August 29, 2003; Plover, WI - It was an evening to celebrate, as the Golden Sands Speedway concluded it's title chases in several divisions. A variety of awards were bestowed upon drivers who earned season titles, or captured the overall title in the Coca-Cola Season Championship program. On a cool evening fans were treated to racing in four divisions.
Capturing checkered flags tonight in feature action were Chris Weinkauf, who was making a rare appearance at the speedway in Super Late Model division. He along with Jeff Kendall, who set fast time, would tie for the overall Coca-Cola Championship title for the evening. Both drivers were on hand not only for this evenings championship race, but were here to prepare for next Friday evening's Wisconsin Challenge Series race, where both drivers are locked in a duel for a points position in that series. On this evening, there efforts were rewarded with a tie. The overall season title was captured by defending champion Mark Eswein, who now has claimed four track titles in the past five seasons on the high-banked third mile paved oval.
In Super Stock action several different drivers were awarded for their efforts. Jason Kirsling would top the main event for the evening, recording his fourth feature win of the 2003 season. The high point earner for the evening however was Tim Plowman who set fast time, claimed third in his heat and fourth in the feature. Plowman, who work third shift had to leave the raceway to go to work, but his crew presented his car for the Coca-Cola Championship Night ceremonies. The overall title however went to Shawn Stelzer, who for the past several seasons, had finished in the top three in the standings. He now has a Golden Sands Speedway Super Stock title to his credit.
In 4 Cylinder action, Randy Nitzsche captured the feature race and set fast time winning the evening's overall Coca-Cola Championship title, while Adam Krzykowski secured the season championship in the class. It was easy to figure out the evening's champion in the Pure Stock division as Frank Calabrese nailed down a sweep of the evening, taking the night's title as well. The final point night for the Pure Stock division will be next Friday evening as the class runs as a support division for the Wisconsin Challenge Series event.
Fans also received tons of awards and accolades as a huge number of Coca-Cola related prizes were distributed during intermission. Further Rebecca Stelzer was named the Short Trax Jr. Fan of the Night, and A.J. Eswein was awarded the evening's WAL-MART gift certificate giveaway.
During opening ceremonies, Charlie Schwock, a very popular veteran racer who has competed at Golden Sands Speedway for many of his 33 years in the sport, announced his retirement. Schwock would then narrowly miss winning his heat, and completed his final run behind the wheel with a solid third place showing in the Super Late Model consolation.
In qualifying action, Kendall topped the Super Late Model leaderboard, but was ineligible for the hard charge bonus from Bassuener Excavating, which stood at $1,900. Since the event was the last of the year and the prize went unclaimed, much of the money was placed into the feature for the evening and the balance will go to the point fund. Likewise the $950 which was up for grabs to Plowman in the Super Stocks, went unclaimed and the funds will be distributed in a manner similar to the Super Late Models. In the 4 Cylinders Randy Nitzsche won the $50 bonus from Plover Auto Body, winning the feature after electing to start in the tail of the field.
With all the preliminary events out of the way, of the 36 Super Late Models times in, a healthy field of 19 would take the green flag for the start of their 50 lap main event. The front row of Dean Lapointe and Burton Brown brought the field to the green flag with Lapointe leading the opening lap utilizing the outside line. Brown would rally back and nose ahead for the top spot on the next lap and the two engaged in a see saw battle for the lead. Chris Weinkauf meanwhile had worked his way into the third position following the lead pair a car length behind.
The leader Lapointe and Brown raced at close quarters exchanging paint on several occasions. Brown had gained some momentum and moved ahead by a bit on lap eight but slipped a bit coming off turn four allowing Lapointe to again take the lead position. Shortly thereafter however, the pair made contact which resulted in Lapointe spinning down the backstretch. Both drivers would have to restart the race from the rear of the field, and as a result Weinkauf was now in the lead.
With the lead in hand Weinkauf brought the field back to speed with Jeff Weinfurter giving chase with Brian Back in tow. Over the course of the next 20 laps Weinfurter attempted on several occasions to use the low line to get under Weinkauf, but each time his efforts were thwarted was Weinkauf was setting a very rapid pace. Back meanwhile lurked in the third position as the lead trio blistered around the track a dozen car lengths ahead of their closest competitor, Eswein who had moved up to fourth.
The high speed ballet continued without interruption but got a good deal more intense among the leaders as the began to encounter lapped traffic, which narrowed the gap between the leaders. The only thing to slow the pace was a final caution with nine laps to go when Travis Sauter, who had captured the semi-feature this evening, looped his ride in turn four.
Underway for the sprint to the finish Weinkauf was able to get a good jump on Weinfurter and he would carry that momentum to the finish taking the win by a half car length. Back, slipped back a bit in the closing laps but finished s solid third. In the final laps Jason Weinkauf, Chris' younger brother, slipped past Eswein for the fourth spot. Eswein would complete the top five on the evening.
The Super Stock main event Chris Brooks would outgun Dan Gollen for the top spot as the green flag flew taking the top spot. Kirsling working the high side of the racetrack would secure second before the completion of the second lap, with Gollen settling into third.
The lead pair of Brooks and Kirsling slowly pulled away from the field while positions swapped behind them. Stelzer had reached the third spot on lap six and started to slowly narrow the gap on the lead duo.
Brooks running a smooth line appeared to have the speed to keep Kirsling at bay. On lap 12 Stelzer made a quick maneuver under Kirsling for the second spot and he was attempting to take the lead from Brooks on lap 15 when he drifted high allowing Kirsling to regain second. With 12 laps to go Gollen spun his car in turn three forcing the lone slowdown of the contest.
After the green flag flew Brooks and Kirsling would engage in a wheel to wheel battle for the top spot. Kirsling using the outside line slowly inched ahead of Brooks, taking the spot with nine laps to go. Brooks would give chase the balance of the race to the finish but we was unable to regain his lead. Kirsling flashed under the checkered flag with a car length on Brooks. Stelzer would settle for third, Plowman fourth and Galen Manternatch completed the top five.
In Pure Stock action, after plenty of three and four wide racing, fast qualifier and enduro racer Frank Calabrese shot to the lead before lap three began. Harvey Vera followed his moved and ran second by lap five but he was unable to cut into the three car length lead Calabrese had established. The pair would weave through lapped traffic to the checkered with Calabrese completing the sweep. Vera, Eric Nelson, current point leader Bert Soyka and Michael Gwidt completed the top five finishers.
The final event of the evening was the 4 cylinder feature race. Eric Kluever paced the opening circuits of the main event while fast qualifier Randy Nitzsche worked his way to second early in the contest. Kluever was able to fend off the thirst of several challenges presented by Nitzsche, but finally succumbed to the pressure on lap just two laps remaining. Randy Nitzsche would capture the event, while Kluever was able to reach the finish line inches ahead of Torey Nitzsche for second. Point champion Adam Krzykowski claimed fourth and Mike Oehmichen completed the top five runners.
Two events remain on the season schedule for Golden Sands Speedway. Next Friday evening, September 5th, the Wisconsin Challenge Series will visit Golden Sands Speedway to host their championship event. The race will conclude it's 10 race season which saw the series travel to seven different venues. To date over 100 different drivers have earned points in the series this season with many point battles being sorted out during the final race.
The highlight of the championship event at Golden Sands will be a 100 lap feature
contest. A pair of 30 lap qualifying races will set the balance of the field for big