Hot Racing, Cool Evening of Racing at Marshfield Super Speedway Melbinger, Laessig, Smith, and Mrozenski Take Mains
May 4, 2002; Marshfield, WI: – Race fans were treated to an exciting night of racing sponsored by American Asphalt & Kev’s Auto Repair at the Marshfield Super Speedway. Many people braved the chilly conditions to take in an action-packed night of racing on Saturday night.
Jim Sauter, Jr. took the early lead of the 25-lap super late model feature followed closely by Pete Kempf. On lap three, Russ Weiler spun in turn four and was collected by Kevin Baldry. On the restart, Sauter was being heavily pressured by Wisconsin Rapids driver, Jeff Weinfurter. Weinfurter took over the point on lap four passing Sauter, Jr. entering turn four. Sauter then received heavy pressure from sophomore sensation Eugene Gregorich, Jr. Gregorich slipped by Sauter on the inside of the backstretch of lap six.
Melbinger, who started deep in the field, moved up to third by lap eight. The race stayed that way until lap 11, when last year’s point champion and leader of the race, Jeff Weinfurter, experienced drive shaft problems and had to make an early exit of the 25-lap main. Gregorich, of Kewaunee, took over the lead; his lead was brief however, as Melbinger and Gregorich fought door handle to door handle for four laps. On lap 15, Melbinger slipped by Gregorich for the top spot and held on for the win. Gregorich withstood heavy pressure from Dean LaPointe and finished second. LaPointe finished third followed by Jay VanDerGeest and Pete Kempf.
The scariest accident of the night was in the super late model fast heat. M. G. Gajewski cut down a tire going into turn four, spun, and was hit head on by Eau Claire driver, Ben Pettis. Pettis could not avoid the accident as Gajewski’s car came back up the track. Both cars burst into flames and were quickly extinguished by track officials. Both drivers escaped injury, but their cars sustained heavy front end damage.
Cale Laessig of Marshfield, powered his Chevy to the win of the Carquest super stock feature. Laessig took the lead from Scott Hamel, when Hamel’s car lost power on the backstretch of the 15th lap. Laessig fought off battles from track record holder, Shawn Stelzer, and Marshfield’s Larry Schultz, who finished second and third respectfully. Rounding off the top five were Merle Weinfurter and Matt Raykowski.
The legend car feature was won by Rockford, Illinois driver, Al Smith. Early leader, Dan McGiveron, led the first 14 laps before giving way to Garrett Will. Will, who hails from Illinois, held the top spot for two circuits before relinquishing the lead to Smith, who went on to win the 20-lap feature event. Finishing second was Curt Gnatzig, who won the dash and heat races. Rounding out the top five were Garrett Will, Larry Will, and Dan McGiveron.
In the 15-lap cruiser division’s main event, Scott Havlicek powered his Scotty’s Auto Parts car to the lead on lap four, from Wayne Meyer, and never looked back. Josh Elmhorst finished a strong second followed by Meyer, Les Kuehn, and Darrell Paschel.
The IMCA Oldtimers made their first visit tonight. Gary Stein brought two cars, the first was a 1976 Camero with a Howe Chassis driven by Mike Stein. The second car was built in 1969 and driven by Dave Marcis #37. Marcis won his first feature out at Kaukauna with the car. It was originally a Chevy Nova USAC car with a Wausau Bemco chassis, later the body was replaced with a 1976 Buick Skylark. Dave Watson was the next driver, he also won with car 10-12 USAC features in the 1970’s.
Gary Stein obtained the car in 1993, rebuilt it and has been racing it with the IMCA Oldtimers ever since. The car was driven here by Bobby Applegren. Chris Loberg brought his #15, 1976 Camero with a Bemco chassis. Lou Fegers brought his #1 midget but had some brake troubles and was unable to race. Mike Wall raced his #16 Early Model Stock Car, a 1937 Ford Coupe with a flathead. The #7 Super Modified built in 1961 with a 1928 Ford body was driven by Skip Pollack. Skip Pollack was the heat race winner and Mike Stein won the feature event.
Next Saturday’s events are sponsored by Sternweis & Sons and Z104. Grandstand gates open at 5 p.m., qualifying at 6 p.m. and racing starts at 7:30. Divisions racing are CARQUEST Super Late Models, CARQUEST & Coca-Cola CWSSA Super Stocks, 4-Cylinders, Cruisers and IROC Saturns.