Oshkosh, September 24 – The 2016 racing season at the Oshkosh SpeedZone Raceway officially came to a close with the Fall Classic featuring 2 days of racing on the 1/3 mile clay oval. A total of 197 different teams competed with champions crowned in feature action Saturday night.
The Street Stocks started off the feature portion of the weekend with a 25 car field taking the green flag. Jeff Richards sat on the pole and led the opening circuit before Jeff Wicinsky took command and started to open a gap on the field. Richards controlled the runner up spot with Jeff Jungwirth, Dan Knaus, Brady Baldry, Shawn Haydon, Alex Crapser and Kevin Bogdanovic all swapping positions in the lead pack. Wicinsky and Richards pulled away from the field after lap 10 and with Jungwirth and Knaus leading the pack behind. Crapser was the big mover steadily advancing as the field started to spread out. By lap 20. The leaders were still comfortably out front, but the field was bunched for the third spot. Jungwirth was in command of third with Crapser working into fourth, Knaus, Gary Kasperek, Paul Diefenthaler and Hayden were right behind.
A spin brought out the first caution of the race on lap 21, erasing the big lead Wicinsky and Richards had on the field. Stacking everyone foe the restart. Richards charged to the lead on the restart, but a mix up started a chain reaction , forcing the second and final caution before a lap was completed. Kasperek stalled up high in turn three and out of the corner, Knaus rode the wall down the front chute before stopping pas the start finish line. There were no injuries and the field was restacked again for the final 8 lap run. Richards again charged under green for the final time to take the lead with Diefenthaler making a charge to move into second a lap later. Jungwirth, Crapser, Paul Ambrosius and Wicinsky were bunched right behind. Richards was able to hold the lead to the finish for his first street Stock feature win of the season. Diefenthaler, the 141 Speedway track champion, was right behind to finisih second. Crapser, the defending race champion, was able to wrestle into the third place finish. Ambrosius made the strong run over the final laps to place fourth. Jungwirth finished fifth and Wicinsky rounded out the top six.
Larry Richards brought the 25 car Grand National field to the green and swapped the lead back and forth with Brian Vinney, Jr until the first caution on lap 6 for a spin. Kenny Richards was able to work into the top spot after the restart and in two lap, brother Jeff, was running second. The front three opened a gap with the field trying to sort out behind. The leaders were the same at the half way point with Roger Lee now holding fourth with Larry Richards, Tim Doehling, Steven Wirtz and Dustin Weiss grouped behind. With 10 laps left, lapped traffic was in play but the leaders negotiated and remained tight in their 3 car pack. A spin brought out the final caution on lap 26, setting up a 4 lap dash, with the entire field now bunched behind the lead trio.
Kenny Richards was up to the challenges from Jeff behind over the final four laps and collected the checkered flag for his first win here this season. Jeff took second with Doehling and Lee working into third and fourth at the finish. Vinney was fifth and Wirtz rounded out the top six.
It took three tries to get a lap completed in the IMCA Modified main, but then it was flat out hard core racing for the 30 lap contest. Steve Schneider finally led the field under green and was able to open a lead right away while, Kevin Feck, Todd Dart, T.J. Smith, Eric Scribner, Mark Joski, Mike Mullen and Brian Drexler ran bunched behind. By lap 10, Schneider had opened a solid lead with Smith, Mullen and Feck in the top four. Mullen made his move into the runner up spot and started to eat into Schneiders lead. By the mid point, Mullen had chewed up about ½ of Schneider’s lead and was now about 6 car lengths behind and on the move. 2 time track champion, Marcus Yarie, had worked his way from the 17th starting spot into fourth, and then into third on lap 18. Yarie also started to close the equal gap to catch Mullen. Both Mullen and Yarie charged ahead and with 5 laps left were nose to tail with Schneider. Schneider continued his race long lead, as Yarie started to work on Mullen. The pass to the runner up spot took a couple laps to pull off, which allowed Schneider to gain a couple car length advantage again. Yarie continued his march and was right behind as the white flag dropped. Schneider was able to hold off the charge over the final lap and completed the bookends for the year, having won the season opening feature, and now the Fall Classic final feature. Yarie and Mullen flashed by to complete the top three. Feck, Smith and Drexler rounded out the top six.
The IMCA Stock Car headliner put a field of 25 cars on the grid with 2 time defending track champion, Travis Van Straten drawing the pole for the Classic event. It took several tries to get a lap in and each time Van Straten pulled into the lead. Once the green was out, Van Straten pulled away from the field, Several cautions during the race prevented a runaway. By the mid point of the race, Joe White was already hounding the leader when John Heinz, Jerry Winkler and Greg Wichman worked to the front. After a final restart on lap 19, White and Heinz battled for the runner up spot for a couple laps allowing Van Straten to gain a car length margin. Van Straten capped a strong season winning his 8th feature. Heinz took second after starting 15th. Winkler took third over White. Wichman was fifth and Kevin Hebbe rounded out the top six.
Randy LeMieux, Jr drew the pole for his first visit to the SpeedZone and made good use of the starting spot, wrestling the lead from Brian Bruechert after the first lap of the IMCA Sport Mod main was complete. A pair of cautions on lap 5 bunched the field but LeMieux was ready to set the pace once the green reappeared. Bruechert, Kenny Richards, Scott Besaw, Shawano Speedway track champion, Jordan Barkholtz, Wyatt Block and Jason Vandenberg bunched up in chase behind the leader, preventing every attempt to pull away over the rest of the non-stop race. From mid way, LeMieux had his hands full at the point with Richards and Barkholtz running side by side for second and several times alongside the leader. LeMieux was able to hold off each attempt and pulled off the exciting win in his first trip to the Zone. Richards and Barkholtz flashed by right behind the winner. Vandenberg ran his best race of the season securing fourth. Kyle Raddant and Block rounded out the top six spots.
The Dirt Devil event was the final feature of the Fall Classic weekend. Ben Meyerhofer grabbed the early lead with Kasey Gross, Clavin Stueck, Jordan Klemmer and Chris Maas right behind. The field started running 2 ands 3 wide right at the start and a lone caution slowed the pace on lap 8. Meyerhofer was still in command with Gross, Stueck, Brody Rivest and Brian Johnson next in line.
Rivest started to pick his way to the front and was joined by Shaun Bangart and Rodger Braun. Rivest pulled into the top spot on lap 11 with Bangart following on the next lap. For the final half of the race, it was a six car bunch for the lead. Bangart tried both inside and outside runs and was scored as the lead a couple times over the final laps, but Rivest was able to charge back. Meyerhofer, Stueck and Braun were also in the group. Rivest and Bangart were side by side for the final 3 laps and out of the final turn, Bangart made a final attempt to the inside as the pair crossed the line in a near photo finish. Rivest, in his first ever visit to the track, was awarded the win by inches, over the former 2 time track champion. Meyerhofer, Stueck, Braun and Mitchell Lee Fairbank flashed by to complete the top six.
The staff and management of the Oshkosh SpeedZone Raceway would like to THANK all of the drivers, crews, fans and sponsors for their support throughout the 2016 season. Despite all of the controversy during the season, the announcement was made prior to the features, that weekly racing will continue at the track in 2017, starting in early May.
AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLY COMPANY IMCA MODIFIEDS
30 Lap Feature l. Steve Schneider, Chilton 2. Marcus Yarie, Wausau 3. Mike Mullen, Seymour 4. Kevin Feck, Wausau 5. T.J. Smith, Menasha 6. Brian Drexler, Oshkosh
20 Lap Semi l. Kelly Brown 2. Tim Robbins 3. Joey Taycher 4, Mike Mueller
10 Lap Last Chance Qualifiers First l. Jeremie Hedrick
Second l. J.J. Andersen
Third l. Brian Drexler
10 Lap Heats First Round First l. Todd Dart
Second l. Johnny Whitman
Third l. Mike Mullen
Fourth l. Mark Joski
Second Round First l. Dan Roedl
Second l. Eric Scribner
Third l. Kevin Feck
Fourth l. Troy Jerovetz
Race of Champions l. Mike Mullen
JIMS AUTO REPAIR IMCA STOCK CARS
30 Lap Feature l. Travis Van Straten, Hortonville 2. John Heinz, Green Bay 3. Jerry Winkler, Oshkosh 4. Joe White, Oconto 5. Greg Wichman, Bonduel 6. Kevin Hebbe, Neenah
10 lap Last Chance Qualifiers First l. Greg Wichman
Second l. Ryan Plog
10 Lap Heats First l. David Hoerning
Second l. Travis Van Straten
Third l. Jerry Winkler
Race Of Champions l. Joe White
NOLTE’S AUTO REPAIR AND TOWING IMCA SPORT MODS
30 Lap Feature l. Randy LeMieux, Jr, Sturgeon Bay 2. Kenny Richards, Montello 3. Jordan Barkholtz, Shawano 4. Jason Vandenberg, Kimberly 5. Kyle Raddant, Shawano 6. Wyatt Block, Shawano
15 Lap Semi l.Chris Budzban 2. Adam Pugh 3. Dereck Schrauth 4. Karah Taycher
10 Lap Last Chance Qualifier 1. Brekken Kleinschmidt
Second l. Chase Randerson
Third l. Tom Schneider
10 Lap Heats First l. Kyle Raddant
Second l. Ryan Besaw
Third l. Jordan Barkholtz
Fourth l. Russell Franks
Race Of Champions l. Randy LeMieux, Jr
OUTLAW CHASSIS STREET STOCKS
30 Lap Feature l. Jeff Richards, Montello 2. Paul Diefenthaler, Two Rivers 3. Alex Crapser, Milwaukee 4. Paul Ambrosius, Seymour 5. Jeff Jungwirth, Oshkosh 6. Jeff Wicinsky, Winneconne
10 Lap Last Chance Qualifier 1. Lexii Ashcraft
10 Lap Heats First l. Paul Diefenthaler
Second l. Jeff Jungwirth
Third l. Alex Crapser
Race of Champions 1. Jeff Jungwirth
GOLD STAR RACING SUPPLIES GRAND NATIONALS
30 Lap Feature l. Kenny Richards, Montello 2. Jeff Richards, Montello 3. Tim Doehling, Winneconne 4. Roger Lee, 5. Brian Vinney, Jr, Oshkosh 6. Steven Wirtz,, Sheboygan
10 Lap Last Chance Qualifier First l. Roger Lee
Second l. Aaron Streblow
10 Lap Heats First l. Larry Richards
Second l. Jeff Richards
Race of Champions l. Kenny Richards
ELLINGTON MUTUAL INSURANCE DIRT DEVILS
20 Lap Feature l. Brody Rivest, Sheboygan 2. Shaun Bangart, Chilton 3. Ben Meyerhofer, Kaukauna 4. Calvin Stueck, Clintonville 5. Roger Braun, Kaukauna 6. Mitchell Lee Fairbank, Oshkosh
10 Lap Last Chance Qualifier l. Shaun Bangart
10 Lap Heats First l. Mitch Meier
Second l. Brian Johnson, Green Bay
Third l. Brody Rivest
Race of Champion l. Brian Johnson