WAUSAU, Wis. (Aug. 10) – A busy night of racing also was one with a number of milestones reached Thursday at State Park Speedway, including a pair of first-time feature winners at the track.
Ringle’s Steve Schilling and Cole Kurth of Wisconsin Rapids both earned their first-ever feature victories at the track, with Schilling taking the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks feature and Kurt finishing up front in the Bandoleros main. Mike Meharg of Auburndale, Wausau’s Eric Breitenfeldt and Ayrton Brockhouse of Shakopee, Minn., also added wins on Corn Night and Wausau Noon Optimists Kids Night at the track.
Schilling became the second straight first-time winner in the pure stocks, after Kyle Check of Shantytown won the feature in the Larry Detjens Memorial July 22. The 50-year old rookie in the pure stocks class held off a charging field at the end, holding off Alex Volm of Mosinee in a side-by-side battle over the final three laps.
Schilling started on the inside of the front row for the 20-lap and continued a strong start to the night that included a win in the heat race, getting free from outside polesitter Kyle Kluetz of Schofield on lap 4. He held a steady lead over Kluetz and the rest of the field well into the second half of the race, with side-by-side battles keeping Volm and points leaders Dave Cabelka and Brett Breitenfeldt from advancing.
Volm finally began to make his move late, overtaking Kluetz on lap 15, and he caught Schilling two laps later. Taking to the outside, Volm would hold a slim lead on lap 18 and again coming to the white flag, with Schilling battling back on the inside. Schilling would gain momentum on the final lap, drawing even on the back stretch, and he got the edge over Volm coming off the fourth turn and would win by a car length with Volm holding off Cabelka for second.
Kurth had a much smoother path to victory in the Bandoleros, needing less than three laps to go from his sixth starting spot to the lead in the 12-lap feature.
The son of longtime late model racer and former SPS champion Kirby Kurth, Cole Kurth was already up to third when leader Ben Meyer spun on lap 3. Kurth then lineup outside Merrill’s Oliver Weinkauf on the lap 3 restart and took the lead on the backstretch, cruising the rest of the way to the win with Paxton Benz of Wausau second and Derek Meyer of Michigamme, Mich., third.
Kurth also was one of three drivers to post clean sweeps of the night, setting fast time in Fred Mueller Qualifying and then winning their heat and the feature. Meharg and Eric Breitenfeldt also finished off sweeps, with Meharg performing the feat in the Snap-on Mini Mods and Breitenfeldt in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks.
A first-time feature winner in the Detjens Memorial, Meharg wasted little time getting his second win. Showing muscle all night and especially in the high groove, he edged Gary Garand of Weston by inches at the finish in the heat race, and then chased down points leader and teammate Tim Anderson of Pittsville in the feature.
Meharg caught the leader on lap 8, and the two ran side-by-side for three laps. Anderson led lap 8 but Meharg led lap 9, cleared for the lead a lap later and was off, on his way to winning the 20-lap feature by a full straightaway. Anderson finished second with Jim Lietz of Mosinee holding off Garand for third.
Eric Breitenfeldt posted his second sweep of the season in the mini stocks and worked hard to do so, coming from the 10th starting spot for his fourth feature win of the year.
He also finally prevailed after battling Joey Blaschka of Wausau over the final five laps, including a challenge on the final lap when Blaschka took a look to the inside in turn 2 and the two briefly made contact. The brief checkup also allowed Ashley Schoone of Gleason to make a run for the lead on the outside off the turn, but Breitenfeldt straightened out and held off Schoone for the win.
Blaschka finished third after leading the first 12 laps from the pole. A number of those laps were spent fending off challenges from the outside, including from Heidi Cuff of Endeavor for five laps before she slipped back on lap 10, allowing Breitenfeldt to move into second. Cuff would finish fourth with Luke Mikula of Wausau fifth.
Also earning a feature win was Brockhouse, who made it 3-for-3 in legends car features at State Park this year. The youngster from Minnesota had a good battle with Marshfield’s Elliott Weiler for much of the race before finally overtaking him on lap 15 on the way to winning the 20-lap feature.
Weiler took the lead from Merrill’s Chris Weinkauf on lap 7 and held it for the next seven laps, most of those with Brockhouse following in his tracks. Brockhouse finally got inside Weiler on lap 15 for the lead, but Weiler briefly came back on the inside a lap later before falling back. Brockhouse would pull away in the final laps to win by eight car lengths with Weiler second and Weinkauf third.
Weekly racing at State Park Speedway continues next Thursday with the 15th annual Wayne (Lodi) Lodholz Memorial. Super late models, pure stocks, mini mods and mini stocks all will race and it’s also Bandoleros season championship night. Qualifying starts at 6 p.m. with racing to follow at 7 p.m.
Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Brett Breitenfeldt, Wausau, 15.315 sec.
Heat: 1. Steve Schilling, Ringle; 2. Kyle Kluetz, Schofield; 3. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 4. Dave Cabelka, Wausau; 5. B. Breitenfeldt; 6. Alex Volm, Mosinee; 7. Kyle Check, Shantytown
Feature: 1. Schilling; 2. A. Volm; 3. Cabelka; 4. B. Breitenfeldt; 5. Check; 6. Kluetz; 7. Spatz
Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Mike Meharg, Auburndale, 15.831 sec.
Heat: 1. Meharg; 2. Gary Garand, Weston; 3. Tim Anderson, Auburndale; 4. Jim Lietz, Mosinee; 5. John Lietz, Mosinee; 6. Brian Marquardt, Weston
Feature: 1. Meharg; 2. Anderson; 3. Jim Lietz; 4. Garand; 5. John Lietz; 6. Marquardt; 7. Travis Hill, Arpin
Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Eric Breitenfeldt, Wausau, 16.558 sec.
First Heat: 1. Joey Blaschka, Wausau; 2. Heidi Cuff, Endeavor; 3. Mark Schoone, Gleason; 4. Hunter Landwehr, Stratford; 5. Kendra Baumann, Wausau; 6. Pat Dickman, Marshfield
Second Heat: 1. E. Breitenfeldt; 2. Luke Mikula, Wausau; 3. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee; 4. Tom Lecher, Wausau; 5. Ashley Schoone, Gleason; 6. Garrett Strachota, Wausau; 7. Tyler Custer, Stratford
Feature: 1. E. Breitenfeldt; 2. A. Schoone; 3. Blaschka; 4. Cuff; 5. Mikula; 6. M. Schoone; 7. Lecher; 8. Custer; 9. Landwehr; 10. Rowe; 11. Baumann; 12. Dickman; 13. Strachota
Fast Qualifier: Ayrton Brockhouse, Shakopee, Minn., 15.678 sec.
Heat: 1. Chris Weinkauf, Merrill; 2. Elliott Weiler, Marshfield; 3. Ayrton Brockhouse; 4. Jake Baker, Eagan, Minn.; 5. Ayden Brockhouse, Shakopee, Minn.; 6. Russ Weiler, Marshfield; 7. Braxton Paul, Hewitt; 8. Travis Paul, Hewitt; 9. Daden Barclay, Marshfield
Feature: 1. Ayrton Brockhouse; 2. E. Weiler; 3. C. Weinkauf; 4. Ayden Brockhouse; 5. Baker; 6. R. Weiler; 7. B. Paul; 8. T. Paul; 9. Barclay
Fast Qualifier: Cole Kurth, Wisconsin Rapids, 16.580 sec.
Heat: 1. Kurth; 2. Oliver Weinkauf, Merrill; 3. Ben Meyer, Michigamme, Mich.; 4. Derek Meyer, Michigamme, Mich.; 5. Paxton Benz, Wausau; 6. Mason Oleson, Mosinee; 7. William Carpenter, Marshfield
Feature: 1. Kurth; 2. Benz; 3. D. Meyer; 4. Oleson; 5. B. Meyer; 6. Carpenter; 7. O. Weinkauf