WILMOT CLOSES OUT 2014 WITH CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCES
By Michael H. Babicz (Wilmot, WI, Saturday, September 13, 2014)–Five champions concluded the final 2014 championship night at Wilmot Raceway securing titles. The visiting Wisconsin Dirt Late Model Association (WDLMA) title went to 30-lap feature race winner Waukesha’s Mitch McGrath.
Rob Maule of Hebron, IL behind the wheel of the Homan Family Racing of Antioch, IL machine put an exclamation point on his street stock title by winning his sixth 20-lap feature of the year.
The four-cylinder stock cars saw Scott Redden of Woodstock, IL take the 15-lap overall feature win taking first in the Pro-4 division. South Milwaukee’s Jake Balk captured his first ever win in the Bandit division. Erich Grosch of Arlington Heights, IL took the Pro-4 title despite having mechanical problems eliminate him prematurely from the feature. South Milwaukee’s Brian Hillringhouse took the Bandit season championship.
The modified championship was anti-climactic as Union Grove’s Chris Carlson secured his back to back title and elected to leave his modified race car at home while bringing his WDLMA late model to compete in.
Although the championship was not in doubt, the 20-lap feature proved to be the most competitive of the night with Antioch’s Scott Kuxhouse scoring a crowd raising last lap final turn victory, his third of the season.
In a first time appearance, Paris’ Brian and Jim Strane won the 10-lap UTV feature on the infield stadium style course.
“I have to thank Tom Homan and Homan Family Racing for giving me the opportunity to drive the car,” said Maule. “I have to thank our sponsors, the crew, everyone here at Wilmot Raceway and most of all, the fans who have supported the track all season long and especially on a cold night like this.”
Carl Sturt of Wadsworth, IL jumped out in front of the street stock main with North Chicago, IL’s David Jones taking the point on the second circuit. After a pair of caution periods, Maule took command on lap five going on to the win with the final 15 laps staying green. Jones was second, top rookie of the Year Brandon Mertes of Antioch third, Darrel Traeber fourth and Bristol’s Dustin Richards fifth.
“It was a tricky track,” said Redden following leading wire to wire. “The track kept changing as the race went along. It’s a great way to finish the year.”
“That’s the first one which really feels great,” said Balk. “It was a challenge.”
Three yellow flags for minor incidents in the early going plus a red flag for a major crash which eliminated two-time champion Dan Knight of Gurnee, IL and South Milwaukee’s Jay Orr kept the field within striking distance of Redden. Redden was up to the challenge going on to his fourth win of the season. Balk came across second by less than one car length. Joe Summers, 2012 champion, of Wonder Lake, IL was third(2nd Pro-4), Gary Mondus of Streamwood, IL fourth(2nd in Bandits) and Menomonee Falls’ Carl Benn fifth(3rd in Bandits).
“It was a tough year with lots of ups and downs,” said Hillringhouse. “I dedicate the championship to my grandmother Lilian Statfield who passed away this week.”
“That was wild but it was fun,” said Kuxhouse. “The racing was great with Joel(Crowbridge). I hope the fans enjoyed it as much as I did.”
Kuxhouse held the lead the first half of the main with Burlington’s Crowbridge powering in front in turn three on a restart following a caution on lap 10. Consecutive yellows on laps 15 and 16 set up a mad scramble for the finish as Crowbridge and Kuxhouse exchanged the top spot countless times circulating the one-third mile clay oval. At the finish Kuxhouse scored the win by less than half a car length over Crowbridge. Waukesha’s Taylor Scheffler was third, Genoa City’s Mike Simons fourth and 19-year-old Cameron Kuxhouse fifth.
J&G Drum Relining of McHenry, IL and MassiveSpeed.com of Spring Grove contributed bonus money to the modified, street stock and four-cylinder feature winners.
In the WDLMA late model feature, McGrath wrapped up his championship season with his ninth main event win of the year. Waukesha’s Rick Scheffler was second, Random Lake’s Brad Mueller third improving five spots starting eighth, Waukesha’s Russ Scheffler fourth and Cleveland’s Jim Schmidt improved five spots from 10th to take fifth.
In the first ever UTV appearance, the Strane brothers wheeled their 1000cc powered Polaris to the win in the Nielsen Enterprises of Lake Villa, IL Series which drew great response from the crowd. Driver Scott Wasz and co-pilot Evan Locklear of Antioch were second, Mark Worswick of Lake Villa third, the Union Grove team of Eddie Neaubauer and Chris Krucek fourth and Jim Belifiore of Ingleside, IL fifth.
Twin Lake’s Todd Lehr debuted the new GM crate motor powered non-winged sprint car in some exhibition laps creating a lot of positive interest from fans.
Christine Thompson, a teacher in the Waukegan Public School System and coordinator of the Caring4Kids organization helping underprivileged youth in Kenosha and Lake Counties, expressed appreciation to fans and race drivers and teams for their generosity in donating clothing and money to the cause. “The response was overwhelming and very heart warming,” said Thompson. “This is going to help a lot of kids have a better winter and school year because they will have proper school uniforms and clothes. Thank the Wilmot Raceway and Kenosha County Fair Board for having us.”
Wilmot Raceway, located on the Kenosha County Fairgrounds, will tentatively open its 2015 season in May. The complete schedule will be announced on the official Raceway website www.wilmotraceway.com.