Name: Jason Weinkauf, Oliver Weinkauf
Age: Jason: 44; Oliver: 8
Hometown: Merrill, Wis.
Occupation: Jason-Shipping manager, Goetsch’s Welding & Machine. Oliver-Student, 3rd grader at Trinity Lutheran School, Merrill
Years racing/classes: Jason: 25th year driving super late models, plus three years in a limited late model before that for 28 years total. Oliver: 6 months, first year in a Bandolero
Jason: The whole Van Der Geest Racing Crew, it’s been a team effort this year at State Park Speedway. Brother Chris, dad Ray, Jake Broesch, Sam Welch, Stephen (Sparbs) Sparbel, Jay Van Der Geest (car owner & crew member), Levon Van Der Geest (also Jason’s spotter this year), Sy Graykowski, Sawyer Marnholtz, Kevin Zemple, Ivan Debroux, Ben Debroux, Sam Holzinger, Jordan Brzoznowski, Tony Woller.
Oliver: Uncle Chris, Sam Welch, Stephen Sparbel, plus the rest of the Van Der Geest Racing team.
Jason also wanted to give a special mention of his dad Ray: He has been helping Chris and I ever since we started racing and he actually kind of semi-retired from racing the last couple years, pretty much when he retired from his normal LP gas man job. But when I said I was running weekly at SPS, he decided to help out every week and he is there not just every Thursday bringing the hauler to the track, but he has been there every Tuesday during race weeks picking out and mounting my race tires for that Thursday’s race and I just want to say a big thanks for that! I’m also at the track every Tuesday, but not practicing my super late, but we have Oliver practicing the Bando every Tuesday, helping him learn more in his first year of racing. And Ray helps us with Oliver’s practices on Tuesdays as well.
Jason: Central Sawdust of Wisconsin; Jay Van Der Geest Cattle; Tiry’s Race Engines; Auto Skins Vinyl Wraps; Breber Music Company; North Advance Auto Parts; Zilisch Asphalt; Friendship House Restaurant; Custom Meats of Marathon; Ciao Restaurant; Images by Kelly; ABG Masonry; Al-Kul Radiators; Carquest C & J Auto and Machine; King’s Campers; Kautz Tax Service.
Oliver: Breber Music; Auto Skins; Action Asphalt; Images by Kelly; Gesundheit Bar; Big Mike; Gramma Lynne; Schiferl Radiators; Horak Refrigeration; Incredible Bank; El Tequila Salsa; Friendship House.
How did you get your car number?
Jason: My brother Chris started racing before me, and he chose his number from the year he was born (75). So when I started racing, it was just natural to choose number 76, it was the number after him and the year I was born.
Oliver: It is my dad’s number
Jason: (more about Oliver’s number) He was going to go with 12. Not because of Mark Mackesy 🙂 but because he had asked a long time ago how Uncle Chris and myself came up with our numbers and we told him they were the years we were born, so Oliver wanted 12 for being born in 2012. Well, I coaxed him a little bit this spring and asked him if he could run 76, like daddy. He said, quote, ‘Sure, I’ll run number 76 for this season and then I’ll think about it for next year.”
When/how did you get into racing?
Jason: My brother Chris started racing before me, and I was on his pit crew, and I was his tire man. And, he went into limited late model racing in 1993, so in 93 he bought Chuck Abraham’s car and raced it, and then in 1994 Chris bought Scott Wimmer’s limited late model. The limited late model from the year before was just laying around, we had a guy who was thinking of buying, so we took it up to Tomahawk to have him hot lap, and he never showed up. When we were up there I said, ‘As long as we have it up here, I should just run it, collect some money for the night.’ On my first night out, I finished second in first heat and then finished second in the semi-feature. And from that point on I was hooked. And needless to say we didn’t sell the car.
Oliver: My dad bought Levon Van Der Geest’s Bando when he moved up to the Midwest Truck Series. I was only four, so it sat in the shop until last year.
Jason: Started on the CWRA circuit in 1997, and got my first super late model feature win in 1999 at the Dells. Ironically it was holding off my brother Chris for the win. Multiple time feature winner at all local tracks. State Park Speedway, Golden Sands, Marshfield, Dells, La Crosse. I won my first track championship at Golden Sands in 2007, 10 years after started racing super late models. Won track championship at Marshfield Motor Speedway in 2009 and then 2010. In 2011, we actually didn’t start out anywhere weekly racing, then started running Marshfield weekly. We had a lot of success there, a stretch of seven straight fast qualifiers, and ended up winning biggest race of my career in 2011 was an ARCA Midwest Tour win at Marshfield.
What brought you back to racing weekly at State Park this year, after many years of racing more on ARCA Midwest Series?
Jason: Oliver is eight this year and started racing in Bandolero series. We didn’t really have any plans to take him anywhere else other than Wausau, and at State Park there are five Bandolero races on schedule. Looked at it, Oliver would run 5 races, so I might as well run for the track championship at Wausau, since I’ll be there with Oliver. And Jay Van Der Geest and the rest of the team supported the decision, they kind of liked getting one of our cars back running at State Park, it’s only 15 minutes from our shop, good for our sponsors.
What do you enjoy most about State Park Speedway:
Jason: The track has got a lot of history, I grew up, my dad and mom took us all to the races from when we were real little in the 80s. I grew up watching races in the stands at State Park, I remember the history, all the racers that have come through there. The track & the facility is one of the best around, and its 15 minutes from home. It’s close to home, has a lot of history, and it’s just a nice facility to race at. Think a lot of people take it for granted a little bit, but we’re blessed to have a track like that in Wausau.
Oliver: It’s getting easier to get around the track and know where the bumps are. We go almost every Tuesday and practice.
What did it mean to win the Lodi Memorial last week?
Jason: It was awesome to win that Thursday night. I’ve been trying to win one of those big 3 races at State Park for a long time. It definitely felt really good to finally win one of those, and win the race too in memory of Lodi, we’re proud of that too. We knew Lodi really well, especially when we started racing in the 90s, Lodi was a parts dealer, we’d buy a lot of parts from him. He was the type who, we’d be looking for a new part and he’d tell us we didn’t need that, he would sell us something used and it would be just as good. He was just trying to look out for everybody, that’s just how I remember him, looking out for everybody.
I also have to call out Jake Broesch and my dad Ray, and my brother Chris. All three had some ideas of some different things to try in the car leading into the Lodi, all three of them were brainstorming and had some ideas to try, and the car was definitely the best it was all year on that night. Also, Justin Mondeik’s been on a tear all year, and he’s been as tough as they come to beat. It was kind of getting to the point where, we were starting to think the only way to win one was if Justin breaks. It was the right combination for us, us being fortunate to catch Justin on an off night, and then our car was arguably the best it had run all season.
Any racing goals left you would like to accomplish (Jason), or what are your future racing goals (Oliver)?
Jason: Someday racing Slinger would be a goal. Sometime in future when get back to running ARCA Midwest Tour, would like to win some more ARCA Midwest races. Definifitely, if we return to local track racing, would like to get a few more track championships.
Oliver: Trying to get fast time and win races
For Jason, how how much fun is it watching your son get into racing?
Jason: It’s just been a ton of fun watching him, and just been proud of him. He’s only eight, so he’s one of youngest Bandolero drivers out there. He’s learned a lot from the start of season. Just seeing how he’s progressed, super proud of him.
Also, I have to give a special thanks to my wife Beth, because I spend a lot of time in shop like a lot of racers do, and it takes a special kind of wife to allow you to spend a lot of time. Definitely a big thanks to my wife.
For Oliver, favorite driver or drivers you look up to:
Oliver: Bando drivers – Paxton Benz, Penn Sauter and Alex Hartwig. Super late models: My dad, Luke Fenhaus, Ty Majeski, Levon Van Der Geest.
Favorite activities besides racing:
Jason: Golfing whenever we can. I also really like watching, I’m a fan of all sports-Packers, Brewers, Bucks. Otherwise, we don’t do a whole lot, we’re pretty much racers through and through.
Oliver: Swimming in Uncle Chris’s pool, baseball, basketball and karate
Jason: Probably pizza
Favorite place to eat:
Jason: We’ll have to say Ciao and Friendship House Restaurant (ed. note: Jason was given permission to plug his sponsors)
Oliver: McDonald’s – chicken nuggets and French fries