By Jeffrey Sachse
Friday, June 24, 2011 - Oshkosh, WI. - Rain had stopped just in time this week as the Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway was able to hold it's Coors Light / Total Power Sales Driver's Sponsor Appreciation Night program as planned. After four straight days of rain track officials managed to whip the racing surface into shape to present the program.
Mike Klenz would survive a late race restart fending off Mitch McGrath in the Automotive Supply Company Modifieds in a time shortened 15 lap feature contest. The victory for Klenz was his second straight as he won the main event when the Modifieds last appeared on June 3rd.
The Miller Lite Grand National feature contest was also a time shortened race that ended with a yellow checkered finish. Kenny Richards won the event on the final lap edging Tim Reichenberger by a foot to collect his second feature victory of the 2011 season.
Tracy Wassenberg managed to survive a late race challenge from current division point leader Zeke Bishofberger in the Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modified main event. Wassenberg, lost a spring from the left rear corner of his ride with three laps to go but managed to keep up his pace, edging Bishofberger.
In the Total Power Sales Street Stock division, Jerry Winkler scored his second feature victory of the 2011 season outrunning last week's feature winner Mark Schultz in the closing laps.
The evening concluded with Erik Kollmann topping the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devil feature race after taking the lead with just two laps to go in the contest.
The Automotive Supply Company Modified main event got underway with Steve Kloehn the initial leader before John Schultz worked into his way to the top spot by lap two.
With racing three and four wide positions in the pack changed rapidly. Klenz had moved forward several position by lap three and displaced Kloehn for second on lap four. Klenz wasted little time reeling in Schultz and was challenging for the top spot by the end of the circuit. Mitch McGrath who had followed Klenz through the field found himself in third by lap five.
Schultz would hook the berm coming off turn four on lap eight, slowing his pace and allowing Klenz to power by with the top spot. Schultz would lose several positions before recovering. Tim Lemirande and McGrath would work into second and third as Schultz fell back.
A tire knocked into the racing groove on lap 11 changed the complexion of the race, bunching the field and resulting in Lemirande dropping from the second spot as his car began to smoke dropping fluid on the track. Lemirande retired to the pits under yellow giving the second spot to McGrath who had already captured two victories this season at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway.
Another caution flew moments later for a multi car tangle between Kloehn, Scott Magsamen and Jamie Schmidt in turn one.
With the green flag in the air Klenz was back to the lead with McGrath working a low groove and Travis Spaulding who had climbed into third working the high line. Spaulding's efforts in the high line did not prove fruitful as he began to fall back.
A final caution would appear on lap fourteen Schulz spun in turn two ending a strong performance in the top five.
With each caution Klenz was able to withstand the challenges of his rivals. Due to reaching the time limited for the event a green, white checkered finish was put into play.
When green flag flew the final time Klenz was again proving his ability to make solid restarts fighting off McGrath to set the pace. A two car spin would result in another caution, with the race officially ended showing fifteen laps in the books. Eddie Muenster who had worked as high as third was caught on the outside on the final restart giving third to Mike Wedelstadt. Brian Drexler was credited with fourth and Spaulding completing the top five. Muenster would reach the line in sixth.
The Grand National feature presented a 21 car field and would prove to be an unsettled contest. In the end came with fourteen laps in the books when the time limit for the race was reached.
Will Schumacher would pace a single lap before John Schultz III took over the top spot. Tim Reichenberger would make a daring three wide pass down the backstretch on lap three and would come away with the lead becoming the third leader in the first three laps.
A spin my Michael Evens on lap seven would be the first of a flurry of cautions which would fly during the balance of the contest.
When the green flag flew again Reichenberger, a former champion in the Street Stock division, would fend off challenges by both Schultz and Brian Henry who had worked his way to the front of the pack.
A quick spin by Tom Schneider on lap eight bunched the field. The next caution would appear in lap nine for a Tom Haydon spin in turn one. Each time the green flag returned Reichenberger would lay claim to the lead fending off several different challengers as the field shuffled on each restart.
Reichenberger had moved out to a two car length lead over Steve Schneider when the next caution appeared for a second spin by Evens. Henry and Kenny Richards had been contesting the third spot when the caution appeared with Henry having the advantage.
Under the caution Steve Schneider would give up the second spot as his car began leaking fluid on the track. This would turn second over to Henry and gave Richards the third position.
Due to reaching the time limit a green, white checkered finish was declared.
Reichenberger would bring the field to the green hugging the low groove with Richards favoring a high line. Richards would shoot to the outside roaring alongside Riechenberger for the lead. The pair ran wheel to wheel under the white flag with Richards ahead by a foot. As the field headed for the checkered several cars tangled in the back of the pack causing the caution to fly with the checkered flag. Richards was awarded the victory followed by Reichenberger, Henry, Terry Van Roy and Jim Rhode, last week's feature winner, comprising the top five.
The Sport Modified feature event Randy Kreuger would set the initial pace, while Mike Dauphinais and Adam Pugh were locked in a battle for second. From deep in the field Wassenberg was wasting little time in finding a way to the front. He would secure the third spot by lap four. Pugh would be his next target as Wassenberg moved into the runner-up position on lap six.
The third roll-over of the 2011 season at Oshkosh Speezone would bring out the red flag when it occurred on lap nine as Matt Valiquette clipped a tire and rolled his machine. He would emerge from his car unhurt but was done for the evening.
When the race resumed Wassenberg would sweep past Kreuger to the lead, with Pugh in tow. The next caution appeared on lap thirteen when Mike Lemiesz looped his ride in turn two. With Wassenberg out front the key battles were for second as Pugh, Chad Guyette and Zeke Bishofberger traded the position back and forth.
Wassenberg's biggest challenge would come with four laps to go as a spring popped out from the left rear corner of his car. Seemingly unaffected by it's loss Wassenberg kept his foot on the gas and managed to hold his pace to the checkered. The battle for second came down to the wire as Bishofberger who had acquired second moments earlier fought off a final corner passing attempt by Guyette for second. Pugh earned the fourth position with Chad Bethke comprising the top five.
The Total Power Sales Street Stocks took to the track for their feature event with Richard Garb showing the way early in the contest. Jerry Winker made some quick work of traffic reaching second by lap three and began to challenge Garb for the top spot. Winkler opting to run the low line would even up with Garb in the corners, but Garb working the high groove would surge ahead on the straights. Mark Schultz would move into the third position by lap seven just behind the lead duo.
Winkler would finally gain the upper hand securing the top spot out front on lap eight. Dion Wahl would lose power and roll to a halt on the next lap forcing the only yellow of the contest.
With the green flag out Winkler went back to the top spot this time challenged by Mark Schultz who had worked into the second spot. For several laps Schultz was able to pressure Winkler, before Winkler slowly edged away. Winkler would set the pace to the checkered winning by a car length. Jon Schultz would take the third position followed by Garb and Frank Knaus.
The Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils main event had just two slowdowns due to mechanical issues and the class once again provided fans with some clean side by side racing. John Charles set the pace early in the contest with Ben Meyerhofer and Chris Maas giving chase.
Maas would swap spots with Meyerhofer in the second position while Erik Kollmann reached the fourth spot by lap five.
Charles appeared to have the speed to fend off his rivals but his pace began to slow just prior to the halfway point of the event allowing Maas to close the gap.
The first caution would appear when Meyerhofer's machine slowed and came to a halt while running third on lap fourteen giving the position to Kollmann.
As the race resumed the lead machine of Charles did not come up to speed turning over the top spot to Maas and elevating Kollmann to second. The final yellow flag appeared for another stalled car with four laps to go.
As the dash to the checkered began Maas found himself challenged by Kollmann who worked to his inside and with two laps to go Kollmann took the lead. Kollmann would lead the final two circuits taking his first win of the season. Maas would hold onto second fending off Cory Wegner at the line. Point leader Jason Fairbank finished fourth and Steven LeMay rounded out the top five.
Racing resumes next Friday Night, July 1st when Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway and Sonntag Photography will present a fireworks display in addition to the racing program. All five weekly divisions will be in action and over 100 cars are expected to take to the track with Automotive Supply Company Modifieds, Miller Lite Grand Nationals, Total Power Sales Street Stocks, Leon's Frozen Custard Sport Modifieds and Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils all on hand for the evening.
Gates open at 5:00pm, with racing action beginning at 6:30pm. Adult admission is just $10, with students tickets available to those between the ages 11 and 15 at just $5. Children 10 and under are admitted free with an adult.
The following week there will be no racing taking place on July 8th due to Lifefest taking place on the track grounds.
Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway is a 1/3 mile semi-banked clay oval located at the Sunnyview Expo Center which resides near the intersection of Highways 76 and County Trunk Y in Oshkosh. Weekly racing Friday Night racing continues until September. Fans and drivers are encouraged to visit the track website at www.oshkoshspeedzone.net for additional information on upcoming racing events.
This article was posted to the website on June 25th, 2011