Tommy Sexton of Antioch, IL brought home an ill-handling machine to victory in the winged outlaw sprint car feature event to highlight the 2014 season opener at Wilmot Raceway’s 1/3-mile banked clay oval on the Kenosha County Fairgrounds in Wilmot, Wis.
Two-time defending champion Nick Petska started his title defense with an impressive win in the motor-cycle engine powered winged Wisconsin-Illinois mini-sprint feature.
Reigning modified champion Chris Carlson scored the victory in the modified main event. Charlie Pinkalla took top honors in the street stocks.
In the 4-cylinder stock cars, Taylor Dawson of Pell Lake took overall and top honors in the Pro-4 class while Brian Hillringhouse came across as the highest finisher for the Bandit division.
“I had a lot of help from a lot of people to get this car out here,” said Sexton following his win during the post-race interview in the newly constructed victory lane located on the grandstand concourse. “We had motor problems when we got here. After we worked that out, I ended up with a damaged front wing making the car tough to handle, but it made it.”
Following Sexton across in the top five were Kris Spitz, Wayne Modjeski, Dennis Spitz and Jereme Schroeder.
“This made the early day worth it,” said Petska, who had his car on display during the day at the first ever Wilmot Raceway Open Day Festival in Antioch at Perk’s Pit Stop and Wings Etc. Orchard Plaza. “My crew, basically my family, worked hard to get the car ready and it paid off.”
Mark Heinert came across second behind Petska with Doug Johnson third, Kyle Daywalt fourth and Nick Daywalt fifth.
The closest finish of the night, and possibly in the history of the facility, saw Carlson edge out Cameron Kuxhouse by one-one thousandth (.001) of a second as the pair crossed rubbing each other side by side throughout the final lap.
“I knew it was close, but didn’t know which one of us had it,” said Carlson. “It was fun battling Cameron.”
Kuxhouse, Jason Busse, Nick Simons and his brother, Mike Simons, rounded out the top five for the modified main.
“This is a great way to start the year,” said Pinkalla. “We’re a family operation. My kids and grandkids do all of the work on the car. It’s a lot of fun.”
Behind Pinkalla were Cody Erickson second, Dan Huber third, Brandon Mertes fourth and in his racing debut, DJ Hacker came home fifth.
Dawson and runner-up Erik Grosch exchanged the lead at least a half dozen times in the final laps. At the finish it was Dawson by less than a car length.
“Erik and I have raced each other hard before, but I decided I was going to show him that I am going to be there this year and battle for the championship,” said Dawson. “This is a super way to start it and hopefully it will hopefully be the first of many this year.”
Grosch, Joe Summers, Tom Happ and Kevin Gentry completed the top five in the Pro-4s.
“I decided to bring this old enduro car down and see what it could do,” said Hillringhouse after his Bandit victory in between signing autographs for youngsters in victory lane. “This was great and I’ll definitely be back in(May 17).”
Gary Mondus came home second behind Hillringhouse with Rob Ehlenburg third, Jason Jones fourth and Shawn Kasten fifth.
Wilmot Raceway hosts the traveling World of Outlaws winged sprint car special event this Friday, May 9 featuring the Salute to the King, Steve Kinser, who is retiring from the series after the 2014 season.
Sexton is expected to lead a contingent of local winged sprint car warriors to compete in this only area appearance of the World of Outlaws.
Grandstands open at 4 pm with racing at 7:30 pm.
Wilmot Raceway returns to its home divisions on Saturday, May 17 with Family Night featuring modifieds, street stocks, Wisconsin-Illinois mini-sprints and the 4-cylinder cars dual divisions of the Pro-4s and Bandits. Racing May 17 begins at 6:45 pm.

Wilmot Raceway is located on the Kenosha County Fairgrounds in Wilmot, Wis. For updates and information, go to the Raceway web site

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