A New Era's Opening Night

A New Era's Opening Night
A New Era's Opening Night
A New Era's Opening Night
A New Era's Opening Night
A New Era's Opening Night

A new era at Wilmot Raceway on the Kenosha County Fairgrounds survived some weather scares as the entire 2023 opening night race program was completed on Saturday, May 6. The facility received numerous upgrades during the off-season including a completely new grandstand with aluminum seats with backs and a new scoring tower. The feature winners got to be the first ones in the new Wilmot Raceway Victory Lane powered by Twisted Cuisine.

Bill Balog of Hartford, WI captured the 25-lap Wilmot 410-Winged Sprint Car feature. Balog worked his way in front using the inside groove overtaking early race leader Danny Schlafer of Gibson with eight laps to go. Three laps later Schlafer and Blake Nimee tangled while battling for third bringing out the final caution of the main. Balog went on to the win with Sheboygan Falls' Travis Arenz taking second. Pleasant Prairie's Todd Daun was third. Brenham Crouch of Lubbock, Texas was fourth. Plymouth's Austin Hartmann fifth.

"We had a lot of work between last night and today," said Balog. "Hopefully this starts us in the right direction and we have some strong momentum going into next weekend here."

Jimmy Sivia of Winthrop Harbor, IL and Clayton Rossmann of Wadsworth, IL battled wheel to wheel during the closing laps of the non-stop 20-lap CK Contractors/AutoMeter Wisconsin Wingless Sprints powered by Gandrud feature. Rossmann got Sivia on the final lap as the two came out of turn four side by side for the checkered. Rossmann edged Sivia by less than half a car length. Early race leader Seth Johnson of Hartland was third. Kansasville's Ryan Marshall fourth and Oconomowoc's Ryan Zielski fifth.

"This is great after we had quite a crash at Lincoln Speedway in Indiana a few weeks ago," said Rossmann. "Jimmy and I are good friends, and his son Colin, helps me on the car."

Slinger's Roman Blank won his first 15-lap Bandit 4-Cylinder Stock Car feature at Wilmot, having run a few times last season. Blank held off runnerup Scott Ellis of Lake Villa, IL and third place Ryan Johnson of Salem as the trio were in a tight battle throughout the last half of the main. Union Grove's Dale Ehleiter was fourth. Salem's Austin Orth fifth.

"This makes a back to back weekend for me and this car as we won at Gravity Park up north on Friday," said Blank. "This was a fun feature to run with these guys."

Union Grove's Joel Crowbridge scored his first modified feature win to end a five-year drought at Wilmot. Elkhorn's Jason Wirth was second. Eagle's Steve Mueller third. Franklin's Scott Barnharst fourth. Genoa City's Mike Simons fifth. The race was yellow-checkered due to time limit and rain which was popping up on the radar.

"We decided to come at the last minute because 141 Speedway rained out," admitted Crowbridge. "I wish we could have run the whole distance, but a win is a win. My 1 and 1/2-year old son wasn't here, but at least I can bring him home a trophy."

Wilmot Raceway's 1/3-mile clay oval returns to action Saturday, May 13 with the traditional battle featuring the traveling Tezos All Star Sprints and the regional Bumper to Bumper Interstate Racing Association (IRA) Outlaw Sprints at IRA's original home track. Wingless Sprints and the IRA Lightning Sprints are on the all sprint car program as well. Grandstands open at 4 p.m. for advance ticket purchasers, with general admission ticket holders being able to enter at 4:30 p.m. Adult grandstand admission for everyone ages 12 and older is $30.00. Ages 7-11 is $5.00. Six and under admitted free. The pit gates open at 2 p.m. with all pit passes being $40.00.

Information and advance tickets for most Wilmot Raceway events are available on the track website at For updates check the official track Facebook page or trackside raceline 262-862-2090.

Image Credits: Jerry Kulas

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