Champions times 5 at Golden Sands by Mike Barrett
5 new champions were crowned tonight at Golden Sands Speedway in Plover WI. Tim Sauter proved consistency will win titles as the 3 time 2nd place finisher proudly put the #99 team in a well-deserved spot on the year-end podium. Sauter's 2nd place finish tonight makes Tim only the second driver to win the Golden Sands championship without a feature win. Jeremy Lepak again sliced through a tough field, making the win on this tight track look easy. Lepak seemingly passed at will, and took the lead from Sauter with 30 to go in the 65 lap feature. Sauter pulled to within a foot or so every few laps, but Lepak kept it out front to the final lap. Dalton Zehr of Florida again came to joust with local talent, his car only appearing in 3rd as a matter of pride, technical rules permitting him only to race, and not score points as Corey Jankowski officially posted 3rd, Cardell Potter 4th and Erin Schlough a hard-fought 5th. Lepak began the night with fast time. It is notable that 3rd, 4th and 5th were separated at year's end by only 1 point; Brandon Selle, Cardell Potter and Colin Reffner as close as close can be.
Super Stocks brought one of their best field to Plover tonight, and Duwayne Davis and Galen Manternach started the field off with 19 cars totaling the race. The front pair drove off to race side by side until Manternach cleared, and raced away from Duwayne. WIth only one caution early on, the restart looked hopeful for Matt Raykowski and Ryan Hinner, who took huge chunks out of the field by starting in the outside lane during their lane choices, but Raykowski's car veered hard right coming across for the green and collected Hinner into the front straight wall. It was unclear what caused Matt's problem, but Hinner's damage took him out, and many other cars suffered from contact behind them. Manternach led every one of the remaining laps, Davis chasing him, with Brian Weinfurter capping his championship year in 3rd, ahead of Kyle Davis and John Zuch. Hinner's fast time was his one bright spot on this otherwise tough night.
Pure Stocks were 17 strong, and Hunter Cramer and Kyle Genett paced them as well, Genett creeping out front early and running off to an easy-looking win. Jake Capek maneuvered to 2nd, winning the year's points run, and finished ahead of Mark Kalata and Cale Marzofka, who went from 6th to 4th in one lap in a dramatic turn 3 dive inside Ben Capek and Hunter Cramer. Ben Capek finished 5th. Marzofka again broke the track record in qualifying, his 3rd time this year for the feat.
4 Cylinder Stock racers took the green 19 strong, and Kirby Kurth slyly took an outside start and passed 7 cars on the front straight looking very much the old Late Model-racing Kirby, except in a 4 cylinder that quickly gave back the positions as fast as he got them. Kirby's car had some bent components, and others raced away at the front, Kevin Burris taking his 5th feature, a track championship, and every other available prize sweeping the night with a fast time, heat win, and feature trouncing of the field. Mariah Gajewsk took home a nice 2nd place run, Steven Rozek took 3rd, Lucas Betro 4th and John Engebretsen 5th.
The 4 Cylinder Mods were a solid dozen racers, and 70-ish year old "Grandpa Bob" Dalski started alongside one of the new kids, 15 year-young Isaiah Rowe. The generation gap widened when Rowe slipped in the turn 3 and 4 first lap, and Dalski battled a bit with John Lietz and Dale Louze. All the battling was in vain, when Phil Malouf ripped through the pack and bolted into the lead by lap 5. Malouf wasted nothing, as he led by about a half-lap by the time the race ended. Malouf's championship win was doubly sweet, as he finished ahead of Dale Louze, Austin McKeever, Adam Eckes and Scott Scholze. Malouf also iced the night with fast time.