BY MICHAEL H. BABICZ
-SCHULTZ, LEHR CROWNED WILMOT CHAMPIONS-
(Wilmot, Wisconsin, Saturday, September 24, 2016)–Earning season championship honors were Beaver Dam’s Jeremy Schultz in the winged sprint cars and Genoa City’s Todd Lehr in the Meyer Valves and Vacs Wingless Sprints presented by the IRA closing out the 2016 Wilmot Raceway Season Championship Night Two on Saturday, September 24.
Mitch McGrath of Waukesha won the 40-lap Wisconsin Dirt Late Model Association (WDLMA) Lucky 7 Tour main event for the second year in a row in the season ending program for the 3/8-mile clay oval located on the Kenosha County Fairgrounds.
Brad McGuire of New Berlin won his first ever 20-lap modified feature at Wilmot.
Cody Erickson of Algonquin, Illinois made it three 20-lap street stock feature wins in a row and five for the season.
“It wasn’t the way we wanted to finish the season, but a third track championship is something we can be proud of,” said Schultz, who was involved in a opening lap incident in the feature and ended up finishing sixth after restarting at the back. “I’ve been under the weather and not quite up to par, but this will help make me feel a little better. Hopefully before next week (Saturday, October 1) at Dodge County Fairgrounds (Beaver Dam, Wis.) I will feel better and be able to pick up the IRA (Interstate Racing Association) championship.”
Schultz won Wilmot titles in 2013 and 2015 to go along with this year’s crown.
The 25-lap winged sprint car feature win for the second time this season went to Mike Kertscher of Howards Grove. Kertscher overtook early race leader Jimmy Moughan of Springfield, Illinois on lap eight. Several cautions kept slowing the pace of the main and setting up challenges for Kertscher. At the finish it was Kertscher following up his Labor Day weekend Wilmot win. A fast closing Matt Vandervere of Zion, Illinois finished second. Oak Creek’s Wayne Modjeski was third. Moughan ended up fourth. Trevor’s Raymond Hensley came up from 19th starting spot to take fifth.
“I was getting a little worried that we might run out of fuel,” said Kertscher after congratulating Schultz on the championship run. “The car ran awesome thanks to my crew and great sponsors.”
“We have a super crew and Meyer along with all of our sponsors give us great support,” said Lehr after taking the title for the wingless sprints in the second year for the division. “I have to thank my wife, Debbie, and everybody who has backed us. This division is a lot of fun to run in and the competition is getting better and better.”
Some of that improvement was shown in the 20-lap season championship feature with Derek Crane of Waukegan, IL leading wire to wire, but not without some heavy challenges. During the final five laps, Crane and Lehr went wheel to wheel several times with each holding the point at least momentarily. Coming for the checkered flag out of turn four, Crane shot low while Lehr got caught on the high side behind a lapped car. Crane scored his third feature win in his rookie season. Lehr was second. Fast qualifier James Giossi of New Richmond in his first time ever at Wilmot took third. Jake Kouba of Minneapolis, Minnesota was fourth. Cottage Grove’s Doug Schenck was fifth.
“I knew he was coming, but I just stuck with my groove,” said D. Crane of his battle with Lehr. “This is a great way to close out a great season for us.”
“It was rough out there a little, but it’s great to get the win,” said McGrath, who also won the WDLMA feature in 2015 on Wilmot’s final night. “I have a great crew and great sponsors which helped get me the win.”
McGrath retook the lead from Jim Schmidt of Cleveland at the halfway point following a restart. Schmidt had taken the top spot ten laps earlier from Waukesha’s Taylor Scheffler who had lead the early going. At the finish it was McGrath, Schmidt second, T. Scheffler third, T.J. Markham of Sycamore, IL fourth and Rick Scheffler of Waukesha fifth.
“I don’t know, maybe I’ve got the wrong car for sale,” quipped McGuire who was driving his “backup” car. “This car is pretty good and it’s the first feature win I’ve ever had, so maybe I should keep this one. I have to thank my parents, sponsors, everybody who has stuck with me all these years. This is a great way to end the season.”
McBride took the lead at the halfway point on a restart. Genoa City’s Mike Simons II and Scott Kuxhouse of Antioch, IL had been battling much of the early going back and forth. Once in front McBride was able to pull away to the win. M. Simons II took second by inches nipping 2016 Wilmot Champion Cameron Kuxhouse of Antioch who ended up third. S. Kuxhouse was fourth with Tim Hamburg of Dixon, IL fifth.
“The drive for five and we got it,” said Erickson following his fifth street stock main win of the year and third in a row. “This car has been kind of our back up and we thought we’d bring it out and get it ready for next season. I think we’re going to leave it alone. I have to thank my dad, Dave Erickson, and everybody as well as the fans and the staff at Wilmot Raceway for giving us a place to race and have fun. This is going to help make the winter go a little bit quicker.”
Cody Potter of Pell Lake jumped in front maintaining top spot until Erickson overtook him at the halfway point. At the finish it was Erickson followed by 3-time and 2016 Wilmot champion Pat Rossmann of Wadsworth, IL second, Potter third, Big Bend’s Mark Baker fourth and Dustin Richards of Bristol fifth.
As part of the final night of the season, several drivers, crews and sponsors donated various prizes which were awarded to fans in attendance including ten new bikes which went out to lucky youngsters. The Kenosha County Fair and Wilmot Raceway staff thank the fans for their support throughout the season and all of those who donated gifts for the final weekend giveaways.
Wilmot Raceway will open its 2017 season sometime in late April or early May next spring. For the latest updates check the track’s website www.wilmotraceway.com.
SUMMARY – WILMOT RACEWAY, WILMOT, WISCONSIN – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016 – SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT TWO
WILMOT WINGED SPRINTS: 25-LAP FEATURE: 1. Mike Kertscher, Howards Grove; 2. Matt Vandervere, Zion, Illinois; 3. Wayne Modjeski, Oak Creek; 4. Jimmy Moughan, Springfield, IL; 5. Raymond Hensley, Trevor; 6. Jeremy Schultz, Beaver Dam; 7. Kris Spitz, Salem; 8. Todd Hepfner, Hartford; 9. Johnny Fahl, Brown Deer; 10. Brandon McMullen, Plymouth; 11. Rusty Egan, Burlington; 12. Chris Dodd, Winthrop Harbor, IL; 13. Kevin Karnitz, West Bend; 14. Dennis Spitz, Lewisburg, Kentucky; 15. Jimmy Fifield, Herscher, IL; 16. Todd Daun, Pleasant Prairie; 17. Tim Vandervere, Beach Park, IL; 18. Dave Uttech, Kenosha; 19. Ryan Irwin, Genoa City(DNS).
HEAT WINNERS: Kertscher; Hepfner.
SEASON CHAMPION: Schultz.
MEYER VALVES AND VACS WINGLESS SPRINT SERIES PRESENTED BY THE IRA: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Derek Crane, Waukegan, IL; 2. Todd Lehr, Genoa City; 3. James Giossi, New Richmond; 4. Jake Kouba, Minneapolis, Minnesota; 5. Doug Schenck, Cottage Grove; 6. Chris Klemko, Bristol; 7. Allen Hafford, Beach Park; 8. Matt White, Kenosha; 9. Craig Campton, Pardeeville; 10. Mike Sullivan, Burlington; 11. James Walldan, Winthrop Harbor; 12. Dan Wade, Pleasant Prairie; 13. Nathan Crane, Waukegan; 14. George Gaertner Jr., Salem.
HEAT WINNERS: Lehr; D. Crane.
FAST QUALIFIER: Giossi(:15.429 seconds).
SEASON CHAMPION: Lehr.
MODIFIEDS: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Brad McGuire, New Berlin; 2. Mike Simons II, Genoa City; 3. Cameron Kuxhouse, Antioch, IL; 4. Scott Kuxhouse, Antioch; 5. Tim Hamburg, Dixon, IL; 6. Rob Maule, Hebron, IL; 7. Joel Crowbridge, Burlington; 8. Andrew Kiedrowski, Union Grove; 9. Tim Bell, Antioch; 10. Tony Izzo, Capron, IL; 11. Nick Simons, Genoa City; 12. Sean Stacy, Spring Grove, IL; 13. Donnie Paskiewicz, Ottawa, WI; 14. Dustin Jackson, New Berlin; 15. Scott Barnharst, Franklin; 16. Bart Sievert, West Allis; 17. Jason Hyerdall, Lake Villa, IL; 18. Jack Williams, Rockford, IL; 19. Mike Knurr, Mukwonago; 20. Steve Mueller, Eagle.
10-LAP “B” MAIN: 1. Stacy; 2. Sievert; 3. Barnharst; 4. Williams; 5. Terry Hilgendorf, McHenry, IL; 6. Jim Cadd, Brookfield; 7. Blaze March, Muskego; 8. Mike Wittenburg, Waterford; 9. John Dost, Bristol; 10. Lee Tibbitts, Hebron.
HEAT WINNERS: S. Kuxhouse; Kiedrowski; M. Simons II.
STREET STOCKS: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Cody Erickson, Algonquin, IL; 2. Pat Rossmann, Wadsworth, IL; 3. Cody Potter, Pell Lake; 4. Mark Baker, Big Bend; 5. Dustin Richards, Bristol; 6. Carl Sturt, Wadsworth; 7. Joshua Marcomb, Antioch; 8. Courtney Atkinson, Muskego; 9. Ian Malinowski, Franklin; 10. James Jaime, Burlington; 11. Steve Rack, Pleasant Prairie; 12. Brandon Feit, Union Grove; 13. Bo Ahern, Waukegan; 14. Jim Vandervere, Gurnee, IL(DNS).
HEAT WINNERS: Erickson; Rossmann.
WISCONSIN DIRT LATE MODEL ASSOCIATION(WDLMA) LATE MODELS LUCKY 7 TOUR: 40-LAP FEATURE: 1. Mitch McGrath, Waukesha; 2. Jim Schmidt, Cleveland; 3. Taylor Scheffler, Waukesha; 4. T.J. Markham, Sycamore, IL; 5. Rick Scheffler, Waukesha; 6. Tony Peterson, Big Bend; 7. Brad Mueller, Random Lake; 8. Justin Schmidt, Cleveland; 9. T.J. Dolhun, Milwaukee; 10. Turk Letizia, Milwaukee; 11. Chris Carlson, Union Grove; 12. Jim Letizia, Milwaukee; 13. Phil Rehberg, Waukesha; 14. Victor Benetto, Marengo, IL; 15. Greg Warner, Polo; 16. David Jager, West Bend; 17. Mike Stangl, Marshfield; 18. Reno Markham, Rockford, IL; 19. Jeff Hartzell, Genoa.