Nitzke Pounces, Zuch & Weiland Win and Burris Dominates
by Mike Barrett
Frank Nitzke getting his first feature of 2012 may have surprised some, but not Frank. The Berlin racer in the signature green #18 is running top fives all year, and just put the car in victory lane Friday August 10th to tie Kyle Genett in Late Model points with only two nights to go at Golden Sands Speedway in Plover, WI. Nitzke started started 8th alongside Colin Reffner, but got better looks through the traffic to make his way again into the top 5 during the first half of a wild 50 lap show. Fast qualifier Brandon Selle arced through the field, eventually getting a good look at Ted Reichenberger and Brian Back who raced side by side for the first 20 laps or so. Reichenberger settled in behind Back for the second half, pulling up to challenge inside the final ten laps. As they battled, Selle edged by Dalton Zehr, and gained quickly on the lead pair. The three cars were nose to tail when Reichenberger got a tremendous run coming off turn four, at the same time Back was striving to keep his car on the bottom of the steeply-banked third mile. Contacting Back's left rear was Reichenberger's front fender, and the Back #71 wiggled dramatically, both cars darting up the track. While this front pair was gathering up their cars, Selle darted outside and was caught with no room left as Ted and Brian were still straightening out their rides. Selle was bounced into the run-off sand and Reichenberger restarted in the rear after Back left the track under his own power. The restart had Zehr trying to fend off Nitzke, but Frank was faster, and Zehr posted second. Ryan Hinner looked possibly as fast as Selle at the end, gaining third, while Jeremy Schulz had a great run to fourth. Fifth for Jeff Weinfurter put him exactly where he started. The math says about four drivers have a shot, but it looks like NItzke and Kyle Genett are odds-on favorites for Golden Sands Late Model championships.
John Zuch put his #8 Super Stock out front at the end tonight, taking the edge off what so far has been "a tough year" according to the Baraboo driver. Zuch began the feature events tonight in the second row, beating Matt Ciesielski, Dakota Blakeslee and Scott Hamel to win another close race. Dan Gilster again set a blistering fast qualifying lap and passed no less than nine cars on his way to second place. Jeff Nowak and Matt Raykowski endured a lot of bumping and grinding to post the next two spots, while Matt Ciesielski's fifth place finish was a lesson in survival as well. The points in the Super Stock division are interesting, with Dean Zakrzewski, Natalie Decker, and Phil Malouf 26 points apart, Ciesielski only 5 points back of Malouf and Hamel only 5 points behind him. Wins from any of those drivers mean much more than just a trophy on the night, championships are up for grabs.
Pure stocks continued the night of excitement, excellent racing from Travis Volm, Ben Capek and Caleb Marzofka mid-race made two distinct packs fun to watch as they tried to catch the front runners. Weiland slid past Jay Potter in his first run at Plover, maintaining his lead as Travis Volm again snaked his way to the front. Volm posted second, Ben Capek third, Cale Marzofka fourth, and Potter managed fifth. Marzofka again stuck fast time on the board this week.
The four cylinder group is still huge, with nearly two dozen cars taking the green. Cheri Kurth and Eric Robinson started up front, but Dale Robinson muscled past and set sail, only to be run down and passed handily by his cohort Kevin Burris in another dominating run to the front. Scott Ciesielski took five for five of his starts at the track as fast time, but a broken throttle cable ended his evening during the feature. Jay Stone picked up third after starting ninth, and Josh Klopotek and John Engebretson completed the top five.
The cruiser machine of Wheelock and Kalata again roared to first, Garlow & Lockhart leading most except the last 2 laps, finishing 2nd, and Weber and Mancil 3rd.
An amazing set of vintage racers came to test their hardware on Golden Sands' high banks, Cliff Scheinoha racing the well-prepared modified in the likeness of an old Jere O'Day car to the front, fending off some very fast cars.