August 8, 2003; Plover, WI - With nearly 130 cars checked into the pits at Golden Sadns Speedway, a huge turnout of fans attending CARQUEST Auto Stores / Merle Weinfurter / Fan Appreciation Night got their share of entertainment as over 22 events took place on the high banked third-mile paved oval. In addition to a wide variety of racing action, a huge number of prizes were given away during the course of the program, donated by the track, the drivers and local businesses. The fan participation started even before the qualifying began as every child in the stands was given an opportunity to take a ride in a race car.
In racing action, Benjamin Brinkman of Oshkosh, who became a regular at Golden Sands Speedway only a couple season as go in the Super Late Model division scored his first career feature victory in convincing fashion fending off the challenges of Monte Gress for the victory. In the Super Stock division, Jason Kirsling was awarded the victory in an uncharacteristically accident prone Super Stock feature contest. The win was Kirsling's third feature win of the season. In the Legends cars, which were making their first appearance of the 2003 season Elliott Weiler captured the victory. Pure Stock action saw Eric Nelson grab the main event checkered. Three 2-Man Cruiser contests were held with event wins going to the teams of Neilsen and Engman, Sankey and Poinek with Bohm and Johndro taking the final checkered of the evening.
In preliminary action current point leaders Mark Eswein and Shawn Stelzer scored fast qualifying honors in the respective Super Late Model and Super Stock divisions. Neither driver opted to take the evening's challenge which awarded bonus money if they could win the races from the back of the pack. The Basseuner Excavating Challenge which was up to $1,600 for the Super Late Models and the Super Stocks prize presented by Coor's Light was up to $800.
Andy Simonis and Dave Neitzke sat on the front row for the start of the Super Stock main event. Neitzke got a good jump at the start of the race, but Simonis was able to fight back on the inside at the end of the first lap to take the lead. Simonis would set the pace as Cary Lyons and Keith Bohmsach moved into second and third respectively on lap two of the 30 lap contest. The first slowdown of the contest occurred when Chris Brooks and Wally Kallman got tangled on the backstretch.
A quick spin by Galen Manternatch brought the action to a halt again on lap 7 before racing resumed. Underway again Simonis would hold the point with Lyons and Bohmsach dueling for second. Bohmsach running the high groove edged ahead into second. Meanwhile Jason Kirsling had made some good choices on the restart and was up to fifth doing battle with Jim Cormack for position.
Bohmsach moved up to challenge Simonis for the lead on lap nine. The pair would run door to door for several laps before Simonis regrouped and solidified his lead. Bohmsach continued in his quest for the lead again working the outside edging ahead on lap 12. Coming off turn four on lap 17 the lead pair brushed and both drivers spun. As a result they had to restart the event from the tail of the field.
This turned the lead over to Kirsling, with fast qualifier Shawn Stelzer and Cormack in pursuit. Cormack would get a great restart and move up to challenge Kirsling for the top spot, but only one more lap was completed before Neitzke and Tim Hintz became tangled in turn one. Underway again Kirsling was ready for the next restart and maintained the lead, this time with Stelzer providing the challenge. Cormack found himself having to contest the third spot as Tim Plowman was looking to improve his position after a solid run through the field.
With four laps to go another caution appeared slowing the longest green flag stretch of the contest and setting up a four lap dash to the checkered. That distance however proved to be too challenging for the field tonight as a chain reaction incident with just two laps to go that involved up to a half dozen cars forced officials to stop the contest at 28 laps due to the time limit for the race expiring.
Kirsling was awarded the win with Stelzer and Cormack placing second and third. Bohmsach recovered nicely from his earlier spin and avoided the late race accident to claim fourth, with Scott Hamel, the winner of the evening's semi-feature picking his way through the field to finish fifth.
The Super Late Model contest had far fewer slowdowns for that divisions 40 lap main event. The main contestants for the lead thoughout much of the race, polesitter Monte Gress and outside front row starter Benjamin Brinkman would do battle for the lead both during the opening laps of the event, and during the closing stages of the race. Brinkman running the high groove inched ahead to pace the opening laps, while Gress fell back into a duel with Frank Nitzke for the runner-up spot.
Nitzke would slide up the track on lap five, allowing Jeremy Lepak to climb into third. On lap ten Mark Van spun his car in turn one forcing the first caution of the race. Underway again Brinkman had to fend off both Gress and Lepak prior to the next brief slowdown needed when Greg Back looped his ride on lap 13.
After that restart, Brinkman struggled to keep his car in the low groove allowing Gress to maneuver to his inside and the pair again ran door to door for the top spot. Gress was inches ahead when the next slowdown of the event occurred at the halfway point as the cars of Greg Weinfurter and Mike Budleski would up stacked atop one another on the front stretch. Neither were able to continue.
The race now resumed in earnest as Gress led the way. Lepak quickly shot to the outside of Brinkman and secured the runner-up spot before switching lane in a slick maneuver to work under Gress for the lead. Lepak became the third leader of the contest on lap 22. In a similar fashion Eswein also disposed of Brinkman and Gress climbing into the second spot on lap 25.
Lepak and Eswein began to pull away and began their own private battle for the top spot, while Gress and Brinkman again resumed battle as they had earlier, but this time it was for the third position. That battle would again become one for the lead when the lead duo of Lepak and Eswein made the slightest contact on lap 31 resulting in both cars spinning.
This gave the lead back to Brinkman, with Gress, Allen Check, Jason Weinkauf and Todd Stapleman in tow. The final nine laps to the finish saw Brinkman and Gress continue their spirited battle for the lead. Brinkman opting for the low line and Gress using the upper groove. As the white flag flew Gress nosed ahead, but on the final lap Brinkman was able to edge ahead down the backstretch. The drag race to the finish would decide the race and Brinkman managed to reach the line inches ahead of Gress. Check, Weinkauf, Stapleman and Jeff Weinfurter who had transferred from the semi-feature and came from deep in the field made up the top six finishers.
Next Friday evening is Mid-State Truck Night at the races. In addition to the Super Late Models and Super Stock divisions the Pure Stocks will again return along with the final Friday Night appearance of the Bus Races.
Time Trials take place for weekly events at 6:30 p.m. and racing gets underway at 7:45 p.m.
Golden Sands Speedway "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