with Back recovering from a wild last lap, which resulted in him acquiring a broken fender taking fifth. Jeff Weinfurter finished sixth followed by last weeks feature winner and fast qualifier Jason Weinkauf grabbing seventh.
The 4 Cylinders had a pair of cautions during their race. Eric Kluever paced two laps of the event before Rodney Feltz, making his first start of the year at Golden Sands executed a daring three wide pass for the lead. Fast qualifier Dennis Goetsch made a similar three wide pass for second on lap four and he quickly reeled in Feltz. Goetsch would maneuver by Feltz for the lead on the next lap as Keith Wirtz, the current point leader joined the lead trio.
Title contender Jason Bell looped his car in turn two slowing the pace and bunching the field on lap eight. With Goetsch out front the battle for second became heated which resulted in Wirtz taking a wild off track excursion into the water barrel. Wirtz was done for the evening with Feltz banished to the back of the pack for the final sprint to the checkered. Goetsch completed the distance uninterrupted with Bell rebounding for second. Last weeks feature winner Kyle Davis got third ahead of Keith Kemnetz and Feltz who rounded out the top five.
On Sunday Afternoon, the Wisconsin Challenge Series Legends of Yesterday 75 event will present a 75 lap Super Late Model 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. Snowmobile engine powered Wisconsin Sport Trucks will join the show which will conclude with 2-Man Cruiser action.
Next Friday evening's show will be the 3rd Annual Fabco Night featuring Super Late Models, Super Stocks and 2-Man Cruisers. The ever popular Bus Races will also be on tap for the evening with their oven brand of big time excitement. 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.
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