WAUSAU, Wis. (July 14) – The Dave Lashua Memorial has become the signature event for the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks at State Park Speedway, and the class rose to the occasion yet again Thursday night.
With cars fanned four-wide coming to the finish line of the 25-lap feature and several spinning and collecting just after the checkers, Brian Schramm surged on the outside out of the final corner to edge Jeff Spatz to win the 6th annual Lashua Memorial and one of the biggest paydays of the veteran’s career.
Schramm took home more than $700 for his win as a number of fans, fellow racers and spectators stepped up to contribute to a big purse throughout the field in the class. The six-time track champion, who has announced this will be his last year of racing, also won his second feature of the season.
Schramm’s pass at the end concluded 13 laps of work trying to get past Spatz. He took to the outside of the leader at the halfway point but seemed locked there as Spatz got a strong run on the straightaways to hold an advantage every lap.
Four-time feature winner Mitch Stankowski also was hounding the leaders in third right behind Spatz, but never could find an opening as the top two were locked side-by-side. Schramm was nearly a car length back at one point but made a final attempt on the outside in the closing laps and held a lead briefly on the backstretch on the white flag lap before Spatz made a run out of turn four to lead again at the stripe.
Spatz held a half car length lead on the final lap going down the backstretch and looked in position to win coming through the final two turns. His car got loose and slid up the track coming out of the fourth turn, though, and Schramm had enough opening to take the win by a wheel, with Stankowski and Jevin Guralski also inside the top two at the finish line. Spatz spun just after crossing the finish and Stankowski and Guralski were both collected, though all cars would drive away after the incident.
The finish was a disappointing near miss for Spatz, who led all but the final few feet of the 25-lap race. He finished second one night after a blown engine in practice ended his night June 30, this time taking the lead from the inside pole and staying strong on the inside in the caution-free race.
Schramm’s win marked the first time in six years that a Volm hadn’t won in the pure stocks in the Lashua Memorial, which honors a popular former driver in the class who passed away at the age of 47 in 2016.
Alex Volm of Mosinee had won the last three runnings of the race, but his night went south on lap 3 of the second heat race when his steering locked up going into the first turn. and his car went straight into a tire barrier, getting airborne before landing on tires. Two wreckers were needed to tow his car to the pits, but incredibly pit members got his car back out for the feature, and he completed all 25 laps and finished sixth.
Wausau’s Josh Willhite rebounded from big trouble last time out to win his second feature of the season in the Snap-on Mini Mods.
Willhite took the lead on lap 5 when Hunter Landwehr slipped high in turn one, and he went on to open up a 10-car length lead. He would receive a challenge late, though, as car owner, fellow No. 31 and points leader Joe Kuehn closed in. Kuehn got to Willhite’s bumper on the white flag lap but never got closer. Willhite held on to win in his first night out since blowing an engine June 23, with Kuehn second and Chad Ferge third.
Branden Sischo of Stratford crossed the finish line first in a feature for the second time this season in the Rockstar Energy Drinks Mini Stocks, and this time he was able to enjoy the full spoils of victory and take his first official career feature win.
Sischo was the apparent feature winner four weeks ago but was disqualified after his car failed post-race inspection due to an unapproved tire. He had no such issues after this week, capping a big night that also included his first-ever fast qualifying effort and a run from the 10th starting spot to the front in the feature.
Sischo used the outside to get to the lead, including a three-wide pass of Amanda Rowe and Eric Breitenfeldt on the outside for third halfway through the 20-lap feature. He would then pass Garret Strachota also on the outside and went to work on leader Ashley Schoone of Gleason on lap 13, finally taking the lead two laps later and from there sailing away to win by a straightaway over Schoone, who had Strachota on her bumper the final six laps but held on for second. Breitenfeldt finished fourth and Rowe came in fifth.
Next week is State Park Speedway’s biggest event of the year with the two-day Larry Detjens Memorial. Racing begins next Friday with the Big 8 late model series highlighting a schedule that also includes mini stocks, Bandoleros and Legends cars. Saturday’s show includes the ARCA Midwest Tour super late models, pure stocks, mini mods, mini stocks and Bandoleros.
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Brian Schramm, Wausau, 15.363 sec.
First Heat: 1. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 2. Steve Dobbratz, Rio; 3. Todd Kuehl, Wisconsin Rapids; 4. Kyle Check, Shantytown; 5. Billy Kuehl, Wisconsin Rapids
Second Heat: 1. Jevin Guralski, Wausau; 2. Mitch Stankowski, Wausau; 3. Schramm; 4. Brett Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 5. Brian Plisch, Athens; 6. Alex Volm, Mosinee
Feature: 1. Schramm; 2. Spatz; 3. Stankowski; 4. Guralski; 5. B. Breitenfeldt; 6. A. Volm; 7. Plisch; 8. Dobbratz; 9. T. Kuehl; 10. B. Kuehl; 11. Check
Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Chad Ferge, Wausau, 15.761 sec.
First Heat: 1. Hunter Landwehr, Stratford; 2. Gary Garand, Weston; 3. Dale Louze, Mosinee; 4. Brian Marquardt, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Josh Willhite, Wausau; 2. Joe Kuehn, Wausau; 3. Ferge; 4. John Lietz, Mosinee
Feature: 1. Willhite; 2. Kuehn; 3. Ferge; 4. Garand; 5. Landwehr; 6. Louze; 7. Lietz; 8. Marquardt
Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Branden Sischo, Stratford, 16.721 sec.
First Heat: 1. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee; 2. Joey Blaschka, Wausau; 3. Luke Mikula, Wausau; 4. Tyler Muller, Sun Prairie; 5. Brian Duranceau, Tomahawk; 6. Willie Watts, Amherst
Second Heat: 1. Eric Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 2. Ashley Schoone, Gleason; 3. Garret Strachota, Wausau; 4. Tom Lecher, Wausau; 5. Zach Budleski, Wausau; 6. Sischo
Feature: 1. Sischo; 2. Schoone; 3. Strachota; 4. E. Breitenfeldt; 5. Rowe; 6. Blaschka; 7. Budleski; 8. Lecher; 9. Muller; 10. Duranceau; 11. Watts; 12. Mikula