Kaukauna, WI; – It was time to decide some championships at Wisconsin International Raceway! The 43rd Annual Red, White and Blue State Championship series came down to this evening with the program supported by Budweiser / WAPL along with NAPA Auto Parts and Ken’s Sports. Highlighting the show was the “Blue Race”, a 75 lap Super Late Model feature that decided tonight’s title chase.
The top three in points heading into the evening, Ty Majeski, Lowell Bennett and Jeff Van Oudenhoven, all had mechanical issues which dropped them from the championship contention and left the title chase wide open.
The winner of the overall Red, White and Blue championship was not decided until the final lap when Maxwell Schultz put a pass on Kyle Calmes to cross the line in third. In doing so he earned just enough points, temporarily winning the title by a single marker over Piontek who had seemingly finished runner-up to rookie Dalton Zehr.
However, Zehr’s ride did not pass post race inspection, thus naming Piontek the winner of the Blue Race, and in doing to he tied Maxwell Schultz in the final overall points. The pair were awarded co-champion honors in one of the most dramatic finishes in series history.
The title chase was crystal clear in the Late Model division as Cory Kemkes came into the night the point leader and then topped this evening’s main event. Dylan Wenzel outran Greg Hauser in the Street Stock feature race but Hauser had accumulated the most markers in the Red, White and Blue events. In 4 cylinder action Randy Sonkowsky outdistanced his brother Wayne, while Wayne earned the RWB title in his class. Hayden Watzka topped the evening’s feature in the Sport Trucks, with defending division champ Brett Van Horn earning the RWB honors. A win in the figure eights gave the team of Derek Schmidt and Dan Gracyalny the overall Figure Eight RWB title.
An exceptional crowd was on hand to witness a stout field of 25 cars accepted the green flag for the Blue Race, as the roar of Super Late Models thundered through the air. Zehr, with two wins already to his credit this season, sat on the pole. Tom Gee Jr. , who was an infrequent visitor to the track this year, but a former winner in Red, White and Blue action, started the event to his outside as the 75 lap headliner began.
Using the high line Gee was able gain the momentum to overtake Zehr for the top spot. Rookie Mike Meyerhofer Jr. performed the same fete on the next lap to snare second while the majority of the field still ran side by side.
With 15 laps in the books Meyerhofer began to close the gap on Gee, but was unable to find a way to the front. Zehr, Brett Piontek and Pete Vandermolen were in the top five with 25 laps in the contest completed. Meyerhofer was able to briefly challenge Gee for the lead but he slipped, vacating the second spot and turning it over to Zehr on lap 27.
Gee Jr. was still out front at the competition yellow, which waved on lap 35 with Zehr, Meyerhofer, Piontek, and Bobby Kendall in the top five spots.
The pack quickly reformed for the final half of the contest.
The event resumed, and Gee broke away briefly, before Zehr worked back to his inside on lap 37. Zehr successfully took over the lead from Gee, and moments later Gee lost another position when Piontek went rolling past.
On lap 41, the two point runners Ty Majeski, and Lowell Bennett both encountered mechanical issues. Bennett headed for the pit area to fix his problems. Majeski was given the mechanical black flag as he was dropping oil on the racing surface which resulted in a caution. Bennett would briefly return to run some additional laps, however neither Majeski nor Bennett were able to contend for the win.
The third place point car of Jeff Van Oudenhoven then seemed poised to capitalize on the situation, and possibly take the title, but he broke a rear end on the restart and retired to the pit area.
When the race finally got back to green flag action, Piontek and Zehr brought the field back up to speed to finish the final 34 laps. The duo of Piontek and Zehr soon had Kyle Calmes joining the fray for the lead position.
On lap 47 something broke on Sawyer Effertz’s machine sending him nose first into the turn one safety barrier and the caution again made its final appearance. It was decided a single file restart was needed and Zehr, Piontek, Calmes, Gee and Austin Luedtke held the top five slots.
Back underway, Piontek made his was to the inside of Zehr on lap 52, and again the top two ran side by side. With raw determination Zehr surged out front with 18 laps to go, awhile Piontek dropped back in behind. Calmes in third had now closed within a car length of the top two. Maxwell Schultz found himself in fourth with 15 laps to go.
Zehr was able to keep a small gap as the laps wound down while Piontek looked for an opportunity for one last charge. Zehr keep the field behind him as the race completed reaching the line with a several car length advantage. Piontek had to settle for the second spot. Schultz made a pass on Calmes in the final circuits to seemingly earn the third position.
Post race inspection negated Zehr’s performance. This left Piontek, Schultz, Calmes, Tim Rothe, and Luedtke officially in the top five.
30 laps was the distance of the Late Model contest. The field was 17 strong this evening. Brandon Reichenberger got the jump on Jake Carpenter as the event began. Todd Verhagen was in the second spot when the first yellow flag flew on lap four for a spin by Ben Miller.
The green returned. This time Verhagen got the upper hand sailing to the front. Reichenberger stuck in the outside line began to lose positions allowing point leader Cory Kemkes to motor into second followed by Brad Anthony.
Kemkes wasted no time in reeling in Verhagen reaching his rear bumper on lap ten. Kemkes was able to work inside of Verhagen in turn two but Verhagen was able to reassume the lead. Kemkes rallied making another run at the lead on lap 15, this time successfully.
The second slowdown occurred on lap 16 when Adam Peterman spun, stalling in turn one. One more lap went in the books when Anthony looped his machine while running fourth, and was skillfully avoided by the rest of the field.
A false start and a spin by Tim Springstroh into the safer barrier off turn four extended the slowdown. Kemkes and Verhagen squared off again when the race finally got underway. The lead duo ran wheel to wheel while Brent Strelka, and fast qualifier Jim Duchow giving chase. Kemkes finally gained the upper hand on lap 20 just prior the another caution appeared for Springstroh whose machine lost grip in turn one resulting in another spin.
The field lined up single file due to the frequency of cautions for the final restart. In the closing laps Strelka maneuvered into the second spot but he wasn’t able to gain ground on Kemkes. Kemkes secured the win by six car lengths. In doing so he extended his season point lead, and won the overall Red, White and Blue title in the Late Model division. Strelka fended off a final turn charge by Duchow to earn second. Duchow, Carpenter, and Verhagen completed the top five finishers.
The Super Stocks ran a 20-lap feature tonight that surely felt like a dash after last weeks 49 lap Stan Gracyalny memorial main event. Mark Truckey, and Randy Yaeger fought for control of the contest at the drop of the green flag with Truckey powering to the lead.
As the laps clicked by Truckey extended his lead while Yaeger had a half dozen cars breathing down his neck, successfully holding onto the second spot as the race past the halfway point.
Things got physical between Jeff Treml, and Andy Casavant with the resulting contact collecting several other cars on lap 13. Dylan Wenzel, and Greg Hauser moved into third, and fourth before the caution. Both were primed for action as the race resumed.
Wenzel used the high line on the restart to surpass Truckey for the top spot, and Hauser followed into the second spot while Yaeger faded. The pair of Wenzel, and Hauser sailed away from the pack over the final circuits. Wenzel was able keep Hauser in his rear view mirror the final circuits to take the win. Truckey was able to fend off a last lap challenge by Larry Raygo to hold third. Raygo, and Dave Meyerhofer completed the top five runners.
The snowmobile engine powered, Wisconsin Sport Trucks, went trackside for their feature contest with 16 drivers ready for action. Kylee Vandermoss was the early leader showing the way until Brian Vixmer made an inside pass on lap five to take the lead. Vandermoss would slip back on the outside as point leader Brett Van Horn and talented rookie Hayden Watzka climbed into second and third respectively.
Just past the halfway point Van Horn got a run on the outside of Vixmer as the pair when wheel to wheel for the lead. The battle was interrupted by a dual spin as Alyssa Larson and Justin Fickel spun in turn four on lap 11.
The field restacked with Vixmer and Van Horn again doing battle for the top spot. Van Horn inched ahead on the outside with six laps to go leaving the field behind. Vixmer, running second, now had his hands full with Watzka as the lead trio lined up nose to tail with the white flag waving. With all three drivers running the same line the top positions stayed the same to the finish with Van Horn collecting yet another checker flag and continuing to pad his point lead. Vixmer had to settle for second followed by Watzka, John Roeser, and Jacob Boldig in the top five.
18 cars presented for the 4 cylinder feature, with a distance of 15 laps. Three and four wide action ensued at the drop of the green flag. Aaron Van Stippen was out front when a field scattering tangle occurred on lap two forcing the first caution.
The Sonkowsky brothers muscled to the front as the race resumed with Randy taking the lead and Wayne finding second by lap four. Lap five would prove to be the downfall of heat race victor Heather Wolfgram. Her evening ended in a plume of smoke as her motor expired necessitating a lengthy cleanup.
The event continued with the Sonkowsky brothers now set to battle for the victory. Randy held fast to the lead with Wayne looking both inside and out to try and find a way by his sibling. The duo caught lapped traffic over the final lap. Randy was able to slip through unhindered for the win with Wayne having to settle for second. Stephen Gilbertson earned third followed by Alex Seidl and Devin Yaeger in the top five.
Just two nights remain in the 2014 racing season. Next Thursday night, August 21st, Y-100 Radio and Schenck SC will sponsor the program. The Fox River Racing Club will have all it’s weekly divisions in action. The six-division show will placing over 100 cars on the racing surface during the evening. The first green flag will fall at 6:45pm.
Adult admission for the show is a mere $10 and remains one of the best values in short track racing.
Fans can follow the best in asphalt racing action by logging onto the Fox River Racing Club website at www.frrcracing.net where you can follow all the action during the 2014 racing season. The Fox River Racing Club is also on Facebook at facebook.com/frrcracing.
Wisconsin International Raceway the home track of the Fox River Racing Club is located near the intersection of State Hwy 55 and KK, just south of Kaukauna, WI.
Super Late Models:
75 Lap Feature: 1. Brett Piontek; 2. Maxwell Schultz; 3. Kyle Calmes; 4. Tim Rothe; 5. Austin Luedtke; 6. Jesse Oudenhoven; 7. Nate Van Wychen; 8. Robert Kendall; 9. Frank Nitzke; 10. Mike Meyerhofer Jr.,; 11. Jordan Ives; 12. Tanner Bohlen; 13. Pete Vandermolen Jr.; 14. Brady Baldry; 15. Andy Monday; 16. Kyle Rhodes; 17. Jay Baulmer Jr.,; 18. Tom Gee Jr.; 19. Randy Schuler; 20. Sawyer Effertz; 21. Michael Anthony; 22. Lowell Bennett; 23. Ty Majeski; 24. Jeff Van Oudenhoven; 25. Dalton Zehr
Fast Qualifier: Schultz, 19.337 Seconds
30 Lap Feature: (Top 10) 1. Cory Kemkes; 2. Brent Strelka; 3. Jim Duchow; 4. Jake Carpenter; 5. Todd Verhagen; 6. Brandon Reichenberger; 7. Scott Baker; 8. Terry Miller; 9. Johnny Van; 10. Corey Manders
Fast Qualifier: Duchow, 20.217 Seconds
20 Lap Feature: ( Top 10 ) 1. Dylan Wenzel; 2. Greg Hauser; 3. Mark Truckey; 4. Larry Raygo; 5. Dave Meyerhofer; 6. Neal Sannes; 7. T.J. Spierowski; 8. Randy Theimer; 9. Randy Yaeger; 10. Ricky Kaufert Jr.
First 8 Lap Heat: 1. Spierowski; 2. Truckey; 3. Raygo
Second 8 Lap Heat: 1. Evan Sannes; 2. Ethan Beattie; 3. Meyerhofer
Fast Qualifier: Hauser, 15.794 Seconds
Wisconsin Sport Trucks:
20 Lap Feature: (Top 10) 1. Brett Van Horn; 2. Brian Vixmer; 3. Hayden Watzka; 4. John Roeser; 5. Jacob Boldig; 6. Matt Rhode; 7. Kylee Vandermoss; 8. Kyle Quella; 9. Jason Plutz; 10. Tyler Nettekoven
First 8 Lap Heat: 1. Nettekoven; 2. Vandermoss; 3. Justin Fickel
Second 8 Lap Heat: 1. Rhode; 2. Vixmer; 3. Watzka
Fast Qualifier: Roeser; 16.045 Seconds
15 Lap Feature: ( Top 6 ) 1. Randy Sonkowsky; 2. Wayne Sonowsky; 3. Stephen Gilbertson; 4. Alex Seidl; 5. Devin Yaeger; 6. Steve Van Oudenhoven
First 8 Lap Heat: 1. Van Oudenhoven; 2. Roger Braun; 3. Seidl
Second 8 Lap Heat: 1. Heather Wolfgram; 2. R. Sonkowsky; 3. W. Sonkowsky
10 Lap Feature :(Top 6) 1. Derek Schmitt; 2. Terry Van Roy; 3. Craig VanderWettering; 4. Jared Baughman; 5. Ken Van Wychen; 6. Jeff Wilz