LaCrosse, May among victorious on Hall of Fame Night
By Joe Orsini
For Star-News Sports
LUXEMBURG – Last weekend, 133 cars and stars across seven divisions signed in to battle it out for the SAS Forks Hall of Fame Night.
The event began with a large group of drivers paying tribute to their fallen racing friend, Jason Yedica, who passed away June 30 from cancer.
It was one of Jason’s last wishes to have his son pilot his No. 11 Mountain Dew liveried Buick around the ‘Burg Speedway.
With the help of DeGrave, that was able to happen.
Dave Zeitler, a 2021 hall of fame inductee, grabbed the opening lap lead of the IMCA Modified feature event but his time atop the leaderboard was short lived as Cody Schroeder streaked by to lead lap number two.
Benji LaCrosse showed the intestinal fortitude to knife between Jay Matthais and R.M. Van Pay to swipe the third spot.
Schroeder saw his lead evaporate when caution flew on lap six. The restart had Schroeder lead Zeitler, LaCrosse, Van Pay, and Matthias back to speed.
As the green flag flew once again, LaCrosse took advantage of the low side and slid past Schroeder on the exit of turn two to secure the lead.
At the halfway mark, LaCrosse led Schroeder, Travis Hansen, Van Pay, and Brad Theys. When the checkers flew, LaCrosse scored a comfortable win, Schroeder settled for second and Hansen third.
The entire Quietwoods RV IMCA Stock Car field knew they had their work cut out for them when they saw the 007 of Luke Lemmens on pole position for the A-main event.
True to form, Lemmens grabbed the lead at the drop of the green, leaving it up to the field to prevent him from tasting victory.
Josh Mroczkowski followed Lemmens from his row two starting spot and tucked up to the back bumper of the leader.
Meanwhile, the race for third was heating up, with Jamison MacDonald working the low line and Aidan Gretz hustling around the high side.
As the crossed flags were displayed to the field at the halfway mark, Lemmens continued to lead with Mroczkowski doing his best Daytona-style draft job right behind.
With laps winding down, Mroczkowski made the dicey decision to bounce to the high side in order to make a run on Lemmens, possibly losing the bottom lane to the third place car. He decided the risk was worth the reward and threw his 81X machine to the top side.
As the double checkers flew, Mroczkowski’s risk paid off as he crossed the line with his nose just inches in front of Lemmens in second. Siefert completed his charge around the top of the track to finish third, Cole Czarneski grabbed fourth, and Gretz rounded out the top five.
Cole Slezeski rocketed to the early lead from his pole position to pace the opening lap of the IMCA Northern Sport Mod feature event.
Reagan May quickly piloted her 119 machine on the high side into a fight with Doug Maurer for the runner up spot. As multiple cautions marred the event, Maurer and May continued to duke it out for second place.
That battle turned into a slugfest for the lead as Slezeski spun on the exit of Showcase Kitchens turn number four.
The ensuing restart saw May lead the field back to green but the expected battle with Maurer did not materialize as contact in turn two with Coy Vlies sent Maurer into the spin cycle.
Maurer would retire to the pits and Vlies was sent to the tail for the restart.
The race would be shortened as caution flew again right after the restart, causing yellow and checkers to fly simultaneously.
May captured the win, Craig Dorner was second, Alec Wery third, Cody Rass fourth, and Jeff Vlies in fifth.
The NEW Tech Metals Unified Dirt Street Stock feature event saw the hard work of the Bailey Laviolette team pay off as the 22 car led the opening lap.
The event was quickly halted for a red flag as chaos ensued in turn 4.
The red flag turned into a lengthy affair as the right front of Ford Malvitz wedged fully inside the left side of the 22S of Jared Spaulding. Eventually, the Windowlickers Towing and Recovery Service team was able to separate the two machines delicately enough for both cars to continue racing.
The restart had Laviolette, Michael Czarapata, and Dave DeGrave in a furious three-wide battle for the top spot.
Czarapata ran low, LaViolette skated through the middle, and DeGrave braved the high side. The event was quickly red flagged for a second time as the transmission decided to exit the 5 car of Todd Berzowski. As his car drove over its own gearbox, it rolled over in turn three. Berzowski was unhurt but the Windowlickers had more work in their lap as they pulled his disabled car off the track.
With 3 laps officially scored, the race was set to continue with DeGrave leading Czarapata, Shanon Guelette, Paul Diefenthaler, and Derek Kaye back to speed. DeGrave continued to hold the point while Guelette and Czarapata traded the second spot back and forth with Guelette eventually locking it down.
A lap later Diefenthaler also raced by and into the third spot.
By lap seven, Jeff Richards had muscled his way into the fourth spot after starting in 12th. Up front, Diefenthaler snuck by Guelette on the inside and applied heavy pressure to DeGrave.
Diefenthaler continued to use the lower line to his advantage and squeaked by DeGrave and into the lead on lap No. 14.
Diefenthaler went on to secure his second win of the year at The ‘Burg. Guelette grabbed second and DeGrave held on to finish third.
The Murder Hornet feature opened with James Riske grabbing the early lead.
Caution quickly snakebit another division as the 63 car of Eugene Winkel expired in spectacular fashion and left a trail of oil from the middle of the back stretch to the middle of the front stretch.
The restart, with one lap complete, saw Riske fall into a heated, door-to-door battle with Neil Watcka for the lead.
Riske raced the bottom groove while Watcka was up on the top shelf to try and utilize his “Half Hemi” powerplant to grab the lead. The high line did not work for Watcka though, as it opened the door on the bottom for Scott Schlafke to sneak by into second when Watcka couldn’t complete the pass for the lead.
Things got worse for Watcka a few laps later when he clipped an infield tractor tire with his left front, the resulting damage and spin ending his night.
Riske was able to maintain the lead on the restart and never looked back as he secured the win. Schlafke was second, Trevor Cronick third, Kenneth Becker fourth and Brian Watzka Jr. in fifth.
The SAS Forks Grand Nationals returned to The ‘Burg Speedway for their second of four points nights on the season.
Mike King led the opening lap while Putch Bentley slid into second and Aaron Streblow raced into third. TJ Smith was on a roll though, as he worked past Streblow and Bentley on the inside on consecutive laps.
Smith was unable to pull away from Bentley though as the pair reeled in King at the front. The trio staged a three wide battle for the lead. King ran low, Smith threaded the needle through the middle, and Bentley wheeled the high side. Caution flew on lap No. 11 before that scrum could be concluded and King was still the leader for the restart.
When racing resumed, King continued to lead, until lap No. 15 when Smith found the momentum on top to inch into the top spot. Bentley followed suit on the high side a lap later into second as the handling started to go away on King’s car.
At the checkers, Smith held on for the win, Bentley was second and Sterblow third.
The Vintage Modifieds were also on hand to help celebrate the newest hall of fame members. Their feature kicked off with Jeff Allard leading the opening lap.
Brian Titel proved the Vintage Mods are all about the “go” as well as the “show” when he muscled by on the high side to lead lap two.
Allard was able to power back into the lead on the next lap as Titel began to fade.
Darrin Allard worked by Titel into second and Jeremy Allard followed into third. Darrin Allard mounted a charge on the leader but was unable to close the gap before the checkers flew.
Jeff Allard grabbed the win, Darrin Allard second, Jeremy Allard third, Butchie Hafemann was fourth, and Titel hung on for fifth.