FIRST TIME WINNERS DO THEIR BEST TO BEAT THE RAIN AT TOMAH

By: Paul Reichert
August 19, 2022

We only have a handful of races left to run at Tomah-Sparta Speedway, and the weather becomes an even bigger factor to get those races in. Rain was always a clear and present danger throughout the day and made officials change the program with only features taking place after qualifying. Before the rains arrived Weston Marthaler continued his impressive season at ‘Daytomah’ and scored his fourth Modified feature win this year. Before the rains showed up and once it did make its presence known, we witnessed a rash of first time winners. Shelby Lockington finally broke through for her first ever Hobby Stock feature, Waylon Robinson made a daring three wide pass on the low side to capture the checkered flag in the Hornet feature and Matthew Heim survived not only the rain but a late race challenge to score his first ever victory at Tomah in the Six Shooter feature.

The Sportsmen feature saw Scott Mahlum power his way by Troy Dobbratz to lead the early laps of the race. With Mark Challet suffering a broken left axle drive plate on lap two, that allowed Dan Frye to take the high line and motor his way through the field. Frye shot past Dobbratz to move into second by lap three, and he quickly caught and passed Mahlum for the top spot on lap four. Frye began to open his lead but Mahlum was doing everything he could to stay in touch with the leader. Dobbratz was trying to keep Mahlum in his sights to mount another challenge for the runner-up spot. The rest of the race saw the drivers taking no further chances to advance closer to the front. Frye drove off with his first victory of 2022 and added a little more advantage to his point lead with one race remaining.

Jesse Vian got the better of Rick DeVito at the start of the Modified feature to settle into the race lead. Weston Marthaler followed Vian’s tire tracks to charge past Larry and Rick DeVito to claim the number two position on lap two. Marthaler stuck to the outside lane as he shot past Vian to become the new leader of the pack on lap three. As Marthaler began to pull away from the field, Vian and Larry DeVito got into another hard fought battle over the runner-up position. Their battles for a top three spot in recent weeks have been very entertaining and some of the cleanest racing we have seen all year. Vian stuck to the low groove, while DeVito struggled to make the outside lane work to his advantage. Marthaler was the man to beat as he claimed his fourth win of the year. Marthaler started the night a single point down to DeVito and ended the night six up with just one race left to run.

After experiencing a problem with one of her rear tires during qualifying, Shelby Lockington made quick work of her brother Landon to show the way in the Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stock feature. Coming from the back of the pack both Charles Vian, Jr. and Andy Moore began to methodically work their way through the traffic to get to the front. As the field took the crossed flags, Vian, Jr. caught Lockington and looked for the lead on the outer lane. Lockington got a better run coming out of the turns to keep a tight hold on the lead, while Vian, Jr. had his hands full challenging Lockington and holding off Moore at the same time. Moore tried to make a daring three wide move on the outside coming to the white flag lap. Vian, Jr. and Moore made contact that saw Moore pick up Vian, Jr.’s rear bumper. Lockington held onto the lead and scored a much anticipated first career win as the crowd showed their enthusiasm for Shelby and appreciation for a great race.

Justin Marshall charged past Tristan Finnegan to take the early lead in the Command Post Saloon Hornet feature. Marshall maintained the top spot as he had a huge field of challengers hungry to take over the race lead. Starting towards the back of the field, Adam Hayden patiently was working his way through the field and picking off competitors one by one. Hayden would find himself alongside Waylon Robinson with six laps to go as both drivers bided their time to find the right chance to strike and get around Marshall. That moment came in turn two on the final lap of the race as Robinson dove to the low side of Marshall, while Hayden went to the top side of the track. Robinson got on the gas quicker down the back straight to find himself leading the field to the checkered flag for his first ever visit to TACU Credit Union Victory Lane.

The rain finally arrived as the competitors for the TACU Credit Union Six Shooter feature began lining up on the back straight. The race would go on despite a light rain falling as Austyn Blank got around Tory Lockington to take command of the feature. This would be a more challenging race as the drivers had to tippy toe their way through traffic and take it easy running through the corners. Matthew Heim started deeper in the field but was working very well through the field thanks to his experience of running in wet conditions. Heim powered his way around Blank for the top spot with four laps left. After a yellow on lap 12 for a tangle between Matt Moore and Brad Wildes, Tristan Finnegan got around Heim to move into the lead, but then ran wide in turns one and two with two laps remaining. That would hand Heim his first career feature win and gave him a long awaited opportunity to ring the Victory Bell.

Mini-Van drivers from LaCrosse stopped at Tomah to make the final feature of the year a bit more competitive along with the light rain that would challenge the entire field. Jay Raines started last and used the outside lane to zoom past everybody in the field, but fell one spot shy of taking the lead at the end of lap one. Raines needed another lap to get around Mike Gratz to assume control of the race. Multi-time LaCrosse Mini-Van champ Rob Stanfield took his time to move into the runner-up spot on lap three as others were slipping and sliding. Stanfield moved to the inside line as he shot past Raines to take over the top spot on lap five. Raines tried to keep pace with Stanfield and find a way past him, but Stanfield handled the wet conditions like a pro. Stanfield hit the finish line first to win his first feature race at Tomah, while Raines’ runner-up performance secured for him the inaugural Mini-Van track championship.

The lone casualty of the night was the finale for the Chaos division, the Double Spin to Win race. With lightning in the area officials decided to not run the event. Mike Gratz’s point lead would be safe as he was crowned the 2022 ‘Captain Chaos’ champion.

Action continues on Sunday, August 28 with the new tradition returning to Tomah-Sparta Speedway. HobbyFest III takes place as Hobby Stock drivers from a three-state area converge on ‘Daytomah’ for some competitive action on the track with some big money and contingency awards on the line at the end of it all. The Hornets and Six Shooters will compete as they get closer to settling their championships. The Modifieds, Sportsmen and High School Racing Association will race one final time to decide their season titles, plus the Wisconsin Mighty Bandos Traveling Series are a late addition thanks to a rain out earlier this season as they make their third and final appearance this year. Gates open at 12, qualifying begins at 12:25 and racing action runs wide open starting at 2.

Call the track office at 608-461-1920, visit our web site at tomahspartaspeeway.com or check out the track’s Facebook page for more information about Tomah-Sparta Speedway and the 2022 schedule of events.

RESULTS
Modifieds
Feature (15 laps): 1. Weston Marthaler, 2. Jesse Vian, 3. Larry DeVito, 4. Rick DeVito
Qualifying:. 1. Weston Marthaler 16.242, 2. Larry DeVito 16.496, 3. Jesse Vian 16.665, 4. Rick DeVito 17.507

Sportsmen
Feature (15 laps): 1. Dan Frye, 2. Scott Mahlum, 3. Troy Dobbratz, 4. Ed Ross, 5. Mark Challet
Qualifying: 1. Dan Frye 16.570, 2. Mark Challet 16.761, 3. Ed Ross, 17.389, 4. Troy Dobbratz 17.586, 5. Scott Mahlum 18.165

Clark Powersport of Hillsboro Hobby Stocks
Feature (15 laps): 1. Shelby Lockington, 2. Charles Vian, Jr., 3. Jake Schiller, 4. Andy Moore, 5. Andy Muller, 6. Grant Witcraft, 7. Landon Lockington, 8. Tracey Prissel
Qualifying: 1. Andy Moore 17.608, 2. Charles Vian, Jr. 18.235, 3. Jake Schiller 18.334, 4.Tracey Prissel 18.552, 5. Grant Witcraft 18.630, 6. Andy Muller 18.684, 7. Landon Lockington 19.285, 8. Shelby Lockington 20.072

Command Post Saloon Hornets
Feature (15 laps): 1. Waylon Robinson, 2. Adam Hayden, 3. Justin Marshall, 4. Bryan Wallace, 5. Jamie Pearson, 6. Paul Finch, 7. Josh Schaller, 8. Matthew Heim, 9. Andrew Gardner, 10. Tristan Finnegan, 11. Amelia Marshall
Qualifying: 1. Paul Finch 18.510, 2. Jamie Pearson 18.589, 3. Andrew Gardner 18.697, 4. Adam Hayden 18.903, 5. Josh Schaller 18.938, 6. Bryan Wallace 19.048, 7. Amelia Marshall 19.096, 8. Waylon Robinson 19.350, 9. Matthew Heim 19.427, 10. Justin Marshall 19.724, 11. Tristan Finnegan 19.778

TACU Credit Union Six Shooters
Feature (15 laps): 1. Matthew Heim, 2. Tristan Finnegan, 3. Chuck Muller, 4. Greg Brown, 5. Matt Moore, 6. Tim Murphy, Sr., 7. Devin Glass, 8. Austyn Blank, 9. Chris Brown, 10. Tory Lockington, 11. Jon Beanken, 12. Mike Gratz, 13. Seth Gnewikow, 14. Andrew Moore, 15. Brad Wildes, 16. Zachary Morgan, 17. Ashley Tauscher
Qualifying: 1. Seth Gnewikow 19.036, 2. Mike Gratz 19.223, 3. Matthew Heim 19.597, 4. Chuck Muller 19.674, 5. Chris Brown 19.719, 6. Tim Murphy, Sr. 19.797, 7. Zachary Morgan 19.820, 8. Tristan Finnegan 19.882, 9. Greg Brown 20.159, 10. Brad Wildes 20.235, 11. Jon Beanken 20.297, 12. Troy Lockington 20.316, 13. Austyn Blank 20.340, 14. Ashley Tauscher 20.561, 15. Devin Glass 20.993

Mini-Vans
Feature (15 laps): 1. Rob Stanfield, 2. Jay Raines, 3. Kevin Laufenberg, 4. Kenny Hart, 5. Lester Stanfield, 6. John Huebner, 7. Mike Gratz, 8. Kelly Poff, 9. Kyle Cottone, 10. Matthew Miller, 11. Christafer Humphrey
Qualifying: 1. Rob Stanfield 19.995, 2. Kevin Laufenberg 20.512, 3. Lester Stanfield 20.555, 4. John Huebner 20.888, 5. Kenny Hart 21.099, 6. Christapher Humphrey 21.458, 7. Kelly Poff 21.564, 8. Matthew Miller 21.596, 9. Mike Gratz 21.690, 10. Kyle Cottone 24.564