May 9, 2003; Plover, WI - Since the beginning of the season, defending track champion Mark Eswein has been steadily improving his feature performances. On opening night two weeks ago he claimed a third place, then last week he scored runner-up honors. This week he completed the quest for victory, taking the 40 lap Late Model main event after passing Allen Check in the closing laps for the event. In the Super Stock feature contest, Keith Bohmsach the 2000 and 2001 division champion, grabbed an early lead and cruised to his first victory of the 2003 season. The newly revived Pure Stock division saw an increase in car count this week which allowed them to run as their own class. Eric Nelson, a former Super Stock and 4 Cylinder racer, would go on to sweep the class, and in doing so he earned his first career feature victory.
The evening started out win some lucky fans winning prizes, among those were Josh Stoltz who won the WAL-MART gift certificate, and Samantha Larson who was the evening's Junior Fan of the Night. For the second consecutive week Eswein would top the Super Late Model qualifying with a lap of 12.225 seconds. Eswein declined the invitation to win a bonus of $300 from Bassuener Excavating, had he accepted the challenge of starting the feature from the back of the pack. Since he declined the challenge amount will rollover to $400 for next week's event. In the Super Stock division, veteran racer Tim Plowman grabbed his first career fast qualifying effort. Plowman was elated to have accomplished the fete after 13 years of trying. He took the Coor's Light Challenge which has a value of $150 should he come from the back of the feature to win. Unfortunately, mechanical problems dropped him from the feature contest.
As the Super Late Model feature rolled out it was Allen Check sitting on the pole with Monte Gress to his outside. The pair ran wheel to wheel for the first two laps before Gress surged ahead taking the lead. Check would slip back a car length while giving chase, as young charger Brandon Selle, moved up to third using the outside groove.
Check began to close the gap on Gress, and sweeping to the bottom of the track he overtook Gress for the top spot on lap eight. Selle, witnessing the maneuver, pulled off a similar pass to annex the second spot from Gress on lap 10.
Before the lap could be completed the caution appeared as Troy Nelson and Burton Brown made contact while doing battle for fourth. Nelson spun and collected the ride of Benjamin Brinkman, whose car suffered the most damage in the melee. While Brinkman's ride needed a tow to the pits, both Nelson and Brown were able to continue from the back of the pack. Moments later as the race was about to restart Brown spun off turn three, ending his evening. At the same time Jim Sauter Jr., stalled on the track while running fifth.
When action returned, Check set the pace, with Gress, Selle, Eswein and Jeff Weinfurter, whose car sported a new yellow color scheme after years of running his traditional red, courtesy of new sponsorship for his machine.
Check again the the pace, and Selle was able to reassert himself and repass Gress for the runner-up spot on lap 13. Eswein followed in Selle's tire tracks and moved into third on lap 16. Gress began to fade back on the outside allowing Weinfurter to climb to fourth and Jeremy Lepak to reach the top five on lap 24.
Out front Check had his hands full as Selle hounded him for the top spot while Eswein waited patiently in third. Further back, Lepak was able to muscle by Weinfurter for fourth as the race continued to wind down.
Back at the front, Check slowly began to pull away from Selle, who now had his hands full with Eswein. Eswein was able to motor past into the runner-up spot with nine laps remaining in the race. In a matter of a couple laps Eswein managed to reach Check's rear bumper and with five laps to go and he got to Check's inside as the pair raced door to door down the backstretch. Eswein nosed into the lead with four laps remaining dropping Check to second. At the same time Lepak got under Selle in turn two to claim the third spot.
The furious pace would be slowed with just two laps remaining as Gress and Joe Krzykowski traded paint, resulting in a spin by Gress. Gress would retire from the race and Krzykowski was sent to the tail of the field. In the sprint to the checkered, Eswein would prove his superiority and take the victory. Check fended off Lepak to earn second with Lepak running to the stripe in third. On the final lap Weinfurter shot be Selle for fourth after the pair rubbed. Frank Nitzke also managed to get under Selle in the final turn winning the drag race back to the line to gain fifth by a matter of inches. Selle would settle for sixth after a strong performance. Also noteworthy was the seventh place run by Brian Back, who made his first start of the year at Golden Sands. Back, who runs a car whose basic chassis dates back some 23 years, had come from the tail of the field after winning the semi-feature.
In earlier action Back had bested Steve Gress in the semi-feature with Chad Devine and Patrick Williams trailing. Heats were won by Greg Back, Brian Back and Burton Brown.
Interrupted only by a single caution the Super Stock event would roll along at a swift pace. Second year Super Stock racer Dan Gollen and Chris Brooks would square off at the start of the main event, while Bohmsach would give chase in third. Gollen would pull ahead of Brooks for the initial lead giving his strongest performance of his career in the class. A quick spin by Galen Manternatch forced a yellow on lap two.
Underway again Gollen had the point, while Bohmsach motored ahead of Brooks for second. Gollen stayed low on the track in effort to stay in the lead, but Bohmsach expertly maneuvered in the outside lane to take the spot on lap six. Meanwhile Brooks began to slip back giving third to Tim Hintz and Jim Cormack. Hintz continued his charge slipping past Gollen on lap nine before setting out after the leader from his newly acquired second position. Gollen now began losing spots, slipping from fourth as Scott Hamel made his way by on lap 14.
The lead five remained the same over the second half of the race as most of the action was taking place behind the lead group. Bohmsach has stretched his lead over Hintz to a dozen car lengths and Hintz for the most part was unable to close due to pressure from Cormack who was fighting hard to grab the second spot.
The event would end with Bohmsach taking a comfortable victory. Hintz would follow a dozen car lengths behind with Cormack in third. With Hamel in fourth. Gollen recorded a career high fifth place run, and Brooks was credited with sixth after a near photo finish with Shawn Stelzer who won last week's feature race.
In the Pure Stock division, the main event was not event a lap old when Dale Risch hit the water barrels which protect the front stretch wall. When the race got the green flag, the balance of the event went uninterrupted dispite a couple cars spinning harmlessly off track. Bert Soyka would lead the race for the first half of the contest before Eric Nelson would slip past for the lead which he held to the checkered. Soyka would finish in second, with Al Bartels, Risch and Andrew Hintz scoring the top five positions.
The evening rounded out with some 30 Cruiser cars participating in three feature races. The team of Wisinski and Szymkowiak powered to victory in the first contest, while Coon and Schultz won the second event. A pair of unregistered drivers won the final event of the evening.
Next week will feature a Fire Department Challenge event, in addition to the usual races for the Super Late Models and Super Stocks. The newly revamped entry level four cylinder class, which turned out in good number for the first race will again join the program. Friday Night racing continues weekly through August. Time Trials take place for weekly events at 6:30p.m. and racing gets underway at 7:45 p.m.
The first major special of the 2003 season at the high-banked third mile asphalt oval is the forthcoming Wisconsin Challenge Series Late Model event, the Memorial 100 set to take place on Memorial Day, Monday Afternoon, May 26th. The highlight of the day will be a 100 lap feature contest for the WCS Super Late Models. Twin 30 lap qualifying races will set the field for the event which will pay $2,000 to win and $400 to start. Also on the program will be the popular Wisconsin Sport Trucks. The miniature truck bodied racers are powered by snowmobile engines and can race three and four wide while achieving speeds approaching those of the Late Models.
2-Man Cruisers will also join the show with their wild on track antics, and the day will be complete with the ever popular Bus Races, as the behemoths do battle on the high banking.
Gates will open for the WCS Special at 10:30a.m., with time trials at 12:30 p.m. and racing starting promptly at 2:00 p.m. Admission for the show is a fan friendly $12.
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