NEW FACES GIVE ‘CORONA KICKING’ DRIVES ON OPENING NIGHT AT TOMAH

By: Paul Reichert May 29, 2020

With the coronavirus situation bringing our daily lives to a near standstill for the past two months, we have been waiting to enjoy our favorite forms of entertainment. Now that Wisconsin’s Safer-at-Home order has been lifted, we can slowly get back on the road to some sort of normal daily life. Racetracks are finally getting their seasons started, including Tomah-Sparta Speedway. One of the biggest crowds ever in Tomah-Sparta history came out in force to support their local short track and help get the 2020 racing season underway. There would be several new faces in action including drivers from other tracks yet to open, and a few of those new faces ended up in the TACU Credit Union Victory Lane.

Derrin Salo started on the pole in the Twisted Tea Modified feature and led the way early on. Rick DeVito and Nick Quinnell battled hard for second place, but they would soon be joined by defending track champion Brad ‘Wild Man’ Wildes. Coming from the back of the pack, Wildes drove by Quinnell for third on lap four and then disposed of DeVito for second on lap five. It only took Wildes two laps to whittle away at Salo’s advantage and put the heat on the 6 car for the lead. On lap eight, Wildes would work his way underneath Salo coming out of turn two and power by him for the lead down the back straight. As Wildes began to slowly open up his lead on the field, Quinnell started to challenge Salo for second. Quinnell would power around Salo on the outside for second place on lap 12. Wildes checked out on the field and drove away with the victory.

The Coors Light Sportsmen ran their feature with the Modifieds, and it was a battle of the rookie versus the veteran. Bill Schott, moving up from the Hobby Stocks for 2020, would have to contend with veteran racer Jason Backus for all 15 laps. Backus tried several times to look for an opening under Schott, but the door was shut by Schott each time. Backus even tried to get by Schott on the outside groove, but Backus could not complete the pass every time. Schott held on to capture his first Sportsmen win ever.

Elko Power Stocks regular Julie Jorgenson showed the way in the first six laps of the Hobby Stock feature. Raymond Hardy worked his way from the back of the pack to power around Jorgenson to become the new leader on lap seven. On the next lap, reigning track champion Andy Moore followed Hardy’s tire tracks and got a run under the 81 to take over the top spot. With three laps to go, the leaders encountered the slow car of rookie competitor Austin Stark. Hardy went low and Moore went high. Hardy would come out of it with the lead. That action also allowed Jorgenson and fellow Elko racer Nick Oxborough to catch the leaders. Moore got a run on Hardy down the back straight on the final lap and powered out of turn four with the lead and the win.

The Hornet feature saw La Crosse regular Dakota Clauson take the lead early in the going. With a large field of 20 Hornets in the feature, we were very surprised that there were not more cautions. With several moments of three wide racing in the early moments of the race, the drivers were very patient and did not cause a lot of chaos. Clauson continued to show the way, but how long would he remain the leader? The likes of fast qualifier Taylor Dawson, Elko driver Justin Schelitzche and defending track champion Jazelynn Myer were all looking to make their way to the front. The yellow flag came out with three laps to go for rookie Matt Renning’s spin in turn two. Schelitzche lined up alongside Clauson for the restart and wasted little time in zooming to the front of the field. Schelitzche would leave the field in his dust to claim his first ever race win and proudly ring the Victory Bell in TACU Victory Lane.

Jestin DeLap led the first lap of the TACU Credit Union Six Shooters feature. That lead ended on lap two when DeLap lost a wheel and tagged the turn two wall. Inheriting the lead on the restart was Clayton Haessig, and he wasted little time in driving away from the field. Matt Moore and Dan Frye, last year’s championship battlers, were struggling to make their way through the field to catch up to Haessig. However, a newcomer to Tomah was slowly clawing his way through the field. Steve Mueller, a Six Shooters regular at Madison, was ‘juking and jiving’ his way through traffic. He would make his way up to second by lap nine. Over the final six laps Mueller inched his way forward to close down on Haessig. With both drivers running bumper to bumper as the white flag flew, Mueller got a run off of turn two and powered his way to the outside of Haessig. As they charged to the checkered flag, Mueller surged just far enough ahead of Haessig to capture his first ever victory at Tomah. Haessig gave Mueller a big thumbs up after the race for his performance.

Action continues next Friday, June 5 with the Wisconsin Mighty Bandos Traveling Series making their first visit of the season. They will join the Twisted Tea Modifieds, Coors Light Sportsmen, Hobby Stocks, Hornets and TACU Credit Union Six Shooters at ‘Daytomah’. Gates open at 5:00, qualifying begins at 6:00 and racing takes the green flag at 7:30. For more information about Tomah-Sparta Speedway or the 2020 schedule of events, please call the office at 608-461-1920 or visit us on the web at tomahspartaspeedway.com.

RESULTS

Twisted Tea Modifieds
Feature: 1. Brad Wildes, 2. Nick Quinnell, 3. Derrin Salo, 4. Keenan Shaw, 5. Rick DeVit Heat: 1. Quinnell, 2. Keenan Shaw, 3. Wildes
Qualifying: 1. Wildes, 2. Shaw, 3. Quinnell

Coors Light Sportsmen
Feature: 1. Bill Schott, 2. Jason Backus Heat: 1. Backus, 2. B. Schott Qualifying: 1. Backus, 2. B. Schott

Hobby Stocks
Feature: 1. Andy Moore, 2. Raymond Hardy, 3. Julie Jorgenson, 4. Nick Oxborough, 5. Brandon Gallagher Heat 1: 1. Shelby Lockington, 2. Alex Rud, 3. Austin Schott
Heat 2: Oxborough, 2. A. Moore, 3. Hardy
Qualifying: 1. Hardy, 2. A. Moore, 3. Oxborough

Hornets
Feature: 1. Justin Schelitzche, 2. Ron Pearson, 3. Dakota Clauson, 4. Taylor Dawson, 5. Jordan Finch Heat 1: 1. James Hendricks, 2. Cameron Riggs, 3. James Wilson
Heat 2: 1. Zach Oliver, 2. Scott Mahlum, 3. Sammy Linnehan
Heat 3: 1. Dawson, 2. Danny Frye, 3. Schelitzche
Qualifying: 1. Dawson, 2. Schelitzche, 3. Jazelynn Myer

TACU Credit Union Six Shooters
Feature: 1. Steve Mueller, 2. Clayton Haessig, 3. Al Bartels, 4. Tim Murphy, Sr., 5. Landon Lockington Heat 1: 1. Tim Murphy, Sr., 2. Zach Liebsch, 3. Matt Satka
Heat 2: 1. Cameron Riggs, 2. Dan Frye, 3. Matt Moore
Qualifying: 1. M. Moore, 2. Mueller, 3. Bartels