Defending Series Champion, Current Point Leader,
Duel for Power Playground 100 Title!
By Jeffrey Sachse
July 29, 2005;
Plover, WI - A packed grandstand played witness to a thrilling duel for the victory in
the Power Playground 100 at Golden Sands Speedway. The birthplace of the Wisconsin
Challenge Series, the high-banked third mile oval presented the latest round of the
traveling series and fans were not disappointed. A late race caution would create
the showdown between defending Wisconsin Challenge Series Champion, Mark Eswein of nearby
Wisconsin Rapids, and current WCS point leader Nathan Haseleu of Marshall. Eswein,
who had paced much of the contest was being chased by Haseleu in the closing laps of the
event. Working the high line Haseleu managed to work next two Eswein with a dozen
laps to go. The pair would run wheel to wheel over the next five laps, inches apart
before Haseleu slowly pulled ahead. At the line Haseleu had a one car length
advantage, in collecting his third WCS victory of the season. Eswein would settle
for second after pacing 93 laps of the contest.
A field of 23 rumbled to the initial green flag of the
contest. By virtue of a nearly full invert on the field Eswein would start on the pole of
the contest with fast qualifier Kenny Richards starting in the 14th slot on the grid.
To Eswein's outside at the drop of the green was veteran John Zimmermann.
The two ran side by side the first two laps around the raceway before Eswein took
command. Zimmermann would drop into line in second with short track ace, Steve
Holzhausen securing the third spot.
Holzhausen would seek a way by Zimmermann but his progress was
thwarted with each passing attempt. Golden Sands Speedway regular Jason Weinkauf and
Adam Royle would make up the top five.
Deeper in the field several drivers began to experiment with the
high groove including Frank Nitzke and Charlie Menard as the pair began slicing their way
through traffic. Haseleu, running in the top ten also began to test the outer groove
and all three drivers began to advance toward the front of the pack.
The first caution of the contest would fly on lap 30, when
Nitzke's progress toward the front came to an end after a shunt with Jesse Haase who was
making his first showing of the 2005 season. While the final rundown would credit
the personable Nitzke with a last place finish, driver's in the field noted his progress
in the outside line and it would prove to work well for several others throughout the
remainder of the race.
As the field went back to green flag racing, Eswein again showed
the way with Zimmermann in two. On lap 32, Holzhausen who had been running in third,
experienced a broken rear end in his machine limping into the infield and turning the
third position over to Royle. Haseleu at this time was still in the eighth position, while
Menard reached the top ten after starting dead last on the grid.
Out front Zimmermann began to pressure Eswein for the top
position attempting to work the outer groove, but Eswein's pace was enough to keep in in
command of the contest. As the race approached the halfway point Eswein found some
additional speed pulling away from Zimmermann who now found himself defending his
Royle would sweep past Zimmermann for second on lap 48, as
Zimmermann began to slow a bit. Several other cars soon caught Zimmermann who held
fast to the bottom groove. Further back Haseleu jumped to the outer groove and
quickly dispatched several cars who had lined up behind Zimmermann, surging from eighth to
fourth in a handful of laps.
At the halfway point it was Eswein by eight car lengths over
Royle, with Weinkauf, Haseleu and Dexter Bean in the top five slots. Rory Melbinger
held sixth and Menard's progress in the outer groove placed him into the seventh slot.
Chris Weinkauf, Frank Kreyer and Jim Sauter Jr. became tangled in
turn four on lap 60, bringing out the second caution of the contest and bunching the
Action resumed with Eswein bolting back to the lead.
Haseleu immediately jumped to the high line roaring past Weinkauf and moments
later working by Royle for second with 35 laps to go in the contest. Eswein's lead
over Haseleu was ten car lengths at this point as the laps quickly clicked off.
On lap 77 the complexion of the race would change. Kyle
Kinder and Sauter Jr. would spin in turn two forcing a caution flag, as drivers attempted
to slow Menard and Bean made contact. The impact would send Menard flying off the
track and into the safety barrels on the frontstretch while Bean's car also showed heavy
damage forcing him to limp to the pit area. Menard would be done for the evening,
while Bean would go to the pit area and return with much of the front end removed from his
The caution had erased a slim two car length advantage Eswein had
on Haseleu and when the green flag returned Haseleu was tight on Eswein's bumper
challenging for the lead. Eswein's home track knowledge allowed him to keep Haseleu
in his tire tracks as the event closed within 15 laps of the finish. Further back
Royle ran solidly in third with Weinkauf and Rory Melbinger who mad steady progress
throughout the contest holding down the top five slots.
Eswein's defense of the lead would continue as Haseleu
experimented with different lines trying to seek a way to the lead. On lap 88, Haseleu
managed to find enough bite in the outer groove to begin to challenge Eswein for the top
spot. Hugging the lower groove Eswein would see his advantage shrink with each lap
as the pair ran side by side with little room between them.
Haseleu would nose ahead for the first time on lap 93, and two
laps later would clear Eswein for the top spot. Over the final laps Eswein stayed
close to Haseleu waiting for a slip but Haseleu would driver error free to win the
contest. Eswein would settle for second. Royle would find himself having to
defend the third position over the final laps as a Melbinger began a late race surge.
Melbinger surpassed Weinkauf for fourth on lap 94 and then closed on Royle,
attempting to work by on the final lap. Royle was able to repel the challenge to
claim third, just ahead of Melbinger who turned in another string showing. Weinkauf
would complete the top five runners.
Richards, the evening's fast qualifier worked into sixth at the
checkered. Ryan Mathews drove a steady race to finish seventh. Brandon Selle
recorded his strongest WCS run of the year reaching eighth. Zimmermann would secure ninth
and Jeff Kendall who had won the WCS contest at Golden Sands on Memorial Day would round
out the top ten finishers.
When the checkered flag fell 17 of the 23 starters were still on
the lead lap at the finish.
Earlier in the program a pair of qualifying races would set the
field for the main event. In the first 30 lap contest Frank Nitzke would surpass
fellow Golden Sands Speedway regular Jeff Weinfurter for the lead in the closing stages of
the race to take the win. Weinfurter would settle for second and Jim Sauter Jr. held
down third, the final transfer spot. M.G. Gajewski and Mark Mackesy made up the top
five, just missing the cut for the main event.
In the second qualifier veteran Allen Check would secure the
victory over Kyle Kinder and Jeremy Lepak who started deep in the field, all three made
the transfer to the main event, while Elliott Weiler and Ken Reiser completed the top
Charlie Menard opted to use a provision to make the main event.
The final race of the season for the Wisconsin Challenge Series
will be held on Saturday evening September 10th, at Marshfield Speedway with the running
of the Championship 80.
Pit gates will open at 2:00 p.m., while practice will begin
at 3:30 p.m. Qualifying will take place at 6:00 p.m. and the first race will get
underway at 7:30 p.m.
The highlight will be a 80 lap feature contest featuring a field
of 23 cars. A pair of 25 lap qualifying races will set the balance of the field
after qualifications. The tack's own 4 cylinder and 1-Man Cruiser divisions will
supply support for the event with a full program of qualifying, heats and feature
The adult admission for this impressive show is just $12.
Marshfield Super Speedway is located three miles west of Marshfield, Wisconsin on County
Highway H. Additional information about this event can be had by calling (715) 387-2717 or
(715) 384-8325. Information is also posted on the track website at
www.marshfieldspeedway.com or the official Wisconsin Challenge Series website located at
complete RACESTAT Computer Results Click Here
Power Playground 100 -
July 29, 2005
100 Lap Feature: 1.)
Nathan Haseleu, Marshall; 2.) Mark Eswein, Wisconsin Rapids; 3.) Adam Royle, Farmington,
MN; 4.) Rory Melbinger, Marshfield; 5.) Jason Weinkauf, Merrill; 6.) Kenny Richards,
Montello; 7.) Ryan Mathews, Lake Geneva; 8.) Brandon Selle, Dale; 9.) John Zimmerman,
Markesan; 10.) Jeff Kendall, Montello; 11.) Jeremy Lepak, Wausau; 12.) Burton Brown,
Fremont; 13.) Allen Check, Rosholt; 14.) Frank Kreyer, Pardeeville; 15.) Dexter Bean,
Westby; 16.) Kyle Kinder, McFarland; 17.) Jim Sauter Jr., Tomah; 18.) Jesse Haase, Wausau;
19.) Charlie Menard, Eau Claire; 20.) Chris Weinkauf, Merrill; 21.) Jeff Weinfurter,
Wisconsin Rapids; 22.) Steve Holzhausen, Bangor; 23.) Frank Nitzke, Berlin
First 30 Lap Qualifier: 1.)
Nitzke; 2.) Weinfurter; 3.) Sauter Jr.; 4.) M.G. Gajewski, Wausau; 5.) Mark Mackesy,
Wausau; 6.) Kevin Tunks, Edgerton; 7.) Callin Harrell, Harrison; 8.) Adam Degenhardt, Coon
Valley; 9.) Mark Van, Berlin; 10.) Pat Tushoski, Wausau
Second 30 Lap Qualifier: 1.)
Check; 2.) Kinder; 3.) Lepak; 4.) Elliott Weiler, Marshfield; 5.) Ken Reiser, Waukon, IA;
6.) Greg Back, Vesper; 7.) Brady Baldry, Pickett; 8.) Joe Krzykowski, Junction City; 9.)
Andy Monday, Appleton; 10.) Kyle Davis, Marshfield