Every year, drivers in Central Wisconsin circle their calendar for the last weekend in July when the annual Larry Detjens Memorial event takes place at State Park Speedway. For 34 years drivers have paid tribute to the late Detjens, known not only as one of the best shot track racers, but an all-around great person as well. Drivers like Scott Wimmer, Chris Wimmer, Dick Trickle, Tom Reffner and Tim Sauter have cemented themselves as Detjens Memorial Race winners and each year more drivers look to add their name to the list.
State Park Speedway point leader Jeremy Lepak has never won a Detjens Memorial and would love to add a win in the prestigious race to his resume at the end of the race on Saturday.
“The Detjens Memorial race has been such a prestigious race for so long,” said Lepak, “Larry set such a standard on how a driver should represent himself on and off the track. We honor that standard by running his race and there are no words to explain what it would feel like to win it.”
A handful of drivers have won the race more than once and only three are three-time winners. Multi-time State Park Speedway Champion Mark Mackes is one of them, along with Chris Weinkauf and the late Dick Trickle.
“To win it three times is very special to me,” said Mackes, “Larry painted my dad’s first race car before Larry raced. He painted 3-4 cars after that for my dad. Dad and Larry would ride to the race meeting together. To win the Detjens for my family is like Indy for the Unser’s or Daytona for the Earnhardt’s. Then I married Larry’s daughter which makes it even more special.”
Tim Sauter looks to add his name to the list of three-time winners this Saturday night. Not only would he become the fourth three-time winner, but he would become the first to win three in a row. Sauter has been borderline unbeatable at State Park Speedway as of late, picking up wins in six of his last nine races at Wausau.
State Park Speedway co-owner and nephew of the late Detjens, Scott Wimmer, won the event twice and even with all the success he’s had at different levels, this race always holds a special meaning.
“It’s definitely a race that means a lot to win,” says Scott Wimmer, “It was extra special to me because of our family’s connection with Larry. I wish I would have gotten to know him better, but it’s one of those races guys talk about winning not only because it’s a big race in Central Wisconsin, but mostly because of Larry and the legacy he left. Drivers want to say they won this race, it always holds a little extra meaning.”
For the fifth straight year the Miller Lite Detjens Memorial Weekend consists of Friday and Saturday events at State Park Speedway. Things kick off Friday night when the Big 8 Series comes to town and headlines a night of exciting racing action. It’s a quick turnaround to Saturday, which begins with breakfast and a bean bag toss tournament. The focus then shifts back to the track for 125-laps of Auto Selected Super Late Model presented by C-Tech racing plus action from all support divisions. Visit stateparkspeedway.com for a full list of times and events.
-By Jana Wimmer, Speed51.com Midwest Editor – Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo credit: Speed51.com