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Ritchie Reverses Fortune with Speedzone Mod Victory!

Street Stock Showdown Sees Winker Edge Teammate Kope for Win by Inches!

Oshkosh, WI, May 24, 2013 – Victory Lane … it cures the blues for those who have waited some time to reach it. Oshkosh Speedzone Race way provided that cure for several drivers looking to turn around their 2013 racing season as the third-mile clay oval. There was plenty of “Full Moon Racing” providing thrills and spills for the fans who endured some rather cool temperatures this evening. The show was presented by B104.7 WBJZ and also featured a Kid’s Ride Along prior to the start to the program.

Nearly 30 Automotive Supply Company IMCA Northern Sport Modifieds checked in for action and it was Justin Ritchie slipping past Mike Klenz for the victory tonight. Ritchie who also runs a Late Model at the nearby Shawano Speedway, won his first career Modified feature at the Speedzone last season and quickly has established himself among the stars of the Modified class. Once out front Ritchie proved untouchable in the non-stop feature event. The Hansel Trucking IMCA Northern Sport Modifieds were much more unsettled with cautions and chaos aplenty. In the end Jon Schultz put his machine in victory lane scoring win number one for the 2013 season in a time-shortened contest which went 14 laps.

The Total Power Sales Street Stock main event was the race to watch this evening as team mates Jerry Winker and Jerry Cope traded the lead back and forth. The pair sit atop the all-time win list in the Street Stock division at the track. Coming off the final turn in the feature race the pair were dead even trading paint in the dash to the checkered. In the end Winkler scored the victory by less than a foot in a near photo finish. Defending Outlaw Chassis Grand National champion Brian Henry overcame this early season misfortune which had included accidents and mechanical issues with a convincing win in the main event tonight. Chris Maas complete the evening’s winners topping the Ellington Mutual Insurance Dirt Devils feature after giving up the lead only to gain it back race leader Ralph Liegeois Jr., dropped from the contest with a few laps remaining.

All totaled 122 cars had entered the pit area for competition lead this evening by the IMCA Sport Modified which has 34 drivers check in. 29 IMCA Modifieds were on hand and between both divisions once again “Wisconsin’s Modified Action Track” had over 60 mods in the pit area. The Dirt Devils had 24 entries with 18 drivers checking in for both the Street Stocks and Grand Nationals.

The Automotive Supply Company IMCA Modified main event followed up a chaotic Sport Modified feature with a caution free contest which ran green to checker flag in eight minutes. Rookie Modified pilot and former Grand National champion T.J. Smith would square off with veteran racer Mike Klenz at the drop of the green flag with Klenz temporarily holding down the lead position. Ritchie who had started in the second row wasted little time working past Smith and moments later he began to pressure Klenz for the lead.

Ritchie worked his way around Klenz for the top spot on lap five and once out front Ritchie steadily built a lead leaving his rivals in his wake. The battle for second waged between Smith and Klenz lap after lap but their duel allowed Johnny Whitman to close in and make it a three care battle for the second spot. Whitman was able to work by Smith for third on lap 11 and moments later completed a clean pass of Klenz for second.

The challenge Whitman now faced was erasing the large lead Ritchie had built up. In the remaining laps it appeared Whitman was quicker closing the gap but Ritchie’s pace was enough to allow him to reach the finish with a comfortable lead. Whitman would settle for second ahead of defending IMCA Sport Mod champion Troy Jerovetz who has shown he can quickly adapt to the higher horsepower Modifieds. Klenz would hold onto fourth finishing just ahead of Marcus Yarie who completed the top five. For rookie Smith his sixth place performance was a career high. Yarie continues to lead the early season standings by three markers over Jerovetz. Last week’s feature winner Eddie Muenster holds down the third spot in the standings two additional points back.

In contrast the Hansel Trucking IMCA Northern Sport Modified main event seemed to have been effected by the full moon which was shining brightly over the raceway. The end result has a rather chaotic race where a top five finish was all by guaranteed by just keeping the racecar headed the right direction around the track.

Second year racer Brock Saunders set the initial pace of the contest before Jon Schultz took over the top spot. Opening night feature winner Jeff Steenburgen showcased the speed in his ride wasting little time moving past Saunders and catching Schultz. After a brief battle Steenburgen place himself in the top spot. A spin by Beau Handschke in turn four on the sixth lap necessitated the first of a flurry of caution flags. On the restart Steenburgen suddenly lost grip on the racing surface spinning his ride in the front of the pack. He was narrowly missed by the field and was forced to restart in the back of the pack. Though this would drop Steenbergen from contention for the win he was still able to work his was by to seventh by the finish.

Steenburgen’s spin placed Schultz back out front with Clint Forestner as his chief rival while Saunders continued in the third slot on the restart.

A couple more cautions occurred before the “big one” took place on lap seven as more than a half dozen cars got collected in a chain reaction accident coming off turn four. The cars of rookie contender Steve Schneider and Joey Taycher suffered the most damage with Taycher having his car sit in the infield for the duration of the night so it could be loaded onto a trailer after the racing program.

The race would then settle down with Schultz showing the way for the balance of the contest which reached lap 14 before the time limit expired. Schultz would collect the victory four car lengths ahead of Forestner. Saunders earned a career high third place finish. Brandon Schmitt nabbed fourth in his first appearance at the track after winning his consolation race earlier in the night. Cody Hokenstad completed the top five.

Todd Wiese who finished sixth tonight continues to lead the points by four markers over Schultz.

After heat race mechanical issues a field of 15 starters accepted the green flag in the Outlaw Chassis Grand National main event. Tim Doehling was the driver to catch in the early going of the contest while a three wide battle for second would play out with Brian Henry, Larry Richards and Brad Juckem. Richards would gain the upper hand and set out after Doehling. After a brief battle Richards would claim the lead spot on lap four. Henry would also work by Doehling to claim second moments later.

Henry then began to reel in Richards with Richards preferring a high line while Henry worked the lower groove. The wheel to wheel battle was just heating up when the only caution of the race appeared on lap ten. On the restart Henry would take over the lead and begin to pull away from the field extending his lead with each passing lap to the finish. Henry would take the win by a dozen car lengths leaving Richards to fend off Jim Rhode for second over the closing laps. Richards was up to the task earning the number two position. Rhode would settle for third followed by Jeff Richards and Tim Reichenberger.

Jeff Richards sits atop the standings by three markers over Terry Van Roy.

When it came to wheel to wheel action for the win no race this evening entertained like the Total Power Sales Street Stocks.

Jon Ashcraft would make a three wide pass for the lead on the opening lap passing his daughter Lexii for the lead. Meanwhile Jerry Winkler and Jerry Kope were slicing through the field both reaching the top five within the first couple laps. The Winker and Cope battle would begin as a duel for third as they fought for that position behind Ashcraft and Dan Knaus. While Ashcraft set the pace, Kope started to show his speed gaining the upper hand on Winkler and then surging past Knaus. Winkler would follow into third before the only slowdown of the race when Mark Schultz had his machine catch fire brining out a red flag to extinguish the flames. Schultz was unhurt in the incident but his race was done for the evening.

As the green flag flew the battle would wage three wide as both Kope and Winkler powered past Ashcraft. For the last half of the contest Kope and Winkler tossed the lead back and forth with neither driver able to securely hold the top spot. As the white flag flew Winkler charged back out front but he wiggled coming off turn two allowing Kope to catch up and the pair we nearly even heading into the final turns. Both drivers would come off turn four sideway headed for the finish line with Winkler gaining the win by the slimmest margin seen so far in 2013. Kope who had two wins already to his name this season in feature action would claim second. Knaus would slip by Ashcraft for third in the final laps with Ashcraft earning fourth. Defending champion Richard Garb rallied from an opening lap spin to reach fifth at the checkered. Kope sits atop the current standings by ten points over Garb.

The program would conclude with the Ellington Mutual Insurance Dirt Devils taking to the track with 24 cars in the feature contest. The event was relatively incident free. Chris Mass lead the majority of the main event until he was passed for the lead by Ralph Liegeois Jr. as the race began to wind down.

Ralph Liegeois Jr looked to have the speed for the victory when he suddenly slowed and pulled to the infield with mechanical problems with only a handful of laps remaining. This turned the top spot back over to Maas who would then pace the contest to its conclusion. Jason Fairbank originally finished in the second spot but it was determined he did not fall to the tail of the field after changing a tire during the first yellow flag of the event which appeared when he suffered a flat in turn two. This placed last week’s feature winner Kasey Gross into second while Mike Montie, Shawn Bangart and Calvin Nowak comprised the top five spots. Gross currently leads the points by four over Montie.

Next Friday night, May 31st, Dan Kelly Plumbing and Oshkosh Lanes will present the racing program which will again feature some of the area’s toughest Modified action and over 120 total cars will check into the pit area for the show.

All five weekly divisions will be on hand including Automotive Supply Company IMCA Modifieds, Hansel Trucking IMCA Northern Sport Modifieds, Outlaw Chassis Grand Nationals, Total Power Sales Street Stocks and Ellington Mutual Insurance Dirt Devils.

The first green flag of the night is set to fall at 7:00pm, and the grandstands will be open at 5:00pm. Adult admission is just $10, with you admission for youngsters ages 11 through 15 just $5. Children 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.

BOX SCORE:

AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLY COMPANY IMCA MODIFIEDS:

Feature (Top 15): 1.) Justin Ritchie; 2.) Johnny Whitman; 3.) Troy Jerovetz; 4.) Mike Klenz; 5.) Marcus Yarie; 6.) T.J. Smith; 7.) Sean Jerovetz; 8.) Brian Drexler; 9.) Eddie Muenster; 10.) Tim Lemirande; 11.) Dennis Schultz; 12.) Chris Engels; 13.) Mike Wedelstadt; 14.) Jeremy Christians; 15.) Chad Nelson

First Consolation: 1.) Wedelstadt; 2.) Nelson; 3.) David Jaeger; 4.) Jerry Muenster; 5.) John Schultz; 6.) Mark Weischnit

First Heat: 1.) Lemirande; 2.) D. Schultz; 3.) Engels
Second Heat: 1.) T.J. Smith; 2.) Drexler; 3.) Whitman
Third Heat: 1.) Ritchie; 2.) T. Jerovetz; 3.) Yarie
Fourth Heat: 1.) S. Jerovetz; 2.) Klenz; 3.) Christians

HANSEL TRUCKING IMCA NORTHERN SPORT MODIFIEDS:

Feature (Top 15): 1.) Jon Schultz; 2.) Clint Forestner; 3.) Brock Saunders; 4.) Brandon Schmitt; 5.) Cody Hockenstad; 6.) Todd Wiese; 7.) Jeff Steenbergen; 8.) Kelsy Hayes; 9.) Bernie Miller; 10.) Robby Thiel; 11.) Mark Howe; 12.) Jessi Ness; 13.) J.J. Anderson; 14.) Kevin Bethke; 15.) Beau Handschke

First Consolation: 1.) Schmitt; 2.) Joey Taycher; 3.) Thiel; 4.) Scott Besaw; 5.) Rob Charapata; 6.) Hunter Parsons
Second Consolation: 1.) Anderson; 2.) Bethke; 3.) Wiese; 4.) Cory Wegner; 5.) Todd Ewald; 6.) Jeff Roffers

First Heat: 1.) Jeremy Bierhals; 2.) Steve Schneider; 3.) Forestner
Second Heat: 1.) Steenbergen; 2.) Howe; 3.) Miller
Third Heat: 1.) Hokenstad; 2.) Saunders; 3.) Schultz

OUTLAW CHASSIS GRAND NATIONALS:

Feature (Top 10): 1.) Brian Henry; 2. Larry Richards; 3.) Jim Rhode; 4.) Jeff Richards; 5.) Tim Reichenberger; 6.) Brad Juckem; 7.) Kodiak Wirtz; 8.) Terry Van Roy; 9.) Don Schumacher; 10.) Jason Fish

First Heat: 1.) Tim Doehling; 2.) Henry; 3.) John Schultz III
Second Heat: 1.) Juckem; 2.) Reichenberger; 3.) L. Richards

TOTAL POWER SALES STREET STOCKS:

Feature (Top 10): 1.) Jerry Winkler; 2.) Jerry Kope; 3.) Dan Knaus; 4.) Johnny Ashcraft; 5.) Richard Garb; 6.) Frank Knaus; 7.) Patty Winkler; 8.) Lexii Ashcraft; 9.) Jim Pollnow; 10.) Wayne Morgan

First Heat: 1.) Garb; 2.) L. Ashcraft; 3.) J. Ashcraft
Second Heat: 1.) Morgan; 2.) Pollnow; 3.) Jeff Wicinski

ELLINGTON MUTUAL INSURANCE DIRT DEVILS:

Feature (Top 10): 1.) Chris Maas; 2.) Kasey Gross; 3.) Mike Montie; 4.) Shaun Bangart; 5.) Calvin Nowak; 6.) Patrick Klawitter; 7.) Timothy Kundinger; 8.) Matt Brehmer; 9.) Matt Dewilde; 10.) Erik Kollmann

First Heat: 1.) Ralph Liegeois Jr.; 2.) Klawitter; 3.) Wes Lungwitz
Second Heat: 1.) Jason Fairbank; 2.) Maas; 3.) Hillary Kreutz
Third Heat: 1.) Gross; 2.) Nowak; 3.) Bangart