May 17, 2002; Plover, WI - It was a cold evening as Golden Sands Speedway presented it's third weekly Friday Night program of the season. The weather necessitated some minor changes in the program which results in the elimination of the heats for the Super Stocks and Super Late Models, but fans were treated to extended feature races. The change in the program allowed the chilled crowd to watch a compete show before 10 p.m.
In the Super Late Model division those extra laps paid off for Wausau's Jeremy Lepak, who rim rode the high-banked third-mile paved oval past defending champion Burton Brown in the closing laps to win his first feature victory of the season.
In the Super Stock division it was former division champion Gary Wosick jumping behind the wheel of the machine normally driven by rookie Galen Manternatch, and taking a thrilling victory a 30 lap headliner. In the 4 Cylinders John Froelich of Chippewa Falls drove 2 1/2 hours to compete and came away with his first career feature victory at Golden Sands.
Fans also came out a winner this evening with several taking major prizes. Those included Michelle Basinski who won a Wal-Mart Gift Certificate, Cody Volm who won the River City Motors Rapid Chamber Gift Certificate and Billy Kuehl who was the Jr. Fan Club Member of the week.
Racing got underway with a full pit area, and Troy Nelson who is running a full season this year at Golden Sands captured his first career fast qualifying effort in the Super Late Models. Nelson turned a lap of 12.121 seconds besting the 28 car field. Nelson, who is chasing the point title opted not to take the Hot N' Now Challenge which was worth $400 and start in his normal starting position rather than start in back.
In the Super Stocks it was Shawn Stelzer setting quick time for the third consecutive week besting a 36 cars field. Stelzer, did take the opportunity to run for the Point Shell/Turbo Wash Challenge which was up to $200. Stelzer however exited the feature event early leaving the prize unclaimed.
17 cars took the green flag for the 40 lap Late Model main event. Defending track champion Burton Brown managed to secure the pole position for the second week setting up next to Brandon Selle. Brown was able to nose out Selle for the initial lead, while Selle slipped back in the outside lane. With Brown out front, the evenings fast qualifier Troy Nelson was busy advancing through the field after starting fourth. He used the outside line to clear Selle for second on lap four.
Allen Check who had started sixth, was also using the outside line with a good deal of success taking third from Selle one lap later. A quick caution flew on lap seven when Frank Nitzke slid through the grass. Underway again Lepak who had started mid-pack was quickly picking off cars on the outside. He cracked the top five with 12 laps in the books.
Check was also looking for a way to the front, and pulled off a slick inside pass on Nelson on lap 16 to gain second. Judd Brandl and Greg Weinfurter made contact on lap 18 was Brandl went for a quick spin in turn three forcing the second caution to appear.
Brown brought the field back up to speed with Check search for a way to the front. Meanwhile continued his charge moving to fourth on lap 20, and following that up with a charge past Nelson on the outside on lap 22. Out front Brown and Check waged a wheel to wheel battle for the top spot.
Check actually nosed ahead briefly in the outside lane before Brown powered back ahead. Check then fell in behind to search for a way past Brown on the bottom. That move however allowed Lepak full use of the outside line. Lepak got a good run off turn four on lap 29 and motored past Check for second.
Using the momentum of the outside line Lepak reeled in Brown and with eight laps to go secured the top position. Having witnesses the pass Check again switched to the outside line and this time made his car stick, motoring to second as the laps clicked off. Lepak was comfortable out front when the checkered flag fell. Check took a solid second, last weeks feature winner Kirby Kurth would nose out Brown for third at the wire. Brown, Mark Eswein and Chris Weinkauf made up the top five at the finish.
The Super Stock feature lined up 17 cars strong to take the green with Wosick getting the jump on visiting driver Paul Brown. Wosick was able to file into the lead Brown fell back on the outside. Tim Plowman came up to secure second and gave chase to Wosick who was setting a quick pace out front.
Jim Cormack who had started seventh made some slick moves in the opening laps to run third by the fifth lap, bringing Tim Hintz with him to fourth. Cormack then moved up to challenge Plowman for the runner-up spot. Just as the battle was shaping up Brown did a quick spin coming to a stop in turn four forcing the first caution flag to appear.
On the restart Wosick again took command, while Cormack powered past Plowman for the runner-up spot. Plowman slid up the track a bit on lap 16 which gave Hintz the opportunity to advance to third. Out front the battle was heating up as Cormack closed on Wosick. Cormack switched to the outside line as the laps clicked off managing to get next to him on lap 22 and he actually nosed ahead to lead lap 23. Wosick however wasn't about to give up as he inched ahead by the slimmest of margins with five laps remaining. The side by side duel caused cars to line up behind the lead duo pack style.
With three laps remaining, Jason Kirsling who had clawed his way to third attempted a three wide pass which failed. Kirsling had made contact with Cormack who spun his car in turn three forcing the final caution with three laps to go.
The dash to the checkered saw Wosick get a clean break for the lead, while last week's feature winner Keith Bohmsach and Hintz squared off for second. Wosick would take the win a car length ahead of Bohmsach, with Hintz taking third. Randy Storlie edged out Merle Weinfurter by a couple feet for fourth.
The 4 cylinders ran a complete show this evening and 19 cars took the green flag for the final race of the evening. Roger Stanczek paced the first to laps of the event before Brandon Abbott took the top position. John Froelich moved into second by lap five and began to pressure Abbot for the top spot. The pair ran wheel to wheel for several laps as Froelich attempted to gain the advantage in the outside lane. Froelich finally used the momentum off the banking to secure the lead on lap nine.
Froelich would lead to the checkered with Abbott holding fast to second. Jason Bell would nip Stanczek for third, while Mike Merriam completed the top five.
Racing continues at Golden Sands Speedway with the running of the weather delayed Wisconsin Challenge Series Ice Breaker 75 on Sunday featuring the Wisconsin Challenge Series Late Models, Super Stocks and 2-Man Cruisers. Time Trials will be at 12:30 p.m., with racing at 2:00 p.m. for this special event.
Weekly racing on Friday evenings continues next week as Super Late Models, Super Stocks and 2-Man Cruisers are on the card. WSPT will also have a VIP party at the track. 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