(JULY 3, 2019) WAUSAU, WI – One of the most successful drivers at State Park Speedway over the past decade, Travis Volm is reaching new heights in the 2019 season.
And suddenly, the hottest super late model at State Park Speedway at the moment isn’t even a super late model car.
Volm won his second super late model feature at his home track in five days, backing up his victory in the second 30-lap CWRA main on Saturday with a win in the 50-lap Auto Select Super Late Models presented by C-Tech feature Wednesday night on Christmas in July and Fireworks Night. The win on a hot and humid Wednesday was his first ever in weekly super late model racing at the track.
Volm has excelled in a variety of divisions at the Rib Mountain 1/4-mile in recent years, including five track championships in the pure stock class and feature wins also in limited late model and super stock races. He had never won a super late model feature at State Park before this year, though, even while running well in the 7-11 car owned by Wayne Brevik a few years back.
“The car is good,” said Volm afterwards in an interview while joined in Brickner Family Auto Group Victory Lane by a host of family and supporters, just before a fireworks display celebrating the upcoming Independence Day holiday ended the night.
“We were going to run limited late models this year, that’s what this car is,” he said. “I didn’t think we had the car to do it (run with super late models), we skipped the first week, now I wish we would’ve ran the first week.”
Running with the 10-inch super late model tires on, Volm took the lead from Brock Heinrich on lap 26 of the feature and led the rest of the way for the win. In the process, he held off a number of super late model heavy hitters, including points leader Jay Van Der Geest and defending super late champion Luke Fenhaus.
Volm had built a four car length lead over second place running Van Der Geest when a planned competition caution came out with 20 laps to go, bringing the field together for a double-file restart. A feature winner earlier this year, Van Der Geest started on the outside of the front row on restart, but Volm needed less than a lap to clear him.
Fenhaus also got inside Van Der Geest a lap later and muscled his way by to get into second place with 18 laps left. The 15-year old from Wausau gave chase, but Volm kept a steady 3-4 car length lead the rest of the way, keeping his car pinned low in the corners and getting off the corners exceptionally well.
“I just kept running my line,” said Volm. “I knew I had tons of drive off (the corner), I was just backing my entry up a little bit, and just lay the hammer down off the corners.”
Heinrich started on the inside of the front row and led most of the first 25 laps, holding off a bees’ nest of activity behind him. Neil Knoblock took to the outside of Heinrich on lap 11 and even held a slim lead at the line on lap 12, but Heinrich slowly pulled back ahead and fended off the challenge.
Volm soon got inside Knoblock for second and began hounding the leader. Meanwhile, Van Der Geest, Fenhaus and fast timer Gabe Sommers were making their way through the field, with all three inside the top five before the halfway point.
Van Der Geest finished third and maintained the points lead over Justin Mondeik, who finished fourth. Knoblock came home fifth, Mike Olson was sixth, and Heinrich finished seventh while Sommers had to pull off late and finished 11th.
Auto Select Super Late Models pres. by C-Tech
Fast Qualifier: Gabe Sommers, Stevens Point, 13.914 sec.
First Heat: 1. Neil Knoblock, Wausau; 2. Mark Mackesy, Wausau; 3. Brock Heinrich, Wausau; 4. Ryan Hinner, Stevens Point; 5. Mitch Stankowski, Wausau; 6. Nate Steif, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Travis Volm, Mosinee; 2. Jay Van Der Geest, Merrill; 3. Luke Fenhaus, Wausau; 4. Mike Olson, Dorchester; 5. Sommers; 6. Justin Mondeik, Gleason
50-Lap Feature: 1. T. Volm; 2. Fenhaus; 3. Van Der Geest; 4. Mondeik; 5. Knoblock; 6. Olson; 7. Heinrich; 8. Hinner; 9. Mackesy; 10. Steif; 11. Sommers; 12. Stankowski
Defending champions Schramm, Seliger and Ferge all start July with feature wins
The calendar turning to July and hot summer weather proved to be good signs for three of last season’s State Park Speedway track champions.
Brian Schramm, George Seliger and Kole Ferge all won championships at State Park Speedway in 2018 in their respective divisions, and all three claimed feature wins Wednesday night on Christmas in July Night. All three also came out of the night with the points lead in their classes.
Schramm won an eventful 20-lap main in the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks. Taking his speedway-leading third feature of the season, Schramm started third and slipped to the rear of the field before rallying back for the win.
The Wausau driver got to the bumper of leader and two-time feature winner Alex Volm on the 12th lap, and two laps later then executed a crossover move going high in turn four and then darting low coming off the corner to get inside Volm. Schramm cleared Volm on the next lap and then pulled away easily on a restart with four laps left that came after contact between Volm and Jeff Spatz caused the latter to spin on the backstretch.
“Yeah I wasn’t going to be denied that one,” Schramm said after the race of his slick move to take the lead. “This thing just handled great tonight.”
Seliger took full advantage of a caution flag in the latter stages in the 20-lap Snap-on Mini Mods feature. The three-time division champion worked outside Evan Call on a restart with six laps to go, and he pulled away for his second feature win of the season.
Call started on the inside pole and led the first 14 laps, including holding off an initial challenge by Seliger, who was outside the leader for four laps but couldn’t complete the pass and fell back behind him on lap 13. Noah Gajewski went hard into the turn two tires two laps later, though, and Seliger made the pass on the high side this time and finished well ahead of second-place Greg Blount.
“Yeah, the tires cooled off just enough, and it came in and the top side worked,” said Seliger after the race.
Edgar’s Mike Heidmann came in a strong third with a car with considerable rear end damage after an incident just past the finish line after the checkered flag in the second heat race. Call also held on for fourth in his best run of the season.
A long week of work on the car paid off for Ferge, who became the first two-time winner in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks this season. He came from the ninth starting spot in a 12-car field and quickly worked his way to the front, passing Amanda Rowe for the lead on the ninth lap and going on to win the 20-lap race by half a straightaway over cousin Chad Ferge in second.
Rowe took the lead on the second lap after Randy Zieglmeier led the first circuit, and she held off a challenge from first-time visitor Chris Tolliver in the early laps. Kole Ferge moved past Tolliver for third on lap 6, though, got inside Evan Pingel for second a lap later, and then passed Rowe on the outside to take the top spot.
The win for Ferge came after engine issues at Marshfield Motor Speedway resulted in a new power plant put into the car just this week, with little time for testing or practice.
“It feels really good seeing as a week ago we didn’t have a motor in it,” said Ferge afterwards. “We had no idea what to expect.” Ferge also noted the work done by his crew working long days on the car and also Seliger for providing needed parts.
The next race at State Park Speedway will be Thursday, July 18th, with the Central Wisconsin Racing Association late models returning on their Stars to Legends Tour. Pure stocks, mini stocks and mini mods also will race. The night also will celebrate the latest book by Father Dale Grubba chronicling the success of Dick Trickle and Tom Reffner in their respective 67-win seasons in the 1970s. Fred Mueller Qualifying will begin at 6 p.m. with racing to follow at 7 p.m.
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Brian Schramm, Wausau, 15.471 sec.
Heat: 1. Brian Plisch, Athens; 2. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 3. Schramm; 4. Alex Volm, Mosinee
Feature: 1. Schramm; 2. Spatz; 3. Plisch; 4. A. Volm
Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Greg Blount, Marathon, 15.698 sec.
First Heat: 1. Evan Call, Elderon; 2. Garret Strachota, Wausau; 3. Noah Gajewski, Marathon; 4. Kevin Tessmer, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. George Seliger, Wausau; 2. Jim Lietz, Mosinee; 3. Gary Garand, Weston; 4. Mike Heidmann, Edgar; 5. Blount
Feature: 1. Seliger; 2. Blount; 3. Heidmann; 4. Call; 5. Strachota; 6. Lietz; 7. Garand; 8. Tessmer; 9. Gajewski
Rockstar Energy Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Chad Ferge, Wausau, 16.810 sec.
First Heat: 1. Chris Tolliver, Watertown; 2. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee; 3. Randy Zieglmeier, Wausau; 4. Travis Lang, Wausau; 5. Kendra Baumann, Wausau; 6. Tyler Custer, Stratford
Second Heat: 1. Tom Lecher, Wausau; 2. C. Ferge; 3. Kole Ferge, Schofield; 4. Ashley Schoone, Tomahawk; 5. Evan Pingel, Ringle; 6. Kyle Check, Shantytown
Feature: 1. K. Ferge; 2. C. Ferge; 3. Pingel; 4. Tolliver; 5. Check; 6. Lecher; 7. Schoone; 8. Rowe; 9. Zieglmeier; 10. Baumann; 11. Custer; 12. Lang