The regular season 2018 Wilmot Raceway Championship Night Saturday, September 8 saw four champions crowned and a pair of first-time Wilmot feature winners.
Mike Simons II of Genoa City captured his second consecutive modified championship placing runner-up to first time feature winner Austin Blume of Mt. Morris, Illinois.
Waukesha’s Mark Heinert took his third Wisconsin-Illinois Mini-Sprint crown with a second place feature finish to back to back main event winner C.J. Malueg of Johnsburg, Illinois.
Milwaukee’s Tony Barron won his first ever Bandit 4-Cylinder Stock Car title placing second in the 15-lap season ending feature to Sheboygan’s Brody Rivest.
Big Bend’s Mark Baker completed the night’s action sealing his first ever Wilmot title by winning the 20-lap street stock feature.
Blume ended a decade-long drought by winning his first 20-lap modified feature ever. Simons II finished second in a wild finish to a main which saw two different leaders have problems while in front. Mike Simons brother, Nick Simons of Genoa City, was leading and a top the point standings by 30 points at the drop of the green for the feature
Eight laps from the finish a broken crank shaft resulted in M. Simons losing power abruptly coming down the front straightaway bringing out a caution and ending his hopes of a first ever championship. Joe Huenfeld of Cedarville, Illinois inherited the lead on the restart with M. Simons, the older of the two brothers, in second.
Blume worked into contention in the closing laps. As the white flag flew, Huenfeld, Blume and M. Simons made it a three-way battle with Huenfeld dramatically losing power coming for the checkered flag. Blume avoided the slowing mount to take his first ever win. M. Simons runnerup finish was high enough, coupled with his brother’s mechanical woes relegating him back in the final order to 17th with a Did Not Finish. Nick’s older brother, Mike, ended up back to back champion with Nick ending up runner-up for the second straight season.
“A broken part knocked me out in the last feature and saw Mike move past me into the points lead,” said Mike Simons II, a second generation driver. “This time it was a broken cam shaft for Mike. You hate to see it, but that’s part of racing. I have to thank my family, sponsors, everyone who works on the car and the fans for all of their support.”
“I did not know what to do or where to go,” admitted Blume following his victory, stopping on the track and asking where victory lane was. “It is unbelievable. I race before for about ten years, then took some time off, and am back at it. I have to thank my family and everyone who has been behind me all of the years. This is awesome.”
Malueg won his second mini-sprint feature of his career. Heinert’s main event placing wrapped up his third career Wilmot championship. Ion Stear of Harvard, Illinois, who was second in the points and within striking distance going into the final, crashed in his heat race resulting in the car not running up to par in the feature and finishing sixth in the field.
“It’s as great as the first one,” said Heinert. “My family has always been there and this time my daughters are older and understand it better.”
“Getting momentum at the end of the season is great,” said Malueg, who graduated last spring from Johnsburg High School and is furthering his studies this fall. “All of my sponsors, the Irwin family and rest of the crew has been very supportive. The fans at Wilmot are fantastic. I can’t wait for 2019.”
Sheboygan’s Brody Rivest backed up his 15-lap Bandit 4-Cylinder Stock Car season championship night feature win in 2017 with a victory in the 2018 season finale. Barron’s second place finish wrapped up his first ever track championship.
“It was definitely a team effort with my family, crew members, even the dogs all playing a part,” said Barron, noting he plans to return in 2019 to defend his title. “It was a fun season. A lot of work at times, but a lot of fun. It’s special having a lot of family and friends to experience it with me.”
“I generally run asphalt, but decided to come and try the dirt,” said Rivest, who won the season championship night feature in 2017 as well as another main earlier last year at Wilmot. “My driving style fits this track, how it’s prepared and shaped. I like it even though it is a little bit of a haul to come down.”
Baker, who held a 2-point lead over Cody Erickson of Algonquin, Illinois in the street stock standings at the start of the night, ended up in the front row pole position of the main as the original pole car spun necessitating a restart. Baker weathered a late race yellow setting up a green-white-checkered finish for the win.
Erickson had engine problems in the main resulting in his bringing out a caution with 15 laps remaining while running in the top five. Eventually Erickson rejoined the field, but retired to the pits before the finish scored 11th in the final rundown.
Pat Rossmann of Wadsworth, Illinois, who earlier in qualifying set a new track record, came across second in the feature.
“Finally, finally,” said Baker as he jumped up and down denting the roof of his car in victory lane. “This is unbelievable. I have to thank my daughter, Chloe, girlfriend, family, my one crew member Mark who does it all for me, my sponsors, the great fans. This has been a long time coming and is really special. We’ll be back next week (September 15) for sure to defend our turf.”
Mitchell Davis of Auburn, Illinois won his first ever 20-lap Autometer Wisconsin Wingless Sprint feature at Wilmot in a non-points program for that division. The WingLess Sprints Season Championship has been added to the Wilmot Raceway 2018 season finale on Saturday, September 15.
Wilmot point leader Tim Cox of Park City, Illinois broke through a wild battle in the closing circuits for second. Jimmy Sivia of Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, who led much of the early going, came across third.
“I have to thank my car owner, who can’t come out to join us in victory lane because the 4-wheeler broke,” said Davis after balancing himself atop the roll cage of his winning machine in victory lane while waving the American Flag. “I like this track, the drivers in this division, everyone with the Wisconsin WingLess Sprints. It means a lot to finally get a win. I hope I put a good show on for the fans. It was fun for me and is great being able to race these drivers knowing they will race you clean.”
Allen Hafford of Beach Park, Ill. was presented the 1st Annual Bill Grogan Award for winning the WingLess feature on Kenosha County Fair Night. Amy Holm, granddaughter, and her mother Billie Holm made the presentation prior to the National Anthem Ceremony. The former owner of Beach Park Freight Lines was a great supporter of Wilmot Raceway, the Interstate Racing Association which sanctions the Wisconsin WingLess Sprints, an several race teams. Bill Grogan passed away earlier this summer.
“Bill was a truck driver and he used to make a lot of trips with me to a lot of race tracks,” said an emotional Hafford. “It means a lot to win his first race. It will always be special to me. I have to thank my family and crew who have been there and supported me. I thank Bill’s family and Wilmot Raceway for putting this race together.”
The Wilmot portion of the AutoMeter Wisconsin WingLess Sprints season championship is part of the track’s final 2018 race program.
Headlining the season ending Wilmot program on Saturday, September 15 is the Jim “Wildman” Watson Classic for the Dirt King Late Models Tour. Jim Watson, a longtime race car driver in Wisconsin and especially at the closed Hales Corners Speedway, passed away earlier this year. After his racing career Watson became a key member of the NASCAR Furniture Row 2017 Cup Championship Team with Martin Truex Jr. driving. Truex has sent some personally autographed giveaways to a limited number of the first arriving fans. Allied Resource Recovery is helping sponsor the late model portion of the program.
Modifieds sponsored by UNEEDA Iron and Sandblasting and Street Stocks sponsored by JR’s Wrecker Services complete the card. MLS Auto of Paddock Lake and Rentner Shocks are sponsors as well.
Race teams and others are sponsoring 30 bicycles which will be given away to youngsters in attendance.
Grandstand gates open at 5:00 p.m. with on track activity at 5:45 p.m. and racing scheduled for 6:45 p.m.
Grandstand admission is $20.00 for ages 12 and over, $5.00 for ages 7-11 with ages 6 & under admitted free.
Wilmot Raceway, a 1/3-mile clay oval, is located on the Kenosha County Fairgrounds in Wilmot, Wisconsin. For updates check the official Raceway website wilmotraceway.com or the track’s Facebook page. The trackside raceline is 262-862-2090.
SUMMARY – WILMOT RACEWAY, WILMOT, WISCONSIN – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2018 – SEASON CHAMPIONSHIPS
BANDIT 4-CYLINDER STOCKS CARS: 15-LAP SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP FEATURE: 1. Brody Rivest, Sheboygan; 2. Tony Barron, Milwaukee(2018 Champion); 3. Scott Quarnstrom, Lake Villa, IL; 4. Carl Benn, Lisbon; 5. Jonathan Smith, Bristol; 6. Steve Ellis, Pleasant Prairie; 7. Sam Van Patten, Antioch, IL; 8. Rob Wachsmuth, Williams Bay; 9. Kody Molitor, Trevor; 10. Peter Tuttle, Chicago, IL; 11. Ryan Braun, Brookfield; 12. Steve Doherty, Sugar Grove, IL; 13. Ryan Johnson, Burlington; 14. John Cole, McHenry, IL; 15. Scott Ellis, Lake Villa; 16. Klyle Sudduth, Waterford.
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Quarnstrom; Rivest.
WISCONSIN-ILLINOIS MINI-SPRINTS: 20-LAP SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP FEATURE: 1. C.J. Malueg, Johnsburg, IL; 2. Mark Heinert, Waukesha(2018 Champion); 3. Morgan Sheppard, Genoa City; 4. Tim Brannam, Holiday Hills, IL; 5. Mike Neau, Kenosha; 6. Ion Stear, Harvard, IL; 7. Mike Ungar, Madison; 8. Kevin Frederiksen, Hales Corners; 9. Jeff Schmidt, Slinger; 10. Kevin Douglas, Cottage Grove; 11. Bob Jeziorski, Kewaskum; 12. Nick Sheridan, Fox Lake, IL; 13. John Kirk, Johnsburg; 14. Ron Brannam, Barrington, IL; 15. Max Brannam, Barrington.
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Malueg; T. Brannam.
FAST QUALIFIER: Kirk(:14.731 seconds).
MODIFIEDS: 20-LAP SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP FEATURE: 1. Austin Blume, Mt. Morris, IL; 2. Mike Simons II, Genoa City(2018 Champion); 3. Steve Mueller, Eagle; 4. Mike Wittenburg, Waterford; 5. Joel Crowbridge, Union Grove; 6. Joe Huenfeld, Cedarville, IL; 7. David Wirth, Milwaukee; 8. Tony Izzo, Capron, IL; 9. Tim Sorn, Dyersville, IA; 10. Scott Barnharst, Franklin; 11. Jeff Bodendorfer, Waterford; 12. Danny Walter, Burlington; 13. Jack Williams, Rockford, IL; 14. Terry Kiedrowski, Union Grove; 15. Jimmy Vandervere, Gurnee, IL; 16. Al Atkinson, Muskego; 17. Nick Simons, Genoa City; 18. Jason Wirth, Elkhorn; 19. John Dost, Bristol; 20. Mike Conn, Big Bend; 21. Mike Knurr, Mukwonago; 22. John Hill, Waterford; 23. Lee Tibbitts, Hebron, IL(Did Not Start).
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Blume; Crowbridge; N. Simons.
FAST QUALIFIER: Knurr(:16.797 seconds).
STREET STOCKS: 20-LAP SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP FEATURE: 1. Mark Baker, Big Bend(2018 Champion); 2. Pat Rossmann, Wadsworth, IL; 3. Brandon Mertes, Antioch, IL; 4. Craig Kreuser, Kenosha; 5. Carl Sturt, Wadsworth; 6. Jim Reinhardt, McHenry, IL; 7. Ian Malinowski, Franklin; 8. Courtney Atkinson, Muskego; 9. Chad Hagler, McHenry; 10. Jesse Knutson, Greenfield; 11. Cody Erickson, Algonquin, IL; 12. Dustin Richards, Bristol; 13. Trent Andersen, Trevor; 14. Josh Gehrig, Pleasant Prairie; 15. Joe Suhfras, Hales Corners; 16. Nate Coon, Hebron, IL; 17. Kevin Domrose, Big Bend(DNS); 18. John Maki, Antioch(DNS).
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Baker; Atkinson.
FAST QUALIFIER: Rossmann(New Track Record – :17.832 seconds, old-:18.295 seconds by Charlie Pinkalla, Racine 6/9/2018).
AUTOMETER WISCONSIN WINGLESS SPRINTS: (NON-POINTS) 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Mitchell Davis, Auburn, IL; 2. Tim Cox, Park City, IL; 3. Jimmy Sivia, Winthrop Harbor, IL; 4. Chris Klemko, Bristol; 5. Zach Raidart, Antioch, IL; 6. Garrett Deieso, Wadsworth, IL; 7. Johnny Fahl, Brown Deer; 8. Jordan Paulsen, Trevor; 9. Greg Olsen, Round Lake Heights, IL; 10. Randy Stanford, Kenosha; 11. Natalie Klemko, Grayslake, IL; 12. Ryan Zielski, Oconomowoc; 13. Rod Colburn, New Berlin; 14. Jordan Matt, Milwaukee; 15. Dan Wade, Kenosha; 16. Shawn Swim, Winthrop Harbor; 17. James Walldan, Kenosha; 18. Steve Clott, Bradley, IL; 19. Scott Grissom, Winthrop Harbor; 20. Nick Petska, Spring Grove, IL; 21. Vince Bartolotta, Muskego; 22. Patrick Haynes, Manteno, IL.
12-LAP “B” MAIN: 1. Fahl; 2. N. Klemko; 3. Wade; 4. Bartolotta; 5. Kevin Hinich, Kenosha; 6. George Gartner, Salem; 7. James Wehrman, Kenosha; 8. William Huck, Mukwonago; 9. Josh Davidson, Kenosha; 10. George Gaertner III, Salem; 11. Lance Walldan, Winthrop Harbor.
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Grissom; Sivia; Davis.
FAST QUALIFIER: Mattson(:14.885 seconds).
Submitted by Michael H. Babicz