May 16, 2003; Plover, WI - If you were in attendance at Golden Sands Speedway during the closing laps of the Super Late Model main event, chances are good you didn't need your seat. Your were standing, watching one of the best battles for victory in the history of Golden Sands Speedway. Jim Sauter Jr., and 1998 track champion Joe Krzykowski, simply amazed the crowd with a back and forth battle for the top spot that wasn't settled until the final turn, when Sauter edged Krzykowski by about a foot and a half for his second career feature win at the high-banked third mile paved oval.
In Super Stock action is was Scott Hamel able to hold off a late race charge by fast qualifier Shawn Stelzer, to earn his second feature victory of the young season. In the recently revamped 4 cylinder division, Stephen Stewart swept the class for his first career feature win at the track. During opening ceremonies, representatives from five area volunteer fire departments participated in the Fireman's Challenge race driving equally prepared Saturn cars. Golden Sands Speedway made a donation to each of the fire departments that participated in the event which was won by a fireman representing the Plover Fire department.
Fans also celebrated some victories, with numerous giveaways during the evening including the WAL-MART Gift Certificate which was won by Kristin Blader, and the Short Trax Jr. Fan of The Week, which was an honor bestowed upon Kayla Schiesser.
During preliminary action, Jeremy Lepak scored his first fast qualifying effort since the 2001 season, besting the filed with a lap of 12.264 seconds. That speed edged Krzykowski for the top spot by a mere .003 seconds. Lepak then opted to take the Bassuener Excavating Challenge, which was worth $400 if he could win the event coming from the back of the pack.
Unfortunately he was involved in a multi-car tangle near the end of the race and was unable to collect the prize. In the Super Stock division, Shawn Stelzer was back atop the fast qualifying list, but he did not accept a similar challenge presented by Coors Light. The among of $200 went unclaimed. Stewart, accepted the Plover Auto Body challenge and won the prize in the 4 cylinder division after coming from the tail to with that division's feature.
The side by side racing began at the drop of the green flag in the Super Late Model 40 lap contest. Polesitter Mark Mackesy and outside front row starter Troy Nelson squared off running wheel to wheel for the top spot. Nelson work work the outside lane to perfection taking the initial lead as Mackesy fell into line behind him. Sauter Jr., would move alongside Mackesy and begin to challenge for the runner-up spot by the second lap, as Krzykowski made some swift moves in the opening circuit to run fourth.
The pace was slowed when multiple cars spun harmlessly in turn two, with minimal contact. On the restart on lap five Nelson drover back into the lead, but Mackesy had his hands full as Sauter Jr., wheeled to his inside. Within the next lap Mackesy found himself giving up second on lap six. Krzykowski put a similar move on Mackesy to grab third four circuits later.
Meanwhile Sauter Jr., was expertly wheeling his ride around the outer groove and used his momentum to sweep past Nelson for the top position. He then began to slowly pull away from the pack behind. Nelson would drop another position on lap 12, when Krzykowski, using the low line scooted past for second.
As the race rolled past the halfway point Sauter Jr., maintained the lead with Krzykowski slowly cutting the margin down from a dozen car lengths. Nelson, Mackesy and Jason Weinkauf held down the top five positions as the race swiftly moved along.
The event's second and final caution which appeared when Scott Beyer spun off the track in turn two ending a solid performance. A false restart which caused a chain reaction accident that eliminated Jeff Weinfurter and fast qualifier Jeremy Lepak, left the remaining cars to do battle for the final 16 laps.
On the restart, Sauter Jr., and Krzykowski immediately began to put on a show for the fans. Preferring the outside line Sauter Jr., allowed Krzykowski the bottom groove, which Krzykowski a veteran racer used to move alongside the talented youngster Sauter Jr.
The pair would race side by side, with each driver taking turns leading by inches at the line. Sauter Jr., nosed ahead by a half car length briefly with ten laps to go, but Krzykowski tenaciously fought back on the inside and again made it a duel of inches for the top spot. Sauter Jr., briefly slid up the track with five laps to go, allowing Krzykowski to scoot ahead briefly.
The very next lap Krzykowski also pushed up the track breaking his momentum and allowing Sauter Jr., to roar ahead by a half car length on his outside. Meanwhile just two car lengths behind the lead pair Mackesy and Nelson were engaged in a similar battle for third. Mackesy would pull ahead of Nelson and watch the lead battle with two laps remaining.
At the white flag Krzykowski has a half car length lead on hugging the low line, while Sauter Jr. kept working the high side for all it was worth. Through the final two turns Sauter Jr., ran nearly wide open, moving into the lead and winning the event by a just over a foot. Krzykowski would settle for second after a hard fought race. Mackesy in his strongest run of the season took third, Weinkauf would surpass Nelson for fourth in the closing laps, while Nelson made up the last of the top five. Allen Check, who won the semi-feature earlier, came from the tail of the field to finish sixth edging last week's feature winner Mark Eswein for the spot.
The Super Stock main event, would run 30 laps without interruption. Brad Scholze would lead the initial lap of the event, before Scott Hamel would take command of the race. Mike Brooks would claim second on the very next lap but he was unable to close in on Hamel who slowly increased his lead with each passing lap.
Fast qualifier Stelzer was working his way forward, moving under Cary Lyons for third on lap 11, and brining Jim Cormack with him to fourth. Hamel meanwhile had built a dozen car length lead on Brooks and was comfortably out front setting a swift pace. At the halfway point in the race, Stelzer went to the outside of Brooks and pulled off a sweeping pass to grab second. Cormack again followed Stezler's move working past Brooks two laps later to run third.
At the front Stelzer slowly began to reel in Hamel cutting the lead to six car lengths with five laps to go. In the meantime third place again changed hands as last week's fast qualifier Tim Plowman, squirted past Cormack for third. On the white flag lap Stelzer had reached Hamel's rear bumper, but Hamel drove a smooth line around the track. By driving a flawless final lap he reached the stripe a car length ahead of Stelzer. Plowman, Cormack, and Brooks would complete the top five finishers.
In the 4 Cylinder division, it took just three laps before Stephen Stewart to pass Eric Kluever for the lead in the feature race. The pace of the race was slowed by just a single caution flag and Stewart would effortlessly take the win. The battle for second was hard fought to the wire between Adam Krzykowski and Kyle Davis, with Krzykowski edging ahead in the final laps to take the position. Davis, Mike Oehmichen, and Kluever completed the top five finishers.
On Memorial Day Weekend the track will host a pair of racing events. On the Friday evening program, the evening will feature, races for the Super Late Models and Super Stocks. They will be joined by the Pure Stock division, and race fans will have a chance to take to the high-banked track as Spectator Races will also be held. 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 will feature the 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