BY MICHAEL H. BABICZ
WILMOT CROWNS MATTSON, HEINERT, M. SIMONS, ROSSMANN, ATKINSON 2017 CHAMPS
(Wilmot, Wisconsin, Saturday, September 9, 2017)–Winning the battle does not always include winning the war. Such was the case for all five champions who secured 2017 Wilmot Raceway titles on Championship Night Saturday, September 9.
The most bizarre champion was Jordan Mattson of Milwaukee in the Wisconsin WingLESS Sprints presented by the Interstate Racing Association(IRA). Despite having contact with another car while on the pace lap of the feature and finishing last in the 20-car field, Mattson ended up 2 points ahead of second place Tim Cox of Park City, Illinois in securing his first ever Wilmot title.
“I’m a lot happier now then I was a while ago,” said Mattson of his first ever championship in a non-winged sprint car. “I have to thank all of my sponsors, crew and family for all of their support.”
Cottage Grove’s Doug Schenck, the 2015 inaugural WingLESS champion at Wilmot, led wire to wire in the 20-lap season championship feature. Cautions on lap 7 and with two laps remaining kept the field within striking distance of Schenck who was up to the challenge each time. “I don’t like starting up front, but we’ll take it,” said Schenck, who revealed his crew made a major repair on the drive line following his heat win. “It’s a good thing we had a lot of cars here because that gave us the time we needed.”
Following Schenck was second place Allen Hafford of Beach Park, Illinois who edged out third place Jimmy Sivia of Winthrop Harbor, Illinois in a hotly contested battle. Nick Petska of Spring Grove, Illinois was fourth with Nathan Crane of Waukegan, Illinois fifth.
Waukesha’s Mark Heinert scored his second IRA Wisconsin-Illinois Mini-Sprints(WIMS) Wilmot track championship. Heinert started off with a new track qualifying record of :14.482 seconds for the one-third mile clay oval. Fourth place in the heat race and fourth in the 20-lap feature proved to be enough to keep Heinert at the top of the final regular season standings. “The second one feels a little better, but I still have to thank my family, especially my Dad who has been with me since day one of my racing, my sponsors and these great fans,” said Heinert.
Nick Sheridan of Fox Lake, Illinois held the lead from wire to wire in the 20-lap WIMS season finale. “It’s been a while,” said an emotional Sheridan following his first feature win of the season which came on WIMS last appearance of the year at Wilmot. “I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of sponsors and people who have jumped in and helped out.”
Hartford’s Kyle Daywalt was second ahead of his brother, Nick Daywalt who ended up runner-up in the final season points. Heinert, who broke Sheridan’s track qualifying record, was fourth. C.J. Malueg of Johnsburg, Illinois completed the top five.
In an ironic series of events, Mike Simons II of Genoa City won his first track championship of any kind, edging out his brother, Nick Simons, also of Genoa City. A broken engine pulley retired M. Simons from his heat race. The same gremblins struck again in the “B” Main resulting in M. Simons dropping out prematurely again resulting in his watching the feature race from the pits.
The hotly contested 20-lap main event saw six caution periods with the last one setting up a green-white-checkered finish. In another ironic twist, it was M. Simons younger brother, Nick, who took the lead just prior to the final caution, winning his third feature of the season.
“I wish he(Mike) was out there, but this was a great feature to win with a lot of really competitive drivers,” said N. Simons, who picked up a special McDevitts Towing & Repair trophy. “He(Mike) works on my car all week and gets it ready for me. I have to thank him, our sponsors and my family and crew. This is a big win.”
Kiel’s Eric Scribner was second. Sheboygan’s Joel Seegert, who led for a while during the final half, was third. Rob Maule of Hebron, Illinois, who earlier set a track qualifying record of :16.209 seconds, finished fourth. Eagle’s Steve Mueller led several laps during the early going, was fifth.
Pat Rossmann of Wadsworth, Illinois won his fifth street stock championship, second in a row, with a seventh place feature finish despite a broken shock. “I knew what I had to do, so when the shock broke I concentrated on at least finishing fourteenth,” said Rossmann. “Brandon (Mertes) was running strong, but when I saw him break and go into the infield, I knew I needed to just finish. It’s a great birthday present for my son, Clayton, who turned 12. I have to thank my wife, sponsors, and everyone who helps me out.”
Racine’s Charlie Pinkalla jumped in front at the drop of the green of the 20-lap feature and was never headed. Three cautions kept the field close, with Brandon Mertes of Antioch, Illinois within striking distance. On the final restart with six laps remaining, Mertes had a left-front suspension break retiring him into the infield. At the finish it was Pinkalla, Big Bend’s Mark Baker second, John Janssen of Richmond, Illinois third, Joey Marcomb of Antioch moving from 17th to finish fourth with Genoa City’s Cody Potter going from 14th starting spot to take fifth.
“The car ran super,” said Pinkalla of his first feature win of the season. “I saw Brandon(Mertes) trying to get inside of me, but I wasn’t going to let him have the low groove so I hugged the bottom and it worked.”
History was made for the second season in a row as Muskego’s Courtney Atkinson became the first female driver in Wilmot’s long history to not only win a championship, but make it two in a row in the Bandit 4-Cylinder Stock Cars. “I have to thank my dad(Al) who has taught me a lot, and my sponsors and everybody who makes this fun,” said Atkinson. “It’s still in discussion whether I might drive something in a different division next year. We’ll have to wait and see.”
South Milwaukee’s Jake Balk took the initial lead in the 15-lap feature. Burlington’s Brad Becker took top spot briefly until a tire going low caused him to spin while leading bringing out a caution with 10 laps to go. Two laps after the restart as Balk battled his brother, Jay Orr of South Milwaukee, Atkinson momentarily took the top spot for one circuit.
Sheboygan’s Brody Rivest overtook Atkinson going on to his first ever Wilmot win. “I like this track,” said Rivest, who earned some McDevitt’s Towing & Repair hardware. “I’ve been here before, but each time it rained and we didn’t get to race. I’m glad we finally did. These are some good drivers and are fun to run with. I’ll be back next year.”
Orr finished second with Atkinson ending up third. Balk was fourth with Mt. Pleasant’s Dave McKellips fifth.
The five who earned Wilmot titles on Championship Night joined Matt Vanderver of Zion, Illinois who chalked up his first ever Wilmot championship securing the Wilmot Winged Outlaw Sprints title on the final night of the Kenosha County Fair in August.
A special pre-race ceremony saw check donation presentations by William Meyer & Sons of Libertyville, Illinois for the 2nd Sprint For Charities program. Bravehearts Therapeutic Riding Academy, Greyhounds Only and PADS of Lake County each received a donation check from Meyer representatives.
Dream Chaser Racing WIMS group held its end of the season drawings with a final Junior Mechanic of the Race winner. An adult, who earned an entry in a weekly drawing through the Dream Chaser website, won a complete tool kit. Larry Neau American Family Insurance of Union Grove headed up the highly successful program along with his family.
The final night of the 2017 season for Wilmot Raceway is Saturday, September 16 featuring the Dirt Kings Late Model Tour. A special challenge between the IRA Wisconsin WingLESS Sprints, whose home track is Wilmot , taking on the Midwest Sprint Association(MSA) 360-Cubic Inch Sprints which normally run with top wings. The MSA drivers will compete topless with the Wilmot non-wing warriors in a first ever combined event.
Modifieds, street stocks and Bandit 4-cylinder stock cars complete the card. Only Dirt King drivers are competing for championship points. None of the other divisions will receive championship points.
Wilmot Raceway will be a first on September 16. Lon Hodge, a U.S. military veteran, and his two-time national service dog of the year, Gander, will greet fans in the grandstand area. An attempt at a Guinness Book of World Records achievement of having the most people ever sign panels for a special flag being put together as a message of encouragement to veterans and active military personnel returning home. Those in attendance at Wilmot will be the first ones to have an opportunity to put a signature or note on the panels.
Grandstands open at 5:00 p.m. with an autograph session for modified and Dirt King late model drivers on the grandstand side from 5:00-5:30 p.m. Racing is slated to get underway at 6:45 p.m.
Grandstand admission is $20.00 for adults ages 12 & over; $5.00 for ages 7-11; with children ages 6 and under admitted free. Active military with an ID receive a discount.
Wilmot Raceway is located on the Kenosha County Fairgrounds. For updates phone the trackside raceline 262-862-2090 or check the official Raceway website www.wilmotraceway.com or the track Facebook page.
SUMMARY – WILMOT RACEWAY, WILMOT, WISCONSIN – 2017 CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2017
DON’S AUTO PARTS & MACHINE SHOP IRA/WISCONSIN WINGLESS SPRINTS: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Doug Schenck, Cottage Grove; 2. Allen Hafford, Beach Park, IL; 3. Jimmy Sivia, Winthrop Harbor, IL; 4. Nick Petska, Spring Grove, IL; 5. Nathan Crane, Waukegan, IL; 6. Patrick Haynes, Manteno, IL; 7. Scott Grissom, Winthrop Harbor; 8. Tim Cox, Park City, IL; 9. Travis Mahoney, Olgesby, IL; 10. James Walldan, Winthrop Harbor; 11. Craig Lager, Union Grove; 12. Rod Colburn, New Berlin; 13. Randy Stanford, Kenosha; 14. Derek Crane, Waukegan; 15. Natalie Klemko, Northbrook, IL; 16. George Gaertner III, Salem; 17. Dan Wade, Kenosha; 18. George Gartner, Salem; 19. Chris Klemko, Bristol; 20. Jordan Mattson, Milwaukee.
12-LAP “B” MAIN; 1. Stanford; 2. Colburn; 3. Wade; 4. N. Klemko; 5. G. Gaertner III; 6. Shawn Swim, Winthrop Harbor; 7. Tyler Tischendorf, Waupaca; 8. Tom Eller, Zion, IL.
10-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Grissom; Mattson; Schenck.
FAST QUALIFIER: Sivia(:14.827 seconds).
FEC’S PLACE/SILVER LAKE AUTO IRA/WISCONSIN-ILLINOIS MINI-SPRINTS(WIMS): 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Nick Sheridan, Fox Lake, IL; 2. Kyle Daywalt, Hartford; 3. Nick Daywalt, Hubertus; 4. Mark Heinert, Waukesha; 5. C.J. Malueg, Johnsburg, IL; 6. Derek Fortier, Racine; 7. Ran Brannam, Barrington, IL; 8. Mike Neau, Kenosha; 9. Adam Schroeder, Zion, IL; 10. Jeff Schmidt, Slinger; 11. Tim Brannam, Holiday Hills; 12. Kurt Brown, Brookfield; 13. Kevin Frederickson, Milwaukee; 14. Darren Ihrke, Hebron, IL; 15. John Smith, St. Charles, IL; 16. Michael Ungar, Milwaukee; 17. Ion Stear, Harvard, IL; 18. Todd Booker, Woodstock, IL; 19. Ron Curasi, Hartford.
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Fortier; Schmidt; Neau.
FAST QUALIFIER: Heinert(NEW TRACK RECORD-:14.482 seconds, OLD-:14.490 seconds by Sheridan on 6/3/2017).
HOOSIER TIRE MODIFIEDS: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Nick Simons, Genoa City; 2. Eric Scribner, Kiel; 3. Joel Seegert, Sheboygan; 4. Rob Maule, Hebron, IL; 5. Steve Mueller, Eagle; 6. Joel Crowbridge, Union Grove; 7. Dustin Jackson, New Berlin; 8. Brad McGuire, New Berlin; 9. Mike Wittenburg, Waterford; 10. John Dost, Bristol; 11. Scott Barnharst, Franklin; 12. Terry Hilgendorf, McHenry, IL; 13. Danny Walter, Burlington; 14. Mike Knurr, Mukwonago; 15. Donnie Paskiewicz, Ottawa, WI; 16. Will Sorce, Franksville; 17. Tim Bell, Antioch, IL; 18. Tony Izzo, Capron, IL; 19. Josh Heinze, Waterford; 20. Jeff Bodendorfer, Waterford.
10-LAP “B” MAIN: 1. Knurr; 2. Jackson; 3. Hilgendorf; 4. Barnharst; 5. Jason Wirth, Milwaukee; 6. Mike Conn, Big Bend; 7. Cody Erickson, Algonquin, IL; 8. Jim Cadd, Brookfield; 9. Steve Nickolaus, Caledonia; 10. Blaze Mach, Muskego; 11. Mike Simons II, Genoa City; 12. Al Atkinson, Pleasant Prairie(Did Not Start); 13. Jack Williams, Rockford, IL(DNS); 14. Lee Tibbitts, Hebron, IL(DNS).
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Maule; Bodendorfer; Crowbridge; Scribner.
FAST QUALIFIER: Maule(NEW TRACK RECORD-:16.209 seconds, OLD-:16.394 seconds by Zeke Bishofberger, Fort Atkinson 6/3/2017).
R.A. ADAMS ENTERPRISES STREET STOCKS: 20-LAP FEATURE: 1. Charlie Pinkalla, Racine; 2. Mark Baker, Big Bend; 3. John Janssen, Richmond, IL; 4. Joey Marcomb, Antioch, IL; 5. Cody Potter, Genoa City; 6. Ian Malinowski, Franklin; 7. Pat Rossmann, Wadsworth, IL; 8. Josh Gehrig, Pleasant Prairie; 9. Gerry Stollenwerk, Silver Lake; 10. Chad Hagler, McHenry, IL; 11. Jason Jones, North Chicago, IL; 12. Blake Kreuser, Kenosha; 13. James Jaime, Bristol; 14. Carl Sturt, Wadsworth; 15. Nate Coon, Hebron; 16. Brandon Mertes, Antioch; 17. Cody Erickson, Algonquin, IL; 18. David Jones, North Chicago; 19. Jim Vandervere, Gurnee, IL; 20. Trent Andersen, Trevor(Did Not Start).
10-LAP “B” MAIN: 1. Marcomb; 2. J. Jones; 3. Sturt; 4. T. Andersen; 5. Chloe Baker, Milwaukee; 6. Joe Suhtras, Hales Corners; 7. Bo Ahern, Waukegan, IL; 8. Brianna Olson, Burlington(Did Not Start).
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Rossmann; Mertes; M. Baker.
BANDIT 4-CYLINDER STOCK CARS: 15-LAP FEATURE: 1. Brody, Rivest, Sheboygan; 2. Jay Orr, South Milwaukee; 3. Courtney Atkinson, Muskego; 4. Jake Balk, South Milwaukee; 5. David McKellips, Mt. Pleasant Prairie; 6. Tony Barron, Milwaukee; 7. John Cole, Palatine, IL; 8. Jordan Paulsen, Trevor; 9. Brad Becker, Burlington; 10. Steve Ellis, Pleasant Prairie; 11. Taylor Dawson, Wheatland; 12. Jacob Dallago, Antioch, IL; 13. Ryan Braun, Brookfield; 14. Scott Quarnstrom, Lake Villa, IL; 15. Eric Kuenstler, Palatine, IL; 16. A.J. Izzo, Capron; 17. Gary Mondus, Streamwood, IL; 18. Robin Wachsmith, Williams Bay; 19. Bob Anderson, Antioch; 20. Dale Ehleiter, Union Grove; 21. Joe Summers, Wonder Lake, IL.
8-LAP HEAT WINNERS: Rivest; Orr.