WAUSAU, Wis. (May 30) – A pair of defending champions shined in twice the opportunities for feature racing on the first Thursday night of racing at State Park Speedway in 2024.

Wausau’s Dave Cabelka was the night’s biggest winner, sweeping both features in the Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks. Pittsville’s Tim Anderson was not far behind, winning the first feature and coming in second to Cameron Kemnetz of Hancock in the second Snap-on Mini Mods feature. The races were part of Pepsi Night and what was dubbed a support division special at the Rib Mountain quarter-mile, with pure stocks, mini mods and mini stocks leading the bill and all racing double features with super late models off from racing for the week.

Cabelka came through the field in his typical smooth fashion and also received a little help from caution flags, taking the lead late in both 25-lap pure stock features.

The 2023 class champion, he appeared resigned to a runner-up finish in the first feature after Jeff Spatz of Wausau had checked out on the field early and still led by nearly a straightaway as the laps wound down. Cabelka’s break came on lap 18, though, when Joey Blaschka of Wausau spun in turn 3 to bring out the yellow flag.

Cabelka lined up outside of Spatz on the restart, got a good jump and cleared Spatz on lap 19. He appeared home free for the win when another caution came out with two laps left after a spin by Spatz, setting up a two-lap side-by-side dash between Cabelka and Brett Breitenfeldt of Wausau, the night’s fast qualifier. Cabelka held a slim lead coming to the white flag, and he held off Breitenfeldt by a fender.

Cabelka’s path to winning the second feature also included some help from a caution that came just after a side-by-side battle for first over the race’s first 11 laps.

Spatz and Joey Blaschka of Wausau made up a duel of a pair of No. 47 cars, with Blaschka on the inside holding the lead the first 11 laps but never by more than a car length. The fight ended on lap 12 when Spatz slowed on the backstretch, with Mosinee’s Nick Erickson Jr. making contact and Steve Schilling of Ringle getting clipped and sent spinning before crashing hard into the turn 3 light pole on the inside of the track.

Schilling was OK but both he and Spatz had their cars towed off, ending their nights. Blaschka restarted with the lead with Kyle Kluetz of Schofield alongside him, and after the two traded the lead for two laps Blaschka cleared him for the top spot again.

Cabelka was running well in the pack before the caution and was sixth after the incident, but moved up to fourth on the lap 12 restart. He moved forward after the caution on the outside, and completed the pass of Kluetz for second on lap 17. He then caught Blaschka a lap later, and the two ran side-by-side for three laps before Cabelka took first for good on lap 21 and went on to win with Breitenfeldt again behind him.

Cabelka was the night’s pure stocks champion with 128 points, with Breitenfeldt (120 points) and Erickson (101 points, two top 5 feature finishes) also receiving bonuses as the top three finishers over the two features.

Anderson won the night’s first feature in the mini mods class, having to hold on after a pair of late restarts.

Last year’s mini mods champion, Anderson took the lead from visiting driver Adam Hayden of Sparta on lap 13 and had built a big lead when the caution came out on lap 23 after a spin by Kemnetz. That gave 2022 class champion Joe Kuehn of Wausau a chance to start alongside Anderson on the restart, and the two dragged raced side-by-side for a lap on the restart until Kuehn’s engine went up in smoke, resulting in him sliding into the turn 1 wall and Kamren Hill of Marshfield sliding in the oil and also into the wall.

Anderson then had to fend off another challenge from Wausau’s Josh Willhite on a restart with two laps left. The two were side-by-side coming to the white flag before Anderson pulled ahead and won at the checkers by half a car length with Tyler Muller of Sun Prairie third, Hayden fourth after a strong run in his first visit at the track and Phil Malouf of Manitowish Waters fifth.

The second mini mods feature netted the first-ever feature win at State Park for Kemnetz, who led all 25 laps after starting on the outside pole.

One of the latest in a long line of racers from the Kemnetz family in Hancock and an occasional visitor to State Park, Cameron started on the outside pole and quickly cleared Pat Dickman of Marshfield, then also pulled away from Keagen Benz of Wausau on a lap 4 restart after what would be the race’s lone caution.

Kemnetz pulled away and held a 10-car length lead when Anderson worked his way through traffic and into second by lap 12. Anderson made slow progress chasing down the leader, but it wasn’t enough as Kemnetz went on to win by three car lengths at the finish. Willhite finished third with Muller fourth and John Lietz of Mosinee fifth.

Anderson finished the night with 123 points with Willhite (111) second and Muller (100, feature finishes of third and fourth) third after a pair of strong finishes in his first visit to the track this season.

Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Brett Breitenfeldt, Wausau, 15.521 sec.
First Feature: 1. Dave Cabelka, Wausau; 2. B. Breitenfeldt; 3. Nick Erickson Jr., Mosinee; 4. Steve Schilling, Ringle; 5. Alex Volm, Mosinee; 6. Kyle Check, Shantytown; 7. Kyle Kluetz, Schofield; 8. Tim Nawrocki, Wausau; 9. Dustin Ochodnicky, Ogema; 10. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 11. Joey Blaschka, Wausau
Second Feature: 1. Cabelka; 2. B. Breitenfeldt; 3. Volm; 4. Blaschka; 5. Erickson; 6. Kluetz; 7. Nawrocki; 8. Ochodnicky; 9. Check; 10. Spatz; 11. Schilling

Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Joe Kuehn, Wausau, 15.785 sec.
First Feature: 1. Tim Anderson, Pittsville; 2. Josh Willhite, Wausau; 3. Tyler Muller, Sun Prairie; 4. Adam Hayden, Sparta; 5. Phil Malouf, Manitowish Waters; 6. John Lietz, Mosinee; 7. Travis Hill, Arpin; 8. Keagen Benz, Wausau; 9. Jim Lietz, Mosinee; 10. Cameron Kemnetz, Hancock; 11. Pat Dickman, Marshfield; 12. Kuehn; 13. Kamren Hill, Marshfield; 14. Payton Olson, Stevens Point; 15. Dale Louze, Mosinee
Second Feature: 1. Kemnetz; 2. Anderson; 3. Willhite; 4. Muller; 5. John Lietz; 6. Jim Lietz; 7. K. Benz; 8. Malouf; 9. Hayden; 10. T. Hill; 11. Louze; 12. Dickman