Jeremy VanderZanden - Remembered - Honored - Celebrated!
Oshkosh, WI, July 23, 2013 – Somewhere between remembrance and celebration, between honoring those of the past and looking to the future, between understanding the impact each participant makes in the sport to the victory celebrations by future stars of the raceway made for a night with a wide range of emotions for many in attendance at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway on Tuesday Night.
The annual “Walk of Fame” presented by Coors Light had a dual function this year. It served both as a remembrance of the heroes of the Leo’s Speedway forerunner to today’s Oshkosh Speedzone and a honoring of Jeremy VanderZanden a racer still at the start of his career who tragically lost his life in a motorcycle accident just over a week ago.
While VanderZanden hadn’t won many titles or races, his efforts in the racing community, especially with the Kid’s Club and young fans were honored this evening. There were several special celebrations including an honorary victory where fellow competitors in the Grand National division a class in which he competed, stopped their cars on the racing surface during their feature contest to allow Jeremy’s familiar #84j car to be driven to the finish line first, taking the checkered flag and giving Jeremy a symbolic victory.
While VanderZanden was remembered so too were those who laid the groundwork for racing in Oshkosh, drivers Larry Hunt, Jim Holdren and Bill Kienast were honored during opening ceremonies for their efforts at Leo’s Speedway which had closed in the mid-1970’s. Each gave a brief speech reflecting upon the way racing was indicating that fun is the key to its continued success.
There was also plenty of racing action with nearly 100 cars in the pit area representing the tracks five weekly divisions.
Matt Klenz who won his first career Automotive Supply Company IMCA Modified main event in a time shortened contest at the beginning of July earned his second career victory tonight in an event that ran its entire distance, fending off the challenges of John Schultz and then running away from the field.
In the Hansel Trucking IMCA Sport Modified feature contest it appeared second year racer Brock Saunders was headed for his first career victory until a late race pass with less than two laps to go by rookie Steve Schneider, would place Schneider in victory lane for the third time this season. The Outlaw Chassis Grand Nationals saw the feature field stop on the race track to allow the car which had been driven by Jeremy VanderZanden to claim a symbolic victory. Defending division champion Brian Henry was awarded first place points and money by leading at the white flag.
Jerry Winker would top the Total Power Sales Street Stocks in the feature contest for the third time this season and Kyle Stark completed the list of the evening’s winners by topping the Ellington Mutual Insurance Dirt Devils.
Matt Klenz would pace all 20 laps of the Automotive Supply Company IMCA Modified main event taking the opening lead. John Schultz would apply the pressure in the opening rounds seeking to take away the top spot, while Matt’s father, Mike Klenz attempted to keep the lead positions in the family, running third in the early going.
A spin by Mike Mueller in turn two on lap seven bunched the field but Matt Klenz was able to maintain the top spot as racing resumed. During the caution fourth running Johnny Whitman headed to pit lane allowing Mike Wedelstadt to take the position.
Matt Klenz soon found himself running wheel to wheel with Schultz as the pair drew even on several occasions with Schultz running the inside of the track and Matt Klenz running the high line.
Marcus Yarie meanwhile cracked the top five by the hallway point and began to challenge both Mike Klenz and Wedelstadt as the trio were locked in a battle for the third spot.
Wedelstadt would sweep past Mike Klenz for third with five laps to go but the lead pair of Matt Klenz and Schultz has built up a large gap on third running Wedelstadt.
Matt Klenz would click off the finals laps setting an uncatchable pace and winning the contest by 10 car lengths over Schultz. Wedelstadt would settle for third having fended off repeated challenges by Yarie over the final two circuits. Yarie and Chris Engels would finish fourth and fifth respectively.
The Hansel Trucking IMCA Northern Sport Modified main event saw Brock Saunders set the pace early establishing himself in the lead and holding it through two cautions for spins prior to the halfway point of the contest. Cody Hokenstad would prove to be Saunders chief rival during the first half of the event before Steve Schneider secured the second position.
Once in the second spot Schneider methodically closed the gap on Saunders who managed to fend off several passing attempt by Schneider as the laps began to wind down. Saunders appeared to get the break he needed as Schneider clipped the wall on the backstretch with four laps to go allowing Saunders to gain a five car length lead.
However Schneider was quick to gather up his machine and once again reeled in Saunders. With just over two laps to go Schneider made his move to the inside of Saunders taking away the lead position and then slowly pulling away. Saunders remained close of the final laps but was unable to retake the top spot as he watched Schneider take the victory.
Saunders would earn runner-up honors his best career performance to date, while Hokenstad, Kelsy Hayes and division point leader Todd Wiese made up the top five finishers.
The Outlaw Chassis Grand National main Tim Doehling, Tim Reichenberger and Brian Henry all ran as a pack swapping lines while doing battle for the top spot in the early portions of the main event. Doehling preferring the high groove would hold off repeated challenges by Reichenberger who chose a much lower groove.
A caution for the stalled machine of Larry Richards near the mid-portion of the contest changed the complexion of the event. Back under green Henry would surge into the lead leaving Doehling and Reichenberger to battle for second.
Henry would find himself out front when Arianna Beattie spun in turn three on lap 18. As the field came around to turns three and four Henry would stop on the racing surface with everyone lined up behind him. The car which had been driven in competition by Jeremy VanderZanden then came out of the pits to accept the checkered flag begin given the ceremonial victory. The top five at the pay window would see Henry claim the biggest check with Doehling, Jim Rhode, Reichenberger and Jeff Richards following.
The Total Power Sales Street Stocks saw their fair share of caution flags with the race moving along in 2 and 3 lap spurts of action between slowdowns mostly for minor spins or mechanical issues.
Mark Schultz driving his bright green vintage Chevelle set the pace for the first half of the contest before Jerry Winkler took over coming off a caution and setting the pace as the field crossed the line on lap 10.
Once in the lead spot Winkler would have to survive several more cautions, each time having to keep Schultz in his tire tracks. Schultz was able to wheel alongside Winker on a couple occasions but as the laps wound down Winkler began to pull away taking the win by six car lengths. Schultz would finish second followed by Frank Knaus, Jerry Kope and John Sidesky who was making his first appearance at the track.
The final event of the night saw a field of 18 Ellington Mutual Insurance Dirt Devils take to the track. Kyle Stark would place himself in the lead on lap two of the 20 lap contest a position he never relinquished. Starks chief rival was Chris Mass during the opening rounds before Mass fell back eventually losing second to division point leader Mike Montie just past the halfway point.
Montie would close in on Stark but was unable to take the lead position even with the aid of a late race yellow. Stark would wind up taking the win over Montie, Maas, rookie Rachel Kallas and Jason Fairbank.
There is no racing this Friday Night at the Sunnyview Expo grounds are in use for DeerFest. Racing will resume on Friday Night August 2nd with Knaus Cheese and Weyauwega Star Dairy presenting Leroy Dehn Memorial race. Racing will take place in all five weekly divisions.
The Automotive Supply Company IMCA Modifieds will be showcasing their talent on “Wisconsin’s Modified Action Track”. Also on the card are the Hansel Trucking IMCA Northern Sport Modifieds, Outlaw Chassis Grand Nationals, Total Power Sales Street Stocks and Ellington Mutual Insurance Dirt Devils. Nearly 120 cars are expected to participate in the show.
Family friendly admission is just $10 for adults with young fans ages 11 through 15 admitted for just $5. Children ages 10 and under are admitted FREE with a paid adult.
Fans can print out the 2013 season schedule by visiting the track website at www.oshkoshspeedzone.net . When visiting the website fans are encouraged to sign-up for the free track newsletter which features weekly updates throughout the season along with photos, videos, interviews and more.
Oshkosh Speedzone can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thespeedzone - 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.
AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLY COMPANY IMCA MODIFIEDS:
Feature (Top 15): 1.) Matt Klenz; 2.) John Schultz; 3.) Mike Wedelstadt; 4.) Marcus Yarie; 5.) Chris Engels; 6.) Brian Drexler; 7.) Mike Klenz; 8.) T.J. Smith; 9.) Chad Nelson; 10.) Justin Ritchie; 11.) Sean Jerovetz; 12.) Troy Jerovetz; 13.) Eddie Muenster; 14.) Mike Mueller; 15.) Jerry Muenster
First Heat: 1.) Smith; 2.) Engels; 3.) Rick Robbins
Second Heat: 1.) Schultz; 2. ) Drexler; 3.) Johnny Whitman
Third Heat: 1.) Matt Klenz; 2.) Mike Klenz; 3.) S. Jerovetz
HANSEL TRUCKING IMCA NORTHERN SPORT MODIFIEDS:
Feature (Top 15): 1.) Steve Schneider; 2.) Brock Saunders; 3.) Cody Hokenstad; 4.) Kelsy Hayes; 5.) Todd Wiese; 6.) Scott Boyea; 7.) Kevin Bethke; 8.) Wyatt Block; 9.) Dion Wahl; 10.) J.J. Anderson; 11.) Mark Howe; 12.) Robby Thiel; 13.) Tristin Peebles; 14.) Todd Ewald; 15.) Hunter Larson
First Heat: 1.) Hokenstad; 2.) Larson; 3.) Bethke
Second Heat: 1.) Schneider; 2.) Colten Van Hierden; 3.) Howe
Third Heat: 1.) Block; 2.) Hayes; 3.) Peebles
OUTLAW CHASSIS GRAND NATIONALS:
Feature (Top 10): 1. (*symbolic) *Jeremy VanderZanden; 2.) Brian Henry; 3.) Tim Doehling; 4.) Jim Rhode; 5.) Tim Reichenberger; 6.) Jeff Richards; 7.) Terry Van Roy; 8.) Larry Richards; 9.) Tom Schneider; 10.) Tim Thompson
First Heat: 1.) Doehling; 2.) Van Roy; 3.) Henry
Second Heat: 1.) Reichenberger; 2.) L. Richards; 3.) J. Richards
TOTAL POWER SALES STREET STOCKS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Jerry Winkler; 2.) Mark Schultz; 3.) Frank Knaus; 4.) Jerry Kope; 5.) John Sidesky; 6.) Rich Garb; 7.) Jon Ashcraft; 8.) Jeff Jungwirth; 9.) Wayne Morgan; 10.) Chad Ewald
First Heat: 1.) Kope; 2.) Lexii Ashcraft; 3.) Jeff Wicinski
Second Heat: 1.) Garb; 2.) Knaus; 3.) Sidesky
Third Heat: 1.) Winkler; 2.) Schultz; 3.) J. Ashcraft
ELLINGTON MUTUAL INSURANCE DIRT DEVILS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Kyle Stark; 2.) Mike Montie; 3.) Chris Maas; 4.) Rachel Kallas; 5.) Jason Fairbank; 6.) John Stenger; 7.) Erik Kollmann; 8.) Timothy Kundinger; 9.) Tyler Thiel; 10.) Andrew Meyerhofer
First Heat: 1.) Montie; 2.) Kollmann; 3.) Wes Lungwitz
Second Heat: 1.) Matt Brehmer; 2.) Maas; 3.) Meyerhofer
Third Heat: 1.) Stark; 2.) Fairbank; 3.) Tracy Peebles
This article was posted to the website on July 24th, 2013