Back Best in Marshfield WCS Debut
May 27, 2002; Marshfield, WI: – It was an exciting finished that happened 24 hours later than planned. For the second straight event, the Wisconsin Challenge Series played out a rain delayed program, as the Memorial 75 was postponed 24 hours by precipitation. Those fans on hand for it’s running however, were treated to another outstanding finish as Gary Back picked up his first career Wisconsin Challenge Series features and one of the biggest wins of his career. Top do so Back, had to fend off Jeff Weinfurter who was piloting a new machine and two-time Dells Motor Speedway champion, as both were tight on Back’s rear bumper when a two lap sprint to the checkered was created by a late race spin. Back would prove worthy of the challenges and take the checkered less than a car length in front of Weinfurter, with Riser nipping at their heels in third.
Gary Back (#26) scored perhaps the biggest win of his career when he captured the Memorial 75 at Marshfield Super Speedway. Back has become the new point leader in the series for the 2002 season.
The starting grid was staged and ready to race. Local favorite Dean Lapointe (#15) sits on the pole.
Defending Wisconsin Challenge Series champion Mark Eswein (#71) made his debut with a new car. He qualified fourth and finished eighth in the main event. Gary Back (#26) the eventual winner makes a mid race pass for position.
Kyle Kinder (#60) turned in another strong performance, finishing fourth in the Memorial 75. Briefly led the race early in the contest. He is shown here chasing eventual winner Gary Back (#26).
During the closing laps of the Memorial 75, Jeff Weinfurter (#3) set the pace but Gary Back (#26) was on the charge. Back would make the pass and go on to victory.
A smooth debut! Jeff Weinfurter (#3) broke in his new ride with a great deal of success leading much of the Memorial 75 and eventually finishing a close second.
Weather which has been a factor in a majority of the WCS events held this year, again played it’s part as the precipitation stopped events just as practice started on Sunday afternoon, forcing the program to use it’s raindate on Monday. Though slightly diminished in number from the day before, a field of 36 cars attempted qualification runs for the program. Back, bested the field with a run of 17.844 seconds around the half-mile semi-banked paved oval. His time placed him ninth in the starting grid for the feature. Back became the first driver at a WCS race to claim both fast qualifying honors and win the feature contest.
The previous best finish for a fast qualifier in a show was a fourth place performance turned in by Jeremy Lepak in the Spring Fling 75, the season opening show for the Wisconsin Challenge Series.
A grid of 22 cars were set for the green flag in the Memorial 75, with Marshfield’s own Dean Lapointe squaring off with Kyle Kinder in the front row. After a false start due to a spin by Jim Sauter Jr., the race was underway. Kinder would edge out Lapointe by a fender to lead the opening lap before pulling away. Weinfurter moved to the outside of Lapointe down the backstretch and claimed second before the start of lap two.
Keith Bohmsach, a two-time Super Stock champion was making his WCS debut behind the wheel of Mark Eswein’s backup machine. It is the same car which took Eswein to the 2001 WCS title. It proved to be a good combination as Bohmsach rumbled to third on lap four. Eswein meanwhile was behind the wheel of a new car which made it’s debut in the event.
Weinfurter, had also unveiled a new car for the race and he put that machine into the lead by diving inside Kinder for the lead in on lap six. The top five settled for the next 20 laps in with Weinfurter out front of Kinder, Bohmsach, Jason Weinkauf who finished second in the previous WCS event at Golden Sands and Eswein. Jim Carlson slowed the pace with a spin in turn four on lap 26 bunching the pack for the restart.
Back cracked the top five with a pass of Eswein on lap 31. Meanwhile Weinkauf and Bohmsach engaged in a wheel to wheel duel which lasted a pair of laps as Weinkauf maneuvered into third. Back followed into fourth on lap 35.
The second caution of the event occurred when Justin Hirt looped his ride in turn four on lap 36. The field restacked for the restart with Weinfurter again setting the pace, this time slowly pulling away from Kinder who was having a strong showing running second. Back was again the man on the move engaging in a battle with Weinkauf. Back would move into third spot on lap 38 and he began to immediately reel in Kinder.
Catching Kinder, Back managed an inside pass on lap 46 to lay claim to the runner-up spot. Also on the move was Ken Reiser, who methodically worked through the field from his 10th place starting spot as he slipped into fourth a lap later.
The showdown between the leader Weinfurter, and his challenger Back, began with 22 laps remaining. Back was able maneuver past Weinfurter for the lead just two laps later. A position he would hold to the checkered. Back would move ahead by a slim margin over Weinfurter as Reiser advanced past Kinder for third on lap 60 of the 75 lap contest.
It had appeared at this point that Back had clear sailing as he was able to keep Weinfurter in his mirrors. The final twist in the plot occurred as two laps remained when Carlson spun on the backstretch forcing a caution. While Back got a reprieve from having to deal with some lapped cars ahead of him, the restart did put Weinfurter on his rear bumper when the race resumed. As they raced under the green Weinfurter managed to sneak under Back, pulling alongside almost as far as his door as the pair raced into turn one. Back however used his momentum off the turn to again motor ahead of Weinfurter and pace the final two laps.
The event would finish in that order with Back securing the victory. Weinfurter laid claim to second a career high in WCS competition. Reiser would finish third for the second time this season. Kinder turned in his best WCS performance with a fourth place run and Todd Stapleman, who made the show based upon his performance by winning a qualifying race flew to fifth from deep in the field. Bohmsach, Allen Check, Eswein, Judd Brandl and Weinkauf made up the top ten runners. 20 of the 22 starters were still on track at the checkered.
In preliminary action, Stapleman handily won his qualifying race over WCS Spring Fling 75 winner Burton Brown. Eugene Gregorich Jr., captured the final transfer position.
In the second qualifier it was Pete Kempf scoring his second preliminary event win of the season having also won a qualifying race at the season opening show. Rocky Breezer followed in second with Carlson making the show with the final transfer spot. in the final transfer position.
With his victory Back has assumed the top position in the point standings with 397 points. With his third place performance Reiser slipped into second with 345 points. Jeremy Lepak who led the standings heading into the event now resides in third positions with 342 points. Eswein the defending champion has climbed into fourth with 314 markers and Allen Check, last season’s hard charger award winner has reached the top five with 310 points.
The next race, on the WCS schedule is the Larry Detjens Memorial, which will be the 22nd Annual running of the event on Thursday Night, June 27th at State Park Speedway. The event, honors the popular short track racer who lost his life in a tragic accident at Wisconsin International Raceway in 1981. At the time Detjens was one of Wisconsin’s rising stars. During the 1981 season he had already amassed over 20 victories competing throughout Wisconsin on weekly tracks like State Park Speedway and was also a regular in ARTGO and ASA events.
Detjens a native of Wausau, Wisconsin grew up learning the ropes of short track racing at the nearby State Park Speedway. A throwback to the great age of Wisconsin Short Track racing, the State Park Speedway’s quarter-mile was a proving ground for many of Wisconsin’s stars. This year a new generation of star drivers will tackle the challenges of the slightly banked-quarter-mile oval. Considered on of the most challenging tracks on the Wisconsin Challenge Series schedule, a field of 22 cars will take the green flag to honor Detjens in a 75 lap feature contest. Series officials are planning a special honor during the race as a tribute to Detjens.
The pit gates for the Detjens Memorial will open early at 4:00 p.m. due to the large number of participants expected. Practice will begin at 4:15 p.m., and the all important time trials are set for 6:15 p.m. Pre race ceremonies will take place at 7:00 p.m.
In addition to the Wisconsin Challenge Series Late Models, the tracks own CARQUEST Street Stocks and CENEX Mini-Stocks will be on the card.
For additional information check out the series website at www.wisconsinchallenge.com
Memorial 75 – Results
Marshfield Super Speedway – May 27, 2002
75 Lap Feature: 1.) Gary Back, Vesper; 2.) Jeff Weinfurter, Wisconsin Rapids; 3.) Ken Reiser, Waukon, IA; 4.) Kyle Kinder, McFarland; 5.) Todd Stapleman, Plainfield; 6.) Keith Bohmsach, Wisconsin Rapids; 7.) Allen Check, Rosholt; 8.) Mark Eswein, Wisconsin Rapids; 9.) Judd Brandl, Arpin; 10.) Chris Weinkauf, Merrill; 11.) M.G. Gajewski, Wausau; 12.) Jeremy Lepak, Wausau; 13.) Dean Lapointe, Marshfield; 14.) Frank Nitzke, Berlin; 15.) Rocky Breezer, Portage; 16.) Eugene Gregorich Jr., Kewaunee; 17.) Burton Brown, Neenah; 18.) Pete Kempf, Nekoosa; 19.) Jim Carlson, LaCrosse; 20.) Jim Sauter Jr., Necedah; 21.) Justin Hirt, Tigerton; 22.) Joe Krzykowski, Junction City
First 25 Lap Qualifier: 1.) Stapleman; 2.) Brown; 3.) Gregorich; 4.) Wayne Mackesy, Wausau; 5.) Eric Wisz, Mosinee; 6.) Mike Leopold, Gleason; 7.) Alan Sankey, Stevens Point; 8.) Justin Willer, Wausau; 9.) Terry Schoppenhorst, Berlin; 10.) Jesse Klug, St. Agusta, MN
Second 25 Lap Qualifier: 1.) Kempf; 2.) Breezer; 3.) Carlson; 4.) Russ Weiler, Marshfield; 5.) Benjamin Brinkman, Oshkosh; 6.) Brandon Selle, Dale; 7.) Bruce Havel, Deerfield; 8.) Mark Mackesy, Wausau; 9.) Chris Bires, Mauston; 10.) Donnie Woller, Merrill
In other action on this day fifteen two wheeled warriors sprayed sparks and burned rubber tonight in the cycle class. Heat race winners Rick Bretl of Appleton and Jake Knetter of Edgar started off the program in the 6 lap races. In the feature race, Knetter grabbed the lead on his Marathon Door//S K Service backed Yamaha 426 with Marshfields Cliff Eckes in tow in second place on his Cliffs Cycle Service/ SK Service sponsored YZ250 Yamaha, but back row starting Rick Bretl was marching to the front on his Appleton Racing 600 Rotax, taking over the lead on lap 6. Long time competitor Steve Kasten took 2nd place away from his prot