A bumpy start to Steve Schilling’s 2024 race season got better in a hurry, Payton Olson continued to make the most of his rare trips to State Park Speedway, and Eric Breitenfeldt picked up where he left off last year with another feature win.

The trio all were feature winners on opening night at State Park, with Schilling picking up the win in the Advance Auto Parts pure stocks, Olson in the Snap-on Mini Mods and Breitenfeldt winning the Rockstar Energy Drink mini stocks main event.

Schilling earned his second career feature win, winning the 20-lap pure stocks feature. The Ringle driver outran Dustin Ochodnicky of Ogema after a side-by-side sprint in the opening laps and then pulled away from Brett Breitenfeldt of Wausau on a late restart to win comfortably.

Schilling built a sizeable lead while the competition behind him jockeyed for position over the first 15 laps, but saw it evaporate when caution came out after Jeff Spatz of Wausau spun in turn three after contact from Mosinee’s Nick Erickson Jr. while the two raced for second. Breitenfeldt moved to second for the restart, but Schilling drove away quickly while Breitenfeldt slipped to the back and eventually went to the pits after a tire went down.

Schilling won his first-ever feature last season in his rookie year at State Park, just missing rookie of the year honors after a season-long battle with Kyle Kluetz of Schofield. Schilling just celebrated a birthday the day before, but his 2024 season had already been eventful even before Saturday after two tough luck races at Golden Sands Speedway, including just one night earlier when damage resulted in work to replace the radiator overnight.

Ochodnicky finished a solid second for his best-ever State Park feature finish. Joey Blaschka of Wausau was third, with defending pure stocks champion Dave Cabelka fourth and Erickson fifth. Erickson made his return to racing in the class for the first time since 2016, and the third-generation SPS driver and 2010 pure stocks champion set fast time and won the fast heat.

Olson made his first appearance at State Park for a weekly show since August of 2022, and just like his last appearance he won the feature, this time claiming the mini mods 25-lap feature.

Olson ran down polesitter and early frontrunner Travis Hill of Marshfield for the lead, catching him after a 10-lap chase and making a move inside on lap 16. He pulled away from there for the victory in a caution-free feature with Hill posting his SPS career-best feature finish of second and Josh Willhite of Wausau taking third. Defending mini mods champion Tim Anderson of Auburndale was fourth with Joe Kuehn of Wausau rounding out the top five.

Olson was racing his mini mod for the first time this season. A Stevens Point resident, he purchased a super late model and raced it in the opener at Golden Sands Speedway, his home track. Olson has now taken the feature in two of his four career visits to State Park.

Hill and Anderson also won heat races, with Kuehn setting fast time for the night, besting a field of 14 mini mods to time in. The group included several travelers, including Janesville’s Mark Dewey and Shawn Grabinger and Ashley Bell of Lakeville, Minn. Dewey and Grabinger both were part of plenty of side-by-side racing in the feature before coming in eighth and ninth, respectively.

Eric Breitenfeldt cruised to the win in the mini stocks feature. The Wausau native needed just nine laps to go from his 10th starting position to the lead, and held it the rest of the way to win the 25-lap feature.

The defending champion and a two-time past champ in the class at SPS, Breitenfeldt passed Zach Budleski of Wausau for second on lap 7 and then got to the inside of Mike Meharg of Auburndale for the lead two laps later. Breitenfeldt would check out on the field to win his first feature this season after leading the class with five feature victories last year.

Garret Strachota of Wausau made a crossover move on Meharg on lap 20 to take second, looking high before driving low out of the fourth turn to get inside position. Meharg finished third after leading the first eight laps, with fast-closing Clayton Phillips of Marathon and Nick Kurth of Wausau rounding out the top five.

Kooper Guralski of Wausau won the semi-feature, leading start to finish for his first-ever race win with fellow rookie Jacob Hintze of Wausau coming in second. Hintze, Amanda Rowe of Mosinee and Budleski all won heat races.

State Park Speedway gets back to its traditional Thursday racing night with its next show May 30th. The night will include support division specials with pure stocks, mini mods, mini stocks, Bandoleros and Legends cars all racing for double pay and possible extended features. Fred Mueller Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. with racing to follow at 7 p.m.

Advance Auto Parts Pure Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Nick Erickson Jr., Mosinee, 15.542 sec.
First Heat: 1. Steve Schilling, Ringle; 2. Dustin Ochodnicky, Ogema; 3. Joey Blaschka, Wausau; 4. Kyle Kluetz, Schofield
Second Heat: 1. Erickson; 2. Brett Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 3. Dave Cabelka, Wausau; 4. Jeff Spatz, Wausau; 5. Alex Volm, Mosinee
Feature: 1. Schilling; 2. Ochodnicky; 3. Blaschka; 4. Cabelka; 5. Erickson; 6. Spatz; 7. B. Breitenfeldt; 8. Kluetz; 9. A. Volm

Snap-on Mini Mods
Fast Qualifier: Joe Kuehn, Wausau, 15.762 sec.
First Heat: 1. Travis Hill, Arpin; 2. Payton Olson, Stevens Point; 3. Kamren Hill, Marshfield; 4. Shawn Grabinger, Lakeville, Minn.; 5. Ashley Bell, Lakeville, Minn.; 6. Brian Marquardt, Weston
Second Heat: 1. Tim Anderson, Pittsville; 2. Josh Willhite, Wausau; 3. Kuehn; 4. Dale Louze, Mosinee; 5. Mark Dewey, Janesville; 6. Jim Lietz, Mosinee; 7. Keagen Benz, Wausau
Feature: 1. Olson; 2. T. Hill; 3. Willhite; 4. Anderson; 5. Kuehn; 6. Louze; 7. Lietz; 8. Dewey; 9. Grabinger; 10. K. Hill; 11. Benz

Rockstar Energy Drink Mini Stocks
Fast Qualifier: Garret Strachota, Wausau, 16.670 sec.
First Heat: 1. Jacob Hintze, Wausau; 2. Shawn Carpenter, Marshfield; 3. Kendra Baumann, Wausau; 4. Abby Kohn, Wausau; 5. Jenny Wegner, Wausau; 6. Makayla Last, Wausau
Second Heat: 1. Amanda Rowe, Mosinee; 2. Kooper Guralski, Wausau; 3. Austin Bohman, Wausau; 4. Cooper Bodendorfer, Muskego; 5. Mike Meharg, Auburndale; 6. Mark Schoone, Gleason; 7. Dylan Henry, Gleason
Third Heat: 1. Zach Budleski, Wausau; 2. Ashley Schoone, Gleason; 3. Eric Breitenfeldt, Wausau; 4. Tom Lecher, Wausau; 5. Clayton Phillips, Marathon; 6. Strachota; 7. Nick Kurth, Wausau
Semi-Feature: 1. Kooper Guralski; 2. Hintze; 3. Bohman; 4. Carpenter; 5. Last; 6. Baumann; 7. Wegner; 8. Kohn
Feature: 1. E. Breitenfeldt; 2. Strachota; 3. Meharg; 4. Phillips; 5. Kurth; 6. A. Schoone; 7. Lecher; 8. C. Bodendorfer; 9. Rowe; 10. Budleski; 11. Kooper Guralski; 12. Hintze; 13. M. Schoone