Brian Vinney Jr. Collects First Career Street Stock Win. Jerovetz Streaks to Three In Sport Mods
By Jeffrey Sachse
Oshkosh, WI, July 6, 2012: One on of the hottest nights on record at Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway a solid showing of dedicated fans and drivers were on hand at the third-mile clay oval. Overcoming oppressive heat a field of 113 drivers checked into the pit area for competition on Dominos Pizza Night of Fire. A fitting name given the weather conditions and a fine fireworks display which was presented by Speilbauer Fireworks after the racing events. The display was set off by Michelle Loy a former modified competitor who was the head pyrotechnic in charge of the fireworks show.
Mitch McGrath showed fans something different this evening in the Automotive Supply Company Modified main event. Usually known for his rim-riding driving style, McGrath used the technique to charge to an early lead but then opted to run the lower groove forcing his competitors to try and catch him on the high side. None were up to the challenge and McGrath scored his second feature win at "Wisconsin's Modified Action Track" this season.
T.J. Smith who the defending Miller Lite Grand National champion got back in the groove last week with his first victory of 2012 and showed that effort was no fluke coming back again this week to put his #69 machine back in victory lane. He gave credit to his crew and using his old setup from last season as his reasons for the newly found speed.
Troy "The General Jed" Jerovetz has shown he is going to be in the thick of the title chase in the Leon's Frozen Custard IMCA Northern Sport Modifieds. Jerovetz tied the record for the most consecutive feature wins in the class having now won three straight. Tracy Wassenberg the division point leader established that mark just prior to Jerovetz beginning his win streak.
Both drivers using a Razor chassis have has a stranglehold on victory lane giving that manufacturer six straight victories.
In the Total Power Sales Street Stock division saw Brian Vinney Jr., score his first career feature win in the class. To do so Vinney Jr., had to repel his rivals after several restarts which took place during the contest. Holding the lead at the return of each green flag Vinney Jr., was very animated in victory lane showing the thrill of winning his first division feature at the track.
Mike Montie concluded the evening by leading wire to wire in the Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devil division.
With 34 Automotive Supply Company Modifieds on hand a pair of consolation races would set the starting field for the 24 car main event. Shaun Frelich would sit on the pole of the contest with Craig Priewe to his outside. Frelich would pace the opening rounds of the contest while the battle for second would fan out four wide on the track as Priewe, Travis Spaulding, McGrath and Marcus Yarie.
That pack soon caught Frelich and the three and four wide racing continued only this time it was for the lead. McGrath using the high line got the advantage over his rivals and would bolt by Frelich for the top spot on lap three. Yarie would follow the move to slip into second as McGrath switched lines and began to work the bottom of the raceway in an attempt to stretch his lead.
A minor tangle on lap five would force the first caution of the contest. On the restart McGrath was able to repel the challenges of Yarie and again took command of the race. Yarie who has proven his ability to run up front in spite of limited appearances at the raceway gave chase in second.
Coming off a caution at the halfway point McGrath continued to outrun Yarie, while third spot became hotly contested between defending division champ Brian Drexler, Tim Lemirande, Johnny Whitman and Spaulding.
McGrath had built a large lead, but a caution with five laps to go would put the field on his rear bumper for the dash to the checkers. McGrath would prove up to the challenge on the restart but only on more lap went in the books before Jerry Muenster rolled to a halt in turn four.
This gave the field one last shot at McGrath but at the drop of the green a pack of cars began to tussle for the second spot allowing McGrath to motor away from the pack and take the win convincingly. Yarie would come away with the second spot at the wire fending off a hard charging Whitman who had blazed through the field after transferring from a consolation race to take third. Lemirande would settle for fourth and like Whitman came from deep in the pack after winning his consolation race. Drexler would reach the line in fifth.
As the field was accepting the checkered flag Tom Schaal spun just before the finish line and was collected by Jason Zdroik. The resulting contact flipped Zdroik onto his roof and resulted in heavy damage to his car. Fortunately he was able to emerge from his battered machine unhurt after the first rollover of the season at the track.
The Leon's Frozen Custard IMCA Northern Sport Modified contest saw the most prolific use of the caution flag this evening with a plentiful number of appearances in the first five laps. During that time rookie Brock Saunders was proving his skill behind the wheel of a Sport Modified leading the 22 car field back to speed on each occasion and holding fast to the stop spot. For the most part fellow rookie Jordan Tuyls supplied most of the pressure.
The race finally saw its first green flag stretch begin on lap four. On this restart Saunders would have his hand full attempting to hold off the challenges of both Todd Weise and Jerovetz while Rod Solem lurked behind the leaders. Saunders would prove up to the task still leading the way when a spin by rookie Cory Wegner on lap eight forced the final caution of the contest.
On the restart Solem went to the extreme high side of the track and he would wrestle away the top position from Saunders who now had his hand full with Jerovetz. On lap twelve Jerovetz was finally able to work by Saunders for the runner-up spot and he began to chase down Solem.
Jerovetz hugging the low grow slowly reeled in Solem and he would take advantage of a lapped car to work into the lead on lap fourteen when Solem slowed his pace briefly to pass the lapped machine. Once out front Jerovetz would extend his lead on each passing lap to the finish taking a convincing win. Solem would settle for second. Saunders earned a third place finish in an impressive showing for the rookie. Todd Wiese and point leader Tracy Wassenberg would complete the top five.
17 Miller Lite Grand Nationals were on hand this evening and all would take the green flag to start the feature contest. Kodiak Wirtz would show the way at the drop of the green flag with Jeff Richards in tow. The lead pair would remain in that order through several quick cautions before Smith, who had started deep in the field worked his way up to the leaders reaching fourth by lap five.
Richards would work the high line to nose ahead of Wirtz on lap six as Smith soon joined the battle for the lead. After several laps of side by side racing Smith would reach the second spot at the expense of Wirtz.
Smith now had eight laps remaining to catch Richards who had built up a solid lead. It soon became apparent that Smith had the faster machine as he quickly closed the gap. With three laps to go Smith would maneuver to the inside of Richards to take over the lead position, a spot which he would hold to the finish for his second consecutive victory. Richards would settle for runner-up honors. Wirtz earned the third spot in his best performance of the season followed by John Schultz III. Brian Henry would take fifth place at the checkered flag.
The Total Power Sales Street Stocks saw all 19 cars in the pit area accept the green flag for their feature contest. Brian Vinney Jr. would lead every lap of the event but it was far from an easy victory as several restarts and a variety of drivers all attempted to steal the top spot and the win. Jon Ashcraft and Richard Garb were among the first drivers to try and find a weakness in Vinney Jr's. line but neither were successful in reaching the top spot.
After several quick cautions the race finally saw its first green flag stretch on lap four, while Garb, Mark Schultz and Jerry Winkler all sought a way past Vinney Jr.
Winkler would secure the second spot on lap seven and he set out to close the five car length lead Vinney Jr., had built. Winkler would close within a car length by lap thirteen when the final caution of the contest would appear when Brandi Luebke spun coming off turn four.
Vinney Jr. would bring the tightly bunched field back to the green flag with Winkler again applying the pressure in an attempt to take the top spot. Vinney Jr., would prove successful in repelling Winkler's challenges taking the win by two car lengths over Winkler. Garb would take third just ahead of defending division champion Jeff Jungwirth. Justin Linder completed the top five runners.
The Lynn's Service Center Dirt Devils would show up with a season high 20 contestants. Mike Montie charged into the top spot before the completion of the first lap and would effectively lead the race from green to checkered. Joe Minks would come out on top of a race long battle with division point leader and defending champion Jason Fairbank to earn second while Fairbank settled for third. Ben Meyerhofer and Chris Maas would complete the top five finishers.
The Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway will not be racing on Friday Nights July 13 or July 20th as the grounds are used by Lifefest and Deerfest respectively.
The next event will take place on a Tuesday evening as the annual "Walk of Fame" Night is scheduled for July 17th. Each season several drivers from the historic Leo's Speedway are inducted into the "Walk of Fame" representing racing's top drivers from the era.
The show presented by Coor's Light will feature a unique twist in the racing action. The Automotive Supply Company Modifieds will do time trials to qualify for the feature event. The fastest 16 cars will be locked into the feature contest and then run a pair of qualifying races to determine their starting positions for the main event. Cars qualifying outside the top 16 will run consolation races to fill the feature field.
A full point program with all five divisions will gather for this special night and it is expected that over 120 cars will be on hand for the event.
There will also be special ceremonies taking place to induct several former Leo's Speedway standout drivers into the Walk of Fame. Willie Goeden, M.J. McBride and Terry Baldry will be the latest drivers to be honored for their effort at the former Leo's Speedway.
For this special event fans will be treated to throwback pricing with a $5.00 grandstand admission, along with $1.00 tap beer, $1.00 soda and $1.00 hot dogs.
The unique Tuesday Night program brings many new fans and drivers to the raceway and it's always a great night to celebrate the "Good Old Days" of racing with those who helped make Oshkosh area racing what it is today.
Weekly Friday Night racing will return on July 27th with T & S Excavating Night at the races. Owned by Modified standout Travis Spaulding, T& S Excavating and Trucking can take care of all your transportation and excavating needs. T&S Excavating was responsible for expanding the tracks water retention pond this past off-season and is responsible for the track having the water it needs to track preparation.
The next Tuesday Night special will see the return of racing to the Winnebago County Fair with a full show going on during fair week. The August 7th program will again feature all five weekly point divisions.
The final Tuesday Night special will take place when Hansel Trucking will present the WDLMA Late Models in their lone appearance of the season. The fastest fendered cars in the state will be appearing on Tuesday Night August 21st. Joining the WDLMA Late Models will be the debut of the Badger Modified Tour at the Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway. The finest Modified drivers from the upper Midwest will challenge top local favorites for bragging rights as winner of the inaugural Badger Modified feature winner at The Zone. Rounding out the program will be the Leon's Frozen Custard IMCA Northern Sport Modified division.
For fans wanting to take in two evenings of racing comprising the fastest cars in the state a special "Need For Speed Week" ticket will offer fans a chance to do just that. The ticket will be good for the Tuesday Night Hansel Trucking WDLMA Late Model/Badger Modified Special on August 21st and final appearance of 2012 for the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints on Friday Night August 24th.
The IRA Sprints are regarded as the fastest open wheels cars in the Midwest, while the WDLMA Late Models are the quickest full bodied cars in the state of Wisconsin.
Additional information on the "Need For Speed Week" ticket package will be announced shortly.
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.
Fans and drivers are encouraged to visit the track website at www.oshkoshspeedzone.net for additional information on upcoming racing events. Fans can also friend the raceway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thespeedzone and you can receive all the latest updates from the track on twitter as www.twitter.com/thespeedzone.
AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLY COMPANY MODIFIEDS:
Feature (Top 15): 1.) Mitch McGrath; 2.) Marcus Yarie; 3.) Johnny Whitman; 4.) Tim Lemirande; 5.) Brian Drexler; 6.) Eddie Muenster; 7.) Mike Klenz; 8.) Scott Mullen; 9.) Kyle Lentz; 10.) Craig Priewe; 11.) Shaun Frelich; 12.) Eugene Gregorich; 13.) Travis Spaulding; 14.) Kevin Feck; 15.) Tony Wedelstadt
First Consolation: 1.) E. Muenster; 2.) Mike Wedelstadt; 3.) John Schultz; 4.) Feck; 5.) Brad McGuire; 6.) Ben Stumpf
Second Consolation: 1.) Lemirande; 2.) Joe McGrath; 3.) Whitman; 4.) Jerry Muenster; 5.) Pat Zdroik; 6.) Rick Robbins
First Heat: 1.) Justin Ritchie; 2.) M. McGrath; 3.) Yarie
Second Heat: 1.) Tom Schaal; 2.) Spaulding; 2.) Lentz
Third Heat: 1.) Gregorich; 2.) Mike Klenz; 3.) Jason Zdroik;
Fourth Heat: 1.) Frelich; 2.) Mullen; 3.) Priewe
LEON'S FROZN CUSTARD IMCA NORTHERN SPORT MODIFIEDS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Troy Jerovetz; 2.) Rod Solem; 3.) Brock Saunders; 4.) Todd Wiese; 5.) Tracy Wassenberg; 6.) Kelsy Hayes; 7.) Clint Forester; 8.) Ryan Besaw; 9.) Dion Wahl; 10.) Kevin Bethke
First Heat: 1.) Wahl; 2.) Hayes; 3.) Adam Pugh
Second Heat: 1.) Jordan Tuyls; 2.) Saunders; 3.) Solem
Third Heat: 1.) Wiese; 2.) Jerovetz; 3.) Mark Howe
MILLER LITE GRAND NATIONALS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) T.J. Smith; 2.) Jeff Richards; 3.) Kodiak Wirtz; 4.) John Schultz III; 5.) Brian Henry; 6.) Brian Gilles; 7.) Tim Reichenberger; 8.) Terry Van Roy; 9.) Tim Warner; 10.) Larry Richards
First Heat: 1.) J. Richards; 2.) Wirtz; 3.) Troy Weich
Second Heat: 1.) L. Richards; 2.) Schultz III; 3.) Smith
TOTAL POWER SALES STREET STOCKS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Brian Vinney Jr.; 2.) Jerry Winkler; 3.) Richard Garb; 4.) Jeff Jungwirth; 5.) Justin Lindner; 6.) Frank Knaus; 7.) Shawn Haydon; 8.) Mark Schultz; 9.) Dan Knaus; 10.) Mike Nehmer
First Heat: 1.) Jon Ashcraft; 2.) Garb; 3.) Vinney Jr.
Second Heat: 1.) Winkler; 2.) Jungwirth; 3.) D. Knaus
LYNN'S SERVICE CENTER DIRT DEVILS:
Feature (Top 10): 1.) Mike Montie; 2.) J
oe Minks; 3.) Jason Fairbank; 4.) Ben Meyerhofer; 5.) Chris Maas; 6.) Erik Kollmann; 7.) Chad Ewald; 8.) Jay Vanderloop; 9.) Steve Seehawer; 10.) Ashley Steber
First Heat: 1.) Maas; 2.) Jon Charles; 3.) Matt Brehmer
Second Heat: 1.) Fairbank; 2.) Montie; 3.) Meyerhofer
This article was posted to the website on July 7th, 2012