Defending Series Champion Haseleu Halts Bad Luck with Marshfield Victory
By Jeffrey Sachse and Sara Johnson
July 15, 2006; Marshfield, WI: – The mechanical gremlins which have plagued defending Wisconsin Challenge Champion Nathan Haseleu since the beginning of the racing season were no where to be found, as the hard charging racer from Marshall, Wisconsin dominated the later stages of the Earth Inc / V&H Heavy Truck Marshfield 80, to score his first WCS victory of the season. The win was his sixth career WCS checkered breaking a tie with 2003 WCS series champion Erik Darnell, as both had five event victories prior to this evening’s event.
To reach the finish line first Haseleu would outrun a stellar field of 24 drivers after having taken the lead from current WCS point leader Kenny Richards of Montello as the field came back to green after the second and final caution of the contest which appeared just past the halfway point. Haseleu then set a blistering pace to best two-time WCS champion Mark Eswein of Wisconsin Rapids by nearly a full straightaway. Richards would finish in the third position.
Local favorite Tim Hintz of Marshfield would find himself on the pole of the 80 lap main event with current WCS point runner-up Jeff Kendall of Montello to is outside. 2002 Wisconsin Challenge Series champion Gary Back of Vesper and current WCS point leader Kenny Richards of Montello would give chase from row two at the drop of the green. With the field invert determined by drawing, fast qualifier Haseleu would find himself inside the fifth row for the start of the contest.
Kendall would power ahead of Hintz down the backstretch to take the initial lad, with Richards following suit to place himself in second before the completion of lap two. Kendall and Richards would then pull away from Hintz who would slowly drift backwards in the running order. Richards, opting to run a lower line than Kendall would use the groove to his advantage the pair would wind up side by side for the lead as lap four began, but by the time the circuit was complete Richards had become the new leader.
On lap seven, Back would drop off pace while running in the top five after suffering an engine failure. The former winner of a WCS contest at Marshfield would not see another victory on this day.
Two-time series champion Mark Eswein of Wisconsin Rapids would work by Hintz for the third spot brining Charlie Menard of Eau Clair with him to fourth before reaching lap eight. Menard continued his march forward working the high lane past Eswein on the following circuit to reach third.
The positions throughout the pack continued to switch at a rapid pace with drivers using both the low and high lines in effort to gain an advantage. Haseleu would crack the top five for the first time on lap 11 as he motored past Hintz.
Out front Richards was able to keep Kendall in his rear-view mirror, while Menard and Eswein closed up making it a four car battle for the top spot.
Kendall would drift to the outside line on lap 16, allowing Menard to squirt past for the second spot, Eswein was able to follow reaching third and dropping Kendall back to the fourth position
Ben Pettis would come to a halt in turn four forcing the first of only two caution during the event on lap 17.
On the restart Richards went back to pacing the contest with Menard pressuring for the top spot. Eswein continued in third, while Haseleu for fourth before lap 20 began.
Menard meanwhile began to seek a way past Richards ducking to his inside on several occasions. Over the next ten laps Menard continued to apply the pressure but Richards was able to repel the challenges. On lap 30 Haseleu would duck under Eswein for the third spot and moments later performed a similar move on Menard to rumble to second.
The halfway point of the event was reached with Richards, Haseleu, Menard, Eswein and Adam Royle another former winner of a WCS contest at Marshfield holding down fifth. 21 cars were still on the lead lap at the time.
On lap 44 Hintz would slide off the track in turn two forcing the final caution of the event. Just prior to the caution Haseleu had begun to work low on Richards but the caution negated the passing attempt.
When action resumed however Haseleu was quick to pounce, immediately working to Richards’ inside down the backstretch. Haseleu would make his car stick in the low groove and powered ahead coming off turn four for the lead as lap 45 began. Menard was quick to follow Haseleu, also squirting past Richards, to reach the second spot.
In a swift move, Eswein was able to drat past both Richards and then Menard to place himself in second on lap 46, as it appeared Menard began to slow his pace. After being shuffled to fourth Richard’s was able to regroup and get back to the low groove which he used to his advantage to reclaim third on lap 48.
While Haseleu began to pull away with Eswein and Richards giving chase, it became apparent that Menard, who was running fourth was encountering mechanical ills as his car kept getting slower with each passing lap. Royle would blast past for fourth on lap 52, and Blake Horstman made his way into the top five moments later. Menard would then head to the pit area ending a solid run.
With less than 22 laps to go, Eugene Gregorich Jr., who won last the WCS contest at Marshfield last fall pulled from the contest after having working into the top ten.
With each passing lap Haseleu would pull further and further ahead of the field, having gained a full straightaway advantage as the final ten laps began. Eswein, Richards and Royle were line up nose to tail for the second spot, while Horstman ran comfortably in fifth. Among the leaders the biggest battle was waged for the sixth spot as Frank Kreyer who started 23rd on the grin, had slowly worked through the field. He had reached Trent Snyder in the sixth position and the pair of Kreyer and Snyder entertained fans with a thrilling side by side duel which would also include the occasional exchange of paint.
The final ten laps past swiftly and Haseleu would reach the finish to scored his first WCS victory of the 2006 season. Eswein would finish solidly in second with Richards’ extending his point lead with a third place run. Royle would finish with a strong fourth place showing while Horstman ran to his best WCS finish of the year claiming fifth.
Snyder would fend off Kreyer over the final laps to hold sixth, while Kreyer made the biggest move of the day racing from 23rd to seventh at the finish. Jason Weinkauf would complete the race in eighth place in a car borrowed from Jay VanderGeest, after his own machine developed mechanical difficulties in practice. Jeremy Lepak would grab the ninth spot with Andy Monday completing the top ten finishers.
Earlier in the day a 25 lap qualifying race was used to complete the field for the main event, and the race was won in convincing fashion by Neil Knoblock. Knoblock would later race to 11th in the big show. Following Knoblock to the line in the qualifying race was Ben Pettis, Nick Hammer, Monday and Jacob Humphrey to complete the top five. Tommy Pecaro finished six, in the final transfer spot to the main event.
At the end of the program a very exciting B-feature was held as Jeff Way, Dennis Prunty, Elliott Weiler and John Zimmerman ran nearly pack style battling for the lead. Prunty would manage to work ahead of way and fend off Way’s challenges to win the race. Way would slow over the final laps giving second to Weiler. Hintz would finish third. Pete Moore making his first run of the year cam from dead last on the grid to claim fourth and Mike DeKeuster rounded out the top five.
The Wisconsin Challenge Series will now head to Golden Sands Speedway on Friday Night, July 28th for the Power Playground 100. All the stars of the WCS series will be on hand to challenge the Golden Sands Speedway regular’s on the high banked third mile oval for top honors.
The 100 lap main event will feature 24 starters. A pair of 30 lap qualifying races will set the field for the race, and the day will conclude with a 30 lap B-Feature contest for those not making the main event.
In addition to the WCS Super Late Models, the show will feature, 2-Man Cruisers and 4 cylinders.
Time trials will be at 6:30 p.m. and the first race will get the green flag at 7:45 p.m.
Golden Sands Speedway is located between Wisconsin Rapids and Plover, Wisconsin on Highway 54. For additional information please call (715) 423-4660 or consult the track website at www.goldensandsspeedway.com
More information and a complete season schedule for the Wisconsin Challenge Series can be found at www.wisconsinchallenge.com
Ron Kundinger and Richard Delis led the pure stock division to the green in their 12 lap feature event. Kyle Genett wasted little time and quickly maneuvered to the top spot, followed by Troy Engman. Genett surrendered the lead to Engman on lap three who held the top spot to the checkered. Following Engman was Gennet and Matt Ciesielski, who made a mid race charge from a rearward starting position to finish third. Rounding out the top five were Jeff Behrens and Ron Kundinger.
1 Man Cruiser
A first lap collision in the 1 Man Cruiser division between Charles Dibble, Mike Denny, Todd Hoeper, and Travis Paul left several cars with severe damage, sidelining them for the remainder of the event. Following the race restart, David Knauf sliced his way to the lead by lap two from his back row starting spot. Knauf was followed closely by Kyle Rasmussen, who held down the second spot for the entire contest. Contact between Todd Hoeper and Wayne Dietz on lap three allowed Dietz to slide into third, followed closely by Lester Kuehn. At the checkered flag, the top five were Knauf, Rasmussen, Dietz, Hoeper and Paul.
Erin Schlough quickly took the lead over the pole sitter Don Elmhorst in the 4 cylinder feature event. Schlough was followed closely by Adam Krzykowski, who made his move to the top spot by lap four. His lead was short lived as Steve Stewart over took him on lap six. At the same time, Kyle Opelt and JJ Flick began a charge to the front from deep in the field. Opelt, who started eleventh, worked his way to second by lap nine and the lead by lap 14. Opelt cruised to the victory, followed by Stewart, Krzykowski, Flick and Dan McGiveron.
Next Saturday, July 22nd is the Bill Sherman Memorial sponsored by V&H Heavy Trucks. Featuring CarQuest Super Late Models, CarQuest Super Stocks, Motorcycles, 1-Man Cruisers, Junkyard Warriors and Pure Stocks. Grandstand gates open at 5 p.m., time trials at 5:30, racing starts at 7 p.m. Marshfield Super Speedway is located 3.5 miles west of Marshfield on County Road H with weekly Saturday night stock car racing April through September. Adult grandstand admission is $10.00, Students ages 10-15 yrs. $5.00 and under 10 yrs FREE with a parent. Rain dated for Sunday, two hours earlier.
Everyone 16 yrs and older may sign up FREE every race night to win the 2006 Dodge Charger Pace Car.