WAUSAU, WI - Quiet for much of the season at State Park Speedway coming off a championship a year ago, Luke Fenhaus broke out in a big way Thursday night.
The 15-year old from Wausau and defending champion in the Auto Select Super Late Models class scored his first feature win of the season, winning the 50-lap main event as part of the Wib Baumann Memorial and Corn Night at the speedway. He became the sixth different winner in six super late model features at the track this season as the class made its return to regular points racing after a nearly six week absence.
Fenhaus had a dominant car Thursday night, which he displayed with a powerful run to the front. Going to the outside groove with the top four cars running single file, he moved from fifth to first in a span of just six laps, taking the lead from Travis Volm on lap 19.
Fenhaus was challenged by early leader Volm for 3 1/2 laps after a lap 18 restart. He led the final 33 laps, though, with only one brief scare on a restart with 25 to go. Justin Mondeik started alongside Fenhaus, but he quickly tucked in just behind the leader and stayed in second the rest of the way.
Fenhaus finished the race eight car lengths ahead of Mondeik, and after the race the Kulwicki Driver Development Program participant did a backwards victory lap in honor of Kulwicki before pulling into Brickner Family Auto Group Victory Lane. He also credited his team's work on his second car with helping it uncover some speed Thursday.
"We found something with the Fury that we thought would make it better, and it definitely did," said Fenhaus of the car he has used in a number of specials across the state. We could roll the center so much better than anybody else and pick up the throttle better than anybody else...(Crew chief) Tommy (Ress) and all the guys did a great job on the car this week."
Mondeik finished second, bouncing back after going to the back early after tapping out and taking blame for contact causing Jay Van Der Geest to spin on lap 18. Volm finished third while Van Der Geest also came back for fourth after a second spin on lap 25.
Results Super Late Models
Fast Qualifier: Luke Fenhaus, Wausau, 13.798 sec.
First Heat: 1. Travis Volm, Mosinee; 2. Neil Knoblock, Wausau; 3. Mike Olson, Dorchester; 4. Ryan Hinner, Stevens Point
Second Heat: 1. Jay Van Der Geest, Merrill; 2. Fenhaus; 3. Justin Mondeik, Gleason; 4. Brock Heinrich, Wausau
Feature: 1. Fenhaus; 2. Mondeik; 3. T. Volm; 4. Van Der Geest; 5. Olson; 6. Heinrich; 7. Hinner; 8. Knoblock
A night that was about more than racing for Greg Blount wound up a success on all levels.
Already in the midst of a fierce points battle in the Snap-on Mini Mods class, Blount also raced Thursday night with seven-year old Lucian Taggart on his mind. His night on the track couldn't have gone much better as Blount made a statement during the Wib Baumann Memorial and Corn Night with his second straight feature win and third this season.
Blount maneuvered through traffic slickly, getting to the front ahead of nearest points challenger George Seliger and rolling to the win to add a few more points to his lead over second-place Seliger in the standings. Coming into the night with a scant one-point lead, Blount ended the night six points ahead of the three-time defending mini mods champion with two weeks of racing left.
Blount also used his racing platform to tell fans in attendance early in the night about Taggart, the son of his nephew and grandson of his sister Jane who was diagnosed with a rare form of renal cancer recently. He raced with "Lucian Strong" displayed prominently on the car's right rear quarter panels, and during intermission drivers came through the stands and collected donations from race fans to support Taggart's family during Lucian's cancer treatment. By the end of the evening, a number of drivers had already affixed Lucian Strong stickers to their cars as the racing community quickly came together to support the Wausau boy.
"I race hard every time I'm in the car, I try to turn it as fast as the car is going to go every lap...(but) Lucian is big-time on my mind," said Blount of the night in Brickner Family Auto Group Victory Lane after his feature win. The Marathon racer also thanked fans and drivers for their support for the evening and said Lucian's family was surprised and overwhelmed by the donations collected Thursday night.
Blount worked through traffic in the feature to go from his ninth starting spot to first midway through the 20-lap event. Racing outside of Seliger and behind Dale Louze and Jim Lietz fighting for second, Blount made his move after Louze cleared Lietz and Seliger followed through to get to third.
Blount passed both Seliger and Louze to get to second, and then needed less than a lap to overtake leader John Lietz as well. From there he would drive away, finishing a straightaway ahead of Seliger and the rest of the field.
Dave Cabelka continues to make the most of his occasional appearances in the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stock division. The Wausau airplane pilot opened the night setting fast time and later won the 20-lap feature for his second feature win in five nights of racing.
Cabelka won with a power move on the outside just past the midway point. With Alex Volm hounding leader Jeff Spatz, Cabelka worked outside Volm on lap 12 and kept right on going, overtaking Spatz too on the same lap. He quickly broke away and won comfortably with Volm finishing second and points leader Brian Schramm third.
A second straight Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stock championship is in view for Kole Ferge after another big night. Ferge set fast time, finished a close second in his heat and then sliced through the field quickly to win the 20-lap feature for his fourth feature win of the season.
The Schofield driver started eighth in the feature but worked his way to second by the halfway mark and then needed just two laps to chase down early leader Tom Lecher. Ferge rolled from there and with two weeks left is now 55 points ahead of cousin Chad Ferge in second place, after Chad finished fifth in the feature.
Alex Hartwig has been the one to beat in the E.H. Wolf & Sons Bandoleros in their visits to State Park Speedway, and it continued Thursday night as he won the 15-lap feature. The youngster from Portage passed Robbie Rucks for the lead on the 10th lap and held off a late charge by Jevin Guralski for his third feature win in the class's four races at the track this season.
Cohen Henze also added two wins in the Bandoleros, winning both the second heat and the semi-feature. The Bandos also had a pair of scary-looking incidents, including a practice laps accident when Weston Marthaler rolled his car, plus a tangle in the third heat race when Tucker Bodendorfer spun in turn two and Ayrton Brockhouse with nowhwere to go hopped over Bodendorfer's wheel and ended up atop the tires guarding the outside retaining wall. All three would drivers were OK, though, and their cars would be two as all returned to race again later in the night.
Mini stock driver Randy Zieglmeier was not as fortunate in another incident during heat racing. The Wausau driver slid in turns and one two early in the first heat, and when his tires gripped again he went right into the turn two light pole in the infield. He walked away, but the crash resulted in heavy left side damage that ended his night.
Next week at State Park Speedway is the ninth annual Wayne 'Lodi' Lodholz Memorial, with super late models, pure stocks, mini mods, mini stocks and Bandoleros all scheduled to race, including season championship night for the Bandoleros. Fred Mueller Qualifying starts at 6 p.m. with racing to follow at 7 p.m.
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Dave Cabelka, Wausau, 15.532 sec.
Heat: 1. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 2. Alex Volm, Mosinee; 3. Brian Plisch, Athens; 4. Cabelka; 5. Brian Schramm, Wausau;
Feature: 1. Cabelka; 2. A. Volm; 3. Schramm; 4. Spatz; 5. Plisch
Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Greg Blount, Marathon, 15.532 sec.
First Heat: 1. John Lietz, Mosinee; 2. Jim Lietz, Mosinee; 3. Evan Call, Elderon; 4. Kevin Tessmer, Wausau; 5. Noah Gajewski, Marathon
Second Heat: 1. George Seliger, Wausau; 2. Blount; 3. Gary Garand, Weston; 4. Dale Louze, Mosinee; 5. Garret Strachota, Wausau
Feature: 1. Blount; 2. Seliger; 3. Louze; 4. John Lietz; 5. Strachota; 6. Garand; 7. Call; 8. Jim Lietz; 9. Gajewski; 10. Tessmer
Rockstar Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Kole Ferge, Schofield, 16.478 sec.
First Heat: 1. Tom Lecher, Wausau; 2. Eric Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 3. Evan Pingel, Ringle; 4. Kendra Baumann, Wausau; 5. Randy Zieglmeier, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Kyle Check, Shantytown; 2. K. Ferge; 3. Tyler Custer, Stratford; 4. Ashley Schoone, Tomahawk; 5. Chad Ferge, Wausau; 6. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee
Feature: 1. K. Ferge; 2. Lecher; 3. Check; 4. Schoone; 5. C. Ferge; 6. Custer; 7. Rowe; 8. Pingel; 9. Breitenfeldt; 10. Baumann; 11. Travis Lang, Wausau
E.H. Wolf & Sons Bandoleros
Fast Qualifier: Jevin Guralski, Wausau, 16.048 sec.
First Heat: 1. Kooper Guralski, Wausau; 2. Mariana Kubicz, Jefferson; 3. Paxton Benz, Wausau; 4. Cooper Bodendorfer, Muskego; 5. Weston Marthaler, Glenwood, Minn.
Second Heat: 1. Cohen Henz, Juda; 2. Michael Guderski, Markesan; 3. Avery Linnerud, Milton; 4. Keagen Benz, Wausau; 5. Tyler Muller, Sun Prairie
Third Heat: 1. Alex Hartwig, Portage; 2. Robbie Rucks, Deerfield; 3. J. Guralski; 4. Anna Malouf, Rhinelander; 5. Tucker Bodendorfer, Muskego; 6. Ayrton Brockhouse, Shakopee, Minn.
Semi-Feature: 1. Henze; 2. P. Benz; 3. Kubicz; 4. K. Guralski; 5. Marthaler; 6. C. Bodendorfer
Feature: 1. Hartwig; 2. J. Guralski; 3. Rucks; 4. Brockhouse; 5. Malouf; 6. Guderski; 7. Mueller; 8. Linnerud; 9. K. Benz; 10. T. Bodendorfer
-State Park Speedway Press Release
-Photo credit: QC Willy