Wisconsin Challenge Series Visists, Menard Masters Super Late Model Main
at Golden Sands!
By Jeffrey Sachse
July 30, 2004;
Plover, WI - It was a dominant performance by Charlie Menard of Eau Claire on Friday
evening at Golden Sands Speedway. Leading all 100 laps from his outside front row
starting berth, Mends biggest challenges were on a late race restart, and during the
closing laps when second place runner Jeremy Lepak of Wausau close to within six car
lengths of the leader. The victory gave Menard a sweep of this season's WCS shows at
Golden Sands Speedway.
Interestingly enough, a season sweep, of WCS races on the
high-banked third mile oval seems to be a tendency. During the series' inaugural
season in 2001 Kirby Kurth accomplished the fete, while Jeff Weinfurter grabbed victories
in both races last year.
Menard, who competes in WCS events when his weekly racing
schedule permits has two victories and a second in three starts this year. Menard is
the current point leader at the LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in the NASCAR Late Model
series and is committed to earning that tracks title this year.
Charlie Menard (center) celebrates his second
career Wisconsin Challenge Series victory. Jeremy Lepak (left) garnered a career
high second place run, while former series champ Gary Back (right) finished third.
In taking the win Charlie Menard (#17) swept the WCS events at
Golden Sands Speedway this season.
Jeremy Lepak (#40) stalks Jason Weinkauf (#76) as they battle for
second place near the mid-portion of the race. Lepak would go on to take the
A late race charge by Todd Stapleman (#77) would net him a fifth
place run. The fast qualifier on the day, Ryan Mathews finished sixth!
The outside lane belonged to youthful charger Elliott Weiler (#01)
as he worked the high groove for all it was worth to pass veterans Don "Thunder"
Turner (#7) and Gary Back (#26), early in the race.
At the top! Current WCS point leader Mark Eswein (#71) races for
position against all-time point leader Ken Reiser (#2), who made his 26th consecutive
The starting grid stands ready for action, as the 100 lap main
event is about to get underway.
Ryan Mathews (#21) turned in the fastest
qualifying effort from among the over 40 competitors signed in to compete during the
program. The Wisconsin Challenge Series continues to establish itself as a series with
solid car counts at all it's shows.
Lepak's second place performance has made up for some
recent struggles with the team's race car. Early in the season Lepak had several
strong showings in WCS competition leading several events and appearing to have to have a
title contending season. Unfortunately the car was damaged during action at a weekly
race program and the last moth had proven very frustrating. His second place run in
the Sands 100, has shown the team had breathed new life in his ride and the end result as
a second place run, a career high for Lepak in WCS competition.
2002 Wisconsin Challenge Series champion Gary Back of Vesper made
a strong late race run, gaining the third spot in the closing laps of the contest. Though
he closed on both Lepak and Menard the checkered flag fell before any serious challenges.
Like Menard, Back has run a limited WCS schedule this season.
With the show interrupted briefly by weather, officials opted to
skip the typical driver introductions and to the review of the starting grid with the
drivers buckled in their cars and ready for action.
A field of 23 starters were presented to the fans, with Golden
Sands Speedway regular Brandon Selle sitting on the pole, next to Menard. As the
green flag fell Selle got the jump into the initial lead, but Menard fought back on the
inside and was inches ahead at the line to lead the first lap of the contest. Menard
would continue to pace every lap of the event, the only other time that has happened in
series history was when Kyle Kinder captured the season evening race at Dells Motor
Speedway during the 2002 season.
The field behind Menard was stacked two by two thoughtout the
early laps of the contest. Elliott Weiler, a second year Super Late Model competitor
from Marshfield Speedway showed his tenacity in the outside line working past Selle for
the runner-up spot. Local favorites Lepak and Jason Weinkauf made up the top five.
Weinkauf would work the high line to sweep past both Lepak and Selle to place
himself in the third spot by lap eight. Lepak would follow Weinkauf around Selle and
advance to fourth on the next circuit.
Selle's strong run ended after a spin in turn three after contact
between himself and Rory Melbinger forcing the first of just two slowdowns on lap 14.
The result was the field closing up on Menard's rear bumper for the restart.
Weiler, Weinkauf, Lepak and 35 year racing veteran Don "Thunder"
Turner made up the top five runners as the green flag unfurled. Much like the initial
start Menard quickly went back to setting the pace and building a comfortable lead.
Weiler, slipped up the track on lap 19, allowing both Weinkauf
and Lepak to slip past into the second and third positions. Weiler managed to work
back into the fourth spot and he and Turner would engage in a thrilling duel for the
position. Weiler, tenaciously stayed in the outside groove diving deep into the
After running side by side for nearly a dozen laps Weiler managed
to inch back ahead of Turner for the fourth spot and the youthful Weiler and veteran
Turner gave fans some of the cleanest side by side racing possible while doing battle for
the spot. Another veteran, Gary Back followed Weiler past Turner into the fifth
By this point Menard as sprinted to a straightaway lead, while
the battle for second began to heat up. Weinkauf held the spot but Lepak searched
both high and low for a way to advance. That opportunity came on lap 44 when Lepak
worked around Weinkauf for the runner-up spot. Once in second Lepak began to slowly
pull away from Weinkauf, but Menard had established a huge lead by this point.
The second and final caution appeared on lap 57, just as Menard
had reached lapped traffic. The caution occurred due to a spin by John Zimmermann in
turn two as a result of contact with Brian Johnson Jr.
The green returned with Menard at the point and Lepak in second
followed by Weinkauf, Back and fast qualifier Ryan Mathews, who had bested a 40 car
qualifying field. Three lapped cars separated Menard from Lepak on the restart and Lepak
quickly disposed of the lapped traffic.
Menard however again had established a dozen car length lead and
Lepak's best effort was to keep the margin the same distance as the laps quickly clicked
off. For the next 25 laps the front of the field remained settled, but things began
to heat up again as Menard approached lapped traffic with 15 laps to go.
Lepak began to close the margin on Menard as Menard cautiously
worked lapped cars. Behind them Weinkauf was being pressure by Back for the third
position and the fifth spot changed hands with 13 laps remaining as Todd Stapleman reached
the top five with an outside pass of Mathews. Back was next to advance a position
working past Weinkauf for the third slot with just seven laps to go in the contest.
The lead trio began to come closer together as Menard's margin
was reduced to eight car lengths with a pair of laps to go. Likewise Back cut into
Lepak's advantage and the top three were a few car lengths apart heading into the final
lap. Menard was able to reach the line comfortably ahead of Lepak, with five car
lengths as the cushion. Lepak meanwhile would reach the line in second as Back's
charge came up short. Back, Weinkauf and Stapleman would complete the top five
Mathews would hold onto sixth, Joe Krzykowski claimed seventh,
Ken Reiser who has made his 26th consecutive WCS feature start finished eighth.
Turner, remains in the thick of the points chase with a solid ninth place
showing, and Jeff Kendall completed the top ten.
Current point leader Mark Eswein finished a conservative 12th
place, with his nearest point rival and the winner of the past two WCS races, Adam Royle,
20 of the 23 starters were still on the track at the checkered
and 13 cars remained on the lead lap on the high-banked third mile oval.
The qualifying races established a new first for the Wisconsin
Challenge Series as Rene Scheinoha, became the first female competitor in the series
history. She would finish 11th in her qualifying race for her first WCS effort.
The qualifying races themselves proved to be exciting contests.
The first 30 lap qualifier saw several transfer contenders eliminated as Jeff Weinfurter,
Keith Bohmsach and Pete Kempf were collected while doing battle for a transfer position.
John Zimmermann would set the pace the to the checkered after the accident to
secure the win and his spot in the feature. Allen Check, making his first WCS start
of the 2004 season finished second while Chris Weinkauf would work around M.G. Gajewski in
the closing laps to garner the third and final transfer spot. In spite of his fourth
place finish Gajewski was able to make the big raced based upon his provisional. John
Frazier completed the top five runners.
The second 30 lap contest ran much more quickly, similar to the
feature race. Kendall would establish the lead early in the contest to take the win
with Royle closing as the race wound down eventually settling for second three car lengths
behind, Frank Nitzke would run wheel to wheel with Kirby Kurth to the finish,
reaching the line by less than a car length to grab the final transfer spot. Kurth
would settle for fourth and Judd Brandl rounded out the top five.
The Wisconsin Sport Trucks were on hand for the program,
presenting fans with plenty of three and four wide racing. Their 20 lap feature
contest proved to be especially exciting. Andy Wilquet lead the contest until near
the halfway point when Scott Baker roared into the lead. He was followed shortly
thereafter by Jason Van Handel who climbed to the second spot. With eight laps
remaining Van Handel pulled alongside Baker to challenge for the lead.
The duo went side by side for the top spot, inches apart, with
the lead swapping back and for lap after lap. On the final lap Van Handel gained
enough momentum off turn four to edge out Baker by less than six inches for the win,
brining the crowd to it's feet.
The 4 cylinder main event also had an exiling conclusion as
Thomas Masephol and Scott Stelzer were vying for the lead with two laps to go.
Unfortunately the pair would tangle ending a great race for the to spot and handing the
win to current division point leader Mike Oehmichen.
Next Friday evening at Golden Sands Speedway is CARQUEST Auto Parts Kids Night.
The show will feature a full program off Super Late Model, Super Stock, Pure Stock and 4
Cylinders activities. Also will also present the next round of the Fire Department
Challenge. There will also be plenty of prizes on hand for the Children in attendance
during the program.
Friday evening shows begin with qualifying at 6:30 p.m., and racing at 7:45 p.m.
The next Wisconsin Challenge Series event is the rescheduled race
at Columbus 151 Speedway. On Sunday Afternoon, August 15th, the first and only
appearance of the Super Late Models this season on the quarter-mile oval will take place.
Information on the Wisconsin Challenge
Series can be found at www.wisconsinchallenge.com
The Sands 100 -
Golden Sands Speedway- July 30, 2004
100 Lap Feature: 1.)
Charlie Menard, Eau Claire; 2.) Jeremy Lepak, Wausau; 3.) Gary Back, Vesper; 4.) Jason
Weinkauf, Merrill; 5.) Todd Stapleman, Wautoma; 6.) Ryan Mathews, Lake Geneva; 7.) Joe
Krzykowski, Junction City; 8.) Ken Reiser, Waukon, IA; 9.) Don Turner, LaCrosse; 10.) Jeff
Kendall, Montello; 11.) Jim Sauter Jr., Necedah; 12.) Mark Eswein, Wisconsin Rapids; 13.)
Adam Royle, Farmington, MN; 14.) Brian Johnson Jr., Roscoe, IL; 15.) Allen Check, Rosholt;
16.) Elliott Weiler, Marshfield; 17.) M.G. Gajewski, Wausau; 18.) Andy Tomlinson,
Pardeeville; 19.) John Zimmerman, Markesan; 20.) Chris Weinkauf, Merrill; 21.) Frank
Nitzke, Berlin; 22.) Brandon Selle, Dale; 23.) Rory Melbinger, Marshfield8
First 30 Lap Qualifier: 1.)
Zimmerman; 2.) Check; 3) C. Weinkauf; 4.) Gajewski; 5.) John Frazier, Merrill; 6.) John
Totzke Jr., Wisconsin Rapids; 7.) Mike Held, West Bend; 8.) Kevin Baldry, Pickett; 9.)
Scott Broughton, Stoughton; 10.) Jeff Weinfurter, Wisconsin Rapids
Second 30 Lap Qualifier: 1.)
Kendall; 2.) Royle; 3.) Nitzke; 4.) Kirby Kurth, Nekoosa; 5.) Judd Brandl, Arpin; 6.) Dean
Lapointe, Marshfield; 7.) Terry Van Roy, Darboy; 8.) Kurt Guralski, Wausau; 9.) Steve
Gress, Vesper; 10.) Rich Schumann Jr., Pardeeville
Wisconsin Sport Trucks
30 Lap Feature: 1.) Jason Van Handel;
2.) Scott Baker; 3.) Aldy Wiquet
First 10 Lap Heat: 1.) Wilquet
Second 10 Lap Heat: 1.) Backer
Fast Qualifier: Kyle Quella,
15 Lap Feature: 1.) Mike
Oehmichen; 2.) Randy Polansky; 3.) Jenny Nitzsche; 4.) Kevin Teske; 5.) John Flick; 6.)
First 8 Lap Heat: 1.) Oehmichen; 2.) Thomas Masephol; 3.) Scott
Fast Qualifier: Flick, 15.055 Seconds
First 10 Lap Feature: 1.)
Floistad/Floistad; 2.) Zeetz/Brillod; 3.) Adams/Omernik
Second 10 Lap Feature: 1.) Turzinski/Whellock; 2.) Wrege/Schmidt;
Third 10 Lap Feature: 1.) Szymkowiak/Pionek; 2.) Clark/Boyer; 3.)
complete RACESTAT Race Results Click Here!