James Lynch finished a strong second a year ago in the Midwest Truck Series annual visit to State Park Speedway. The Palos Park, Illinois native did one better this year.
Lynch won the Rib Mountain 50 for his second Trucks win in two starts this season and his third career truck series feature victory. He made good use of advancing a number of positions on restarts early, took the lead on lap 24 and smoothly handled a number of restarts in a race that included seven yellow flags, including six in the final 27 laps.
Lynch started 11th in a big field of 22 trucks and was running seventh at the race’s first caution on lap 16 when Nick Quinnell spun on the backstretch. He picked up three spots on the restart, though, starting fourth on the second row outside when a number of the leaders chose the inside line on the restart.
Lynch was still running fourth when Derek Doerr spun on the backstretch on lap 24, but he moved to the outside of the front row when the top three of Danielle Behn, Weston Marthaler and Kevin Knuese all chose the inside line on the restart. Lynch got an excellent jump on the restart shortly after the flag was dropped, cleared Behn on the backstretch, and was in first when the race’s third yellow fell a lap later for a second spin by Quinnell.
Lynch was never seriously threatened on a restart the rest of the way. The final came with seven laps left after Doerr had a right front tire go down and stalled on the frontstretch entering the first turn. Marthaler started on the outside of the front row on the restart but Lynch cleared him quickly and cruised to the win.
Lynch ended the recent trucks dominance at State Park by Bryce Miller of Columbus, who won the previous two visits of the series at the track in 2021 and 2022. Miller was the night’s fastest qualifier but was stuck in traffic much of the race, and also had to go to the back of the field after contact causing Kevin Zielezinski to spin on lap 33. Lynch also won with assistance from Paul Block, a Wausau native and former late model feature winner at State Park who serves as Lynch’s crew chief.
Marthaler finished second for his career best trucks feature finish. Behn came in third after leading the first 23 laps from the inside pole, staying inside the top three for the entire race.
Dave Cabelka’s latest turn with a car formerly driven by Brian (Butchie) Schramm is off to another great start. Cabelka won the first Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks feature of the season, holding off fast qualifier Brett Breitenfeldt in the 20-lap feature.
Cabelka got to the front quickly, taking the lead from Brian Plisch of Athens on a lap 3 restart after an early spin by Jeff Spatz. Cabelka led the rest of the way, building an eight car length lead halfway through that would prove to be enough even as Breitenfeldt closed in over the final laps.
Cabelka purchased Schramm’s car last year after the veteran and six-time SPS champion retired from racing. He also purchased a previous Schramm car after taking that car to a feature win in the final race of the 2018 season.
Plisch finished third with Kyle Kluetz of Schofield and Ringle’s Steve Schilling fifth. Schilling also collected a $100 bonus from Schramm Racing, which will be giving $100 to a pure stock feature racer in a random finishing position every week this year.
Tim Anderson’s first trip back to State Park Speedway in a number of years was a success, as the Auburndale native won the 20-lap Snap-on Mini Mods feature.
Anderson overtook Stratford’s Branden Sischo for the lead on lap 11 and pulled away late in what he said was his first visit to SPS since being involved in a wreck at the track nine years ago. Sischo finished second in his debut in the class with defending class champion Joe Kuehn of Wausau third.
Anderson came from the seventh starting spot and avoided the worst wreck of the night on the first lap, when coming out of the fourth turn Anna Malouf and first-time State Park visitor Mike Meharg got together and shot towards the outside wall, collecting Sun Prairie’s Tyler Muller. All three cars were finished for the night with Muller’s taking the worst damage on both sides, including a hard hit into the wall.
Eric Breitenfeldt has been one of the drivers to beat in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks at State Park for the last three years, and he showed no signs of slowing up in the season opener. Breitenfeldt set fast time to begin the evening and then won the class’s 20-lap feature event.
Breitenfeldt inherited the lead after a lap 5 skirmish in the first turn that sent Joey Blaschka and Mark Schoone into the outside wall. Schoone would take the worst of it and was the lone car unable to continue, while Breitenfeldt-running fourth at the time of the accident-moved up to the top spot after spinning to avoid the mess.
The Wausau driver would pull away from Sam Sheahen quickly on the restart and was in firm control until a lap 13 caution closed the field up again. Breitenfeldt initially cleared Sheahen again on the restart, but Sheahen rallied back to bump the leader going into the third turn, getting Breitenfeldt loose for a brief moment. Both cars would recover and Breitenfeldt would pull away with Sheahen finishing second and Zach Budleski a career-best third. Tom Lecher of Wausau was fourth and Dawson Knutson of Almond finished fifth in his second time ever racing at the track.
State Park Speedway returns to its traditional Thursday race night starting June 8th with a full show including super late models, pure stocks, mini mods and mini stocks. Fred Mueller Qualifying starts at 6 p.m. with racing to follow at 7:15 p.m.
Midwest Truck Series
Fast Qualifier: Bryce Miller, Columbus, 14.137 sec.
First Heat: 1. Scott Ascher, Sussex; 2. Aaron Moyer, Hartford; 3. Jason Stark, Wisconsin Dells; 4. Tyler Noble, Arena; 5. Nick Quinnell, Arkdale; 6. Bobby Selsing, Fort Atkinson; 7. Tom Steinbach, Poynette, 8. Jesse Green, Eleva
Second Heat: 2. Brandon Reichenberger, Appleton; 2. Danielle Behn, Waupaca; 3. James Swan, Genoa City; 4. Miller; 5. Nick Roehl, Fond du Lac; 6. Kevin Zielezinski, New Lenox, Ill.; 7. Weston Marthaler, Glenwood, Minn.
Third Heat: 1. Jeff Holtz, Franksville; 2. Kevin Knuese, Waunakee; 3. Derek Doerr, Watertown; 4. Eugene Gregorich III, Amherst Junction; 5. Cory Vander Loop, Freedom; 6. James Lynch, Palos Hills, Ill.; 7. Russ Hansen,
50-Lap Feature: 1. Lynch; 2. Marthaler; 3. Behn; 4. Swan; 5. Knuese; 6. Gregorich; 7. Reichenberger; 8. Zielezinski; 9. Vander Loop; 10. Stark; 11. Miller; 12. Moyer; 13. Selsing; 14. Ascher; 15. Hansen; 16. Roehl; 17. Steinbach; 18. Green; 19. Doerr; 20. Noble; 21. Holtz; 22. Quinnell
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifer: Brett Breitenfeldt, Wausau, 15.055 sec.
Heat: 1. B. Breitenfeldt; 2. Dave Cabelka, Wausau; 3. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 4. Kyle Kluetz, Schofield; 5. Brian Plisch, Athens; 6. Steve Schilling, Ringle
Feature: 1. Cabelka; 2. B. Breitenfeldt; 3. Plisch; 4. Kluetz; 5. Schilling; 6. Spatz
Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Joe Kuehn, Wausau, 15.751 sec.
First Heat: 1. Mike Meharg, Auburndale, 2. Brian Marquardt, Wausau; 3. Branden Sischo, Stratford; 4. Anna Malouf, Rhinelander; 5. Tyler Muller, Sun Prairie; 6. Mike Jaeger, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Kamren Hill, Marshfield, 2. Josh Willhite, Wausau; 3. Tim Anderson, Auburndale; 4. Shawn Kemnetz, Hancock; 5. Kuehn; 6. John Lietz, Mosinee; 7. Jim Lietz, Mosinee; 8. Brad Abt, Schofield
Feature: 1. Anderson; 2. Sischo; 3. Kuehn; 4. Willhite; 5. Jim Lietz; 6. Hill; 7. John Lietz; 8. Kemnetz; 9. Marquardt; 10. Abt; 11. Malouf; 12. Muller; 13. Meharg
Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Eric Breitenfeldt, Wausau, 16.413 sec.
First Heat: 1. Joey Blaschka, Wausau; 2. Mark Schoone, Gleason; 3. Levi Wiesman, Merrill; 4. Dawson Knutson, Almond; 5. Kendra Baumann, Wausau; 6. Dylan Henry, Gleason; 7. Mike Lashua, Wausau; 8. Daniel Lashua, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Garret Strachota, Wausau; 2. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee; 3. Brad Lecher, Wausau; 4. Sam Sheahen, Auburndale; 5. Zach Budleski, Wausau; 6. Ashley Schoone, Gleason; 7. E. Breitenfeldt; 8. Tyler Custer, Stratford; 9. Tom Lecher, Wausau
Feature: 1. E. Breitenfeldt; 2. Sheahen; 3. Budleski; 4. T. Lecher; 5. Knutson; 6. Strachota; 7. B. Lecher; 8. A. Schoone; 9. Custer; 10. Rowe; 11. Blaschka; 12. Wiesman; 13. Baumann; 14. M. Lashua; 15. D. Lashua; 16. Henry; 17. M. Schoone