BY MICHAEL H. BABICZ
-2017 SEASON FINALE-
(Wilmot, Wisconsin, Saturday, September 16, 2017)–Brad “J.J” Mueller of Random Lake won his first 30″-lap DirtKings Late Model Tour feature of the season to highlight Wilmot Raceway’s Fall Festival Challenge Saturday, September 16.
“Other than his family members, I was probably to closest to Russ(Scheffler),” said Mueller, referring to late model ace Russ Scheffler’s having passed away earlier in the week. “It would have been better if one of them won, but as good of a friend as he was to me, it means a lot for me to win it.”
Mueller had a late race caution close the field up on the Plymouth Dirt Track season champion. Mueller was up to the challenge as he went on to score the win in the tour’s tenth stop of the season. Glenbeulah’s Tim Buhler was second edging out third place Justin Schmidt of Cleveland. Clintonville’s Justin Hirt was fourth with Shawano’s Troy Springborn fifth.
Luxemburg’s Jared Siefert was sixth, Green Bay’s Ron Berna seventh, Reno Markham of Kingston, Illinois eighth, Green Bay’s Chris Engels ninth and Shawano’s Brett Swedberg completed the top ten.
Hartford’s Bill Balog drove the Wayne Modjeski Midwest Sprint Association(MSA) 360-sprint car to victory in the 20-lap Challenge between the MSA 360s and Wilmot’s Interstate Racing Association(IRA) WingLESS sprint cars. Balog, 7-time IRA winged sprint car series champion who won his 100th IRA main event at Route 66 Raceway on September 13, showed his ability to drive just about anything with four wheels and a steering wheel.
“I have to thank Wayne, the crew, and everyone associated with the team for allowing me to drive the car,” said Balog, who swept the IRA winged mains during the Kenosha County Fair in August giving him three Wilmot wins within a month. The Wilmot wingless win followed a victory the night before in a United Midwest Sprint Series(UMSS) 360-winged main in Spencer, Iowa.
“I’m starting to get a little nervous,” admitted Balog, originally from Alaska, regarding his closing in on a eighth IRA championship with five events remaining on the schedule as the next stop for the winged tour is Saturday, September 23 at Beaver Dam Raceway. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
Craig Campton of Madison took the early lead in the wingless main, until a red flag on lap nine for a multi-car tangle in turn three resulted in Randolph’s Andy Hunt flipping and landing upside down. Hunt was uninjured. On the restart, Balog challenged Campton as the two charged side by side into turn one. On the next circuit at the midway point, Balog took top spot and checked out on the field. Campton took second. Tim Cox of Park City, Illinois took third in a tight battle with Cottage Grove’s Doug Schenck who finished fourth. Milwaukee’s Jordan Mattson, 2017 Wilmot WingLESS champion, drove Jim Melis MSA 360 car to a fifth place finish.
“I did so well last week that I decided I kind of like this place so I came back,” said Sheboygan’s Brody Rivest after his second consecutive 15-lap Bandit 4-cylinder stock car feature win in his only two appearances at Wilmot this season. “The drivers race clean and it’s fun running here. I like this track so maybe I’ll be around a little more in 2018.”
Milwaukee’s Tony Barron took the early lead with a multi-car tangle at the mid-way point on lap 7 resulting in a red flag when Scott Quarnstrom of Lake Villa, Illinois rolled hard in turn two landing on all four wheels. Quarnstrom was not injured but the car was virtually destroyed.
Rivest, running a distant second to Barron at the time, had the deficit erased on the restart. After the two battled side by side for a couple of laps around the third-mile clay oval, Rivest shot into the lead on the high side down the backstretch. At the finish it was Rivest followed by Barronin a season best second. A.J. Izzo of Capron, Illinois took third. Trevor’s Jordan Paulsen was fourth with Jacob Dallago of Antioch, Illinois fifth.
“It’s the first time I’ve won any kind of feature in a stock car,” said Ian Malinoski of Franklin, who came back after spinning on the opening lap of the street stock feature to score his first main event win ever at Wilmot in the final race of the night. “The last restart was kind of wild. I have to thank my dad, all my sponsors, and my family for all of the help they have given me in the three years I’ve raced. It’s a nice way to finish off the year.”
Racine’s Charlie Pinkalla appeared headed for a second straight street stock main win in a row until a late race caution set up a green-white-checkered finish. On the restart, Pinkalla ended up get passed by a freight train of cars charging into turn one. Malinoski broke through the pack to take the win. Nate Coon of Hebron, Illinois was second. Burlington’s Mike Olson took third. Craig Kreuser of Kenosha driving the only Dodge in the field in a car normally campaigned by his son Blake took fourth. Big Bend’s Mark Baker was fifth.
Sheboygan Fall’s Randy Markwardt Jr. captured his first ever Wilmot modified feature win leading wire to wire. Markwardt held off New Berlin’s Brad McGuire in a green-white-checkered finish for the victory. McGuire ended up runner-up edging out 2017 Wilmot Champion Mike Simons II of Genoa City who took third. Franklin’s Scott Barnharst finished a strong fourth with Union Grove’ Joel Crowbridge taking fifth in a yellow plagued main which was slowed numerous times due to various incidents.
The Fall Festival concluded Wilmot Raceway’s 2017 season at the facility located on the Kenosha County Fairgrounds. The traveling DirtKing late model tour has one event remaining on Thursday, September 28 at 141 Speedway in Francis Creek.
The Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Series has five events left starting with Beaver Dam(Wis.) Raceway on Saturday, September 23 along with the IRA/Wisconsin WingLESS Sprint Series. The 7th Annual Bill Waite Jr. Memorial Classic will be a late afternoon starting show at LaSalle(Ill.) Speedway on Sunday, September 24 feature the IRA Sprints in a co-sanctioned program with the Midwest Open Wheel Association(MOWA) Sprints, Badger Midgets and late models.
On Saturday, September 30 it will be an all open wheel show at Plymouth(Wis.) Dirt Track on the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds featuring the Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprints, the IRA/Wisconsin WingLESS Sprints, the IRA/Wisconsin-Illinois Mini-Sprints(WIMS) and the MSA 360 Sprints which will run with their wings.
The IRA season draws to a close in a two-day event on Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7 at Fairbury(Ill.) American Legion Speedway in a co-sanctioned event with MOWA. The trip to the Land of Lincoln will close out the season for the IRA/Wisconsin WingLESS Sprint Series as well.
Wilmot Raceway’s awards party is scheduled for Saturday, January 27, 2018 at The Brat Stop honoring the 2017 Wilmot regular season champions Matt Vandervere of Zion, Illinois in the winged sprints, Jordan Mattson of Milwaukee in the IRA/Wisconsin WingLESS Sprints, Mark Heinert of Waukesha in the IRA/Wisconsin-Illinois Mini-Sprints(WIMS), Mike Simons II of Genoa City in the Modifieds, Pat Rossmann of Wadsworth, Illinois in the Street Stocks and Courtney Atkinson of Muskego in the Bandit 4-Cylinder Stock Cars.
For the final updates and information on Wilmot Raceway during the off-season and to watch for the announcement of the 2018 Season Schedule monitor the official website www.wilmotraceway.com and the track Facebook page.
SUMMARY – WILMOT RACEWAY, WILMOT, WISCONSIN – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2017
DIRT KING LATE MODELS: 30-LAP FEATURE: 1. Brad Mueller, Random Lake; 2. Tim Buhler, Glenbeulah; 3. Justin Schmidt, Sheboygan Falls; 4. Justin Hirt, Clintonville; 5. Troy Springborn, Shawano; 6. Jared Siefert, Luxemburg; 7. Ron Berna, Green Bay; 8. Reno Markham, Kingston, IL; 9. Chris Engels, Green Bay; 10. Brett Swedberg, Shawano; 11. Joel Bennett, Hortonville; 12. Ron Stroika, Mukwanago; 13. Victor Benedetto, Marengo, IL; 14. Jim Letizia, Milwaukee; 15. Jim Schmidt, Sheboygan Falls; 16. Mitch McGrath, Waukesha; 17. Chris Carlson, Union Grove; 18. Taylor Scheffler, Waukesha; 19. Jeff Hartzell, Genoa, IL; 20. Bill Rezutek, Big Bend.
15-LAP “B” MAIN: 1. T. Scheffler; 2. Berna; 3. Rezutek; 4. Joe Bongiorno, Milwaukee; 5. Doug Blashe, Marion; 6. Greg Cantrell Jr., DeKalb, IL; 7. Bennett 8. Adam Janke, Bear Creek; 9. Aaron Wickersheim, White Lake; 10. Dan Schleiper, Milwaukee(Did Not Start);
10-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Buhler; Schmidt; Springborn.
6-LAP DASH WINNER: Swedberg.
INTERSTATE RACING ASSOCIATION(IRA) WISCONSIN WINGLESS SPRINTS & MIDWEST SPRINT ASSOCIATION 360 NON-WING CHALLENGE: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Bill Balog, Hartford; 2. Craig Campton, Madison; 3. Tim Cox, Park City, IL; 4. Doug Schenck, Cottage Grove; 5. Jordan Mattson, Milwaukee; 6. Nick Petska, Spring Grove, IL; 7. Rod Colburn, New Berlin; 8. Shane Wenninger, Kewauskum; 9. Anthony Knierim, Franksville; 10. Randy Stanford, Kenosha; 11. Justin Miller, Plymouth; 12. Sean Swim, Winthrop Harbor, IL; 13. Andrew Wetphal, Fond du Lac; 14. Chris Klemko, Bristol; 15. Andy Hunt, Randolph; 16. Dan Wade, Kenosha; 17. George Gaertner III, Salem; 18. Craig Lager, Union Grove; 19. Scott Grissom, Winthrop Harbor; 20. Jimmy Sivia, Winthrop Harbor.
12-LAP “B” MAIN: 1. Westphal; 2. Knierim; 3. Wade; 4. Hunt; 5. Emily Portschy, Plymouth; 6. Chris Clayton, Waldo; 7. Dan Graumenz, Salem; 8. Greg Olsen, Woodstock, IL; 9. Drew Ludwig, Fond du Lac; 10. Tom Eller, Zion, IL; 11. Natalie Klemko, Northbrook, IL; 12. James Walldan, Winthrop Harbor; 13. Chris Howerton, McHenry, IL.
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Petska; Balog; Miller; Schenck.
FAST QUALIFIER: Sivia(:14.853 seconds)
BANDIT 4-CYLINDER STOCK CARS: 15-LAP FEATURE: 1. Brody Rivest, Sheboygan; 2. Tony Barron, Milwaukee; 3. A.J. Izzo, Capron, IL; 4. Jordan Paulsen, Trevor; 5. Jacob Dallago, Antioch, IL; 6. Steve Ellis, Pleasant Prairie; 7. Rob Wachsmith, Williams Bay; 8. Brad Becker, Burlington; 9. Scott Quarnstrom, Lake Villa, IL; 10. Bob Anderson, Antioch, IL(Did Not Start).
8-LAP HEAT WINNER: Rivest.
STREET STOCKS: FEATURE: 1. Ian Malinowski, Franklin; 2. Nate Coon, Hebron, IL; 3. Michael Olson, Burlington; 4. Craig Kreuser, Kenosha; 5. Mark Baker, Big Bend; 6. Charlie Pinkalla, Racine; 7. Trent Anderson, Trevor; 8. Chloe Baker, Milwaukee; 9. Brianna Olson, Burlington; 10. Carl Sturt, Wadsworth, IL; 11. Jim Vandervere, Gurnee, IL; 12. Chad Hagler, McHenry, IL; 13. Bo Ahern, Waukegan, IL(Did Not Start).
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Coon; Pinkalla.
MODIFIEDS: FEATURE: 1. Randy Markwardt Jr., Sheboygan Falls; 2. Brad McGuire, New Berlin; 3. Mike Simons II, Genoa City; 4. Scott Barnharst, Franklin; 5. Joel Crowbridge, Union Grove; 6. Andrew Kiedrowski, Union Grove; 7. Kyle Sudduth, Waterford; 8. Nick Simons, Genoa City; 9. John Dost, Bristol; 10. Steve Mueller, Eagle; 11. Dave Wirth, Milwaukee; 12. Mike Conn, Big Bend; 13. Eric Scribner, Kiel; 14. Scott Mommaerts, Eagle; 15. Tim Bell, Antioch, IL; 16. Joel Seegert, Sheboygan; 17. Tony Izzo, Capron, IL; 18. Blaze March, Muskego; 19. Zeke Bishofberger, Fort Atkinson; 20. Josh Heinze, Waterford; 21. Mike Wittenburg, Waterford.
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Markwardt; McGuire; Seegert.
FAST QUALIFER: Bischofberger(16.624 seconds).