WAUSAU, Wis. (July 22) – The Larry Detjens Memorial supplied a first-time feature winner in the Advance Auto Parts Pure stocks a year ago, and it did the same again in 2023.
Kyle Check of Shantytown took the lead from the outside pole on lap 2 and never gave it back, leading all 25 laps of the pure stock feature on the second night of the 43rd annual Detjens Memorial. The feature win was his first ever in a pure stock car and first since racing in the mini stocks class, where he was runner-up in the point standings at State Park Speedway in 2020.
Check started outside Dustin Ochodnicky of Ogema, and the two ran side-by-side for the first two laps, with Ochodnicky holding a slight lead after one circuit before Check led the next lap and cleared for first a lap later. He took advantage to build a good-sized lead quickly, a good 10 car lengths ahead by the time Jeff Spatz of Wausau got around Ochodnicky for second on lap 7.
Spatz would run second with Wausau’s Dave Cabelka and Brett Breitenfeldt, winners of the class’s first six features this season, right behind him, but none of the trio was able to make up serious ground on Check. Cabelka finally got to Spatz’s bumper on lap 21 and took to the outside a lap later with Breitenfeldt waiting behind both.
The three battled for the final four laps and were nearly three-wide coming to the checkers, with Cabelka edging Spatz for second and Breitenfeldt fourth. Check would finish with the win by eight car lengths, becoming the third different feature winner in the class this year. His win came after Mark Krueger Jr. of Sparta won the Detjens pure stock feature last year in his first-ever visit to State Park.
Joining Check as a first-time feature winner this season was Mike Meharg of Auburndale. Meharg won his first-ever Snap-on Mini Mods main and first-ever feature at State Park, overtaking teammate and points leader Tim Anderson of Pittsville with three laps left to take the 25-lapper.
Anderson appeared poised to run his SPS feature winning streak to five after he came from near the back to pass Gary Garand of Weston on lap 13. Meharg charged into second two laps later, though, and chased Anderson for seven laps.
Fast qualifier Zach Degner of Merrill raced for the second straight night in the No. 06 car of the late George Seliger, and after being stuck in traffic much of the race he busted out late, making up ground quickly to join the lead battle on lap 21. Meharg would finally make his move a lap later with a slide to the inside of Anderson in turns 3 and 4, and drove away in the final three laps for victory after knocking on the door with three runner-up finishes earlier this season. Degner also got by Anderson to finish second with Garand fourth and Jim Lietz of Mosinee fifth.
Garret Strachota joined Eric Breitenfeldt as three-time feature winners this season in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks. Strachota worked past Luke Mikula on lap 14 of the 25-lap race, and led the rest of the way, including the final seven laps after the evening’s final race brought its worst accident.
Brad Lecher spun coming out of turn 4 on lap 19, into the path of both Zack Rogers and Nick Kurth. Joey Blaschka had nowhere to go and piled hard into the back of the new Rogers car, leaving it on top of Lecher’s car and up on two wheels. Clayton Phillips also was involved in the accident, though once untangled all cars drove away except Rogers, and Blaschka and Phillips finished the race’s final laps.
Blaschka had led nine of the race’s first 10 laps, first edging past Amanda Rowe in the early going, then running alongside Mikula for four laps until Blaschka was caught behind a lapped car. Mikula would lead into the race’s first caution on lap 13 until Strachota took the lead one lap after the restart.
Not even a heat race wreck could keep Penn Sauter from staying undefeated in Bandolero features at State Park this year.
Sauter’s race night got off to a rocky start in the fast heat when he was collected in an incident in turn 4 on the opening lap that left his car with a damaged left front and towed off the track on a flatbed. He returned for the feature and the DeForest resident won his fourth straight feature this year at SPS and 15th of the summer, driving past Paxton Benz for the top spot just four laps into the 15-lap race.
Sauter went on to win a feature race marred by cautions and even two red flags, including one when Mason Obermeyer of Union Grove lost control in turn 4 and hit the barrels in front of the outside wall. Obermeyer would get out of the car sore but OK.
State Park Speedway returns to its regular racing schedule this Thursday with Wausau Noon Optimists Kids Night. The evening will include bike races for youth, and SPS’s regular super late models, pure stocks, mini mods and mini stocks all will race.
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Brett Breitenfeldt, Wausau, 15.295 sec.
First Heat: 1. Kyle Check, Shantytown; 2. Dustin Ochodnicky, Ogema; 3. Steve Schilling, Ringle; 4. Kyle Kluetz, Schofield
Second Heat: 1. Brian Plisch, Athens; 2. Dave Cabelka, Wausau; 3. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 4. B. Breitenfeldt; 5. Nick Grish, Wausau
Feature: 1. Check; 2. Cabelka; 3. Spatz; 4. B. Breitenfeldt; 5. Kluetz; 6. Grish; 7. Schilling; 8. Ochodnicky; 9. Plisch
Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Zach Degner, Merrill, 15.781 sec.
First Heat: 1. Brian Marquardt, Weston; 2. Travis Hill, Arpin; 3. Jim Lietz, Mosinee; 4. Gary Garand, Weston; 5. Anna Malouf, Rhinelander; 6. Keagen Benz, Wausau; 7. Zach Onson, Weston
Second Heat: 1. Tim Anderson, Auburndale; 2. John Lietz, Mosinee; 3. Tyler Muller, Sun Prairie; 4. Degner; 5. Phil Malouf, Manitowish Waters; 6. Mike Meharg, Auburndale
Feature: 1.Meharg; 2. Degner; 3. Anderson; 4. Garand; 5. Jim Lietz; 6. John Lietz; 7. P. Malouf; 8. Muller; 9. Hill; 10. A. Malouf; 11. K. Benz; 12. Marquardt; 13. Onson
Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Tyler Custer, Stratford, 16.597 sec.
First Heat: 1. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee; 2. Clayton Phillips, Marathon; 3. Pat Dickman, Marshfield; 4. Kendra Baumann, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Joey Blaschka, Wausau; 2. Luke Mikula, Wausau; 3. Mark Schoone, Gleason; 4. Brad Lecher, Wausau; 5. Zack Rogers, Wausau
Third Heat: 1. Ashley Schoone, Gleason; 2. Garrett Strachota, Wausau; 3. Custer; 4. Eric Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 5. Nick Kurth, Wausau; 6. Tom Lecher, Wausau
Feature: 1. Strachota; 2. A. Schoone; 3. Custer; 4. E. Breitenfeldt; 5. Mikula; 6. M. Schoone; 7. Phillips; 8. Rowe; 9. Blaschka; 10. Dickman; 11. Baumann; 12. Rogers; 13. B. Lecher; 14. N. Kurth; 15. T. Lecher
Fast Qualifier: Penn Sauter, DeForest, 16.114 sec.
First Heat: 1. Paxton Benz, Wausau; 2. Markus Obermeyer, Union Grove; 3. Wesley Baumeister, Beloit; 4. McKenna Turner, Pewaukee; 5. Jaxon Berndt, Wausau; 6. Ben Meyer, Michigamme, Mich.; 7. William Carpenter, Marshfield
Second Heat: 1. Cole Kurth, Wisconsin Rapids; 2. Bentley Thompson, West Salem; 3. Mason Obermeyer, Union Grove; 4. Oliver Weinkauf, Merrill; 5. Derek Meyer, Michigamme, Mich.; 6. Mason Oleson, Mosinee; 7. Sauter
Feature: 1. Sauter; 2. C. Kurth; 3. P. Benz; 4. Baumeister; 5. Turner; 6. Oleson; 7. Berndt; 8. Thompson; 9. Mason Obermeyer; 10. D. Meyer; 11. B. Meyer; 12. Markus Obermeyer; 13. Weinkauf; 14. Carpenter