Golden Sands Speedway Race Report

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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.

Photo Highlights

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 runner-up spot.

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 field.

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 car.

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 five.

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 contests.

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 www.wisconsinchallenge.com

For 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