By Brandon Aschenbrenner
Special to the City Times
The 2016 Regular Season came to a close with Season Championship/Pot of Gold night at Golden Sands Speedway. Coming into the night, the point leaders in each division were hoping for a clean easy night to secure the championships. That is exactly what happened as all of the leaders starting the night, ended the night on top of the standings. Dakotah Meyer took care of business in the Paul Gross Jeweler’s Powder Puff race picking up the Diamond Necklace grand prize. The Cruisers raced as well with Vanstedum and Kuhn (77) taking the win. The cruiser championship will be decided at the Eve of Devastation on Saturday, August 27th.
Leading off the night was the Super Stock class. Greg Back (6) took fast time once again, as he has been able to do all year, dominating in qualifying. In the feature event, the point lead going in was 7 points for Brian Weinfurter (24) over Greg Back. This meant that if Back won, Weinfurter would have to finish 2nd to hold onto the championship. Greg Back did exactly what he needed to do early and took the lead quickly. He was able to pull away from the field up front and went on to pick up the easy feature win. Brian Weinfurter strategically worked his way through the field and made his way to 2nd with about 10 laps left and carried on to finish in 2nd place, which was just enough to win the championship by 2 points over Back. Taking 3rd in the race was John Zuch (8), 4th was Matt Komatz (33) and 5th Brad Scholze (87). Rick Beyer (18) was crowned the Rookie of the Year.
The Late Models saw first time visitor on the year, Bobby Kendall (11) take fast time honors. After three heat races, Ryan Hinner (23), Shane Smiley (15) and Wyatt Blashe (78) all made their way to victory lane. The B-Feature was star studded once again and only two drivers made the A Main. Steve Lichtfeld (32) and Justin Mondeik (44) were the drivers to advance. In the A-main, Jake Capek (81) was able to take the early lead and looked very strong. Unfortunately for Capek, the fastest car all season was right on his bumper and Dalton Zehr (7-11) was able to take the lead 8 laps into the 50 lap feature. With 13 laps in, the first yellow came out as Rene Scheinoha (5) stopped on the front stretch. After 2 more laps of green flag racing, Bobby Kendall lost power out of turn 2 and spun brining out another yellow flag. A few more green laps were run with the 7-11 Zehr car continuing to lead. With 22 laps left, Eugene Gregorich Jr. (14) and Jordan Thiel (2) made contact sending the 2 car around in turn 2. Gregorich took his car to the pits for the rest of the race. Up front it would stay the same with Dalton Zehr, topping off his Championship year in style with another feature win. Mark Eswein (71) was able to race his way up to 2nd, Jake Capek had his best run bringing home a 3rd place finish. Reagan May (33) and MG Gajewski (22) rounded out the top 5. Justin Mondeik took the Rookie of the Year title for 2016.
In the Pure Stocks, Travis Volm (76) took fast time, for his first time in 4 years at GSS. Two heats would see Nick Grish (83) and Louie Merriam (17) with victories. In the feature, Travis Volm came into the race with a large point lead, so he just needed to have a decent finish to hold on. Louie Merriam, Dillon Mackesy (93) and Travis Volm were able to make their way through the field and found themselves battling for the win. Louie would reign and hang on for the feature win. Travis Volm took 2nd, which would confirm his championship run topping Louie Merriam in the standings. Dillon Mackesy ended up in 3rd in the race and 3rd in the points, but was also awarded as Rookie of the Year. Brandon Knoblock got up to 4th after starting in back as last race’s feature winner and Hunter Cramer took home a top 5 finish.
The 4-Cylinder open class found a familiar driver picking up fast time, and it was Ian Arneson (14). Three heats would show Brett Breitenfeldt (7), Shawn Kemnetz (24) and Jimmer Lietz (93) to winner’s circle. In the lower feature, Brett “Rex” Breitenfeldt was able to get to the lead and was able to pull away and get his first feature win. Brett would also end up the leader in the Rookie of the Year race for the season. Taking 2nd in the race and 3rd overall in the point standings was Randy “Papa” Polansky (7). Third in the race was Matt Van Pietersom “Milky Way” (17), with Evan Beattie (7) and Andy Hafenbreadl (14), in his first ever race, taking top 5 finishes.
In the upper feature, Jimmer Lietz was able to lead the first laps, but soon George Seliger (06) and Dale Louze (9) would race past Lietz. Louze then would be passed by Ian Arneson and Scott Ciesielski (21). Arneson, who came into the feature only 8 points ahead of Ciesielski would stay in front of the 21 and finish in 2nd place behind Seliger who picked up his 2nd win on the year at GSS. With that 2nd place finish, Arneson was crowned as the 2016 champion by 13 points over Ciesielski who would come home 3rd in the race. Dale Louze and Jimmer Lietz would finish out the top 5.
We want to thank each and every driver, crew member and fan that supported local stock car racing at GSS this year and want to remind everyone that the next event at Golden Sands Speedway is Saturday, August 27th. It’s the annual Eve of Devastation. The biggest event of the year has advanced tickets to save money on sale now at Golden Sands Speedway and Kwik Trip stores in Wisconsin Rapids, Plover and Steven Point. Tons of different exciting events will be taking place. Gates open at 4 with events getting underway at 7. The last event of the year at the race track after the Eve of Devastation will be the Tundra Series race on Labor Day, Monday September 5th. Check out www.gssraces.com and Golden Sands Speedway on all major Social Media outlets to stay up to date on all of the events and happenings at Golden Sands Speedway.