Jeremy Lepak is back. During the first Element Mobile Late Model feature race of 2011 at Golden Sands Speedway the Wausau driver seemed to have no problems at all passing cars to win the Plover 1/3 mile premier race Friday night. Less than a half second in qualifying separated the top 14 cars of the 20 car field. Lepak posted 7th in time and started 7th after Colin Reffner brought his #44 out of the box and ripped the first (and only) 11 second lap of the night. Dave Neitzke and Jeff Weinfurter rolled to the start of a 75 lap race, and Weinfurter burst into the lead and held it for a load of laps until just past halfway, when Lepak powered around Weinfurter's car seemingly with ease. Only a couple of cautions slowed the action, first when Bernie Fritz Sr. slowed on the infield, and then when Corey Jankowski got together with Renee Scheinoha. With Lepak out front and Reffner and Tim Sauter snapping off passes each lap, it looked like there would be a real challenge for the lead. Unfortunately heat buildup caused an ignition wiring failure for Reffner, and he slowed out of turn 2 during the 53rd lap, causing Dave Neitzke to inadvertently spin Reffner. Alert track officials noticed the problem with Reffner, gave Neitzke his spot and the Eureka racer posted a decent 8th place finish despite the close call. Lepak charged way out front leaving Tim Sauter to deal with Weinfurter, and try as he may, Tim could not get past Jeff as the two experienced pilots diced and sliced for 2 dozen laps. Checkered flag finishing saw Lepak in 1st, Weinfurter 2nd, Sauter 3rd, and Ted Reichenberger, Darren Jackson and Erin Schlough in 4th 5th and 6th. Many new young drivers are racing in the Late Model class, and the close times promise close racing to come.
Pure Stockers came 20 strong, and Jake Capek wasted no time getting the fastest lap. After a little drama when his car would not start for the parade lap, Capek lined up for the feature 8th, alongside Hunter Cramer, who posted possibly his best lap ever. After only 3 laps 2 drivers were off track with trouble, and on lap 5 a hard crash scared the collective audience when Jeff Gruber lost handling on the back straight, plunged across the track in turn 3 and was hit hard by Cramer. Many people commented in the pits later, including videographer Bill Holland, that it was perhaps the hardest Pure Stock contact they had seen. Both cars were seriously damaged, track personnel quickly aided the drivers, and they both walked away after evaluation by the ambulance crew. The restart saw Mark Kalata lead Cale Marzofka and Jake Capek, until Marzofka's axle broke and took him out of a top 5 run. Kalata, Jake Capek, Ben Capek, Kurt Guralski and John Van Stedum started the last 8 laps nose to tail, and finished with Capek taking the win from Kalata, Ben Capek in third, followed by Guralski and Keith Wosick.
The 2 man cruisers enjoyed a fabulous summer outing with three wide racing, and the blistering pace set by Wheelock and Kalata, who suffered a late race challenge from Ciesielski and Rodriguez but held on for their first win of the year. Ciesielski and Rodriguez nearly were forced off track by the leaders, but held on for a tough 2nd place finish. Kuhn and Kuhn staved off the rest of the group for 3rd.
Racing continues next week at Golden Sands for a good cause: South Wood County Humane Society Night (Bring a donation for the SWCHS and receive a $2 off your grandstand admissions for that night) SS, PS, 4CM&S