WAUSAU (July 18) – The race for supremacy at State Park Speedway in the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks this season has become a spirited two-man battle at the top, and Alex Volm ensured it would remain that way.
With Brian (Butchie) Schramm having won three of the previous four features in the class, this time it was Volm answering with his third feature win of the season, leading the final 17 laps and holding off Schramm for the victory.
Volm passed early leader Brian Plisch on the inside on the fourth lap and led the rest of the way. He built a five car length lead over Schramm by the midway point of the 20-lap race, and it stayed that way for the duration as he chipped away and cut Schramm’s season standings lead over him to just two points.
Volm surged in the feature on a night when he fought mechanical problems earlier. “The heat race we had a wicked miss, and honestly I didn’t have high hopes for the feature,” said Volm after the race. “I looked in my mirror a couple times for ‘Butchie’ just to make sure he wasn’t on my tail…it definitely paid off this time.”
Another driver notching their third feature triumph of the season was Garret Strachota, who also got to the front early and held off stout challengers for his first feature win since starting the season with consecutive victories.
Strachota started fifth in the field but darted inside John Lietz for second place on lap 2 and then passed Evan Call on the inside two laps later to take the top spot. He led the rest of the way, towing George Seliger and later Greg Blount right behind him, but neither could mount a successful challenge on the outside over the final 15 laps of the 20-lap race.
“We worked real hard on this thing the past couple weeks, and it hasn’t been quite where it should be, but I think we’re back where we were now,” Strachota said after the race.
A nearly missed start wound up being a successful start for Amanda Rowe in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks.
The veteran 4-cylinder racer led all 15 laps in the feature for her first feature win of the season returned to Brickner Family Auto Group Victory Lane for the first time since a very successful 2018 season when she led the class with five feature wins.
Rowe did so by getting a big jump on inside polesitter Matt Gajewski, quickly pulling out to a solid lead and becoming the sixth different feature winner in the class in seven weeks of racing.
“I thought I had one more lap before the green flag,” Rowe admitted in a post-race interview with track announcer Curt Keene. Instead, it was Rowe who got the holeshot when Gajewski had trouble getting going, and she drove away from the field to win easily. Fast qualifier Chad Ferge passed cousin Kole Ferge with just over a lap left to claim the runner-up spot.
Next up at State Park Speedway is one of the track’s biggest weekends of the year with the Larry Detjens Memorial next Friday and Saturday, July 26-27. Racing begins Friday night with the Big 8 Late Model Series on hand for a 58-lap feature, with Mini Mods, Mini Stocks and Bandoleros also racing. Saturday’s show will feature the ARCA Midwest Series super late models, with pure stocks, mini mods, mini stocks and Bandoleros as part of a full program.
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Alex Volm, Mosinee, 15.573 sec.
Heat: 1. Brian Schramm, Wausau; 2. Brian Plisch, Athens; 3. A. Volm; 4. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 5. Sierra Alexander, Eagle River
Feature: 1. A. Volm; 2. Schramm; 3. Plisch; 4. Spatz; 5. Alexander
Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: George Seliger, Wausau, 15.723 sec.
First Heat: 1. John Lietz, Mosinee; 2. Noah Gajewski, Marathon; 3. Gary Garand, Weston; 4. Evan Call, Elderon
Second Heat: 1. Garret Strachota, Wausau; 2. Greg Blount, Marathon; 3. Seliger; 4. Dale Louze, Mosinee
Feature: 1. Strachota; 2. Blount; 3. Seliger; 4. Garand; 5. Call; 6. Lietz; 7. N. Gajewski; 8. Louze
Rockstar Energy Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Chad Ferge, Wausau, 16.796 sec.
First Heat: 1. Matt Gajewski, Wausau; 2. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee; 3. Tyler Custer, Stratford; 4. Steve Clark, Kronenwetter
Second Heat: 1. Evan Pingel, Ringle; 2. Kole Ferge, Schofield; 3. Kyle Check, Shantytown; 4. Tom Lecher, Wausau; 5. C. Ferge
Feature: 1. Rowe; 2. C. Ferge; 3. K. Ferge; 4. Pingel; 5. Check; 6. Lecher; 7. M. Gajewski; 8. Custer; 9. Clark