Saturday night’s TUNDRA show at State Park Speedway saw plenty of action in the night’s three support divisions, including a wild finish in the track’s lone regular division on hand plus a pair of traveling first-time winners.
Four nearly equal cars led to a whale of a race, an exciting finish but also frustrations in the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stock division Saturday night.
Wausau’s Brian (Butchie) Schramm finished as the winner for his fifth feature win of the season in the class, once again coming through late. This time it was on the final lap, as he finally got by Jeff Spatz, who led the first 19 laps and was in line for his first feature win of the season until the last circuit.
Spatz previously had every answer in his best run of the season. With Schramm and Alex Volm both chasing him almost the entire race, he first held off Volm in a side-by-side battle and then turned back a number of challenges by Schramm in the closing laps until Schramm finally edged ahead on the backstretch on the last lap.
The race finished with Spatz spinning across the finish line to the checkers, just ahead of Volm. After the race, Schramm pulled into Brickner Family Auto Group Victory Lane, Volm stopped behind him, and a frustrated Spatz stopped on the frontstretch as well. He confronted Volm outside their cars and a skirmish followed before the drivers were separated.
“Yeah, that’s racing, man,” said Schramm after in a post-race interview. “We were going for the win and that’s what happens…it’s just good, hard racing.”
Patrick Thicke ensured there was less drama in the Midwest Compact Touring Series feature, leading the final 25 laps to claim the 30-lap feature in the traveling series formerly known as the Midwest Dash Series.
A native of West Salem, Thicke took the lead from previous SPS track champion Phil Malouf on the outside on lap 6 and rolled the rest of the way in the touring class of modified 4-cylinder cars. With some of his toughest competition stuck in traffic early, Thicke led by as much as a straightaway over his nearest competition at one point.
He finished comfortably ahead of State Park regular Greg Blount in second. Blount and Kyle Stark of Marshall staged a good side-by-side battle for second for six laps late before Blount finally got the edge with less than two laps left. Finishing fourth was fast qualifier George Seliger, who won the Midwest Dash race at SPS last year.
“It feels pretty good,” said Thicke after, “with the first time out here with this car, the car wasn’t the greatest from the get-go, so it feels good (to perform well in its first appearance).”
Cody Vander Loop of Freedom also won his first-ever feature at State Park Speedway Saturday night. He did so racing in the Wisconsin Sport Trucks class, which made its first-ever stop at the track.
Vander Loop took advantage of a restart with six laps remaining in the 20-lap race, taking first from previous leader Jason Plutz and holding him off the rest of the way. Plutz had chosen to start on the outside on the late restart, as the miniature trucks racing with snowmobile engines ran quite well on the high line most of the night. Vander Loop was able to get the jump on the restart, though, and got to the high line before Plutz on the backstretch.
“I think we made a little bit of contact, I wasn’t sure if I was clear,” Vander Loop said after the race before apologizing to Plutz. “It felt good, my truck was fast tonight.”
State Park Speedway is back to its regular Thursday night for its final four race nights of the season, starting this coming Thursday. It will be Ladies Night with Sparkling at the Speedway, a special event sponsored by Jim Kryshak Jewelers open to the first 50 women to sign up in advance. Women Concerned for Auto Racing also will sponsor their annual Gifts From Heaven night with bicycle giveaways for youth. The Central Wisconsin Racing Association super late models will be on hand along with the Midwest Truck Series plus support divisions. Fred Mueller Qualifying will begin at 6 p.m. and racing will follow at 7 p.m.
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Alex Volm, Mosinee, 15.487 sec.
Heat: 1. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 2. A. Volm; 3. Brian Plisch, Athens; 4. Brian Schramm, Wausau
Feature: 1. Schramm; 2. Spatz; 3. A. Volm; 4. Plisch
Midwest Compact Racing Series
Fast Qualifier: George Seliger, Wausau, 15.678 sec.
First Heat: 1. Lyle Phillips, Edgerton; 2. Phil Malouf, Manitowish Waters; 3. Dustin Pearson, Belvidere, Ill.; 4. Garret Strachota, Wausau; 5. Chris Jackson, South Beloit, Ill.; 6. Tyler Edmundson, Fort Atkinson; 7. Kendra Baumann, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Patrick Thicke, West Salem; 2. Kyle Stark, Marshall; 3. Greg Blount, Marathon; 4. Seliger; 5. Gary Stark, Fort Atkinson; 6. Tim Finstad, Poynette
Feature: 1. Thicke; 2. Blount; 3. K. Stark; 4. Seliger; 5. G. Stark; 6. Strachota; 7. Malouf; 8. Finstad; 9. Edmundson; 10. Jackson; 11. Phillips 12. Baumann; 13. Pearson
Wisconsin Sport Trucks
Fast Qualifier: Cody Vander Loop, Freedom, 15.572 sec.
First Heat: 1. Blaine Habeck, Green Bay; 2. J.J. Vander Loop, Freedom; 3. Dom Sokolik, Fond du Lac; 4. Keith Habeck, Green Bay; 5. Beth Craig, Appleton; 6. Ted Ulman, Greenville
Second Heat: 1. Taylor Rahn, De Pere; 2. Kasey Vander Loop, Freedom; 3. C. Vander Loop; 4. Jason Plutz, Menasha; 5. Drew Habeck, Green Bay; 6. Kyle Quella, Appleton
Feature: 1. C. Vander Loop; 2. Plutz; 3. D. Habeck; 4. Sokolik; 5. K. Vander Loop; 6. B. Habeck; 7. K. Habeck; 8. J.J. Vander Loop; 9. Craig; 10. Ulman; 11. Quella; 12. Rahn