By Jeffrey Sachse
Friday, September 9, 2011 - Oshkosh, WI. - With nearly ideal weather conditions, fans were treated to 320 laps of qualifying heat action as many of the area's finest dirt track competitors fought to make their way into the feature contests to be held Saturday Afternoon, beginning at 3:00pm.
158 cars checked into the pit area surpassing last year's Fall Classic numbers. 45 IMCA Style Modifieds topped the divisions followed closely by 42 IMCA Style Sport Modifieds. Area Street Stock racers representing several tracks checked in with 33 entries. 22 Grand Nationals were in the pit area with several IMCA Type Stock Cars joining them. The entry level 4 cylinders saw a showing of 16 cars.
Two rounds of qualifying heats took place tonight in all but the 4 Cylinder class, which had a single round of heat races.
The first round of qualifiers would take the top two positions and lock them into the main event, the second round of qualifiers would add the winner to the field. A redraw was then held on the front stretch for each class, giving fans a preview of how the main events would be lined up.
In the IMCA Style Modifieds, five heats were held on the first round with 2006 IMCA National champion Benji LaCrosse grabbing the victory in the first event. IMCA Modified rookie hot shoe Jonny "The Hitman" Whitman took the checkered in the second heat. Multi-time Thunderhill title holder Todd "Felix" Dart earned a win in the third heat. Newly crowned Oshkosh Speedzone Raceway champion Brian Drexler captured heat four and Chris Engels made a last lap pass on 2011 Seymour Speedway champion Brian Mullen to win the final heat.
The second round heat winners who also advanced to the main event included Joe McGrath, Travis Spaulding, Kyle Fredrick, Craig Priewe and Chad Bartel.
After a redraw the front of the field was set. Engels will be starting on the pole with Drexler to his outside. Row two will consist of Jason Zdroik and R.M. Van Pay. Last year's Fall Classic feature winner Brain Mullen will be starting in the seventh spot.
Several top drivers including Jerry Muenster, Noah Schepp, Mike Klenz and Kyle Lentz will be attempting to make the main event through the last chance races.
An exceptionally strong showing of IMCA Style Sport Modifieds established a track record 42 entries. The four first round qualifying heats were won by Wisconsin State Sport Modified champion Brad Lautenbach, J.J. Anderson, Scott "Scooter" Boyea and Brandon Long. Second round heat winners included Cody Hudson, Doug Mahlik, Brain Breuchert and 2011 Oshkosh Speedzone division champion Zeke Bishofberger.
The Street Stock division had two sets of three heats. First round heat winners included 2010 Oshkosh Speedzone champion Shawn Haydon and newly crowned champ Jeff Jungwirth both collecting wins. Visiting driver Mark Baker scored the other victory. In the final round of heats wins went to Randy Rahn who make a last turn pass to grab the first heat while other victories went to Trevor Schmidt and Kyle Riedner.
There were three qualifying heats in the first round for the Grand Nationals with victories going to Nick Strobbe, Jim Rhode and 2010 Speedzone champion Larry Richards. The second round qualifying heats were won by Shawn Havel driving an IMCA Style Stock Car, and newly crowned champion T.J. Smith.
All cars currently in attendance will make the 4 cylinder feature with wins this evening going to Dan Juszczyk and Ralph Liegeois Jr.
Racing action will resume at 3:00pm on Saturday. Pit gates will open at Noon. Newly arriving drivers can still make the main events by finishing well in the Last Chance races which will set the balance of the feature fields.
Grandstand admission is $15 for adults, student tickets for those ages 11 to 15 are $10 and children under 10 are admitted FREE.
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.
This article was posted to the website on September 10th, 2011