Oshkosh, May 20- A perfect night greeted the second annual Lucas Oil Late Model traveling series to the Oshkosh SpeedZone Friday night, and the big show did not disappoint. The Late Models brought in a great mix of travelers and local talent totaling 35 machines. The IMCA Modifieds opened their King of the Ring series with a 46 car field and the local Street Stock division put 30 cars on the track for a full night of racing action.
The Lucas Oil Spring Shootout put 25 cars in the 50 lap feature lineup. It was state grown talent, turned traveler, A.J. Diemel from Navarino, that started the night setting the fast qualifying lap, and then sat outside pole for the main event. Diemel quickly put his car at the front and by lap 10, had a ¼ lap lead on the field. By the ½ way mark, the gap grew to nearly a ½ lap. Diemel was navigating lapped traffic as a tight four car battle for the second spot was raging behind between Jared McCradie, Chris Simpson, Jared Landers and Jonathan Davenport.
A lone caution bunched the field on lap 34. The restart saw Diemel take off again as the group behind seemed to lose a bit of pre caution momentum for a couple laps which allowed Diemel to build his lead again. For the final laps. Diemel maintained his lead while the race was for second, with Simpson winning the battle for the runner up finish. Landers, McCreadie, Brandon Sheppard and Davenport rounded out the top six.
Jeff Wicinsky settled into the lead at the start of the Street Stock main event with Jason Fairbank, Steve Seehawer, Dan Knaus and Adam Crapser behind. Wicinsky ran alone at the point for several laps before Fairbank moved outside to challenge for the top spot. The pair ran side by side far several laps with Steve Gawareski moving in between to make a three wide race just as the lone caution appeared on lap 13.
Wicinsky was still at the lead with Fairbank, Gawareski, Knaus, Steve Ecker and Travis Stratton behind. Ecker took to the outside and in three laps worked by Wicinsky for the lead and collected the feature win his first night out this season. Wicinsky took the runner up honors with Gawareski, Fairbank, Jesse Krahn and Stratton making the top six.
The IMCA Modified nightcap was a 30 lap contest for the first round of the King of the Ring series for 2016. A field of 24 cars took the green with Mike Wedelstadt setting the opening lap pace before RC Whitwell took over and started to open a lead. Kevin Baldry, Tyler DeBouche, Nick Ferari and Rick Lemay were behind and singled out . Eyes were on the rear of the field as consy transfers, Brian Drexler, Todd Dart, Benji LaCrosse and Brian Mullen had to work through the tight field.
A lone caution appeared on lap 11, and Whitwell again pulled away from the field on the restart, opening a 1/4 lap lead over the next few laps as the battle for second saw Marcus Yarie, Steve Schneider, and Benji LaCrosse mix it up with Baldry and Wedelstadt. Yarie was the first to break out of the group, taking second on lap 16, LaCrosse and Schneider followed suite and the trio set out after Whitwell.
As the final 10 laps were scored, Whitwell was still holding a several length lead, but as the laps ticked off, Yarie, LaCrosse and Schneider seemed to get faster as they started to catch the leader. With 5 left, the trio was right behind Whitwell. Yarie was using the inside line while LaCrosse settled outside, and the group was three wide with 2 laps left. Yarie pulled into the lead on the final lap, with LaCrosse still outside and challenging. Out of the final turn, LaCrosse knew there was some bite out of the turn, and was able to hit it just right to get a shot down the chute and take the win over Yarie by less than half a car length. Whitwell held off Schneider for third with Wedelstadt and Russ Reinwald rounding out the top six. LaCrosse started the race 18th to make the impressive run to the victory.
Tonights great racing will be followed by another next week as the Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprint cars will invade the 1/3 mile clay oval for the first of two visits in this, their 50 Anniversary season.
LUCAS OIL LATE MODEL TRAVELING SERIES
50 Lap Feature l. A.J. Diemel 2. Chris Simpson 3. Jared Landers 4. Tim McCreadie 5, Brandon Sheppard 6. Jonathand Davenport
30 Lap Featuree l. Benji LaCrosse, Green Bay 2. Marcus Yarie, Wausau 3. RC Whitwell 4. Steve Schneider, Chilton 5. Mike Wedelstadst, Fremont 6, Russ Reinwand, Juneau
8 Lap Consy First 1. Brian Drexler, Oshkosh 2. Chris Engels 3. Greg Gretz
Seconds l. Todd Dart 2. LaCrosse 3. Brian Mullen
Third l. Chad Bartel 2. Tim Robbins 3. Mike Mueller
8 Lap Heats First l. Whitwell 2. Ed Lemay
Second l. Nick Ferari 2. Tyler DeBouche
Third l Tyler Hackett 2. Yarie
Fourth l. Mike Wedelstadt 2. Kevin Baldry
Fifth l. Lance Arneson 2. Reinwand
20 Lap Feature l. Steve Ecker 2. Jeff Wicinsky 3. Steve Gawareski 4. Jason Fairbank 5. Jesse Krahn 6. Jerry Winkler
10 Lap Consy l. Ryan Blank 2. Eric Derks 3. Jeremy Kemnitz 4 Zack Spangenberg
8 Lap Heats First l. Fairbank 2. Steve Seehawer
Second l. Gawareski 2. Winkler
Third l. Wicinsky 2. Alex Crapser